Pilgrims enter Barcelos crossing a 14th-century bridge. The town of Roman origins, located on a hill above the river Cávado, was the seat of the Counts of Barcelos until the 15th century. Today, it is best known for its pottery, most notably the Galo de Barcelos, which is also a symbol of Portugal. Man-sized cockerels are also on display all over town.

The legend of the Galo de Barcelos

According to a 13th-century legend, a family of pilgrims spent a night in Barcelos night in a tavern. As they were short of money, they took their own food. The tavernkeeper became angry about this and hid a piece of silverware in one of the pilgrims’ bags. The next day the pilgrim was accused of theft and consequently sentenced to death by hanging.

His parents completed the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, and on the way back home they stopped again in Barcelos by the gallows. Much to their surprise, their son told them that he was still alive with the help of Saint James. His parents rushed to the judge, pleading that their son was innocent. The judge replied, “he is just as innocent as this roast cockerel I’m about to eat!” The cockerel rose up immediately and crowed loudly, and the innocent pilgrim was duly released.

(Compare this legend to that of Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the Camino Francés route).

Accommodation in Barcelos

Hotel nameTypePrice rangeRoomType
Casa das pombasGuest houseBudgetShared & Private roomsFree WiFi, Bar
In Barcelos Hostel & Guest HouseHostelBudgetShared roomsKitchen, Spa and wellness center,
Tea/coffee maker in all rooms, WiFi
Top’OtelGuest houseMid-rangePrivate roomsBreakfast included, shared kitchen, Bar, WiFi
Quinta de CastelhãoGuest houseMid-rangePrivate roomsBreakfast included, Swimming pool, garden, WiFi,terrace
VILLA 500Guest houseMid-rangePrivate roomsBreakfast included, garden, Swimming pool, restaurant, WiFi
Gallo`s HouseHoliday homeSplurgeEntire holiday homeKitchen, WiFi, Swimming pool, terrace, BBQ facilities

What to see in Barcelos

Igreja Matriz

Its construction began in the 14th century, and through later centuries, it underwent several changes and extensions. The azulejos decorating the interior, the bell tower, and the rose window are all later additions.

Igreja do Bom Jesus da Cruz

Its origin dates back to 1504 when a black cross appeared miraculously in the Campo da Feira. A chapel was built at the site first, followed by the construction of the church as seen today, between 1705 and 1710. It features baroque decorative elements, azulejos, and gilt woodwork.


A weekly market, one of the largest in Portugal, is held every Thursday in the Campo da Feira.