Full Camino Portuguese

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  • Start Lisbon
  • End Santiago de Compostela
  • DateMarch to Mid October
  • Duration from 29 nights
  • Distance630 km
  • GradeModerate with some longer, more remote days south of Porto

Detail

Not recommended for solo walkers.

Walk the westernmost fringes of southern Europe from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela, filled from end to end with UNESCO heritage sites. From Porto choose between the traditional inland way or the new coastal Camino. There’s an optional visit to Fatima.

This is a challenging route, as the first part from Lisbon has some longer sections passing through isolated countryside, with few or no amenities.

This is one for experienced pilgrims who can stand walking from inn to inn with only the odd shepherd for company.

A starting place to consider would be the university town of Coimbra. Most pilgrims will be better served starting here rather than Lisbon.

Starting on foot from the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon, the Caminho runs upriver into a rural landscape, dotted with towns and villages – many of which have wonderful architecture, history and culture to explore.

Think of the Full Camino Portuguese in three sections.

1. Lisbon to Porto – the road less travelled
The first stage from Lisbon to Porto is much less frequented than the northern sections after Porto. Therefore it’s best if you are an experienced long-distance walker, who won’t be phased by fewer facilities and some long days on the trail. But, that may be exactly what you’re looking for…

2. Porto to The Spanish Border – choice of two routes, coastal or inland
The Caminho from Porto is much more popular with plenty of pilgrims, so you will have more company on the trail each day plus more regular facilities.

Either follow the Inland Traditional Camino to the border with Spain, crossing by way of the footbridge across the River Mino from the ancient fortified town of Valenca.

Or, from Porto, you can walk the recently re-opened Coastal Camino, alongside the Atlantic shores of northern Portugal. Cross the River Mino border into Spain by way of a small ferry from the little port of Caminha.

3. Spanish Border to Santiago de Compostela – choice of two routes, coastal or inland
The Coastal Camino continues up the Atlantic coast of Galicia to the large commercial port of Vigo, before turning inland to join the traditional Camino route in the town of Redondela.

The Inland Traditional Camino arrives at the border town of Tui in Galicia and follows the main inland pilgrim trail northwards to Santiago de Compostela.

Price Includes

  • B&B accommodation
  • Baggage transfers

Price Excludes

  • Driver Service Fee
  • Guide Service Fee
  • Room Service Fees

Highlights

You will be passing through many regions of Portugal – each distinctive with its own way. The Portuguese celebrate their unique culinary heritage with many local wines and wonderful fresh produce from land and sea and bakery…

Lisbon’s Monuments
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is the 15th-century monastery that was built to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s “discovery” of India. Its masterpiece is the delicate Gothic chapel that opens up on to a grand monastic complex, where some of Portugal’s greatest historical figures are entombed.

Torre de Belem a symbol of maritime Lisbon, this Byzantine and Gothic tower stands out over the mouth of the Tejo, guarding the entrance to the city’s harbour. Reached via a walkway raised out of the water on timbers, the tower is filled with intricate stonework and has wide Atlantic views.

The Museu Gulbenkian houses the private collection of Armenian Calouste Gulbenkian, one of Europe’s most prized collections with paintings by the great masters and ancient artefacts.

Lisbon’s Tram 28
This old wooden tram takes you on a rumbling journey through Lisbon’s most historic streets and iconic places. Hop on at the foot of Bairro Alto and sit back to enjoy the sights; wonderful religious and state buildings and monuments. It will bring you to the cobbled streets of the Alfama and Graça neighbourhoods.

Lisbon’s Alfama Neighbourhood is the most ancient neighbourhood in Lisbon, with medieval streets that wind their way up to the Moorish Castle of Sao Jorge. The walls turn orange-red at dusk and can be seen all across the city.

Tomar – Unesco heritage town
Set along the banks of the Nabao River, this picturesque town has ancient churches, cobbled streets and traditional domestic architecture and is a fascinating place to stop and explore.

In the 12th-century, Tomar was established as the religious centre for the famed Knights Templar. Closely associated with the Portuguese monarchy, Tomar was consequently one of the most influential towns in all of the Iberian Peninsula. This powerful order ruled from the Convento de Cristo – part castle, part monastery – survives intact today as one of Portugal’s finest national monuments. The remarkable circular Charola church is at the heart of the Convento, circular in design like the great temples of Jerusalem and decorated with superb 16th-century religious art.

Porto
Whizz round the sights in a chauffeur-driven tuk-tuk and stop off to sample the famous port wines of this lovely city.

Fatima
Many of our clients are keen to make a day visit to this incredible place of pilgrimage, which you can do independently or we can arrange an escorted tour. You’ll find an amazing ambience of devotion, one of the world’s most important Christian centres. Learn about the miracle of the Virgin’s apparition to three shepherd children in 1917. Visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, which has more than 5 million visitors each year.

Food & Drink

For any traveller on the Camino, nourishment and refreshment is an important part of the daily routine. There are many places to enjoy good local dishes to suit a variety of tastes and budgets. We also aim to cater for those with particular dietary needs.

Some of the walks may have few places to stop for food and drink, so check your information pack before you set out and take plenty of water and a picnic.

The local bars and cafes offer light snacks, seasonal plates of freshly prepared food, tapas and refreshments. As you pass through the regions you will encounter local specialities – often of the variety that best sustains a weary, hungry traveller.

All our itineraries are booked for Bed and Breakfast. Half board with dinner is possible too, but these set dinners can become repetitive, featuring similar dishes each night. We encourage you to eat out and try a wider range of local specialities.

Breakfast
Where available we always order a full breakfast spread for our clients. But breakfast does vary between establishments – from just a light pastry and hot drink to a full buffet spread. Whether you have a light or substantial offering, you can top up mid-morning at a cafe on the route. The local habit is to have breakfast between 10 and 11 when cafes and bars fill with locals.

Lunch
On the early stages of this Camino from Lisbon you are in a very rural environment and fewer services. Check your guidebook carefully for places to stop off and make sure to carry sufficient water and food to sustain you all day. From Porto there are more places to stop off midday.

Lunches on the Camino are often taken as picnics, some places have local shops selling items of fresh local produce to purchase each morning before you set out on the trail.

Certain lodgings will offer pre-ordered packed lunches.

Check your guidebook and plan to stop off in a cafe-bar or restaurant on the Way.

Dinner
Locals tend to have dinner from 9 pm – especially in the more remote areas where fewer pilgrims and tourists pass by. But on the Camino, dinner is usually served from 8 pm — so do take advantage of the habitual afternoon merienda to keep you going, once you have arrived at your daily destination. That could be cold beer cerveza and tapas or coffee and cake.

Pilgrim Menus
Some lodgings offer 3 course set menus with water, bread and often a glass of wine for just a few euros. These are known locally as “Pilgrim Menus” and available more readily after leaving Porto for the north. You’ll notice that there are staple common dishes as well as regional recipes according to the season.

Hydration
Hydration is the essential component — so, carry between 1.5 and 3l of drinking water, depending on the season, temperatures and distance you plan to cover. Keep a sugary and a salty snack handy in your pocket or daypack – this will give you that little extra burst of energy to keep you going.

Gastronomy
The larger towns and cities of the Camino have a variety of lively plazas with bars and restaurants, so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy a wider range of local gastronomy and a variety of local and world-famous wines.

You can choose to upgrade your accommodation standard, (available in a few selected places along the route), where you can enjoy a la carte menu and fine dining in the hotel restaurant.

Picnic Shopping
Many people enjoy shopping for lunch items and snacks in the local food shops each day. You’ll find many little stores offering local produce, fruits and vegetables, cheeses and cured meats, fresh local baked goods – ideal for making your daily picnic for the daily walk. On certain days, Markets also make an appearance in most villages and towns. Some of our lodgings will provide a picnic lunch by request.

Local Wines
Both Spain & Portugal have a great wine making culture. All of the regions you cross produce their own wines (red and white), cervezas (light beer), and licores (strong spirits). For those looking for non-alcoholic drinks have plenty of choices as well.

Itinerary

Lisbon to Santa Iria de Azoia, 26 km / 16 miles

You are making your way out of Lisbon starting from the Se Cathedral and shadowing the Tagus river estuary. It takes you a couple of days walking to really leave the city behind you, but there is plenty of interest and some nice riverside paths.

Santa Iria de Azoia to Vila Franca e Xira, 13 km / 8 miles

Continuing to follow the estuary along a mixture of built-up areas and riverside path to a small but colourful town of Vilafranca with harbour front eateries and bars for a sundowner.

Vila Franca e Xira to Azambuja, 20 km / 12.3 miles

The day starts off on a decent riverside path, but you have the last few long stretches of tarmac before you leave the urban outreaches of Lisbon behind. Azambuja is a lively place known for its local red wines.

Azambuja to Santarem, 32km / 19.8 miles

This area is a floodplain of the narrowing River Tagus and well known for the cultivation of wonderful fruit and vegetables. A gentle climb to the pretty hilltop town of Santarem with medieval pilgrim gate, historic buildings and great views over the river valley.

Santarem to Golega, 30 km / 18.5 miles

The Camino continues through the countryside, along farm tracks and riverside paths to Golega, an ancient pilgrim stop and famed for it’s annual horse fair.

Golega to Tomar, 29 km / 17.9 miles

Rolling countryside today – nothing too taxing – on country lanes and tracks. Woodland begins to appear as the Camino turns away from the river, giving you a sense of medieval pilgrims passing through villages on the way to the important pilgrim centre of Tomar with it’s Knights Templar Castle and Charola Church.

Tomar to Alvaiazere, 31 km / 19.1 miles

Steady climb today on country tracks and wooded paths, through small villages to the town with its central square with cafes and shops.

Alvaiazere to Ansiao 12 km / 7.4 miles

The Camino continues through wooded paths, olive groves and fields with terrain undulating down to the market town of Ansiao.

Ansiao to Condeixa a Nova, 32 km / 19.8 miles

The rolling terrain of woodland, scrub and olive groves today is mainly gently downhill. Look out for the Roman ruins and museum at Conimbriga, before a short detour 1km off route to your resting place for the night.

Condeixa a Nova to Coimbra, 16 km / 9.9 miles

The high point of today’s walk is the Santa Clara peak (250m) with views over the countryside and the Mondego river valley to the lovely university town of Coimbra.

Coimbra to Melahada, 22.4 km / 13.8 miles

The path levels out now, along river valleys with some vestiges of old Roman roads.

Melahada to Agueda, 25.4 km / 15.7 miles

The way today is pretty flat but often along minor roads and some industrial zones, with some vineyards and woodlands offering respite until you arrive in the lovely riverside town.

Agueda to Albergaria a Velha, 16.3 km / 10.1 miles

Similar flat and even terrain as yesterday with a fair bit of tarmac today, punctuated by eucalyptus woods and a marvellous stone pilgrim bridge.

Albergaria a Velha to Sao Joao, 29.2 km / 18 miles

Rolling terrain today, beginning on a forest road, you then find yourself coming into an increasingly urbanised area with lots of places to stop for sustenance, en route to Sao Joao.

Sao Joao to Grijo, 19 km / 11.7 miles

A stretch of Roman road and woodland, before meeting urban neighbourhoods and a steep descent into Grijo with its beautiful monastery and parkland.

Grijo to Porto, 16 km / 10 miles

Despite the built-up residential suburbs around Porto and increased traffic, you still have some original pilgrim roads to tread on your way. Head for the Se Cathedral to seal your credencial. Your lodgings will not be far away from here and prepare to enjoy a day of rest in this vibrant city.

Map

Accommodation

Accommodations
Upgrades

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.

And you can always call us and request to add on the service if you change your mind.

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Full Camino Portuguese
FromGBP£2,550

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