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Location

Portugal

Difficulty

4-5

Moderate to Challenging

Length

16

Trip Cost

$2590
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
  • 1 night at the luxurious Parador de Pontevedra (16th-century castle that has been converted into a modern hotel)
  • 2 nights at the Parador de Baiona (Galician Manor house set in a medieval fortress, boasting impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean)
  • 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 Central 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 A Guarda, the latter often being slightly inland of the Seashore 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 Viana do Castelo, 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.

  • 261km, 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.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Porto

Start your journey towards Camino de Santiago in Porto, one of the most ancient cities in Europe. Home to 240,000 people, Porto charms visitors with many architectural highlights, the picturesque Ribeira river front and UNESCO heritage listed colourful historic old town. You can easily spend a few days here. There’s a mix of the old and the new with churches, colourful markets, wine bars, port cellars and a lively atmosphere to soak up and enjoy. Be sure to visit the Porto Cathedral before tomorrow’s walk and obtain your first stamp (carimbos in Portuguese and sello in Spanish).

The Coastal Camino from Porto is well marked with the blue-and-yellow or rusty steel signs with the familiar scallop shell and the words Caminho Portugues da Costa, and a variety of yellow arrows and scallop shell signs.

On this Camino you have the option of using a mixture of the Senda Litoral (Seashore Path) and Coastal Way; the latter is often slightly inland of the Seashore Path. (Both routes often converge and share the same path.)  The Seashore Path is less well waymarked, often without any signs.

Day 2: Porto to Vila do Conde (22km, 6.5 hours)

The day begins by taking the Metro light rail to Matosinhos to avoid the outskirts of Porto and reach the coast to start your walk on the Portuguese Seashore Path. Get off at the ‘Mercado’ stop, 30 minutes from the Trindade Metro station in Porto. Cross the bridge and turn left towards the coast. Today’s 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 Vila do Conde. The route along the coast from Matosinhos is well marked. Your walk will be close to the coast, on pedestrian pavement, the cycle track and wooden walkways, passing fishing villages, chapels, monuments and beautiful popular sandy beaches. Ignore any yellow Camino arrows directing you to the right to the Coastal Way further inland. Keep to the shore and cross the bridge over the River Ave to enter the medieval shipyard town of Vila do Conde with its pretty harbour and imposing Convent of Santa Clara.

Take time to visit the Museum of Naval Construction with a replica Portuguese carrack, the Nau Quinhentista, floating in the dock. Also, the Igreja Matriz church with the large aqueduct behind it and the Convent of Santa Clara.

Note: The alternative Coastal Way travels up to 5km inland after leaving Porto, through soulless stretches of industrial built-up areas, along busy roads and passing the airport runway until after some 20km, finally enters rural areas near Labruge, 7km before Vila do Conde.

Meals: B

Day 3: Vila do Conde to Esposende (20km, 6 hours)

With the beach once again on your left, walk along the coastal path to Póvoa de Varzim, a popular resort and holiday town. Continue on your way to the old fishing village of Esposende with the Seashore Path and Coastal Way sharing much of the route. Follow the coast passing through the villages of Agucadoura and Areia, then cross through the Coastal Natural Park (Parque Natural do Litoral Norte). At the church in Apulia you have a choice. The Coastal Way forges straight ahead through the pine and eucalypt forest before Fao, while the Seashore Path turns left to follow the coast. Both routes re-joining to cross the River Cavardo on the spectacular bridge before arriving at Esposende, a popular resort and fishing town on the estuary.

Meals: B

Day 4: Esposende to Viana do Castelo (26km, 7 hours)

Today there is a choice of walking the traditional Coastal Way along quiet roads that continue slightly inland from the coast via the villages of Marinhas, Belinho, Santiago and Chafe to Viana do Castelo, which is reached after crossing the River Lima on Eiffel’s old iron bridge. The alternate route is to take the Seashore Path along the coastal roads, walkways and the beach. Both paths converge at the Ponte Sebastaio Bridge over the River Neiva, about half way between Esposende and Viana do Castelo, before diverging again. So if you prefer, you can mix your day between the quiet rural Seashore Path and the more undulating Coastal Way through the many interesting local communities. While the Coastal Way is well marked, the Seashore Path is not.

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 on the hill above the town for some of the best views of the West Atlantic coast.

Meals: B

Day 5: Viana do Castelo to Vila Praia de Âncora (20km, 6 hours)

Today’s walk will continue along the wild Atlantic coastline following the official route of the Coastal Way, which is a little inland, passing a world of old farms and quaint villages on narrow cobblestone roads offering beautiful views over the hills and coastline. It’s also possible to walk the Seashore Path along quiet roads, the beach and boardwalks above the dunes, but you will not have the benefit of any way marking. Both routes converge at the old fishing village of Vila Praia de Âncora, your stop for the night. The town has a great beach and is popular with tourists.

Meals: B

Day 6: Vila Praia de Âncora to A Guarda (15km, 5 hours)

Today is a short walking day allowing time to explore Caminha and cross over to Spain on the ferry. Depart Âncora along the coast following the Caminho Portugues da Costa waymarks along the wide concrete walkway and cycle path. Pass the small chapel of Santo Isidoro following the concrete path around to the left and continuing along the shore towards Caminha. Remain on the Seashore Path next to the rocky then sandy coastline; ignore the crossing to the right under the railway line and continue past Moleda beach all the way into Caminha by walking along the path along the Minho estuary. Interesting sites to explore in Caminha are the Torre do Relogio clock tower, the gothic Igreja Matriz church and the Praça do Conselheiro Silva Torres main square.

When ready, 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). If the ferry is not operating, sometimes due to low tide, you will find a fisherman who will take you across to A Guarda in a small boat; pay at the ferry terminal. (Or call Mario +351 963 416 259 or Emidio + 351 965 836 998). Once across the estuary in Spain, don’t forget to put your watch forward 1 hour. As an option, on leaving the ferry, instead of walking directly to A Guarda, consider the scenic walk around the peninsular to enjoy an alternative way to enter the town; this will add an extra 3km.

The fishing port of A Guarda with its pretty harbour 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.

Meals: B

Day 7: A Guarda to Oia (13km, 3.5 hours)

Enjoy a leisurely morning exploring A Guarda before departing by walking past the harbour to the small fort near the breakwater and continue north on the path on the coast. After several kilometres the route joins a wide pedestrian and cycle path above the rocky shoreline along the side of the main road, PO-552, most of the way into Oia. 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 cross the small harbour. Oia is a small pretty town with several restaurants; you may find some locals engaged in an impromptu sing along with bagpipes playing typical Galician tunes.

Meals: B

Day 8: Oia to Baiona (18km, 4.5 hours)

Start the day by taking the path alongside the dramatic coast where after several kilometres it once again joins alongside the busy PO-552. Just before reaching As Marinos, 11.5km from Oia, the Coastal Way crosses the main road to the right and heads inland and upwards towards Baredo along the old Roman ‘Royal Path’. Look for a small granite Camino sign on the right-hand side of the road near some houses where there will also be a large blue sign. Go through a gate and up the hill; soon you will be rewarded with spectacular views over the coast, the lighthouse and the rocky hill known as Monte de Baredo. Note the prominent wheel ruts worn into the granite rocks as this ancient path goes through the forest and over the pass.

After passing a sports ground, the path enters the village of Baredo and then O’Sinal where you will soon be rewarded with views of the Cíes Islands out off the Bay of Vigo.

Follow the yellow arrows to Baiona and enter the town making your way to the main esplanade along sea where the imposing walls of the old fortress containing the Parador Hotel can be seen on the small promontory. Make your way through the gates of the fort walls along the driveway to the Parador.

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.

Meals: B

Day 9: Rest day at Baiona Parador / Optional Tui Excursion

A day to relax and recover in this lovely little coastal town. The medieval fortress, Monte Real, was originally intended to deter pirates from this stretch of coast; in 1585 it repelled an English raid led by Sir Francis Drake. The tourist office is located in the Parador. Baiona Parador has the most amazing views over the Atlantic Ocean and Vigo Bay, as well as first-class facilities to relax and enjoy. Baiona itself has many great cafes and restaurants and a wonderful atmosphere.

(If you prefer, this rest day can be taken earlier in A Guarda 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 Central Camino.

Meals: B

Day 10: Baiona to Vigo (24km, 6.5 hours)

Today the best option out of Baiona is to follow the Senda Litoral Seashore Path and cross the medieval Ponte Ramallosa bridge over the Rio Minor. At this point you can decide to either continue along the coast on the Seashore Path, or follow the inland route through the hills on the Coastal Way. The Seashore Path follows coastal roads, promenades, wooden walkways and beaches to the Rio Lagares enters the Bay. Here, either continue along the coast into Vigo Baja past the port and docks, or, take the path alongside the river joining up with the inland Coastal Way and continuing on to Vigo Alto.

From Ponte Ramallosa the Coastal Way goes over the hills with the PO-552 to the left, on back roads and some forest; the path becomes more urbanised closer to the large busy and cosmopolitan city of Vigo. Follow the yellow arrows. There are several Camino routes into Vigo, so you may also encounter green arrows. Make you way to your accommodation in Vigo Baja down the busy and straight Rua de Urzaiz. Vigo is a huge industrial city, so when walking in here expect industrial areas, highways and busy roads; navigating your way may become difficult.

There is an option to have a rest day in Vigo and from here you can take a ferry trip out to the Cíes Islands, which are known as the Caribbean of Spain and are a beautiful protected national park (the ferry runs from June to September and on weekends in May). However, visitor numbers to the islands are controlled, so a visit must be booked in advance.

Meals: B

Day 11: Vigo to Redondela (16km, 4.5 hours)

There are two ways to depart Vigo: the Seashore Path leaves the old town along the coast past the Vigo Guixar railway station along Rua do Areal and Rua de Garcia Barbon and Sanjurio Badia (the PO-323), before turning right (4km from the railway station), on to Camina Trapa where it joins the Coastal Way.

The alternative is to make your way from the old town along the Rua do Principe mall continuing along the Rua de Urzaiz where it intersects with Avenida do Alcalde Gregorio Espino. This is where you pick up the Camino Coastal Way and the yellow arrows. Follow the pedestrian mall then turn to the left just before the ends on Rua Toledo, then along quiet back streets 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 and patches of woodland. Your stop for the night is the town of Redondela, known as the ‘Village of Viaducts’, where the Coastal and Senda Litoral Caminos join with the inland Central Portuguese Camino to Santiago de Compostela.

Meals: B

Day 12: Redondela to Pontevedra (20km, 5.5 hours)

Today is a beautiful day of walking. As you walk on the Camino Portuguese you will notice many more pilgrims who have joined from the Central Way from Porto via Tui. Several kilometres out of Redondela the path leads up to the Alto de Lomba through the forest after which there is a short section on the busy N-550 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 walk 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 (Santuario da Peregrina), which although appears round, is actually in the shape of a scallop shell.

An alternative scenic and peaceful way to enter the town is via the Rio Gafos. Turn left shortly after the chapel da Santa Marta and before a play area, not waymarked.

Pontevedra is another good rest day option as it has a wonderful atmosphere to soak up and enjoy with its pedestrianised streets and plazas.

Meals: B

Day 13: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (22km, 6 hours)

Today the Camino Portuguese will take you over the Rio Lerez via the pretty stone Ponte do Burgo bridge decorated with scallop shells and through chestnut groves and pine and eucalyptus trees to the village of San Amaro. Emerging from the woods near Valbon, at the Cruceiro de Amonisa, 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, known otherwise as ‘the hot waters of the Kings’, where you will find the thermal springs after crossing the river Umia around to the left outside the Hotel Davila. You may wish to soak your feet in the hot thermal water upon your arrival into the town.

Meals: B

Day 14: Caldas de Reis to Padron (19km, 5 hours)

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. Padron, the starting point for Saint James ministry in the Iberian peninsular, was also said to be where his body first reached land when it returned by boat after being martyred in Jerusalem. The parish church has the legendary Pedron, the stone where St James’ boat was moored. You can find the Pedron under the altar in the Igrexia de Santiago with a replica Pedron over the bridge on the west bank of the Rio Sar.

Meals: B

Day 15: Padron to Santiago de Compostela (26km, 6.5 hours)

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 Faramello and the Chapel of San Martino where you can see one of the oldest wayside crosses (cruceiro) in Galicia.

After passing through Milladoiro and the tiny town of Agro dos Monteiros, but before passing under the motorway, 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, take the left waymarked option and continue through the streets of the city via Rua de Porto Faxeira, the old entrance of the Portuguese Way into Santiago de Compostela. Make your way via Rua Franco to Praza do Obradoiro and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Meals: B

Day 16: Depart Santiago de Compostela

You are free to check out of your hotel any time before 12 noon. If you would like to explore Santiago further you are able to leave your bags with reception.

Meals: B

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

  • 12 nights’ opulent accommodation including historic hotels and country houses
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in luxurious Paradors (Baiona and Pontevedra)
  • Private en suite rooms on a twin share basis
  • Daily breakfast
  • Daily luggage transfers
  • Portuguese Camino walking guidebook with maps (per 2 people)
  • Pilgrim’s passport (per person)
  • Portuguese and Spanish phrasebooks
  • Document case
  • Daily luggage tags
  • Maps of your hotel locations
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Dedicated local support person in Santiago for help and reassurance

Not Included 

  • Single supplement (from AUD$1190)
  • International airfares
  • Travel insurance

Options/Add Ons:

  • For an extra indulgence, upgrade your hotel in Santiago to a Parador for only $99 per person/per night twin share, when booked 6 months in advance (subject to availability).

Map & Guide

Reviews

Judith Cunningham, Annerley (QLD) – May 2018
Fabulous hotels so we could combine comfort with exertion!

Kathy Childs (VIC), July 2017
The scenery along the way was breathtaking, the locals warm and friendly and fellow walkers helpful and encouraging. This trip exceeded my expectations! Thanks RAW Travel for the amazing experience. Your attention to detail in planning my Camino made for an unforgettable experience. Everything went like clockwork. Luggage transfers happened without a hitch, and our accommodation was at times nothing short of spectacular! I will certainly be returning to take part in your other adventures!

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.

What our Clients Say

Our trip was well organised, with some great accomodation and fabulous pre-trip documentation, including language guides and a great tablet/laptop case!

Julie Garlick, St Heliers, NZ - June 2017

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.

Anne - July 2016

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.

Boyles - November 2013

Thanks RAW Travel! Your attention to detail in planning my Camino made for an unforgettable experience.

Kathy Childs (VIC), July 2017

Fabulous hotels so we could combine comfort with exertion!

Judith Cunningham, Annerley (QLD) – May 2018

Trip Expert

Lorinda Childs – Camino & Yoga

(03) 5976 3763

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Trip Grading

This trip has a difficulty rating of 4-5 out of 10.