Pilgrim trail Multi-stage route

Caminhos de Santiago Alentejo e Ribatejo - Central Way

Pilgrim trail · Portugal
Responsible for this content
Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
  • Alcácer do Sal
    Alcácer do Sal
    Photo: Upstream, Turismo do Alentejo, ERT

Journeying on the Ways is to relive that history in the traces that the passing of time failed to erase, it is making the traveller a witness to a narrative revealed in its tangible and intangible heritage, in its lands, towns and curiosities, its cuisine, peoples and customs, those that have gone and those that continue to be, and who by taking part are unable to resist the enchantments revealed along the way. 

To experience the Caminhos de Santiago Alentejo e Ribatejo is more than a journey, it is an experience like no other, which marks us, and which we treasure. One we will want to repeat.

Distance 432.1 km
108:50 h
2,456 m
2,612 m
328 m
-2 m

No Alentejo

The Central Way passes through Santa Cruz, where the Parish Church, built in the 16th century, is home to a rather unusual icon of Jesus in the Garden, where one can see represented the sweat turning into blood.

Further ahead, in the medieval town of Almodôvar, the riverine landscape invites us to savour the crystal-clear waters of Ribeira do Vascão, stream located within the Special Protected Area of the Guadiana valley, dotted with watermills and weirs. If you pay close attention, with a little luck you may spot a few rare wildlife specimens.

In the town, the Museum of Southern Writing (Escrita do Sudoeste) reveals to us the immense archaeological richness of the district and, in particular, the singular destiny of a people which invented its own written language between the 7th and 5th centuries BC. Because the Ways to Santiago are much more than simply hiking trips, the dam of Campilhas, built in 1954 in Santiago de Cacém, offers the chance to try out all kinds of non-motorised water sports and recreational fishing.

The Way continues, passing through Alcácer do Sal, which has one of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture in the country: Capela das Onze Mil Virgens (the Chapel of the Eleven Thousand Virgins). In white marble, with a dome covered in translucent jasper that captures the sun’s rays, colour bathes the sculpted forms, attributed to António Rodrigues, an architect during the reign of King D. Sebastião, who was influenced by the Italian master Michelangelo. A city where one can also learn about the Lenda da Costureirinha (Legend of the Little Seamstress), told over much of the Baixo (Low) Alentejo region, where many are those who claim to have heard the sound of a sewing machine that never stops. According to legend it is seamstress who sews for all eternity, after having made a wedding dress for her daughter who died before the marriage.

Journeying through Ribatejo

For nature lovers, the journey through Benavente is a chance to do some serious birdwatching and in the meadow and wheat fields see scarcer, less common species that typically make their home in such habitats. The alluvial valleys that open onto the Tagus, Sorraia and Almansor rivers are like genuine islands interspersed among the characteristic dryness of the highlands. The shore lands that embraces the Tagus and all waterlogged areas offer far greater biodiversity, where European migrating waterfowl and others from southern climes can be spotted, such as the Black-winged stilt and reed warbler.

In Santarém, Misericórdia church, built in the mid-16th century (1559) is worth a visit. This is a perfect example of a hall church with three naves and rib-vaulted ceilings illuminated by six rectangular windows. Within is found the shallow grave of Nuno Velho Pereira, one of the most significant figures of the period of Portuguese imperial expansion, a captain of India and a patron of the almshouses of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia. There one can also see a pipe organ from 1818 that was restored in 2008.

It is here in the Ribatejan capital that the gateway of Porta de Santiago is found, the main entrance to Santarém castle, where one can see a coat of arms of the Fernandinos of Portugal, as well as the Portas do Sol, nowadays a panoramic viewpoint built on city walls with three turrets.

The Ways, just like history itself, are full of tales that are yet to be confirmed and since became legend, such as that of Torre das Cabaças tower, which tells that during the reign of King D. Manuel, since Santarém was lacking a clock tower, the monarch was asked to make this a reality. A sum was donated to pay for its construction, which eight local councilmen were nominated to ‘oversee’. But once it was complete, rather than being satisfied with the result, the king was sorely displeased, considering the public money poorly spent. And so, at the tower’s summit on the iron structure supporting the bell, the King ordered 8 ‘cabaças’, or gourds, to be placed there, symbolising the heads of the 8 men responsible for its construction.

As the Central Way draws to a close, we arrive to Golegã, a place to stop and rest ever since the nation’s early days, where once there was an inn belonging to a woman from Galicia, known as Venda Galega, which later gave its name to the town. A land of knights and their steeds, the Equuspolis Cultural Centre with its equestrian library is worth a look, as is the Fórum Manuel Fernandes or the Mestre Martins Correia Municipal Museum.

Highest point
328 m
Lowest point
-2 m

Track types

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Safety information

Todos os utilizadores dos Caminhos de Santiago Alentejo e Ribatejo devem ter presente o seguinte código de conduta.

  • Não saia do percurso marcado e sinalizado.
  • Não se aproxime de precipícios.
  • Preste atenção às marcações.
  • Não deite lixo orgânico ou inorgânico durante o percurso, leve um saco para esse efeito. Se vir lixo, recolha-o, ajude-nos a manter os Caminhos limpos.
  • Cuidado com o gado, não incomode os animais.
  • Deixe a Natureza intacta. Não recolha plantas, animais ou rochas.
  • Evite fazer ruído.
  • Respeite a propriedade privada, feche portões e cancelas.
  • Não faça lume e tenha cuidado com os cigarros.
  • Não vandalize a sinalização dos Caminhos.

Em zona de percurso urbano, as marcas de sinalética são de uso exclusivo a pedestres. Outros meios, como a bicicleta, deverão respeitar a sinalização de trânsito.


37.408796, -7.917436
37°24'31.7"N 7°55'02.8"W
29S 595805 4140772
Show on Map


37.408796, -7.917436
37°24'31.7"N 7°55'02.8"W
29S 595805 4140772
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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432.1 km
108:50 h
2,456 m
2,612 m
Highest point
328 m
Linear route Multi-stage route


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Maps and trails
  • 19 Stages
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Ameixial (Algarve) - Santa Cruz
Difficulty moderate Stage 1
Distance 5 km
Duration 1:27 h
Ascent 165 m
Descent 63 m

“... the traces identified witness the transit of pilgrims through the old roman route which crosses the Serra do Caldeirão in Santa Cruz de ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Santa Cruz - Almodôvar
Difficulty moderate Stage 2
Distance 20 km
Duration 5:04 h
Ascent 159 m
Descent 188 m

When we leave Santa Cruz the landscape changes. In front of us lies now, far out of sight, the soft relief of the undulating plain of Baixo (Low) ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Almodôvar - Castro Verde
Difficulty difficult Stage 3
Distance 29.6 km
Duration 7:25 h
Ascent 131 m
Descent 174 m

Castro Verde was originally a small village in the immense fields of Ourique, as this part of Baixo (Low) Alentejo was known in the 13th century.

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Castro Verde - Messejana
Difficulty difficult Stage 4
Distance 29.4 km
Duration 7:20 h
Ascent 140 m
Descent 188 m

In one of the poems from his work Ode to Alentejo, Miguel Torga wrote "Alentejo, Alentejo, Vastness of Portugal, Future, Continental!

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Messejana - Fornalhas Velhas
Difficulty moderate Stage 5
Distance 23.2 km
Duration 5:48 h
Ascent 126 m
Descent 233 m

The village of Fornalhas Velhas, located in the fertile fields of Vale de Santiago, between the rivers Sado and Campilhas, was, as the name ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Fornalhas Velhas - São Domingos
Difficulty moderate Stage 6
Distance 19.7 km
Duration 4:50 h
Ascent 59 m
Descent 70 m

We evoke the history of Vale de Santiago, which tells us that during the crisis of 1918, the rural workers of the region united in rebellion and ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
São Domingos - Santiago do Cacém
Difficulty moderate Stage 7
Distance 23.8 km
Duration 6:05 h
Ascent 243 m
Descent 116 m

We are about to face one of the most demanding stages of the Path, not only for its total length (24 km) or for any special technical difficulty, ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Santiago do Cacém - Roncão
Difficulty moderate Stage 8
Distance 22.2 km
Duration 5:49 h
Ascent 295 m
Descent 234 m

Currently belonging to the civil parish of S. Francisco da Serra, the settlement of the village of Roncão, and all the parish dates back to the ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Roncão - Grândola
Difficulty moderate Stage 9
Distance 23.1 km
Duration 6:04 h
Ascent 244 m
Descent 405 m

In this village, immortalized by the poet and singer Zeca Afonso in the song Grândola Vila Morena, which served as a symbolic hymn during the ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Grândola - Alcácer do Sal
Difficulty moderate Stage 10
Distance 33 km
Duration 8:09 h
Ascent 54 m
Descent 159 m

Today we will perform the most extensive stage of the Central Path in Alentejo and Ribatejo, 33 km, but the previous days have already prepared us ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Alcácer do Sal - Casebres
Difficulty moderate Stage 11
Distance 23.1 km
Duration 5:45 h
Ascent 199 m
Descent 157 m

The human presence in the area that today composes the civil parish of São Martinho, whose headquarters is today located in the village of Casebres ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Alentejo
Casebres - Vendas Novas
Difficulty moderate Stage 12
Distance 22.3 km
Duration 5:34 h
Ascent 227 m
Descent 108 m

With Vendas Novas as a destination, the Way leads us to cross Cabrela. Because of its strategic relevance, it was donated to the Order of Santiago ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Ribatejo
Vendas Novas - Branca
Difficulty moderate Stage 13
Distance 33 km
Duration 8:14 h
Ascent 167 m
Descent 229 m

The village of Branca belongs to the municipality of Coruche, the tenth-largest in the country, calling itself the "World Capital of Cork".

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Ribatejo
Branca - Santo Estêvão
Difficulty easy Stage 14
Distance 17.3 km
Duration 4:13 h
Ascent 11 m
Descent 88 m

Santo Estevão is a rural commune located 16 km from Benavente (County seat), with a total area of 62.41 km2 and around 2000 inhabitants, according ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Difficulty moderate Stage 15
Distance 26.2 km
Duration 6:23 h
Ascent 33 m
Descent 29 m

Samora Correia owes its name to D. Paio Peres Correia, conqueror of much of southern Portugal in the first half of the 13th century and Grand ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Ribatejo
Benavente - Muge
Difficulty easy Stage 16
Distance 19 km
Duration 4:38 h
Ascent 18 m
Descent 21 m

The Way to Muge passes through Salvaterra de Magos where, among the obligations of its new residents, awarded with a charter by D. Dinis in 1295, ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Ribatejo
Muge - Santarém
Difficulty easy Stage 17
Distance 20.8 km
Duration 5:10 h
Ascent 122 m
Descent 27 m

In the commune of Almeirim, before arriving at Ribeira de Santarém, the Igreja de Santa Marta, in Benfica do Ribatejo, inspires a visit.

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Ribatejo
Santarém - Golegã
Difficulty moderate Stage 18
Distance 32.1 km
Duration 7:52 h
Ascent 74 m
Descent 156 m

José Saramago, after the journey that gave origin to the work Viagem a Portugal, said that "the end of one trip is just the beginning of another.

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
Pilgrim trail · Ribatejo
Golegã - Tomar
Difficulty moderate Stage 19
Distance 8.7 km
Duration 2:08 h
Ascent 21 m
Descent 9 m

Golegã is a village of the Way, not only in the literal sense but mainly because, everywhere we look, we find evidence of the presence and passage ...

Turismo do Alentejo, ERT
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