Twelve incredible days of walking lead you along the Camino Portugués from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The outstanding scenery, the great pilgrim infrastructure, and the fabulous food and culture of Portugal make this an incredible pilgrimage experience.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.” – T.S.Elliot
“The Camino Portuguese is one of the sacred pilgrimage routes leading to the tomb of St. James the apostle. Following coastal and inland paths including a boat trip up the Rio de Ulla, this walk from the beautiful town of Porto to the towering Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, offers a chance to step out of your conditioned life and experience the world and yourself from a new perspective. Through days filled with walking, fresh air, good food, contemplative exercises and fellowship, we rediscover how to live from our most authentic selves. Join a small group of adventurous pilgrims on this challenging and transformational journey.” – Laura Harris
Itinerary for Porto to Santiago de Compostela:
Monday, October 14, 2024 – Gather, Overnight in Porto (Optional tour)
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 intricate tile work on many buildings. Overnight in Porto and dinner with group and hosts.
Tuesday, October 15, 2024 – 10.0km 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).
Wednesday, October 16, 2024 – 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.
Thursday, October 17, 2024 – 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.
Friday, October 18, 2024 – 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.
Saturday, October 19, 2024 – 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.
Sunday, October 20, 2024 – 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.
Monday, October 21, 2024 – 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.
Tuesday, October 22, 2024 – 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.
Wednesday, October 23, 2024 – 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.
Thursday, October 24, 2024 – Walk 21km/13mi from Pontevedra to Armenteira
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.
Friday, October 25, 2026 – Walk 23.6km/14.6mi from Armenteira to Vilanova de Arousa
This beautiful stage in the “Spiritual Variant” leads beside quiet forests and then along the river through a landscape of vineyards. Enjoy the beach in the afternoon and prepare for tomorrow’s boat ride.
Saturday, October 26, 2024 – Walk 27km from Vilanova de Arousa to Teo to Santiago de Compostela
Departure time for “Translatio” boat trip up the Ulla River depends on tide schedules, but the one hour boat ride will leave in the morning and take you to see the many cruzeiros (crosses) in the estuary. After the boat ride is a walk from Pontecessures to Teo (13km) and then on to Santiago de Compostela (14km). On your arrival, 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!
Sunday, October 27, 2024. Depart Santiago
Today is “goodbye” to new friends made in the journey, with an eye to what adventure is next.