Portuguese Coastal Camino
The Camino Portugues, or Portuguese Camino, is a stunning alternative to the Camino Frances, for pilgrims looking for a more rural experience on the Camino de Santiago. From Porto, the Camino Portugues follows the coast all the way to Santiago.
This route was traditionally taken by pilgrims coming from Portugal, mainly from Lisbon and Porto. Those two beautiful UNESCO World Heritage cities still remain two of the main starting points on the Camino Portugues, although you can start your journey at any point along the way.
Pilgrims pass beautiful towns, villages and scenic countryside and coastal views. Some key locations including Porto city (Home of Port wine), Viana do Castelo, Vigo, Pontevedra and finally Santiago de Compostela.
Highlights of the Camino Portugues
Explore the traditional and authentic side of Portugal, off the beaten tourist path and discover the beautiful coastline of undiscovered Portugal on the Coastal Way.
We are walking to Santiago through a lesser travelled side of Portugal, on the Camino Portugués, an alternative Camino to the more renowned Camino Frances through Spain. It is a route rich in cultural and archaeological heritage. Experience the warmth of the local people, vibrant historic towns and numerous UNESCO sites.
This quiet Camino combines timeless coastal and inland scenery following a mixture of the Portuguese Camino da Costa (Coastal Way) and the Camino da Senda Litoral (Seashore Path) along the coast of Portugal and into Spain before joining with the Portuguese Camino Central at Redondela for the remainder of the journey into Santiago de Compostela.
Walking with Wildlime, we will set our own pace on this self-guided walk along the Atlantic coastline and through rural Galicia with plenty of opportunities to stop for a refreshing dip, explore small fishing villages, bustling ports and historic towns and to enjoy the excellent local seafood.
The route takes in diverse sites including vast beaches, historic monasteries and monuments, Roman aqueducts, vineyards and spectacular coastal landscapes carved by the mighty Atlantic Ocean. This walk is best suited for experienced, independent walkers who are comfortable hiking through areas with fewer other pilgrims and with less signage than is found on some of its Camino cousins.
There is some walking alongside the road, especially when walking into Vigo and also into Santiago on the last day but for the most part footpaths, tracks and beaches.
The Coastal Camino from Porto is marked with the blue-and-yellow or rusty steel signs with the familiar scallop shell and the words Caminho Portugues da Costa, and a variety of yellow arrows and scallop shell signs.
With its sunny climate, gorgeous beaches, picturesque towns, historic sites and delicious food, the Portuguese Camino is the perfect destination to hike, feast, dance and relax.
Start your journey towards Camino de Santiago in Porto, one of the most ancient cities in Europe. Home to 240,000 people, Porto charms visitors with many architectural highlights, the picturesque Ribeira river front and UNESCO heritage listed colourful historic old town.
You can easily spend a few days here. There’s a mix of the old and the new with churches, colourful markets, wine bars, port cellars and a lively atmosphere to soak up and enjoy. Be sure to visit the Porto Cathedral before tomorrow’s walk and obtain your first stamp (carimbos in Portuguese and sello in Spanish).
Tonight, we have a welcome dinner to meet the members of the group.
The day begins by taking the Metro light rail to Matosinhos to avoid the outskirts of Porto and reach the coast to start your walk on the Portuguese Seashore Path.
Today’s walking is flat and easy. You will be accompanied by many kilometres of golden sandy Atlantic beach, which will be your guide to the town of Vila do Conde. The route along the coast from Matosinhos is well marked. Your walk will be close to the coast, on the pedestrian pavement, the cycle track and wooden walkways, passing fishing villages, chapels, monuments and beautiful popular sandy beaches.
Take time to visit the Museum of Naval Construction with a replica Portuguese carrack, the Nau Quinhentista, floating in the dock. Also, the Igreja Matriz church with the large aqueduct behind it and the Convent of Santa Clara.
Leaving Vila do Condo, with the beach once again on your left, walk along the coastal path to Póvoa de Varzim, a popular resort and holiday town.
Meals: B, D
Continue on your way to the old fishing village of Esposende with the Seashore Path and Coastal Way sharing much of the route. Follow the coast passing through the villages of Agucadoura and Areia, then cross through the Coastal Natural Park (Parque Natural do Litoral Norte).
At the church in Apulia you have a choice. The Coastal Way forges straight ahead through the pine and eucalypt forest before Fao, while the Seashore Path turns left to follow the coast. Both routes re-joining to cross the River Cavardo on the spectacular bridge before arriving at Esposende, a popular resort and fishing town on the estuary.
Meals: B, D
Today we continue on the traditional Coastal Way along quiet roads that continue slightly inland from the coast via the villages of Marinhas, Belinho, Santiago and Chafe to Viana do Castelo, which is reached after crossing the River Lima on Eiffel’s old iron bridge. We converge at the Ponte Sebastaio Bridge over the River Neiva, about half way between Esposende and Viana do Castelo, before diverging again.
Classified as a mecca of architecture, Viana do Castelo is famous for its monuments in and around the city, and the surrounding natural beauty of its beaches and seafront. Take the opportunity to visit the 15th-century cathedral and take the funicular to the Basilica de Santa Lucia on the hill above the town for some of the best views of the West Atlantic coast.
Meals: B, D
Today’s walk will continue along the wild Atlantic coastline following the official route of the Coastal Way, which is a little inland, passing a world of old farms and quaint villages on narrow cobblestone roads offering beautiful views over the hills and coastline.
It’s also possible to walk the Seashore Path along quiet roads, the beach and boardwalks above the dunes, but you will not have the benefit of any way marking. Both routes converge at the old fishing village of Vila Praia de Âncora, your stop for the night. The town has a great beach and is popular with tourists.
Meals: B, D
Today depart Âncora following the Caminho Portugues da Costa waymarks along the wide concrete walkway and cycle path. Pass the small chapel of Santo Isidoro following the concrete path around to the left and continuing along the shore towards Caminha. Remain on the Seashore Path next to the rocky then sandy coastline; ignore the crossing to the right under the railway line and continue past Moleda beach all the way into Caminha by walking along the path along the Minho estuary. Interesting sites to explore in Caminha are the Torre do Relogio clock tower.
When ready, take the ferry across the river Minho to A Pasaxe in Galicia. There are about 10 crossings per day from Caminha to A Pasaxe (the schedule varies depending on the season). Once across the estuary in Spain we will the scenic walk around the peninsular to enjoy an alternative way to enter the town.
The fishing port of A Guarda with its pretty harbour is home to Galicia’s most impressive ancient Celtic settlements: the Santa Tecla on the hill above the town – an authentic archaeological gem with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Meals: B, D
Enjoy a leisurely morning exploring A Guarda before departing by walking past the harbour to the small fort near the breakwater and continue north on the path on the coast.
After several kilometres the route joins a wide pedestrian and cycle path above the rocky shoreline along the side of the main road, PO-552, most of the way into Oia. This section is flat with very little shade. As you approach Oia you will be rewarded with the spectacular view of the 12th-century Monastery of Santa Maria de Oia cross the small harbour. Oia is a small pretty town with several restaurants; you may find some locals engaged in an impromptu sing along with bagpipes playing typical Galician tunes.
Start the day by taking the path alongside the dramatic coast where after several kilometres it once again joins alongside the busy PO-552. Just before reaching As Marinos, 11.5km from Oia, the Coastal Way crosses the main road to the right and heads inland and upwards towards Baredo along the old Roman ‘Royal Path’, soon you will be rewarded with spectacular views over the coast, the lighthouse and the rocky hill known as Monte de Baredo.
The path enters the village of Baredo and then O’Sinal where you will soon be rewarded with views of the Cíes Islands out off the Bay of Vigo.
Follow the yellow arrows to Baiona and enter the town making your way to the main esplanade along the sea where the imposing walls of the old fortress containing the Parador Hotel can be seen on the small promontory. Baiona is the most popular seaside tourist town in southern Galicia and has a well preserved old town and numerous important monuments. It was here in 1493 that the Caravel La Pinta returned with news of the discovery of America by Columbus. A replica is moored in the harbour. Baiona itself has many great cafes and restaurants and a wonderful atmosphere with an interesting old quarter worth exploring.
Meals: B, D
A full day at leisure to relax and recover in this popular coastal town. The medieval fortress, Monte Real, was originally intended to deter pirates from this stretch of coast; in 1585 it repelled an English raid led by Sir Francis Drake. Baiona itself has many great cafes and restaurants and a wonderful atmosphere with an interesting old quarter worth exploring.
The tourist office is located in the Baiona Parador which has the most amazing views over the Atlantic Ocean and Vigo Bay. You may like to travel to the nearby historic town of Tui with its cathedral, a highlight of the inland Central Camino, or even take a day trip to visit the beautiful Cies Islands located a short distance off the coast.
Today we follow the Senda Litoral Seashore Path and cross the medieval Ponte Ramallosa bridge over the Rio Minor.From Ponte Ramallosa the Coastal Way goes over the hills with the path becomes more urbanised closer to the large busy and cosmopolitan city of Vigo.
Follow the yellow arrows. There are several Camino routes into Vigo, so you may also encounter green arrows. Make you way to your accommodation in Vigo Baja down the busy and straight Rua de Urzaiz. Vigo is a huge industrial city, so when walking in here expect industrial areas, highways and busy roads; navigating your way may become difficult.
Meals: B, D
We make your way from the old town along the Rua do Principe mall continuing along the Rua de Urzaiz where it intersects with Avenida do Alcalde Gregorio Espino. This is where you pick up the Camino Coastal Way and the yellow arrows.We follow along quiet back streets with the Bay of Vigo on the left where the British sunk many galleons in the 1702 battle of Vigo Bay.
The Camino to Redondela is a pleasant walk with great views of the Vigo estuary as the walk continues through a string of hillside villages and patches of woodland. Your stop for the night is the town of Redondela, known as the ‘Village of Viaducts’, where the Coastal and Senda Litoral Caminos join with the inland Central Portuguese Camino to Santiago de Compostela.
Today is a beautiful day of walking. As you walk on the Camino Portuguese you will notice many more pilgrims who have joined from the Central Way from Porto via Tui.
Several kilometres out of Redondela the path leads up to the Alto de Lomba through the forest after which there is a short section on the busy N-550 to the village of Arcade famous for the best oysters in Galicia. Cross the long medieval bridge of Ponte Sampaio over the River Verdugo where Napoleon’s army was defeated by the Spanish in 1809 during the War of Independence.
Then walk up through the forest and enjoy one of the most beautiful stretches of the Camino following the ancient narrow stone paths as they climb up the slope. The path widens amongst fields and vineyards, arriving at Pontevedra with its pretty historic centre, 13th-century church of Santa Maria, and the famous Pilgrim Virgin’s church (Santuario da Peregrina), which although appears round, is actually in the shape of a scallop shell.
Meals: B, D
Today the Camino Portuguese will take you over the Rio Lerez via the pretty stone Ponte do Burgo bridge decorated with scallop shells and through chestnut groves and pine and eucalyptus trees to the village of San Amaro.
Emerging from the woods near Valbon, at the Cruceiro de Amonisa, a statue of Saint James with his walking stick points the way to Santiago. You will pass the pretty village of Tivo with its lovely fountain and public washing area.
Continue on through rural fields and vineyards to the Roman-influenced town of Caldas de Reis, known otherwise as ‘the hot waters of the Kings’, where you will find the thermal springs after crossing the river Umia around to the left outside the Hotel Davila.
You may wish to soak your feet in the hot thermal water upon your arrival into the town.
Meals: B, D
Today’s walk is one of the most beautiful of the whole route.
The path once again takes you through pine forests and rural areas through the Bermana and Verga valleys to today’s destination across the Ulla River, the town of Padron.
Padron, the starting point for Saint James ministry in the Iberian peninsular, was also said to be where his body first reached land when it returned by boat after being martyred in Jerusalem. The parish church has the legendary Pedron, the stone where St James’ boat was moored. You can find the Pedron under the altar in the Igrexia de Santiago with a replica Pedron over the bridge on the west bank of the Rio Sar.
Meals: B, D
Your final walking day on the Camino Portuguese will provide some variety through woodlands and on increasingly busy roads. You will pass through a number of small villages and the suburbs of Santiago de Compostela.
After making your way to the historic sanctuary of A Escravitude, continue to Faramello and the Chapel of San Martino where you can see one of the oldest wayside crosses (cruceiro) in Galicia.
After passing through Milladoiro and the tiny town of Agro dos Monteiros, but before passing under the motorway, pilgrims now for the first time will have a view of the spires of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. After crossing the Sar River, take the left waymarked option and continue through the streets of the city via Rua de Porto Faxeira, the old entrance of the Portuguese Way into Santiago de Compostela.
Make your way via Rua Franco to Praza do Obradoiro and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
The feeling as you walk through the old streets of Santiago de Compostela, and you catch a glimpse of the towers of the Cathedral, is indescribable. We will join the pilgrims mass this evening and reflect on our awesome achievement.
Meals: B, D
This morning we head to the Pilgrims Office to receive a Compostela pilgrim certificate – well done you are now a Camino pilgrim!
Why take a walk on the Wildlime side?
When you take a walk on the Wildlime side with us you will be looked after well. We know what it takes to start, what you need when things get tough and the importance of laughter to get you through the tough times.
We have coordinated numerous small group walks including Mont Blanc (France, Italy, Switzerland), Annapurna Track (Nepal), Scottish Highlands, Camino De Santiago (France & Spain), Blue mountains and Great Ocean road and the Via Francigena.
We are passionate about getting people into hiking- good laughs and lifelong memories await you.
Why walk a pilgrimage?
When you walk the slow pilgrim way, it is not just getting there, it’s actually getting to see and experience every single place you go through. If you are the type of person who’s just curious about the world, about how different people live, then walking is perfect!
It takes you through busy streets, quiet areas, remote paths and high breathtaking peaks – it can show you things you did not know you wanted to see, and the whole scope of the world and its citizens unfolds before you. Smells, views, tastes and sounds – all your senses are heightened the more you move.
A pilgrim walk is an ancient walk, and you will come across such roads and paths that can feel more important than their destinations – the beauty, history and sense of calm just overwhelms.
It gives you time to think and to breathe – it’s not just for your physical health, but mental too.
Your body and mind get into a rhythm – it’s like your brain slows down to mirror the steady beat of your feet. Join a pilgrim walk and you might just be able get away – and get your mind, body and soul together.
With walking – it is not the distance that’s the achievement, where you start or finish doesn’t
matter – the sense of achievement comes from just doing it!
The key is just starting – once you move forward you won’t ever look back!
So what is stopping you from walking on the wildlime side with me?