cha A Kinder (Gentler) Camino Tour - Day 5 '

Based in Spain since 2006

Gonzar to Palas de Rei

Ferreiros to Gonzar

Day 5

Accommodations: Portomarín (B, L, D)

Walking: 17 km / 11 mi

Having enjoyed a good night’s sleep and an energizing breakfast we get ready to travel west across the Galician countryside from Gonzar to Palas de Rei. On your walk, you will notice that a new kind of foliage has joined the lush landscape. As our Fresco Tours guides will explain, Eucalyptus trees have been introduced and cultivated in the area and can be used for many purposes, including forestry and paper production. These strikingly green trees, with their tall white trunks and aromatic leaves, create a distinctive atmosphere and provide shade along the path.

Perhaps one of today’s highlights is the castro (Celtic settlement) near the hamlet of Castromaior. These remains are over 2000 years old and what you will see are the foundations and walls of the section that have been unearthed. Make sure you follow your Fresco Tours guide’s instructions to find it; or even better, stay with her/him and get the full story when you arrive to the location!

The castro at Castromaior.
The castro at Castromaior.

As we continue to follow the trail, we will come across Ligonde, a small village that stands out from the rest because of the ancient granite cruceiro (stone cross) and the hundred-year-old oak tree that greet you before you enter town. The cruceiro dates from 1670, and presents a crucifixion on one side, a pietá (Virgin Mother suffering) on the other side, and image of the instruments used during the passion of Christ on the base. The large oak tree has provided shade for countless pilgrims before us, and proves the perfect spot for a fabulous Fresco Tours picnic lunch.

The cruceiro near Ligonde.
The cruceiro near Ligonde.

After a rewarding walk we finally arrive in Palas de Rei. The name of the town translates to “Palace of the King” in English and it is believed to have been named after the royal palace of the Visigoth King Witiza that once stood in the area during the Middle Ages. King Witiza lived sometime around the end of the seventh century, while his death is said to have coincided with the beginning of the Moorish invasion in 711. Witzia was the archetype of the evil ruler, or at least that is what legend and tradition led us to believe. His personal life, filled with mistresses and murder, is said to have mirrored his regency of cruelty and tyranny. However, his kingdom no longer stands, and in its place is our destination for today. We can head back to Portomarín to relax and enjoy dinner before resting our feet for tomorrow! 

A classic Fresco Tours picnic salad.
A classic Fresco Tours picnic salad.
Elevation Profile for the Gonzar to Palas de Rei stage on the Camino de Santiago
Elevation Profile for the Gonzar to Palas de Rei stage on the Camino de Santiago

Palas de Rei to Melide