Full Camino Portuguese
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.
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.
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.
From Here Choose to Continue on the Traditional or Coastal Route to Santiago
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...
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.
Whizz round the sights in a chauffeur-driven tuk-tuk and stop off to sample the famous port wines of this lovely city.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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. Some of these require a short transfer off the Camino to a rural setting. We think you'll find them very charming and comfortable - with some truly luxurious residences.
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.
The map shows the three sections of the full Camino Portugues.
1 . GREEN ICONS - LISBON TO PORTO
2. YELLOW ICONS - COASTAL CAMINO FROM PORTO JOINS THE TRADITIONAL CAMINO IN REDONDELA
3. BURGUNDY ICONS - TRADITIONAL INLAND CAMINO FROM PORTO
Listed below are some reviews from other customers who have already undertaken this tour with Walk the Camino.
- 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 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 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 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 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.
- 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 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.