Cultural Routes in the Iberian Peninsula
The Way of St. James, or Santiago de Compostela, is one of the most famous routes that has drawn pilgrims from all corners of the globe and its terminus is in Spain; neighboring Portugal is laced with paths of equal richness, making the Iberian Peninsula a perfect destination to travel along pan-European routes.
The great tourist routes of Spain that take you through great cities, breathtaking landscapes, and places bearing the imprint of centuries of history. The Way of Saint James is the most popular route. The French route brings you through either Navarre or Aragon; the northern Route is popular because a large part of it runs along the coastline against a backdrop of mountains overlooking the Cantabrian Sea. Travel the age-old Silver Route, the cornerstone of the Iberian road network for 1800 years. During the medieval period it was a significant cattle route and along its length cities, circuses, temples, aqueducts, bridges, arches and fortresses were built, accompanied by the development of rich traditional architecture, folklore, and handicrafts. The Route of The Caliphate is an adventure of the spirit. From Córdoba to Granada, visit the sites of two golden ages: Córdoba, the city that outshone the rest of the west for a time, and Granada, the refined epitome of a civilization. The castles and cities between them isn’t just a lesson in history but a pleasure for the senses. This itinerary forms part of the Routes of the Al-Andalus heritage, designated a Council of Europe Major Cultural Route.
The baroque routes of northern Portugal present a unique Iberian architectural odyssey. The advent of the baroque style replaced stern granite with artistic flourishes, gilded woodcarvings and tiles filled with white and blue. Baroque art in Portugal became quite distinct in the 18th century from that of other countries, and thanks to the great economic wealth of the time, palaces, churches and monasteries were filled with its movement and color. In Porto, you’ll find some of the most significant baroque monuments, such as the Torre dos Clérigos and the Igreja de São Francisco, as well as important sites near Braga. As you make your way down the Douro valley, you’ll marvel at the terraces vineyards and have the opportunity to visit the Port Wine Institute and taste this world famous wine at Peso da Régua and pass by the home of Mateus Rose.