Day 1. Arrive in Porto. You made it! Settle in and relax. Overnight in Porto
Day 2. Explore Porto. You start your trip from the second largest city of Portugal, one of the oldest European centers and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the beautiful Cathedral, the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque style churches, and the interesting tile work on many buildings. In addition, it has a great public transport system, the buses and light rail are quick and comfortable. Overnight in Porto
Day 3. Walk 10.0km from Porto to Matosinhos. Your first day’s walk starts at the Cathedral (Sé do Porto) where you will walk down to the Duoro River and follow it north to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. There will be others walking with you on this paved almost level promenade enjoying the river and city views, the parks, street vendors, and places to restaurants. Don’t forget to enjoy the seafood and the pasteis de nata! You’ll know that you’ve reached the beginning of Matosinhos when you see the Forte de São Francisco Xavier (Fortress of Saint Francis Xavier) also called Castelo do Queijo (Cheese Castle).
Day 4. Walk 23.0km from Matosinhos to Vila do Conde. Yesterday was your warmup! Today is just a bit longer. Depending on where you’ve stayed, you’ll walk through Matosinhos, with the ocean on your left and cross the bridge (Ponte móvel de Leça) going past the Port of Leixões, a sheltered port constructed at the end of the 19th century with Leixões Cruise Terminal and the large oil refinery of Galp Energia. You’ll pass by the Farol de Boa Nova (Lighthouse of Boa Nova) and there will be many signs indicating various points of interest. Otherwise, your view today is of beautiful beaches, always on your left and walking on boardwalk or pavement just a few feet from the beach. Or you could walk on the beach! Soon you’ll have to go a bit inland to cross the Ave River bridge to enter Vila do Conde.
Day 5. Walk 26.4km from Vila do Conde to Barcelos. Today is your transition day from the Atlantic Coast to Barcelos on the Central Caminho. This will be a long day with small, sometimes busy roads through the small town of Arca and then São Pedro de Rates and its historic church and museum. Continue from there on dirt or cobbled roads and rolling hills through the small town of Pedra Furada until you arrive in Barcelos.
Day 6. Walk 33.5km from Barcelos to Ponte di Lima. Another long, but picturesque stage on country lanes with rolling hills. You pass several small chapels, crosses, shrines, and churches enroute. Medieval bridges and a few short forest sections add to the variety of the day. Also, many places to rest and get food or water as needed. You can choose to divide this stage and stay in Balugães (15.1km) or Facha (24.3km) or do the entire stage and have a rest day in Ponte di Lima.
Day 7. Rest day in Ponte di Lima. Portugal’s oldest village (established in 1125), you walk along the Rio Lima (Lima River) before you get to it and cross a bridge originally constructed by the Romans. With its medieval quarter, ancient town walls and beautiful gardens Ponte di Lima is a great place to have a rest day. You can and try out the Vinho Verde, a young, sparkling wine that’s popular and produced here.
Day 8. Walk 17.9km from Ponte di Lima to Rubiães. Stock up on water and food before leaving today. You’ll walk through what’s considered the hardest section of this Caminho. Cafés are in Arcozelo and Revolta, but otherwise you walk a combination of paved, dirt and cobbled lanes crossing many Roman bridges through the countryside until you reach Portela Grande, the highest part of this stage at about 400 meters. After that it’s about 7km downhill to Rubiães.
Day 9. Walk 19.5km from Rubiães to Tui. This stage is very different from the last. Today you’ll climb another 100 meters then have a steep descent to Fontoura. After that there are small rolling hills through beautiful forest and woodland until you reach the last Portugues town on this walk, the walled 13th century hilltop village of Valença. From there you’ll cross the International Bridge over the River Minho and take your first step into Spain.
Day 10. Walk 16.8km from Tui to O Porriño. As you begin your day you also begin the official last 100km to Santiago. Don’t forget to get your credencial (pilgrim passport) stamped twice each day so that you’ll be eligible for a Compostela when you arrive in Santiago. Leaving Tui you’ll be walking on paved or dirt roads through woodlands close to the River Louro until just before Orbenlle. Here you decide whether you want to take the slightly shorter (total difference is 1.2km) industrial route along a highway or continue along the river 8.8km until you reach O Porriño.
Day 11. Walk 22.6km from O Porriño to Arcade. Today’s walk from this small mining and industrial town starts easily enough for about 6km until reaching the small town of Mos. After that, you’ll climb first to Capela de Santiaguiño de Antas, a 17th century chapel in a park at the top of the first hill. Then you’ll walk downhill to Redondela and then climb again to the Alto de Lomba, a smaller hill. Starting in Redondela you will sometimes be able to see the Ria de Vigo on your left, a large bay flowing from the Atlantic Ocean. Arriving at Redondela you will join the Coastal route that you walked for the first three days. A very scenic day with places to stop and rest abide. After leaving Arcade, known for its oysters, you’ll start walking uphill after crossing the River Verdugo to the out every three kilometers.
Day 12. Walk 12.8km from Arcade to Pontevedra. Today is a combination of paved and dirt roads and forest tracks through the countryside. After leaving Arcade, known for its oysters, you’ll start walking uphill after crossing the River Verdugo to the Alto da Canicouva before going downhill and having a level walk into Pontevedra. However, after the Alto, you’ll need to choose between different paths; either following the highway or walking along a peaceful river path.
Day 13. Walk 21.2km from Pontevedra to Caldas de Rei. Pontevedra is a delightful medium-sized town on the Ria de Pontevedra with great restaurants, bridges and a remarkable church called the Capela da Virxe Peregrina. Constructed in the 18th century the façade has an image of the Virgin as a pilgrim between San Roque and St. James. Cross the River Lérez on the Ponte de Burgo (Burgo Bridge) and you’ll be starting a day walking along country lanes or dirt tracks past gardens, creeks, and vineyards. Three kilometers outside of Pontevedra you’ll soon see the sign indicating the crossroads for turning left onto the Spiritual Variant. This variant might be good to do the next time!
Day 14. Walk 18.6km from Caldas de Rei to Padrón. Before you leave, be sure that you try out the thermal waters of Caldas de Rei. Royalty and Romans enjoyed the spa treatments here. Leaving Caldas de Rei, you’ll have just a couple of places to rest, so be sure to take some snacks with you to last until you are close to Padrón. Other than that, a very pleasant walk along small roads and paths through woodlands and near creeks. You’ll have a couple of bridges to cross also until arriving at Pontecesures bridge, where the Spiritual Variant rejoins the Camino. From there it’s just a short walk to Padrón.
Day 15. Walk 24.9km from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela. This is the final stage of your Camino. You leave Padrón, the home of the famous peppers and a town also rich in Camino history. Today is a walk-through small villages, crossing bridges though sometimes you meet up with the N-550 highway. Soon you’ll find yourself on the outskirts of Santiago close to the Parque da Alameda before you walk through parts of the University of Santiago to reach the Praza do Obradoiro and the Santiago Cathedral.
Day. 16. Rest day in Santiago. There is so much to see! If you haven’t already, you’ll want to head to the pilgrim office to obtain your Compostela certificate. Then you can attend the noon pilgrim mass at the Cathedral. You may want to absorb the pilgrim vibe in Plaza Obradoiro as other pilgrims make their entry to the city. It’s also fun to walk through the Old City and explore the back alleys and shops. Most of all, relax after a great journey of many miles. You did it!
Day 17. Depart Santiago De Compostela for further adventures!
Route map for Camino Portugués – Porto To Santiago De Compostela by Pilgrim Paths on plotaroute.com
This comprehensive packing list is designed to help you be well-prepared for a great pilgrimage hike experience. Participants must be prepared for rain, blisters, bugs, sun and potential emergencies. We ask that you carefully prepare yourself by going through this list in detail well before departure, and then bringing along each item.
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