Chantada is an unassuming little town in the heart of Galicia. It lies along the Camino del Sur or South way. This lesser known tributary of the Camino Frances or French way begins in the vineyards of Valdeorras. The route was popularised by winter pilgrims seeking to avoid the snow covered peaks around Cebreiro.
It follows the course of the river Sil, passing through Quiroga and on into Monforte de Lemos: centre of the Ribeira Sacra wine growing region. From here the route takes pilgrims into the hills of O’ Saviñao,
across the great river Miño and on to the picturesque town of Chantada, via ancient Roman roads.
Over the last 10 years, Chantada has undergone a marvellous transformation. Buildings of architectural significance have been restored, public spaces refreshed and a sweeping footpath created along the banks of the river Asma.
Continue on and you’ll meet the main high street, a crossroads between ancient and modern. Unlike many Spanish towns, this meeting is not an architectural collision but a smooth transition from old to
Cross the street and join the pedestrianized thoroughfare. If you’re early enough, take a look at the range of fresh fish in the shop on the corner: landed in Vigo this morning; on the plate by lunchtime.
Stroll a little further and you’ll come across the restaurant, Centro. Dining in Galicia is as much about opinion as taste, and in my opinion this is one of the best Menu del Dia’s in the town: a hearty three course lunch with a bottle of the best house white in the area and all for a miserly 9 euros. For your main course why not try Merluza a la Romana: a succulent fillet of lightly battered hake, or Carne Guisada: slow cooked chunks of Galician beef in a rich sauce.
After lunch, stretch your legs and wander to the top of the street. This deceptively quiet, staggered crossroad forms the hub of Chantada’s nightlife on warm summer evenings. Roadside café/bars spill out onto the streets and locals gather to enjoy raucous conversation over a glass of local wine:
inky-red Mencia or lively Godello white.
Turn left here and head out of town. Within 300 metres the road crosses the Rio Asma. At the far side of the bridge a pathway leads down to the river’s edge. Meander your way along the footpath, following the course of the river; Chantada on your left and Galicia’s lush green meadows on the right.
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