Coastal Camino on the Atlantic Fringe of Europe
There is much renewed interest in this particular route due to the Portugues pilgrimage traditions of St James and the delights of coastal walking along a dramatically beautiful shoreline. The Coastal Camino Portugues has recently been way marked, guidebooks published and amentities developed to welcome and accommodate walkers and horse riders.
Our Coastal route begins at Porto but if you dont have 2 weeks to spare you can start from A Guarda on the Spanish border or the delightful resort town of Baiona, with it's wonderful Parador and idyllic bay. This coastal variant of the Camino Portuguese from Porto offers flexible itinerary along a dramatic coastline. From A Guarda just over the spanish border, it shadows Galicia’s dramatic "Costa da Morte". From Baiona the Way follows the banks of the Arousa and Ulla rivers, then winds inland to join the main Camino Portugues at Padron, as is nears Santiago de Compostela.
Camino legend describes the passage of the remains of St. James to Galicia following his martyrdom in Jerusalem in AD 44. His body was brought to Santiago de Compostela by way of the Ria de Arousa, up the Ulla River to the Roman city Iria Flavia and from there overland to the city compostelana.
Padrón is the place where boat arrived bringing the remains of St. James from Jerusalem. The boat was tied to a rock, " or Pedrón " an actual Roman altar which can be seen under the altar of the town's Church of Santiago . Padrón, with the name of Iria Flavia, was one of the great Roman metropolises of Galicia. Also find memories of Santiago in the Fountain of Santiago and Santiaguiño do Monte , where a hermitage and some megalithic remember the first preaching of the Apostle. This sea route was also followed by the Portuguese , who celebrated precisely the same as that followed the disciples bringing the relics of Santiago.
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.
- History & culture of one of Europe's oldest pilgrim routes
- Caminho Portugues - Oporto, UNESCO World Heritage City
- Ancient tracks and paths carry you along the Atlantic coast, with beaches, rocky shorelines as well as woodland, farmland, villages, towns and historic cities.
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.
Delicious gastronomy and wines
World-famous Portuguese and Spanish wines on the Camino Portugues. With 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 popular 15-day itinerary starts at O Porto, Portugal's most charming city.
Or choose the 9 night variant from A Guarda on the Atlantic coast.
You can opt for the Coastal walk from A Guarda to Santiago and enjoy some coastal walking. Baiona is a wonderul seaside town - one of Galicia's treasures that has remained largely unknown outside Spain. You could have a rest day here, enjoy the beach and wonderful food, plus take a day trip to the gorgeous Cies Islands - a natural paradise in the bay which boasts beaches usually found in the Caribbean.
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 -Transfer to A Guarda - by road
The starting point of the Portuguese Coastal Way in Galicia Spain. A Guarda has been an important fishing port since Celtic era. You can still today visit the archeological remains of a 'Castro" - celtic roundshouse settlement - on the hill outside A Guarda.
Day 8 - A Guarda - Oia
A shoreline walk along the Atlantic seaboard of Galicia, weaving past small holdings and open countryside always with the ocean as your companion. This area is called the Road Cetárea (old stone buildings where seafood "especially lobster and lobster" was stored. This is a day dominated by ocean views with sea birds for company. You cross the O Rosal wine growing areas to arrive at the town of Oia with it's Monastery of Santa Maria.
Day 9 - Oia to Baiona - 15 kms
The way continues long the coast, passing Mougás - a popular destination for surfers& lovers of history and archeology. You can see A Cabeciña, an 4000 year old archaeological site with cave paintings and a castro. Shortly before reaching As Marinas & Cabo Silleiro (lighthouse), where the Ría de Vigo begins, the path turns inland and over the hills of Baredo. Walking on tracks and minor roads, you pass many rural homes and descend gently to the old town of Baiona.
Day 10 - Baiona to Vigo - 22 kms
Climb on the Camiño da Cabreira, then through the forest park of Saiáns, magnificent views of the Ría de Vigo. You enter the city of Vigo through the area of Pereiró, then on a riverside path towards your overnight stop in Vigo Baja by the river estuary. Vigo is the biggest city on Galicia and you spend the last part of your day, navigating our way through the city outskirts.
Day 11 - Vigo to Redondela - 14 kms
The Camino continues parallel to the coast towards reaching Redondela, where it connects with the Central Portuguese Way. Once out ofthe city of Vigo you follow a fairly flat forest track to your destination.
Day 12 - 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 13 - 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 14 - 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 15 - 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.