Departing 31st March 2020
Porto – Recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Site since 1996
Walking into Santiago de Compostela on the final day along with your fellow pilgrims
Visiting historic settlements, including Barcelos, Ponte de Lima, Tui, Pontevedra and Padron along the route
Changing landscapes – you’ll enjoy walking alongside rivers, on coastal paths, over rolling hills, passing vineyards, farmland & woodland forest.
Join us walking the lesser travelled Camino ‘Portuguese Way’ from Porto in Portugal, through to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Passing vineyards, crop fields and farms along the way, this pretty trail gives us an insight into the suburban Portuguese way of living.
Walking the Portuguese Camino is a quieter experience, allowing time for reflection and time to absorb the changing landscape of Portugal, the warmth of the local people, the stunning coastline and historic towns.
Beginning in the World Heritage site of Porto, we walk through a mixture of coastal, forest and open countryside trails to our final destination, the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where pilgrims from all over the world congregate. Our arrival in Santiago coincides with Easter, where the processions are an incredibly special experience!
Arrive Porto Set on the banks of the Douro River, Porto’s historical centre was declared a World Heritage site in 1996 and in the 12th Century it was in Porto that the country took its name and became an independent nation. Its maritime legacies and importance as a new world trading port have shaped it into the proud city it has become, with its impressive cathedral and port wine lodges. After checking in to your hotel, take the time to explore the city with its many cultural sites. Meet with your Adventurous Women Tour Manager at 6pm in the hotel lobby for introductions and trip briefing.
Vilar do Pinheiro
This morning a private transfer will take us from our Porto hotel to the small town of Vilar do Pinheiro where we begin an easy walk down in part through woodland trails to the rural town of Arcos. The transfer enables us to avoid the urban sprawl of Porto, taking you directly to a rural landscape, however if you want to walk this section we recommend you do it the previous day and take a taxi or bus back to your Porto hotel.
The trail today takes us through lush valleys through towns such as Sao Pedro de Rates and its church of St Peter, and over the Monte Franqueira, before reaching Barcelos. There is an alternative route for a small section, via the ruins of the Castelo de Faria. Arriving in Barcelos you are certainly in for a treat. With its impressive medieval bridge, Barcelos is treasured for its history and legends (eg. the Barcelos cockerel).
Today's route takes us through small villages with pretty gardens and past many baroque chapels en route to the small and quiet town of Balugães, a traditional resting point on the Camino Portuguese.
Ponte de Lima
The route today takes us gradually closer to the valley of the Lima River, where the village of Ponte da Lima is located, the oldest in Portugal. The cobble stoned streets are a delight to walk through and there are many points of interest including museums, historic houses, a prison tower (now a library) and the main square, Largo de Camoes. The medieval bridge spanning the Lima River has Roman foundations but was rebuilt in 1368.
Along delightful trails & crossing small hills en route to Pecene, this is the first day on the trail where much of the route will be unpaved. Leaving by the Ponte de Lima ascend to the Labruja Valley and up to a mountain ridge where you reach the Alto da Portela Grande, the highest point on the trail at 405m. The views sweeping back down to the Lima valley are well worth the effort! Descending trails heading north you soon enter the town of Rubiães by its Roman road and then continue on to Pecene, where we rest overnight.
This stage is characterised by hilly terrain that gradually leads to Valença before crossing the border into Spain. The trail is along quiet country roads and unpaved trails for the most part. Before crossing into Spain it is worth taking a look at the historic walled town of Valença. Later reaching Tui, the first stop in Spain. This evening take a walk along the Paseo de Calvo Sotelo where a lively atmosphere is usually evident. As we are staying in Tui for two evenings, this is a great place to catch up on a little laundry while you're able.
Most of this first stage is woodland paths that follow the lovely Louro River valley, then along the N550 to the historical centre of O Porriño, a town famous for its pink granite due to its proximity to the granite quarries. Essentially now a sprawling industrial town, it is located at the intersection of two motorways and the main railway line passes through, so you return to your Tui hotel for overnight accommodation with a private transfer this afternoon (3pm).
After breakfast we'll be transferred back to O Porriño to commence our walkAfter a stage following and crossing the N550, ascend through mixed forest to Monte Cornedo and the Chans das Pipas plateau before dropping down to the town of Redondela. From here we pass through tiny hamlets along a coastal inlet to reach Arcade.
We start our day by walking over the beautiful old bridge at Pontesampaio then a short uphill stretch following ancient stone paths before dropping down to the provincial capital of Pontevedra. There are some interesting sites to explore including the Santuario da Peregrin chapel and the Convento de San Francisco. The Medieval town centre is a maze of cobbled lanes with tapas bars and cafes.
Caldas de Reis, Spain
Most of this stage is through woodland and countryside along gentle river valleys with virtually no climbing. Closer to Caldas de Reis the route crosses the N550 and follows this road for short sections. Located between the Umia and Bermana rivers, the town of Caldas developed as a result of its thermal waters and continues to be a major health spa. The botanical gardens next to the river are lovely for some respite from the walk.
This is a beautiful walk through the Bermana river valley before dropping down into the Valga valley, one short climb. Two short stages of main road, leaving Caldas and entering Padron. The town is lovely, set on the banks of the Sar and Ulla rivers, with some St James relics to be seen at the Igrexa de Santiago (church).
The final day of walking takes us through pine, oak and eucalyptus wood before climbing up to reach Santiago. A long day.... but ever so rewarding as we re-group and arrive together at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela ..... a truly magical way to end our Camino. We overnight in Santiago to provide everyone with the opportunity to attend a Pilgrims Mass on Easter Sunday which is a highlight!