The Winter Way
This inland route, a bit over 200 kilometres long, declared official in 2016, crosses the four Galician provinces. In Pontevedra, it goes through the towns of Rodeiro, Lalín, Silleda and A Estrada to continue then to Santiago de Compostela.
Along this way towards the capital of Galicia, hikers walk through many different environments full of indigenous trees and elements of the cultural heritage, such as rivers, green landscapes, inland areas or leafy woods.
This route, known as the Winter Way because of the difficulty to cross León and Galicia during this season, is less busy than others and provides privacy for the pilgrims. The way to reach Galicia follows an old Roman road.
Despite being less crowded, it is endowed with all the services hikers may need, as accommodation or a system of signposts. Regarding the pilgrims' hostels, there are two in the province of Pontevedra: one in Lalín, and the other in Silleda.
After five stages in the province of Ourense and Lugo, the Way enters As Rías Baixas through the town of Rodeiro.
Stage Rodeiro-Bendoiro (26.8 km)
In Rodeiro, located almost at the centre of the region, you can admire the great beauty of the Faro Hill. Its 1,187-metre peak represents its most appealing feature, as it is the highest in the municipality. The charm of the surroundings, in the Deza region, makes it easier to face this difficult stretch.
The route starts in the parish of Río, in Rodeiro. In the past, this was the commercial hub of the region and some of the sheds which used to host the traditional fairs are still kept. Those who choose this route to go the Apostle's city will enjoy an area well-known for its natural value, having a great number of chestnut trees and oaks, abundant in Galicia.
Without leaving Río, the place of Mouriz is the next stop. This stretch is flatter and easier to walk. The town hall, in a stone construction built over an old fortress, is close to this place.
Still in Rodeiro, you cross the medieval bridge of Pedroso, built in the 12th century over the Arnego River, and pass by the two mills placed on both sides. Then you continue towards the town of Lalín following the riverside path of the As Cabirtas River.
While walking towards the parish of Bendoiro, in Lalín, the Winter Way has much more to offer still in Camba, as the town of Rodeiro is popularly known. You cross the Bridge of the Hospital over the beautiful Arnego River, and then the places of Penerbosa, Puza and A Penela. Once you reach A Ponte, you continue walking through Val do Boi, Coto de Anta, Coto de Mamuela and Palmaz. After passing by these places of skilled stonemasons, medieval bridges, pilgrims' hostels, burial mounds and streams, you reach Lalín.
This town is the capital of the Deza region and the gastronomic hub of the cocido (Galician stew). Here, you walk through oak woods along the riverside path of the Pontiñas River until the parish of Bendoiro, after passing by the place of A Laxe. Near the end of this busy path, where the Winter Way turns right towards the place of Espiño, you will find a perfect setting for a well-deserved rest. After crossing the place of Carballeira das Casianas, you reach A Laxe, where this route meets the Silver Way, one of the most traditional routes to Santiago de Compostela.
Stage Bendoiro-Outeiro (33.8 km)
Through the road N-525, the route crosses the place of Vilasoa until Prado. From here, you go to Boralla and cross the tenth-century Taboada Bridge built in the 10th century over the Deza River, a tributary of the Ulla River. If you have enough time, here you can visit the famous shrine of O Corpiño, which gathers thousands of faithful visitors in the pilgrimages held in summer and in winter. After Taboada, you climb till the place of Trasfontao, in the town of Silleda.
From here, the Way leads towards the left. Now, you go through the places of O Foxo, Chapa, A Bandeira and Castrovite, in Silleda; and then cross Loimil, Os Casares, As Carballas and Oca, in the town of A Estrada. The parish of Oca is very popular because of its pazo (manor house), the "Galician Palace of Versailles". Then, the way continues through Valboa, Arnois, A Calzada and A Veiga to reach the town of Vedra, in A Coruña.
Pilgrims' hostel in Bendoiro (Lalín)
Pilgrims' hostel in A Bandeira (Silleda)
Portuguese Way of Saint James
You don't complete the Way... the Way completes you.