Location

Portugal

Difficulty

3

Length

16

Trip Cost

2390
twin share

Overview

  • Beautiful coastal scenery on ‘the Friendly Camino’
  • Fishing villages, beach walks and excellent seafood on the Wild Atlantic coast
  • Explore vibrant Porto with its Port cellars on the river Douro
  • Two nights at the Baiona Parador / optional visit to nearby Tui Cathedral
  • Enjoy solitude and reflection on the Camino less travelled
  • Walk Roman roads and explore historic Viano Do Castelo
  • Great  accommodation and luggage transfers each day
  • Walk through two countries: Portugal and Spain

The Portuguese Coastal Camino starts from the vibrant city of Porto and offers a quieter alternative to the more well-trodden inland Portuguese route. Along the way you can expect to see many fine beaches and coastal villages, dunes and little fishing ports.

This itinerary follows closely along the Portuguese and Galician coastlines using the Portuguese Camino da Costa (Coastal Way), and the Portuguese Camino da Senda Litoral (Seashore Path) to the town of Caminha where pilgrims take a ferry across the border into A Guarda, Spain. At A Guarda the Seashore Path merges with the Coastal Way to Redondela, and from here the Coastal route converges with the Portuguese Camino Central (Central Way) and continues through to Santiago de Compostela.

It is a route suited to those who love coastal scenery but also the more intrepid walker as you will find slightly less signage and fellow pilgrims than on the Spanish Camino. The Coastal Way is picturesque and is quieter than the traditional inland Camino Central from Porto to Redondela. Pilgrims have the option of using a mixture of the Seashore Path and Coastal Way from Porto to Caminha, the latter being slightly inland of the Coastal Path and better signposted. (Both routes often converge and share the same path.)

Our Portuguese Coastal Camino takes in the interesting towns such as beautiful Viano do Castela, Baiona, Caminha and Pontevedra, most of which date back to Roman times. You also have the option to visit nearby Tui and its cathedral on your rest day from Baiona.

  • 258.5 km, 16 days
Extend Your Holiday – City Breaks

Double your holiday experience by including a stopover on your journey! A city break is a great way to explore another place, indulge in some extra shopping, dining or sightseeing and is a great way to break up a long flight. Our fabulous array of RAW Travel city breaks can be tailor made to your requirements and usually include an arrival transfer, 2 nights accommodation and a city sightseeing tour.

Read more about our city breaks.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Porto

Start your journey towards Camino de Santiago in Porto, one of the most ancient cities in Europe. Home to over 2 million people, Porto charms visitors with many architectural highlights, a picturesque river front and colourful historic old town, which was UNESCO heritage listed in 1996. Be sure to visit the Porto Cathedral before tomorrow’s walk. You can easily spend a few days here. There’s a mix of the old and the new with colourful markets, wine bars, port cellars and a lively atmosphere to soak up and enjoy.

Day 2: Porto to Póvoa de Varzim – 25.8km (7h)

The day begins by taking the Metro to Matosinhos to avoid the outskirts of Porto and reach the coast to start your walk on the Portuguese Senda Litoral (Seashore Path). Get off at the ‘Mercado’ stop. Todays’ walking is flat and easy. You will be accompanied by many kilometres of golden sandy Atlantic beach, which will be your guide to the town of Póvoa de Varzim. The way-marked route along the coast from Matosinhos is well marked. Your walk will be close to and on the beach, pavement, the cycle track and wooden walkways, passing fishing villages, forts and chapels, the archaeological remains of Castro San Palo and the medieval shipyard town of Vila do Conde with its pretty harbour and imposing Convent of Santa Clara just across the River Axe. Walk another 3 km to the conjoined sister town of Póvoa de Varzim, a popular resort and holiday town.

Note: The Coastal Way travels up to 5km inland after leaving Porto, through soulless stretches of industrial built up areas, along busy roads and passes the airport runway until after some 20km, finally enters rural areas at Labruge.

Day 3: Póvoa de Varzim to Esposende – 20.3km (5h30)

On your way to the old fishing village of Esposende the Coastal way runs close to the beaches before you will pass by the little town of Apúlia with its windmills set in the dunes, then cross through the Coastal Natural Park (Parque Natural do Litoral Norte), and the pine forest before Fao. Cross the River Cavardo on the spectacular bridge before arriving at Esposende, a popular resort and fishing town on the estuary.

Day 4: Esposende to Viana do Castelo – 25.6km (6h30)

Today there is a choice of walking the Coastal Way along the quiet roads which continue slightly inland from the coast via Marinhas, Belinho, Neiva and Darque to Viana do Castelo, which is reached after crossing the River Lima on Eiffel’s old iron bridge. Some of the best beach walking is in this section.

The alternate route is to take the Seashore Path along the coastal roads, walkways and beach, before turning inland to meet up with the Coastal Way at the Ponte Sebastaio bridge over the River Neiva. Classified as a mecca of architecture, Viana do Castelo is famous for its monuments in and around the city, and the surrounding natural beauty of its beaches and seafront. Take the opportunity to visit the 15th century cathedral and take the funicular to the Basilica de Santa Lucia for some of the best views of the West Atlantic coast.

Day 5: Viana do Castelo to Caminha – 27.4km (7h)

Today’s walk will continue along the wild Atlantic coastline. Once again, either choose the Coastal Way, which is a little inland, passing a world of old farms using narrow roads, or the Seashore Path along quiet roads, the beach and boardwalks above the dunes. From the old fishing village of Ancora both Ways share the same path and you will continue along the shore towards Caminha, right by the Minho estuary, where the river meets the Atlantic.

Day 6: Caminha to Oia – 16.7km (4h30)

This morning from Caminha you will take the ferry across the river Minho to A Guarda in Galicia. There are about 10 crossings per day from Caminha to A Guarda (the schedule varies depending on the season).

The fishing port of A Guarda is home to Galicia’s most impressive ancient Celtic settlements; the Santa Tecla on the hill above the town, an authentic archaeological gem with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. As an option, on leaving the ferry, instead of walking directly to A Guarda, consider a scenic walk around the peninsular to enjoy an alternative way to enter the town; this will add an extra 4km.

Continue north on the path on the coastal side of the main road, C-550. This section is flat with very little shade. As you approach Oia you will be rewarded with the spectacular view of the 12th century Monastery of Santa Maria de Oia on the shore.

Day 7: Oia to Baiona – 17.8km (4h30)

Start the day by once again taking the path along the dramatic coast until just before reaching As Marinos where the Coastal Way crosses the main road and heads inland and upwards towards Baredo along the old “Royal Path”. The path crosses the main road between Ponte and Baiona and enters the town. Baiona is the most popular seaside tourist town in southern Galicia and has a well preserved old town and numerous important monuments. It was here in 1493 that the Caravel La Pinta returned with news of the discovery of America by Columbus. A replica is moored in the harbour. Also in Baiona is the medieval fortress, Monte Real, originally intended to deter pirates from this stretch of coast, and in 1585 repelled an English raid led by Sir Francis Drake. The tourist office and Parador are housed within the walls.

Day 8: Rest day at Baiona Parador / Optional Tui excursion

A day to relax and recover in this lovely little coastal town. (If you prefer, this rest day can be taken earlier in Caminha or Viano Do Castelo or taken out of your itinerary if you are on a shorter timeframe.) You can use this day to travel to the nearby historic town of Tui with its cathedral, which is the highlight of the inland Camino. Baiona Parador has the most amazing views over the wild Atlantic Ocean, as well as first class facilities to relax and enjoy. Baiona itself has many great cafes and restaurants and a wonderful atmosphere.

Day 9: Baiona to Vigo – 22.8km (6h)

Today you will follow the Coastal Way, the main road being a constant presence from Baiona to Nigrán and finally to the large busy and cosmopolitan city of Vigo. The path becomes more urbanised from Baiona, however, you will enjoy fantastic views of the Bay of Vigo and the offshore islands, Islas Cies. Vigo is entered by crossing the city park and following the River Lagares. Vigo is a huge industrial city, so closer to walking in here expect industrial areas, highways and busy roads. There is an option to have a rest day in Vigo and from here you can take a ferry trip out to the Cies Islands, which are known as the Caribbean of Spain and are a beautiful protected national park (the ferry runs from June – September and on weekends in May).

Day 10: Vigo to Redondela – 15km (4h)

From the city of Vigo  you will continue on the Coastal Way. Depart Vigo via its main shopping street and follow the road walking uphill with the Bay of Vigo on the left where the British sunk many galleons in the 1702 battle of Vigo Bay. The Camino to Redondela is a pleasant walk with great views of the Vigo estuary as the walk continues through a string of hillside villages. Your stop for the night is the town of Redondela, known as the Village of Viaducts, where all the different Portuguese Camino’s join with the original Portuguese Camino Way to Santiago de Compostela.

Day 11: Redondela to Pontevedra – 20.2 km (5h30)

Today is the most beautiful day of walking. You walk on the Camino Portuguese near the Ria de Pontevedra to the village of Arcade famous for the best oysters in Galicia. Cross the long medieval bridge of Ponte Sampaio over the River Verdugo where Napoleon’s army was defeated by the Spanish in 1809 during the War of Independence. Then climb up through the forest and enjoy one of the most beautiful stretches of the Camino following the ancient narrow stone paths as they climb up the slope. The path widens amongst fields and vineyards, arriving at Pontevedra with its pretty historic centre, 13th century church of Santa Maria, and the famous Pilgrim Virgin’s church (La Virgen Peregrina), which although appears round, is actually in the shape of a scallop shell. Pontevedra is another good rest day option as it has a wonderful atmosphere to soak up and enjoy.

Day 12: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis – 22.2 km (6h)

Today the Camino Portuguese will take you over the O Burgo bridge and through chestnut groves and pine and eucalyptus trees. Emerging from the woods at Lombo da Maceira, a statue of Saint James with his walking stick points the way to Santiago. You will pass the pretty village of Tivo with its lovely fountain and public washing area. Continue on through rural fields and vineyards to the Roman influenced town of Caldas de Reis where you will find the thermal springs after crossing the river Umia. You may wish to soak your feet in the thermal springs upon your arrival into the town.

Day 13: Caldas de Reis to Padron – 19.1 km (5h)

Today’s walk is one of the most beautiful of the whole route. The path once again takes you through pine forests and rural areas through the Bermana and Verga valleys to today’s destination across the Ulla River, the town of Padron. When the body of St James was being brought to Compostela by boat, Padron was said to be the first land it reached. The parish church has the legendary Pedron, the stone where St James’ boat was moored.

Day 14: Padron to Santiago de Compostela – 25.6 km (6h30)

Your final walking day on the Camino Portuguese will provide some variety through woodlands and on increasingly busy roads.  You will pass through a number of small villages and the suburbs of Santiago de Compostela. After making your way to the historic sanctuary of A Escravitude, continue to the Chapel of San Martino where you can see some of the oldest wayside crosses (cruceiro) in Galicia. After passing through Milladoiro and reaching the tiny town of Agro dos Monteiros, pilgrims now for the first time will have a view of the spires of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. After crossing the Sar River, continue through the streets of the city via Porto Faxeira, the entrance of the Portuguese Way into Santiago de Compostela. Make your way via Rua Franco to Praza das Praterias and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Day 15: Santiago de Compostela

Day 16: Depart Santiago de Compostela

Dates

Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.

Note that if booking for a start date of less than 30 days from the time of booking we cannot guarantee that your trip is possible unless you have contacted us first and your trip details have been confirmed.

Inclusions

  • Twin ensuite room in good accommodation, including historic hotels and country house, located centrally to the Route
  • Daily breakfast
  • Daily luggage transfers
  • Full Camino walking guidebook with maps (per 2 people)
  • Pilgrim’s passport (per person)
  • Portuguese phrasebook
  • Document case
  • Daily luggage tags
  • Maps of your hotel locations
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Dedicated local support person in Santiago for help and reassurance

Map & Guide

Reviews

Anne – July 2016
The Camino is a must. Put it on your bucket list. I’m 65 years old and did it comfortably. It’s the best thing I have ever done. We booked the trip with RAW travel and they organised the trip. A job well done by them; highly recommend the Camino and RAW travel. I would do it all again tomorrow!

Chris – May 2016
Our trip was organised by RAW Travel, who truly made everything run so smoothly. We stayed in a range of different accommodation, from beautiful character hotels right to charming B&Bs, with amazing homemade food, served in the family dining room. Everywhere we went, they were expecting us, and lo and behold, there was our luggage. Really appreciated the great organisation at the end of a long, hot, dusty day.

Boyles – November 2013
There are lots of different ways to do the Camino. We had a short time, so we used RAW Travel to take care of our accomodation and also transfer of our luggage each day to the next destination. Best thing we could do as the accommodation was first class and we didn’t have to worry about where we would rest that night. All we had to think about was which village we would have a coffee, lunch (and later beer) in along the way.

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Private: Portuguese coastal Camino Expert

Lorinda Childs

(03) 5976 3763

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