Stage 16 Guimarães - Braga
The ancient ground we tread, between two former capitals
This stage includes part of the medieval road that linked Guimarães (capital of the Portus Cale county) and Braga, the brilliant Bracara Augusta, capital of the Roman province of Gallaecia and later of the Suevi kingdom.
The first stop is at the Romanesque bridge of Roldes, an ideal setting to rest with fascination for the clear water of the Selho River. Between Fermentões and Ribeira, the section is peri-urban but, at the end, you have to exit into dense woodlands that lead to the Ave River and the Ínsua Park. Cross the Roman bridge of Caldas das Taipas and stop again to find the Fonte dos Quatro Irmãos (Fountain of the Four Brothers), one of the most curious monuments of the Torres Way.
Get ready to face the hard climb of Serra da Falperra.
There wasn't a climb like this since the Douro horizons of Régua and Mesão Frio. The first pavement ramps are at Lage, and from there to the Falperra sanctuary there are steep slopes with irregular pavement. If it rained during the night, it is natural to find impassable parts, aggravated by the passing of motor vehicles. When you reach the top, you still have to climb the sanctuary's staircase.
The descent is through lanes parallel to EN 209. If you take this stage in the summer or on a weekend, you are bound to meet cyclists who will overtake you at high speed, so you can't be too careful. After the Church of St. James of Fraião, you are already within the urban boundaries of Braga, where you enter through the old St. James door. Your destination is the Cathedral, the main monument of the Torres Way before the Compostela cathedral.