The Apostle James, The Greater, is thought to have landed in NW Spain and preached the message of modern christianity in what is today Galicia and Northern Portugal. Shortly after in 40 A.D. he returned to Jerusalem and was soon martyred. His loyal followers returned his body to the Iberian Peninsula for burial in Libredon. Nearly 800 years passed before the rediscovery of the tomb of Saint James. Pilgrims soon started beating a trail to Santiago de Compostela, and in time the Way from the south became known as the Camino Portugues.
- Art and History on one of Europe's oldest routes
- Caminho Portugues - Oporto, UNESCO World Heritage City
- Ancient tracks and paths through woodland, farmland, villages, towns and historic cities.
One of Europe's oldest routes, the Camino Portugues is actually a direct descendent of the major Roman roads that formed the backbone of the Roman Empire. The Via XIX, built in the 1st century AD under the Emperor Augustus, continued to be in use until recent times and has seen the comings and goings of soldiers, travellers and pilgrims proceeding from towns and cities all over the country.
This international route played a fundamental role in facilitating the interchange of cultural developments during the centuries. As such, the Portuguese Way has a wealth of old stone bridges, manor houses, country chapels, and historic cities dotting the route all the way to the tomb of Saint James.
The Friendly Camino
The Portuguese Way: The Friendly CaminoThe Camino Portugues has sometimes been referred to as "The Friendly Camino". One of the hallmarks of the pilgrimage to Santiago is the warm reception given to the pilgrim, but on the Camino Portugues that hospitality is proverbial.
Since the Middle Ages the Portuguese monarchy and nobility created one of the most comprehensive network of hospitals to help all pilgrims on their way to Santiago. In the ferry over the River Miño, pilgrims were allowed to "cross without payment" after a privilege granted by Queen Theresa of Portugal in 1123.
The welcoming tradition of the Camino Portugues is still alive today thanks to the inhabitants of the towns scattered along the Way. The Portuguese people feel a special devotion to Saint James and are known for their assistance to those travelling to Santiago on this ancient pilgrimage route.
Delicious gastronomy and wines
World-famous Portuguese and Spanish wines on the Camino PortuguesWith an abundance of small inns along the way, pilgrims walking the Camino de Portugues have enjoyed the local food and wine for over a thousand years.
Every village and town in the Camino has a variety of bars and restaurants, so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy the delicious gastronomy and the variety of world-famous Portuguese and Spanish wines. Many food and wine festivals take place through the year and you may be lucky enough to encounter one on your Way.
For further details about this tour, click the tabs The Itinerary, The Accommodation, and Things To Do, or just contact us. We will be happy to create a personalised itinerary designed specifically around your needs and interests.
Our most popular 12-day itinerary starts at O Porto, Portugal's most charming city. We are also regularly requested to organise the popular Galician section of the route that covers the final stages of the Camino Portugues from Tui (approx. 115 kms / 71 miles), which then makes you eligible for the Compostela pilgrim's certificate. We can tailor a longer or shorter tour designed specifically to suit your time frame and walking ability.
Day 1 - Porto - Vila do Conde, 22 or 27kms
The picturesque centre overlooks the river Douro and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of course it is also renowned for its Port wine, and you won't regret taking some time to visit a nearby Port house.
We loved the coastal route over the inland start from Porto. The Atlantic air is bracing in all weathers, and you have the chance to feel the sandy beaches under your bare feet to really make this feel like a fresh start! Choose to walk from the centre of the town along the attractive historic espanade, or catch a metro to shorten the walk from the outskits of the city.
Day 2 - Vila do Conde - Pereira, 23.3kms
Turning away from the coast the route soon rejoins the main Camino Portugues at Arcos by the small medieval bridge. A mix of quiet country lanes, lead you from village to village through a mix of shaded woodland and cultivated small holdings.
Day 3 - Pereira - Balugaes, 24kms
The Portuguese Way of St james - Traditional Barcelos cockerelToday's route takes you through the pretty town of Barcelos, famed throughout Portugal for its weekly Thursday market. The brightly coloured Barcelos cockerel often portrayed in ceramic form represents a famous Camino miracle tale! The Pilgrim's route follows a valley landscape patterned by cultivated plots, much of whose produce goes to the local market. Small stream crossings with deliciously cool tree lined arcades, help keep the walker cool.
Day 4 - Balugaes - Ponte de Lima, 17.8kms
Quiet country lanes and dusty tracks climb through a shaded native woodland to a pass which also serves as a watershed between the Cavado and Lima river valleys. The latter gives its name to the stunning town of Ponte de Lima, with its impressive Roman bridge. Your gradual quiet descent into the pretty Lima valley gives you ample time to take in the fertile grounds that produce some of the tastiest fruit as well the famed grapes for making Vinho Verde.
Day 5 - Ponte de Lima - Sao Bento da Porta Aberta, 22.6kms
A day of mixed offerings; on the one hand this is probably the day with most off road walking and plenty of shade, however that joy is tempered by the fact that you have to climb nearly 500m through the pass of Portela Grande.
Day 6 - Sao Bento - Tui, 14.3 kms
Another delightful day of quiet lanes and earthen tracks that wind gently downhill into the River Minho valley. The historic border town of Valença is well a worth a visit before crossing the mighty Miño (in Spanish) into the pretty Spanish hilltop town of Tui. Don't forget to adjust your watches by an hour!
Day 7 - Tui - Porriño, 16.2kms
The popular starting point of the Portuguese Way in Galicia, the Camino from Tui and follows woodland paths before entering the mining region of O Porriño, where colossal granite quarries are to be seen in the distance.
Day 8 - Porriño - Redondela, 14.9kms
Walking on paths which are more than two millennia old, today's Camino follows parts of the old Roman road. A day of gentle climbs and descents ends at the small town of Redondela, famous for one of Galicia's most colourful Corpus Christi festivals.
Day 9 - Redondela - Pontevedra, 18.2kms
Today's highlights include the medieval bridge of Ponte Sampaio, where Napoleon's army was ultimately defeated in Galicia, and the city of Pontevedra, home to the famous Pilgrim Virgin's church, whose floor forms the shape of a scallop shell!
Day 10 - Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis, 23.1kms
A pleasant walk through woodland and farmland finishing at the popular spa town of Caldas de Reis, where you will find the only church in Galicia consecrated to Saint Thomas of Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of England in the 12th century.
Day 11 - Caldas de Reis - Padrón, 18.1 kms
Today's walk is considered by many as one of the most beautiful on the whole route. After walking the green Bermaña and Valga valleys we reach the town of Padrón, where according to tradition the Apostle St James first landed on Galician soil. The parish church has the legendary Pedrón, the stone where St James' boat was moored.
Day 12 - Padrón - Santiago, 24.9kms
The final stage of the Camino Portugues, walking through woodland before climbing to reach your destination: Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage city.
Millions of people of all ages and walks of life have been walking the Camino Portugues for over 1000 years
The main highlights of our independent walk of the Camino Portugues are:
- Walking one of Europe's oldest cultural routes
- Delicious Portuguese and Galician gastronomy and wines
- Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
As an addition to the tour, we would recommend you the following optional extras:
Whizz round the sights in a chauffeur driven tuk tuk and stop off to sample the famous port wines of this lovely city.
Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Galicia's capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, Santiago de Compostela is the destination of the Way of St James pilgrimage, one of the major themes of medieval history in Europe.
From Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, millions have walked to Santiago along many Caminos. Around the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a masterpiece of Romanesque art, the city boasts a magnificent old town worthy of one of Christianity's greatest holy cities.
Guided Tour of Santiago de Compostela
As an optional extra, we can arrange a guided tour of the city's extraordinary ensemble of distinguished monuments grouped around the tomb of St James the Greater, the destination of all the roads of Christianity's greatest pilgrimage.
Day Excursion to Finisterre
As an add on to the tour, we can take you to Cape Finisterre in the Atlantic Coast, the final destination for many pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. We also organise four day walks on the Camino de Finisterre. A walk on the beach, searching for your own scallop shell makes for a superb ending to the whole experience.
Hand-picked comfortable, small establishments with high levels of personal service
We believe that our high level of personal service and customer care offers the best in the local food, culture and history.
Hand-picked and well known to us, we usually choose comfortable, small, family run establishments on the Camino. Your accommodation will include a variety of family run traditional farmhouses, historic homes, and two and three star hotels. All rooms have en-suite facilities.
If your budget allows, we can suggest some superb accommodation upgrades, as we often work with the top-end establishments on the Camino. Some of these require a short transfer off the Camino to a rural setting. We think you'll find them very charming and comfortable.
We provide fully insured and secure luggage transfers. We move your baggage from one accommodation to the next as you walk. This daily service is organised so that all you have to worry about is carrying a day sack with your essential items.
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We enjoyed our holiday very much - it was a wonderful experience. Something completely different! The organisation of the holiday was spot-on. You really couldn't have done a better job. The whole thing was perfectly tailored to our needs. It's hard to express in an e-mail how good it all was.
Anne Corrigan, UK, walking the Camino Frances
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and found the organisation excellent. We were also impressed by the friendliness and welcome we received everywhere. The information pack was useful and contained all the information we needed. So many, many thanks again for your kindness, efficiency and help in giving us such a good holiday.
Anne and Brian Harris, UK, walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago
We had an amazing time on the Camino... I would recommend this 6 day walk to anyone. All in all a memorable trip, and you guys did a great job in planning, arranging and organising it.