Central Way

São Domingos < > Santiago do Cacém

Stage 7

Donated to the Order of Santiago by D. Sancho I, in 1186, Santiago do Cacém was the first advanced point of the Spatharii in the south of the country, at the time when the castle of Palmela was the headquarters of the Order. The village, which had been conquered in 1158, fell into Muslim hands at the end of the 12th century. It only became Portuguese definitive possession in 1217, after the conquest of Alcácer do Sal. In 1310, the village was donated to a handmaiden of the queen D. Isabel of Aragon, Vataça Lascaris, a Byzantine princess exiled in Aragon. She accompanied the queen to Portugal when she married D. Dinis. Already widowed, D. Vataça lived in Santiago do Cacém between 1317 and 1332.

The ruins of her former palace are still visible inside the castle, but it is in the main church that remains the most important vestiges of her action as a donator of a village that had strong devotional connections to the apostle Santiago. In the lower zone of the village, there was a hospital of the Espírito Santo that served travelers and pilgrims who made a stop in the village.

The main church of Santiago do Cacém was quite modified by an intervention carried out between 1796 and 1830, following the damage caused by the earthquake of 1755. Despite that, it conserves a considerable part of the medieval work commissioned by D. Vataça de Lascaris, around 1315. A monumental temple, with three naves and an old staggered chevet, the main entrance was initially turned inwards the castle, functioning as a private chapel of the village grantees, who had their palace in the fortress. It was only at the beginning of the 19th century that the main façade of the old chapel have been implanted. This reinforced the status of the temple as the village’s parish church, more easily connected to the population center that was developing on the slopes of the castle. Among the many subjects of interest of this construction is the representation, in a column, of a human figure who seems to represent the apostle with staff, while a bust drinking from a gourd, symbol of the Jacobean pilgrims, remains apart.In this church, we can also find the Panel of Santiago Matamouros.

Igreja Matriz de Santiago do Cacém

Igreja Matriz de Santiago do Cacém

Greatest work of the medieval art and one of the oldest representations of St James the Moor-slayer in Portuguese art, this grandiose altarpiece must have been commissioned around 1330 by D. Vataça de Lascaris, for the main chapel of the parish church of Santiago do Cacém. The apostle, with the standard of the Order of Santiago, rides triumphantly over a host of Muslims. Some are crushed, others try to flee, others still draft a defensive attempt, unbelieving at the supremacy of such a valiant Christian warrior. There is also a medieval relic of Santo Lenho, brought by D. Vataça of Lascaris from her Byzantine domains. There are reports that other relics in possession of that princess would have been deposited under the pillars as the church was being built.Before 1755, the church had already been greatly benefited.

By 1530, under the patronage of Alonso Peres Pantoja, at the time alcalde of Santiago do Cacém, the chapel had been covered with a stone vault, whose keystones were decorated with scallops, crosses of the Order of Santiago and cross-shaped staves. Four of these keystones were preserved in the post-earthquake campaign of 1755 and are now applied to the churchyard walls and the staircase giving access to the temple.

Roman ruins of Miróbriga

Interpreted by some as a shrine, identified by others as an urban center, it is known that Miróbriga was inhabited since at least the Iron Age until the 4th century AD. C., increasing more during the Roman period. Located in an area of enhanced visibility, it allowed the control of a vast region and its wealth, namely agricultural and mineral resources. About 1 km away from the archaeological site are the ruins of the racecourse, which was used for car races pulled by two or four horses. Currently, the site has a Reception and Interpretation Center, where there is a permanent exhibition about this place, classified as Property of Public Interest since 1940.

and also...

Monte Fair − August/September

Santiagro, Agribusiness and Horse Fair − May

Santiago Cake and Santiaguinhos

In its genesis, the Cake of Santiago is a convent dessert of Galicia (Spain) which presumably was disseminated over time by the Ways that, since the Middle Ages, linked the pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela to venerate the Apostle St James. It maintains in its base the use of eggs and almond, however, it suffers (in this region) small changes, namely the use of pumpkin-Gila jam and, depending on the taste the person who does it, the use of cocoa/chocolate in its confection.

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, but for the simple fact that it has to be walked in total isolation, without any support resource for almost 21 km, until we reach Aldeia dos Chãos. In spite of this, the Path remains always parallel and at a comfortable distance from the national road N261 (about 2 km), which allows an “escape” in case of any difficulty. In case of need, we can also approach some inhabited hills, such as Taboeira or the hamlets of Paiol de Santiago.

The exit from São Domingos is initially made by road, walking down to the intersection with the national road N261. We walk on it about 500 meters before deviating to the left, to the sand trail that will accompany, for 4 km, the irrigation channel winding, parallel to São Domingos stream bed. After deviating from the canal, through hills and valleys, almost always in the domain of the holm oak and cork oak forests, we continue through the middle of nature. We will finally see somebody when we pass by the hamlets of Paiol de Santiago, after covering 17km of today’s stage. This is the refuge of the wild boar, the common genet and even the majestic Iberian lynx, some say.

We head towards Aldeia de Chãos, a little over 3 km away, where we enter the main street and finally stop for some refreshing moments, but without cooling down, as Santiago do Cacém is already nearby. From Aldeia dos Chãos we leave by dirt road to the N261 and, already at the roundabout, we choose to go straight ahead, walking down to the village entrance. Here, we pass very close to the Roman village of Miróbriga ruins. We meet the national road N120 in the next roundabout and continue straight ahead through the main axis of the city until we find the City Council building, on the left. The stage ends in the municipal garden in front of it. In Santiago do Cacém, twinned with Santiago de Compostela, the Order and the “matamouros” apostle are omnipresent in the city’s past. The tourism services will provide several references for your visit, so it is not necessary to mention them here. However, we cannot fail to highlight the impact of the contemplation of the stone panel displayed in the main church, representing Saint-James the Moor-Slayer holding the standard of the Order and riding over a host of Muslims.


Always carry water, supplies, sunscreen, a hat, waterproof, comfortable shoes, and a map.


 CTT Post Office

 Bank/Cash Dispenser

 Quinta do Chafariz Tourism Office
+351 269 826 696

 Historic Center Tourism Office
+351 269 825 382

Public Entities

 São Francisco da Serra Parish Council
+351 269 471 126

 Santiago do Cacém, Santa Cruz and
São Bartolomeu da Serra Parish Councils
+351 269 818 740



Points of Interest

 Civil parish of Santiago do Cacém

 São Bartolomeu Church

 Santiago do Cacém Main Church (National Monument)

 Santiago do Cacém Castle

 Quintinha Municipal Mill

 Altura do Chapéu Fora

 Santiago do Cacém Castle

 Loreto Convent

 Miróbriga Roman Ruins

 Ruins of Convent Nossa Senhora do Loreto

 Santiago do Cacém Municipal Museum

 Natural Reserve of Lagoa de Santo André

 Sado river


Emergency: 112
Forest Fires: 117
Santiago do Cacém Fire Department: +351 269 810 490
GNR – Santiago do Cacém Territorial Station: +351 269 249 200


Do not leave the marked and signaled route. Do not approach cliffs. Pay attention to the markings. Do not dispose of organic or inorganic waste during the trail, take a bag for this purpose. If you see garbage, collect it, help us to keep the Paths clean. Beware of livestock, don’t bother the animals. Leave Nature intact. Do not collect plants, animals or rocks. Avoid making noise. Respect private property, close gates and barriers. Don’t light fires and be careful with cigarettes. Do not vandalize the Paths signage.