Coastal Camino Portugués
The Portugues Camino has recently been renovated with new waymarking installed along the old coastal route. Following the Atlantic coast from Porto to Santiago, it’s a journey through Celtic, Roman & Christian civilisations on the way to Santiago.
Camino Legend and the Story of St James
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 Compostela.
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 once named Iria Flavia was one of the great Roman metropolises of Galicia.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Regeneration of one of the great original Caminos to the shrine of St James.
Delicious Gastronomy and Wines
World-famous Portuguese and Spanish wines on the Camino Portugues. With an abundance of hotels, restaurants and small inns along the way, pilgrims walking the Camino de Portugues can enjoy the local cuisine.
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.
Start from Porto, Portugal's most charming city, with 12 days of walking.
Gentle Steps version from Porto has 15 days of walking.
The shorter itinerary from A Guarda on Spain's Galician coast to Santiago takes 8 days.
Day 1 - Porto - Vila do Conde, 22 or 27 km
The picturesque city centre overlooks the river Douro and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Renowned for its Port wine, make some time to visit a nearby Port House. Once you leave the city behind, the Atlantic air is bracing in all weathers and you have the chance to get your boots off and feel the sandy beaches under your feet.
Option:- you can choose to walk out from the centre of Porto along the attractive historic esplanade - there are trams here too.
Or catch a metro from the Cathedral to Matosinhos in order to shorten the day's walk, starting from the coastal outskirts of the city.
Day 2 - Vila do Conde - Esposende, 24.2 km
The Way passes through seaside towns and fishing villages on route to Vila do Conde, the first main town along the coastal route.
Day 3 - Esposende - Viano do Castelo, 21.3 km
The Portuguese Way of St James - Traditional Barcelos cockerel. Today'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 - Viano do Castelo - Walk to A Guarda with a ferry crossing from Caminha, 27.4 km
Today you start your day by walking to the ferry port of Caminha. The little passenger ferry has scheduled departures to take you over the Mino River and into Spain. You'll have to adjust your watch back 1 hour!
You have a 3km transfer to A Guarda from here.
Or you can follow the waymarked paths and climb the Mount Tegra hill to visit the archaeological Celtic site and museum. These are remains of a little city of "Castros", This substantial Celtic roundhouse settlement is one of the regions most important sites. The views from here are truly rewarding.
The fishing port of A Guarda is celebrated for its seafood - especially lobster. This is the starting point of the Portuguese Coastal Way in Galicia Spain. A Guarda has been an important fishing port since Celtic era.
Day 5 - A Guarda - Oia, 15 km
A shoreline walk bordering the craggy Atlantic seaboard of Galicia, weaving past small holdings and open countryside always with the ocean as your companion. The breezes from the ocean will keep you fresh and on a windy day, you'll have the soundscape of waves crashing onto the rocky shores.
This area is called the Road Ceturea (old stone buildings where seafood "especially lobster and lobster" was stored. This is a day dominated by ocean views with seabirds for company. You cross the O Rosal wine growing areas to arrive at the town of Oia, a small village that has grown up around its monastery.
Day 6 - Oia - Baiona, 14 km
Another delightful day that continues along the coastal path before climbing over a gentle headland and down into Baiona on country lanes.
The way continues along the coast, passing Mougas - a popular destination for surfers& lovers of history and archaeology. You can see A Cabeciña, a 4000-year-old archaeological site with cave paintings and a Castro.
Shortly before reaching As Marinas & Cabo Silleiro (lighthouse), where the Rueda de Vigo begins, the path turns inland and over the hills of Baredo. You will enjoy great views past the lighthouse of Mougas and then across Baiona Bay to the idyllic Cies Islands. Walking on tracks and minor roads, you pass many rural homes and descend gently to the old town of Baiona.
Day 7 - Baiona to Vigo - 25.6 km
Climb on the Camiño da Cabreira, then through the forest park of Saiumens, 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 8 - Vigo to Redondela - 15 km
The Camino continues parallel to the coast towards reaching Redondela, where it connects with the Central Portuguese Way. Once out of the city of Vigo you follow a fairly flat forest track to your destination.
Day 9 - Redondela - Pontevedra, 19 km
Today's highlights include the medieval bridge of Ponte Sampaio, where Napoleon's army was ultimately defeated in Galicia. The city of Pontevedra is home to the famous Pilgrim Virgin's Church whose floor forms the shape of a scallop shell.
Day 10 - Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis, 21.6 km
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, 19 km
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 on his return from the Holy Land.
Day 12 - Padrón - Santiago, 25.6 km
The final stage of the Camino Portugues, walking through woodland before climbing to reach your destination: Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage city.
Porto Highlights by Tuk Tuk
Whizz round the sights in a chauffeur driven tuk tuk and stop off to sample the famous port wines of this lovely city.
Mount Trega - Celtic City
A must-see for anyone interested in archaeology, religious heritage and panoramic views. The Citania of Santa Trega is one of the most important examples of Castreña - Roman culture in the peninsular Northwest. The religious legacy focuses on the Via Crucis, the crossroads of San Francisco and the hermitage of Santa Trega. The peaks offer unbeatable views of the mouth of the Miño, Portugal, the Atlantic Ocean and the O Rosal Valley. You'll be able to see the path behind you and the road ahead. It's a fairly easy 1 km signposted walk from A Guarda, or from the ferry, it's more like 3 km on good sign-posted paths.
Baiona and The Cies Islands
Baiona is a star location for the Galician coast, much loved by Spanish holidaymakers, yet totally unspoiled. The Parador here is one of the best in Spain.
We recommend a rest day here to take a boat out into the far reaches of the bay to enjoy the Cies Islands - a touch of Caribbean beach in northern Europe.
Santiago de Compostela, UNESCO World Heritage
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. 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.
Make the most of your time in this great city and book a guided tour. The city boasts an extraordinary ensemble of distinguished monuments, grouped around the tomb of St James the Greater.
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.
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 Spanish habit is to have breakfast between 10 and 11 when cafes and bars fill with locals having their desayuno.
Lunches on the Camino are often taken as picnics, and most places have local shops selling items of fresh local produce to purchased each morning before you set out on the trail. Certain lodgings will offer pre-ordered packed lunches. Or check your guide and plan to stop off in a cafe-bar or restaurant on the Way.
Locals tend to have dinner from 9 pm. 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.
Many of our lodgings offer 3 course set menus with water, bread and often a glass of wine for just a few euros. These are advertised locally as "Pilgrim Menus" and available pretty much everywhere along the route. You'll notice that there are staple common dishes as well as regional recipes according to the season.
Hydration is essential — carry between 1.5 and 3l of drinking water, depending on the season, temperatures and distance you plan to cover. Keep a sugary and salty snack handy in your pocket or daypack - this will give you that little extra burst of energy to keep you going.
Mid-morning or afternoon snacks known as merienda are the perfect way to sustain yourself on the Way. Especially if you are not used to the later meal times which are the norm across Spain. It is customary for Spanish people to have a mid-morning stop for breakfast and late afternoon for a bite to keep them going until the traditional late dinner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fly into Porto for the full route.
Alternatively, fly into Vigo if you want to start in A Guarda or Baiona.
Flights into Santiago for A Guarda and Baiona also work.
Transfer by air and rail from many airports in Spain and Portugal.
Return flights from Santiago de Compostela or rail connections to Madrid.
Listed below are some reviews from other customers who have already undertaken this tour with Walk the Camino.
- Review by Terence, AustraliaFirst Rate organisation which will be highly recommended. Great value for money The best accommodation was Mercearia de Vila at Ponte de Lima, closely followed by Casa de Capela at Balugaues. Casas do Rio where we were treated like kings and what a fantastic location. The Parador de Tui was a great spot. We enjoyed the convenience of an apartment at Apartamentos Alvear Suites. Most of the food supplied was okay and was of good quality. We were generally happy with what we were given and it fuelled us up for the days walk, The pack was well thought out - keep up the good work
- Review by PhilMy wife and I think Portugal and the country areas of Spain are lovely. Although it was the first walk for my wife - I have done several and hope to do at least one more before old age catches up. My wife enjoyed the walk and the people and places we visited. In general, I am happy with how the trip was organised and will recommend your company to any interested in the walk. A problem did arise however during the walk where one particular accommodation was over-booked (San Antonillo) However once contact was made with your company (with some difficulty owing to mobile phone problems) it was sorted out promptly and efficiently.
- Review by Ross, AustraliaCamino de Santiago - Start at Cruz de Ferro. I enjoyed this holiday very much and found that everything was very well organized and there were no hiccups along the way. You did a fantastic job of organizing this trip and made appropriate recommendations where we should stay each night after consideration of the distances and difficulty of each day’s walking. I rate the organization as "Excellent".
Our Hotels were clean and comfortable. The food was consistently excellent.
The bag transfers went without any hitches. The Information Pack provided all the information needed, but some of the Kilometer distances may have been a bit off, however.
- Review by William, CanadaDid I enjoy my holiday? Absolutely - best ever and the organisation was very well done. The food was mostly great, a couple of places where there was only coffee and croissant for breakfast could be upped a bit ( juice, bread, something additional for calories, restaurants etc were fine and local cuisine was mostly very good - no complaints. Baggage Transfers were well done, timely, no hassles
I’d most definitely recommend Walk the Camino - very helpful in planning the itinerary and most pleasant to deal with, made the whole experience better.
- Review by Jim & Gail, CanadaWe enjoyed the walk and had great weather. We had done several long distance walks and this was probably the easiest in terms of walking challenge.
People were friendly and the Way was well marked. We were very happy with the organisation. The bags arrived at each location each day and all our plans worked out well. The accommodations were well located mostly in centres of towns close to restaurants and sites to see. The restaurant in Pedro Furada was interesting but noisy. Our worst accommodation was the Parque Hotel in Porrino. All the rest of the accommodations were great and very welcoming.
The food along the way was good although one of us is a vegetarian and getting vegetarian meals with some variety is challenging in Portugal and Spain. Most of the restaurants were very good at trying to make up something when they were asked. Not much you can do for that.
Baggage Transfers very smooth no issues what so ever. Good information pack
Would there be any option for the customers to have choices in accommodation so that they could choose between a couple options?
- Review by Ched, CanadaTruly Loved the place, people, food, and the whole process of the Caminho. Great locations for the hotels we stayed in. Luggage was always at the hotels before us. Great variety of hotels. Casa del Rios was the real jewel. Beautiful spot with very gracious hosts. Loved Casa de Capela as well. The Hotel Parque Porrino was the only dog. It could have been in CSI Espana.
COMMENT - PORRINO HAS A LIMITED CHOICE OF HOTELS. WE NOWHAVE AN OUT OF TOWN ALTERNATIVE OR WE OFFER CLIENTS THE OPTION OF 2 NIGHTS IN TUI WITH TRANSFERS DUE TO THIS.
There was always plenty to chose from for breakfast. Coffee was always a little different in each hotel. Some were better than others, but overall we eat very well. And we are big into food. Baggage Transfers- Swiss Precision. When we left Porto we had a little apprehension, but at 08:31 the van pulled up and we saw our bags leaving before us. Never a doubt after that. Better preparation for the starting point. More maps of the day’s journey. More accurate distances between towns. Our hike from Vila da Conde to Barcelos was a real killer for day 2. Thanks for an amazing trip. We really loved it and we’re very happy with your team.
- Review by Ross, USAYes, we really enjoyed our Camino, luck with the weather was with us all the way, and we arrived well prepared and well-organised thanks to Walk the Camino. A very positive experience all round for us, we felt all along the way that we were being helped by a professional team who knew their business. The peace of mind knowing we had a contact just a phone call away was very reassuring.
Mostly very positive experiences with the accommodation, the last two night in Santiago were dreadful, the hotel sits above two or three bars that partied like the Spanish do until 5 or 6 am, with no air-con we had to try and sleep with the windows open, a terrible experience, although they did pre-pack us a takeaway breakfast which we appreciated with the early train start. Otherwise, most of the hotels were pretty comfortable.
We really enjoyed the Casa Da Meixida hotel, despite being way out of Padron, it was friendly, clean, staffed by a lovely couple and had a big room with a spa bath attached. We also like the Inlima Hotel in Ponte De Lima, great staff, big room with a balcony and bath. At the Casa de Capela in Rubiaes, after our longest day, we arrived to find that we should have pre-booked dinner, as the rest of the guests had done, luckily the young lady working took us into town to a local restaurant, we probably would have stayed and dined at the hotel otherwise. At the Balneario Acuna in Caldas de Rei we liked the pool but the room was very poor, no air con and no window screens made for a poor nights sleep.
We booked a bed and breakfast package. On the breakfasts, they were pretty patchy here and there, at Oia there was almost nothing, in Pontevedra they reluctantly serve up a slice of toast and a small shot glass of orange juice in the café attached to the hotel, the suites in Redondela instructed us to ask for our breakfast in a nearby café, which we never found.
COMMENT The Redondela cafe is on the ground floor, across the road to the rear of the building. We do point out the breakfasts can vary significantly, as some places follow the Spanish tradition of stopping for breakfast mid morning.
On the positive side, Casas do Rio was terrific, even encouraging us to take a "pilgrims" lunch from the generous buffet, much appreciated. The baggage transfer was excellent, we only had one hiccup, arriving in Vigo our bags were not at the hotel, the reception desk thought that as it was 4 pm and they had not arrived by then, they probably had gone to the wrong hotel. You responded to our mayday call immediately, tracked them down, and they arrived within 15 minutes, whether they were mislaid or just late we never knew.
The information pack was pretty comprehensive, we were missing a coupon for a night in Santiago and one printed directions map for another hotel, an email back to the Walk the Camino company headquarters resolved that issue with them arriving by email almost instantly. We found we didn’t ever need to use the coupons, nobody ever asked for one, (maybe they are a back up in case of booking confusion). We found the guidebook pretty useless and didn’t bother carrying it on most days, we came across another guide book, " A survival guide to the Portuguese Camino in Galicia" by Jeffery Barrera, it was way better with much more interesting information about the history, culture and general information of where we were walking.
Our couple of suggestions would be that the walk from Vila do Conde to Arcos needs some tweaking, we arrived in Arcos at 11 am. We thought that with fresh legs a longer walk, perhaps up to Rates or even further would have been better. Walking into and out of Vigo is long, hot, tiring slog so we wondered if bypassing would have been nicer.
Yes, all in all, a very positive experience, we felt all along the way we were being helped by a professional team who knew their business. We will be asking for some information on a Japanese walk.
- Review by Stephen, UKVery much enjoyed it and didn’t want it to finish so soon (or so it seemed). The Portuguese route was much more scenic than I have imagined, even after watching several YouTube clips on the route. It was a delight, and the Portuguese people were so friendly and welcoming.
All the hotels were prepared for my arrival, without that moment when your heart is in your mouth waiting for them to find your name on their long list of guests arriving that day. The instructions on how to get to the hotel were clear and easy to follow. A very minor point: None of the hotels seemed interested in collecting your printed vouchers.
I needed to telephone the hotel in Redondela to send for transport as the hotel was out of town. Unfortunately, the receptionist’s english was as poor as my Spanish. So I telephoned you for assistance and you responded straight away and the matter was resolved within minutes, just enough time for me to finish my can of cola. Well done, and much appreciated after a long day of hard walking and all you wanted was just to rest and soak your feet.
The choice of hotels were mainly good and better than average apart from a couple which ’let the side down’ a bit.
The best ones were:-
Casa do Pinheiro (Ponte de Lima). After you discovered that the hotel frontage was just a door with a small sign over it. What a surprise inside, with the pool and garden behind it.
Torre do Xudeo (Tui). Beautifully renovated old stone building with thick walls and charming features. Wooden staircases and rustic breakfast room.
Casa de Capela (Cossourado Pecene, nr Rubiaes). Modern renovation with lovely lawn and pool. A most charming and delightful host. Loved it.
Pazo Torres de Agrelo (Redondela). What a splendid country mansion that was full of character and wonderfully maintained. Polished wooden floorboards and decorative tiles on some walls.
The least desireable ones:-
Hotel Rey Ferdinand (Santiago de Compostela). I realise that this was a last minute change of hotels as the town was full that weekend, but really! Please keep it off your list. The only good point about this hotel was its proximity to the train station where I caught the airport bus for €3.00. I didn’t even bother to have breakfast there. THIS HOTEL IS NOT ACTUALLY ON OUR LIST - CHOICE WAS EXTREMELY LIMITED DUE TO A BIG CONFERENCE IN TOWN.
The just acceptable:
Hotel O Cruceiro (Caldas de Rei). The receptionist was disinterested and the room was basic. There was only one waiter for the whole of a crowded restaurant. It reflected the town which wasn’t that good either.
My booking was B&B only. However, I must say that I had a fantastic meal in Pazo Torres de Agrelo in Redondela. I had seafood stew for starter, and Snuff(?) fish for mains. A whole bottle of red wine and water were included for €25.00. I was supposed to let the staff know by 5pm to book the dinner, but I didn’t arrive there till 5:45pm. The lady fitted me in without fuss and I was surprised by the quality of food and the wine which was included.
Hotel Chef Rivera in Padron was another delight. The hotel owner, Chef Rivera, greeted me himself, and cooked a wonderful dinner of Mushroom Cream appetiser, followed by fish pie (empanada) for starter, and Hake for main, cooked just right. And served by the Chef’s charming wife.
If you can suggest to your pilgrims to eat at these two hotels, or better still to prebook the dinners there, it would be wonderful.
Other thoughts on food :
Portuguese restaurants are slightly more pricey than in Spain possibly because of difficulties in finding the Menu for peregrinos. However, I liked their cuisine.
I would have liked to have dined in Casa do Capela, which had limited spaces in their restaurant. As they couldn’t fit me and a few others in, the owners took about 7 of us in two cars to nearby Cossourado village, and the restaurant provided transport for us to return to Casa. The pilgrims that managed to eat at the Casa said the food was lovely.
The John Brierley book was useful, and once again, I find his style of contents difficult to follow although the amount of information is plentiful. I realise that very few other alternatives are available for this route at present, and one other publication I bought is perhaps even less useful.
Please warn other pilgrims of the rough cobbled paths (lots and lots of them) in Portugal, which are extremely unkind to feet. Most peregrinos I talked to agreed on this point.