Whether or not you are religious, there is a special atmosphere on the Portugese Camino. The route has been popular with pilgrims for centuries and many have traveled along these paths and roads. It is a route that impresses everyone who follows it - with its challenges, delights and deep life lessons.
If we put the French Camino (through Spain) aside, then the Portuguese one is the most popular. There are two routes from Porto to Santiago: the traditional, and the slightly newer coastal route along the Atlantic Ocean. In recent years the coastal route has become extremely popular - and it is not without reason. The tour starts in the colorful UNESCO city of Porto and leads you through charming towns along the northern coast of Portugal, before crossing into Galicia by ferry. In the first week of the hike, the route winds its way along the Atlantic coastline before crossing the Spanish border. From here the trail follows the traditional Portuguese Camino: through beautiful forests, picturesque villages and past historic ruins. Once you see the cathedral's spiers in the distance, you'll have confirmation that you are approaching Santiago de Compostela.
Caminho da Costa, as the route is called, is a nice alternative to the regular Portuguese Camino route. The trip from Porto to Santiago is approx. 235km (146mi), and the rises are not very steep. You walk along paths, small roads, the beach and through small towns. On average, you walk 20 km (12.5mi) per day. The longest stretch will be 29km (18mi) and the shortest just 14km (9mi).
You will start your Camino hike towards Santiago de Compostela in the beautiful and colorful Porto, with its UNESCO-listed old town, picturesque river bank, and last but not least, the home of port wine. Experience the best of Portuguese hospitality in this lively city before starting your hike along Caminho da Costa.
Today you start by taking the metro to Matosinhos to bypass the less interesting outskirts of Porto. You jump off the metro at the stop called "Mercado", from where your Camino tour of hiking along the Atlantic coastline begins. You'll go through small fishing villages, small castles and churches. You also pass the prehistoric ruin Castro San Paio while being surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches.
Today you start by taking a stroll along the beautiful port of Póvoa de Varzim and exploring the city's medieval quarter before continuing your Camino walk. Go up to the Convento de Santa Clara to get the best views of the city and the nearby coast. On your way to Esposende you will cross the natural park Parque Natural do Litoral Norte.
Today, your Camino coastal walk continues from Esposende through the natural coastal park towards Viana do Castelo. Take the opportunity to taste the local cuisine, explore the historic center of the city and take the cable car to the Basílica de Santa Luzia to experience the impressive views. Legend has it that when the Romans reached Viana in the first century BC, they were so impressed by the city's beauty that they believed they had reached paradise.
Today you leave Viana do Castelo and continue along the beautiful Atlantic coast to the north. Today is an easy day, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely pace and have enough time to make the most of the coastal towns and cities along the way. Stay overnight in the coastal town of Vila Praia de Ancora.
From Vila Praia de Ancora, continue along the coastal Camino towards Caminha, just by the mouth of the Minho River. Here you take the small ferry, Santa Rita de Cássia over the Minho River to Galicia. There are about 10 crossings a day from Caminha to A Guarda (however, it does not sail on Mondays). The ticket costs approx. 3 € and is not included in the trip's price.
From the ferry you have the choice to either walk directly to A Guarda or take a detour along the estuary, where the views are worth the effort (about 4km farther). If you have the time and the energy when you arrive at A Guarda, we recommend that you visit the city's famous hilltop Castro, where you will find some impressive ancient ruins from Roman settlements.
If you did not see the archaeological gem of Santa Tegra Castro yesterday, then we strongly recommend that you visit the ancient settlement ruins, overlooking the sea, before continuing in the Rías Baixas wine region to the elegant seaside resort of Baiona. Here we recommend a walk along the harbor, a visit to the impressive Monte Real fortress, and enjoying the perfect combination of seafood and Rías Baixa's white wine.
Now you are at about halfway on your journey towards Santiago de Compostela. Today you will continue along the coast from Baiona to Nigrán and from there on to the town of Vigo. You will enjoy stunning views of the Vigo Bay, with the beautiful Cíes Rock Islands. On a hot day, you can stay at the beach Praia América in Nigrán. Enjoy a quick dip before the last trek to Vigo.
From the town of Vigo, you wander along Vigo Bay. Today's trek is short, so you have the opportunity to enjoy a more leisurely pace or take extra long breaks. Your stop for the night is in the town of Redondela, from where your walking route will join the original Portuguese Camino towards Santiago de Compostela.
Today is your last hike along the coast and another relatively short day, so you'll have time to take in the last experiences along the Atlantic. Stop, for example, to try the famous oysters in the fishing village Arcade. Your accommodation city is Pontevedra, with its scenic historic center. We also recommend spending some time exploring the Old Town with its many Romanesque churches and picturesque granite squares.
As you walk out of Pontevedra, the Camino leads you through chestnut groves and pine- and eucalyptus forests. In the village of Ponte Cabras you walk past the fine vicarage of Santa María de Alba. At Lombo da Maceira, a statue of Saint James with its cane will show you the way and before you reach Caldas de Reis, you pass the small village of Tivo with a fine fountain.
From Caldas de Reis you cross the Umia River and pass the hot springs that the city was named after in Roman times. The route brings you again through forests and gradually rises up to the village of Santa Marina. You continue along the Camino through a pine forest to today's destiantion: the city of Padrón.
Your last day of hiking brings you through a series of small villages heading towards the historic shrine A Esclavitude. Nearby, on a hilltop, lie the ruins of a fort called Castro Lupario. Soon you will see some of the oldest road crosses in Galicia. As you walk towards Agro dos Monteiros, the famous spiers of the Compostela Cathedral will appear in the horizon - the goal is close. You pass the ruins of the castle A Rocha Vella as you approach Santiago de Compostela, where the last night of the tour is spent.
After breakfast there is check-out and return journey. However, we recommend that you take the time to go around exploring this gem of a city. It is mall, vibrant and historic, and its UNESCO-registered old town can seem quite enchanting. Santiago de Compostela is not just a place for pilgrims, but also for locals and students, who buzzing around in the cityscape.
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On this tour you are on your own without a tour guide. We have arranged accommodations, route descriptions, maps, and other practical things. There is a welcome meeting, where you'll be briefed about the relevant information regarding your trip.
The tour can be booked all year round and startig any day of the week except for Wednesdays (as the ferry does not sail on Mondays).
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When you fill out the booking form and click Next, arriving on page 2, you'll see the total price for your holiday, including all your additional selections.
Important: Please note that flights are NOT included in the package, and that you have to make sure to book your own flight that matches the holiday start- and end date. This is easily done online or by contacting us for an offer on email@example.com
Important: We recommend that you book the trip with us before you buy your plane tickets.
When you arrive at Porto Airport, it is easiest to take a taxi to your first hotel.
Similarly, it will be easiest to take a taxi from your last hotel to Santiago de Compostla Airport.
If you'd like to return to Porto after your tour, there's one direct bus departure on most days between Santiago de Compostela and Porto airport. The trip takes about 3 hours. Get an overview of the journey via this link: Rome2Rio
The standard package includes half board except dinner on the first and last night, as well as the evening in Baiona. The breakfast offered will depend on the hotel. Continental breakfast is the norm. A usual setup will be a breakfast buffet that includes fruit, bread, pastries, cheese, cold cuts, coffee, tea and juice. If there is a special breakfast product that you are used to having, then we recommend that you bring it or buy it at the local supermarket.
The dinner will usually be a "pilgrim menu", where you can choose between three starters, three main courses and a dessert. The starters usually include soup, salad or fish. The main courses are usually fish or meat with fries, potatoes and bread. As a rule, there is the possibility of a vegetarian dish. For dessert, for example cheesecake, creme caramel or ice cream.
The food will vary depending on the area, as each area has its own seasonal and local dishes and specialties. For example, fish will be more common in Galicia, the northern coast and the Portuguese coastal regions rather than in the inland areas.
Regarding lunch, we recommend that you either buy it at the local store in your accommodation city or stop in the cities along the route to buy basics like water, snacks, fruit, etc. You can also eat at small cafés along the way.
Your route description will include guides to water posts and eateries.
For your overnight stays, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses based on their character and warm hospitality. The standard is 2-3 star tourist class. The hotels are centrally located in the towns and close to the Pilgrim route.
It is possible to book extra nights in Porto or Santiago. This can be selected on page 2 of the booking form.
We highly recommend that you are covered by a good travel insurance covering at least Medical Expenses, Illness, Personal Accident, Baggage and Repatriation. The customer is responsible to take the necessary travel insurance that covers these costs. Mountain Adventures, or our local partners, do not have any responsibility for our customers not being covered by a necessary travel insurance. You have to arrange your insurance in your home country.