Camino Portuguese Way Marker at Porto Cathedral

My Camino Portuguese Coastal Route Itinerary For A 15-Day Hike

From the moment of finishing my first Camino hike, I knew I wanted to do it all over again. It was also clear that I wanted to walk the Camino Portuguese Coastal route along the Atlantic Ocean. After all, I do like beaches and dunes a bit more than forests. Said and done! Fast-forward to 2022 and I made my Camino Comeback planning a Camino Portuguese Coastal route itinerary for a 15-day hike.

My entire second pilgrimage hike and its many adventures are covered in my Camino Portuguese Coastal Route itinerary below. It may serve you as a rough guide for your Camino plans and provide you with insights and expectations of what hiking the Camino really feels like.

Camino Preparation & Motivation

I had my first calling at the end of 2021 but kinda shrugged it off. The New Year started, and the call grew louder. Come February, I woke up one day and started planning my Camino Portuguese Coastal Route itinerary straight away. I spend 8 weeks in total preparing for the trip. I read numerous Camino experience reports from fellow bloggers and travellers. Mapped out the stages by comparing different Camino tour providers and got local travel insights from a Twitter pal. During the day, I managed to walk between 15-20kms daily to be able to cope with the physical challenge. 

I compiled all research in a spreadsheet including the days, accommodation and further notes. I arranged my luggage transfer with Pilbeo. Next on the list was to sort out my hiking gear and I found my new 45l backpack & hiking pole at Decathlon. 

backpack 45l for Camino Hike
My Decathlon 45l backpack “mochilla” for my Camino Portuguese coastal route hike

Renewing the Compostela had always been on my mind, plus Santiago is some place. I’d say that everyone should at least once in their lifetime make the effort to visit it. You’d have to do it whilst walking the Camino though. Otherwise, I don’t think people would truly “get” the power that this place holds. Powers that can inject some new motivation into your life and keep you going – even through the hardships of a pandemic.

2022 is also declared a Holy Year and I wanted to use the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the Brisbane Flood victims. I’ve set up a fundraiser with GIVIT Australia and managed to collect a few $$ during my hike.

Camino Portuguese Coastal Route Weather Conditions

I get asked a lot when I walked my Camino hikes, so here are the weather conditions from my two walks:

May/June: My second hike on the Camino Portuguese route happened in late May to early June. The weather was warm, yet unpredictable the further North I walked. Especially the Galicia region in Spain is notorious for its rain showers and heavy down pouring. You definitely get beyond wet and when it rains, it rains buckets. The good thing is, in May/June the rain will be warm so you don’t mind getting wet as much and most of your clothes will dry overnight. I personally wouldn’t want to walk earlier in the year, as e.g. in April the weather still tends to be chilly and can make you feel cold quickly.

September: My first hike on the Frances way from Sarria to Santiago happened in September 2019. Reasons for choosing this time of year was due to the rather stable weather conditions which were mostly sunny and warm. There was only one day with a few showers but again, enough down pour to make you wet. Along the way, you can purchase rain ponchos for 5€ which are light and big enough to cover your backpack.

The official Camino Portuguese Coastal route only leads along the water on Day 1 and Day 2 from Porto. Afterwards, the route goes inland, which is extremely frustrating especially if you had imagined to walk along the water. Don’t follow the Camino signs if you want to continue along the water. Instead make sure you follow the Senda Litoral way marking, which is also sparse and confusing, as you may see some occasional Camino scallops along the way, too. Make sure to study the stages beforehand (after Esposende) to avoid confusion. Not all stretches along the water have boardwalks or are accessible and you may have to walk around.

My Camino Portuguese Coastal Route Itinerary

Day 1: Porto to Povoa de Varzim, 26.7km

It has been a phenomenal first day on the Camino Portuguese coastal route. 30°C, sun, sand and epic waves. I start my journey from Matosinhos instead of the busy Cathedral in Porto. After leaving Porto/Matosinhos behind, I’m hiking through a flat landscape. There are beautiful dunes, pristine & empty beaches as well as cute fishing villages. I pass through the municipals of Matosinhos and Vila do Conde. Both are interesting areas with a rich history. Information is provided plentiful on plates set up on the Camino.

I’m really enjoying the hike, the weather and learning about my surroundings. The dunes of Memoria – a protected nature reserve – are home to many plants & wildlife. There’s a huge focus on biodiversity, but I also learn that there are vipers and water snakes around. 

I travel alone most of today and reach my end goal Povoa de Varzim in the afternoon. I’m low-key crushing over this quaint, commuter town. It has gelato-coloured houses, neat squares and of course Camino history. I manage to explore the small castle and stroll along the promenade. At the Lapa Church, I lit a candle in memoriam for Carole’s deceased brother (my Camino companion during my first hike). I hope he’ll bless my pilgrimage to Santiago. 

Checkpoint: Guesthouse O Poboa
Time Walked: 8am to 4pm

Vila do Cha in Portugal on the Camino Portuguese
The charming fisher village Vila do Cha on my way to Santiago
Lit Candle at Povoa de Varzim
Lighting a candle for my Camino companion’s brother and officially starting my pilgrimage

Day 2: Povoa de Varzim to Esposende, 24km

I follow the Camino further North, past dune landscapes, nature reserves and more powdery sand. Always to the thunder of crashing waves. The beach is never a few metres away from me. The landscape is beautiful and I’m in awe over the seaweed farming in Apulia. But then the Camino leads away from the dunes around the Estela Golf Club area. I walk straight into a nature reserve.

This inland route was very exhausting, as the boardwalk was narrow and didn’t allow for stopping. There was also no shade, so I had to march through that stretch in one go. It added another 6km to the originally forecasted 18km for today’s stage. This slightly inland route is apparently a new addition to the ancient Roman trail which comes from São Pedro de Rates, goes pasts Lagoa Negra, in Barqueiros, until it reaches Barca do Lago in Fonte Boa.

Shortly after midday, I cross the Cávado river. I wanted to be at my hotel by now but instead, I arrive at 2pm. The heat and tiredness from walking were all forgotten after a dip in the pool. Today’s endpoint, Esposende, is a typical South European beach resort with a long maritime history. Here are neat boulevards, palm trees, sand and I enjoy a lovely Italian meal at the restaurant “Dolce Sapore”.

Checkpoint: Hotel Suave Mar
Time Walked: 8am to 2pm

Camino Portuguese itinerary and way marker
Camino way marker and boardwalk outside of Povoa de Varzim
Praia de Estela sand dunes in Portugal
The endless dunes of Praia Estela – a true wow moment for me. This could easily pass as Australia, right?

Day 3: Esposende to Viana do Castelo, 30km

I’m off to the exotic place of Viana do Castelo. The first 2h are underwhelming. The route leads away from the Litoral Way passing through villages and walls. It’s more Casa than Costa and it annoys me. I leave the Camino and take a 5km detour back to the Coast. There’s no trail or boardwalk but pebbled, stoney beaches. This terrain tires me out quickly, so I head back to the Camino.

The wilderness consists of eucal forests, waterfalls and more pretty churches. One local had set up an oasis for pilgrims with snacks and drinks in exchange for a small donation. It was a welcomed gesture and gave me new energy. In general, the area becomes more pilgrim friendly. Due to my little coastal adventure, I added more kms to today’s stage, leaving me pretty exhausted on arrival in Viana do Castelo. There’s no time this evening for much exploration. 

Checkpoint: Hotel Laranjeira
Time Walked: 8am to 5:30pm

Camino mileage sign
Belhino village on the Camino hike
More casa than costa 🙁 Dragging myself through the urbanised area of Belinho

Day 4: Viana do Castelo to Caminha, 34km 

It’s been a very long day having walked for 11h straight. The morning started slowly with me not finding my way out of town. I did eventually and follow along the moody coast further North. My highlight of today was my first and only sighting of a Portuguese Ladder Snake. Like yesterday, the Camino would lead inland. After 2h of steep eucal forests and deserted neighbourhoods, I’ve had enough. I march back to the coast!

Afife has a lovely boardwalk through the dune landscape and surprisingly there are Camino signs! I’m so confused. I do make great progress for the next two hours; I have one stop at the water castle Forte do Cão. The next stop is Ancora where I can finally sit down and have a late lunch with a stellar sea view. The final stretch to Caminha located at the estuary of the Atlantic Ocean and Minho River is long. Exhausted I arrive at my checkpoint which turned out to be a shithole, but it’s late and I’m too tired to find somewhere else.

Checkpoint: Arca Nova Guesthouse & Hostel
Time Walked: 7am to 7pm 

Ancora Ecovia Litoral Norte Portugal
Travelling further north on the Litoral way between Ancora and Moledo

Day 5: Caminha to Tui/Valenca, 30km

Caminha located at the estuary of the Minho River marks a decision point. Continue along the coast towards Baiona or move inland to Valenca/Tui. I decide on the latter because this part of the Camino Portuguese is less travelled and often overlooked. Therefore, the Coastal Route ends here for me. After three long days and a very rough night, I decide to take the train. Originally, I only wanted to do 15km but today’s heavy rain convinces me to go all the way to Valenca.

Upon arrival, I’m straight back on the Camino. It’s a very wet day but the highlight is yet to come. The fortress of Valenca. What a place! The Camino leads straight through it. I have time to visit the museum and learn about the castles in the area. Some of them are familiar, as I have passed them on my solo journey: Forte da Insua, Viana do Castelo and Forte do Cão – all built as a defence and protection from the Spaniards. There’s a quirky film narrated by a Scottish guy. At first, I thought it was narrated by Billy Connolly but I don’t think it is him. The narration is hilarious though! I then cross the Minho bridge over to Spain. Those bridges are criminally narrow and shake like hell when a train goes by.

Checkpoint: Villa Blanca in Tui
Time Walked: Train at 7am, Tui 9am to 2pm 

pilgrim standing in Valenca fortress with view to Tui Cathedral
Valenca fortress (Portugal) with views over to Tui Cathedral (Spain)

Day 6: Tui to Vigo, Break Time

It feels like yesterday since I’ve left Matosinhos and it hasn’t even been an entire week yet! I’ve walked nearly 120km plus detours and now it’s time for a break. After exploring Tui in the morning, I’m taking the bus to Vigo in the afternoon (you can find a bus schedule for the A Guarda to Vigo via Tui in Spanish only). I’m actually looking forward to sightseeing, shopping and relaxing. Since I’m no longer in Portugal, I can now use my Spanish Credential.  Vigo here I come!

Checkpoint: B&B Hotels

Camino Portuguese Tui Cathedral with view over to Valenca
The view from Tui Cathedral (Spain) over to Valenca (Portugal)
Portuguese and Spanish credential
I’m no longer in Portugal, so I can use my Spanish Credential. The Portuguese one is also full!

Day 7: Vigo, 21km

Vigo is a cool and laid-back harbour city in the Ria Baixas area. Remember when I thought Hamburg was THE place for the fishing industry? It’s actually Vigo! Not only is the fish trade massive here, including farming and exporting, but car manufacturers export from Vigo, too. I have time to check out nice cafés, go shopping and explore the Vigo fortress in 30°C.

In the evening I meet up with Gabriela, who has helped me plan my Camino Portuguese Coastal route itinerary. We have a nice dinner together and share our Camino experiences. It feels nice to finally talk to someone and share my adventures from the road. Unfortunately, I haven’t made any connections yet or met a friendly travel companion on the Camino.

Vigo with views over the Cies Islands
The views from Vigo Castle over the Ria with the Cies Islands clearly visible on the horizon.

Day 8: Cies Islands, 24km 

I’m off exploring the Cies Islands, an archipelago just off the coast of Vigo. The Islands are well developed for visitors, so this makes for an ideal day trip. There are four hiking routes on the main island, and I manage to do all of them. Cies is stunning and I’m very lucky with the weather. There’s sun and a gentle cold breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. It makes hiking through diverse vegetation much more pleasant. I love the contrast between coastal formations, biodiversity and changing landscapes a lot. This was an excellent day out. 

Praia de Nosa Senora Hiking Guide Cies Islands
Hiking around on the Cies Islands and having this beach all to myself

Want to known more about the Cies Islands? READ my guide Everything You Need to Know About the Hiking Trails in the Cies Islands

Day 9: Vigo

Not much happening today in Vigo. I need to slow down and recharge my energies. So far, even on my days off, I’ve walked over 20kms each day and I need my resources to make the final stages to Santiago. Taking it very slow today, I have some coffee, draft some blog posts and have an epic nap at the hotel. I finish some laundry and do a last-minute food shop to stock up on essentials for tomorrow’s return to the Camino.  

Coffee Land cosy cafe in Vigo
Coffee Land Café know how to serve breakfast. The start of my pistachio cream addiction 🙂

Day 10: Vigo to Pontesampaio, 28km

After a few days of rest, I’m back on the Camino. From now on I’m marching with big steps closer to Santiago. The first half of the day leads along the Ria de Vigo with views of the Ria and the Cies Islands. I’m hiking through the picturesque Senda del Agua area – a natural reserve with gum trees and small waterfalls. There’s a longer route along the Ria and a shortcut through the forest. I somehow miss the split and walk the long version.

I’m still travelling alone and haven’t met a familiar face on the entire trip. In the afternoon, I reach Redondela. Most Camino Portuguese Coastal Route itineraries suggest making it today’s endpoint, but I still have energies left and march ahead. Redondela isn’t engaging me enough. It’s very busy and towards the end bland. Maybe I’m sight-soar by now, but it just can’t wow me enough to hang around. I continue the Camino and reach my checkpoint in the late afternoon. Time for a shower and an episode of Stranger Things before bedtime. 

Checkpoint: Hotel San Luis
Time Walked: 10am to 4pm

Vigo and Ria de Vigo with Cies Islands
Back on the Camino and walking inland around the Ria de Vigo with views on the Cies Islands
Pontesampaio medieval bridge Camino Portuguese
Crossing the photogenic Roman bridge in Pontesampaio

Day 11: Pontesampaio to Pontevedra, 11km

My hotel wasn’t nice so I’m keen to leave early and cover the short stretch to Pontevedra before lunch. It rains pretty much all day long, so I barely get my camera out. It’s not that I haven’t seen it all before. The Camino Portuguese leads through eucal forests and very deserted villages. A good part of the stretch is even on the main road. It can’t engage me at all. I switch off mentally and just get it over and done with.

In Pontevedra, I aim straight for the tourist office. There I learn a lot about the place and which points of interest are worth seeing once it stops raining. Let’s stay positive! I do manage to see a few sights including the Santa Maria & Peregrino Church. I have a nice meal in a burger restaurant and spend a good hour at a nice café before heading to my hostel. This will be an interesting experience, as I usually don’t do hostels, but I’m open to it. Maybe I’ll meet someone cool here? 

Checkpoint: Hostel Dpaso
Time Walked: 7am to 10am

Pontevedra sign on the Camino Portuguese
Pontevedra Calling!

Day 12: Ons Island, 21km

I venture out on another detour trip and hike Cies’s sister island Ons. I fetch a bus from Pontevedra to Portonovo and take the ferry from there. Isla Ons is also an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean and very lush compared to Cies. There are lots of ferns, pristine beaches and bizarre rock formations. I hike the entire island within 4h and have some time to relax at Melide beach. It’s another warm and sunny day. Ons is inhabited and has three little restaurants, a Capella and small tourist information. At 7:30pm I take the last ferry back to Portonovo and rush for the bus. Luckily, I’m able to catch it very last minute and arrive back in Pontevedra for 10pm.  

Hiking in Isla Ons
Hiking the mysterious Ons Island today, another archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean

Day 13: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis, 24km

The final days on the Camino are here and today was very tough. I woke up demotivated, tired and the constant rain didn’t help either. A good breakfast was needed. I found it at Marco’s Cafe. Afterwards, it was time to face and embrace the heavy rain. My late start actually worked out well for me. For the first time on this Camino hike, I travel amongst lots of other pilgrims. I get soaked within 1h but push through without a break. 4h and 24km later I arrive in Caldas de Reis. My personal best on the Camino Portuguese Coastal Route. Plus, I got to see my first equestrian Peregrinos. The legends are true, and they do exist! 

I arrive completely drenched to the bone at my hotel. I’m so glad I rebooked and changed accommodation for today on short notice. I move into a lovely room and have time to wind down. But first I need a shower, do my laundry and put fresh clothes on. Then I sort out my drenched shoes. In the late afternoon, it stops raining and I have some time exploring Caldas de Reis. It’s a small town known for its thermal springs & Roman architecture but there’s also a romantic park and some dope “Street art”.

In the evening, the hotel staff convince me to make a reservation for their restaurant. An excellent idea! It’s a lovely, very intimate place and I enjoy a 3-course meal. In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve had on this Camino journey. I’m in very good hands and feel motivated and refreshed to take on the final kms to Santiago. 

Checkpoint: Hotel Roquino
Time Walked: 10am to 2pm

Day 14: Caldas de Reis to Padron, 24km

Yesterday it rained like hell and today? We’re back to sun, sun and even more sun. It’s already 27°C when I leave Caldas de Reis in the morning. I now travel on the Via Romana XIX an ancient trade road in Galicia. It leads through lush forests with moss-covered stones and little creeks. I pass through small settlements, shade-giving forests and nice cafes – always going up or downhill. The hiking pole makes it easy to tackle those. Motivated by yesterday’s progress I want to push through to Padrón and make it to my checkpoint within 4h. After crossing the river Ulla, I make my way through Padrón and head further North to my checkpoint. 

Padrón is again a small town with a well-maintained park lane, lots of restaurants and an impressive convent. My aim for today lies a bit outside of town. I’m keen to reach it as soon as. For today, I booked myself into a cosy Galician guesthouse with a generous garden. The place is stunning and even more beautiful in real life than it is in the online pics. Those are the places I love to discover. A small, very well-preserved Galician stone villa with a lush garden that offers an intimate stay. Only five more guests are here and it’s very quiet and peaceful. My bed is super soft so you can imagine it was hard to get up at 7am the next morning.

Checkpoint: Os Lambrans
Time Walked: 11am to 4pm

Padron convent de Carmen Camino
The impressive Convent de Carmen in Padron

Did You Know? When you arrive in Padron, make sure to stop at the Tourist Information Office on Avenida de Compostela. When you provide your Credential, you’ll receive an additional certificate, the Pedronia. Unfortunately, I missed out on it as I only knew about it afterwards, but you don’t have to!

Day 15: Padron to Santiago de Compostela, 25km

The final day of the hike is here. There are only a few kms between me and the Cathedral in Santiago. I better make a move! I’m leaving at 9am to tackle the last stretch. It’s a sunny and warm morning. The kms fly by as the terrain is flat leading through ivy-covered forests, small settlements or alongside the road. I collect some final sellos (stamps for my Credential) and make sure to not linger around for too long as I’d rather be in Santiago.

Around O Milladoiro a few Peregrinos including me get terribly lost. The waymarking in this pre-town to Santiago is confusing/near to non-existent. I walk around for a bit following my intuition, then I team up with a cyclist Peregrino. He travels ahead and comes back with good news. He found the way marker! Back on track, it’s only a matter of half an hour when the first glimpses of Santiago come into sight! I enter the city through its west side called Santa Marta and feel energised to push through to those final 2kms. It’s a nice but bizarre feeling to be back.

The familiarity of Santiago is overwhelming me. Everything reminds me of my first Camino Hike. It’s a bit like homecoming. It’s just this time, I had to walk the Camino alone. There are no Camino Mums this time and no one who would travel with me to Madrid after finishing the Camino. At 2:30pm, I reach the Cathedral and complete the 260km on the Camino Portuguese Coastal Route. It’s scorching hot but it’s not holding anyone back to gather in Plaza Obradoiro. The atmosphere and the very familiar energies from the Camino that I fell in love with are suddenly there. I’ve missed those during my time on the Camino Portuguese. 

Camino Portuguese final stage to Santiago
Nearly there….

Since leaving Porto on 27th May I’ve walked a daily average of 25km. Even on my days off exploring Cies & Ons Island. 260km pretty much alone. I would have loved a travel companion or at least made a genuine connection with someone, but the Camino had other plans this time. It was a different lesson it wanted me to learn.

I’m having a nice lunch at Hotel Parador and head then to the Pilgrims Office. I’ve pre-registered online so I can walk in, draw my ticket and within 30 minutes it’s all done. My Compostela is renewed and a Certificate of Distance issued. All that’s left now is to join the evening mass at 7:30pm. 

There’s a bit of time so I have a shower at my hotel and put a summer dress on. No more trainers for me. Then I queue to get into the cathedral. Two Peregrinos look me up and down, then mock me when I say I’m a Peregrino, too. “Really? You don’t look like you’ve walked 260km”.

I know it’s just a flippant comment, but it does hurt a little. Like them, I’ve walked every day. My feet are aching and I’m beyond tired. They don’t see that. To them, I’m just a pretty spoiled girl who wears a summer dress and has had time to shower and put make-up on. Surely, she has no idea about the pain and gain of a “true” Peregrino. 

The thing is I could have stayed at home or complained about the world. Instead, I chose to return to the Camino. Whilst walking I raised awareness & funds for the Brisbane flood victims and wanted to help others. So please don’t mock me because I wear a summer dress whilst also holding it together emotionally. 

It’s a full house and the Cathedral is bursting. There are no seats left an hour before the service starts so I’ll have to stand for the mass. It’s ok, at least I’m in the first line and can see all the action. The service is very moving so is the highlight, the swinging of the Botafumeiro (pilgrim’s blessing). After the service, I leave the Cathedral through the Holy Door. I’m no longer a Peregrino. This pilgrimage is over. 

Would I do it again? 

Let’s put it this way. If it calls me again, I’m prepared.

Checkpoint: Hotel Praza Quintana
Time Walked: 9am to 2:30pm

Camino portuguese itinerary and preparation

Observations, Reflections & Learnings from My Second Camino Hike

  • The Camino Portuguese is more widespread and urbanised. Therefore, it is unlikely you’ll meet the same people again. 
  • There are many variations of the Camino Portuguese which are often not waymarked properly and add to a lot of confusion. Therefore, your preparations need some time to avoid frustration and disappointment. There is the Portuguese inland route, the Portuguese Coastal (which can also lead inland and which I have fallen victim to on Day 2, 3 & 4) and the Senda Litoral, which follows the coast and along the beaches but is not well signposted (see Day 3).
  • I walked the Camino with my ASICS running trainers and apart from one small blister, had no issues or foot injuries. 
  • Super moleskin from Scholl was my lifesaver. It is an adhesive super strong and thick plaster which covered my blister and was easily removable in the evening without damaging my skin. 
  • Walking with a hiking pole allows for a faster hike and pain-free evenings.
  • Speaking of pain: this time I only had aches from physical exhaustion, but I did get “hikers’ rash” (also known as Disney rash). It’s not a real rash but your veins will swell up due to the heat and the constant traumatisation causes the blood vessels to burst. It looks nastier than it actually is, but I’ve never had it before, so I did worry when I noticed it on Day 3. A Sephora foot mask, Vaseline or cold shower can relieve the rash and help reduce itself after a few days. 
  • Take some toilet paper from your accommodation. You never know when nature calls.
  • Even though I got many nasty comments, I would always use a luggage transfer. This time I used Pilbeo and was very pleased with their service. Jesus, the guy who runs Pilbeo, is super friendly and helpful. Drop him an email and he’ll sort you out!
  • The Camino Portuguese is not as pilgrim friendly as the Camino Frances. Pilgrims have to ask for sellos, most churches are closed in the afternoon. Accommodation isn’t always aware of the luggage transfer which causes additional stress. The Camino infrastructure changed completely once I crossed over to Spain. 
  • Most accommodations aren’t fully aware of their clientele’s needs. Breakfast at 8am for a pilgrim is rather late, so are over-sugared and low-quality/nutrient-poor foods.
  • Most churches and Capellas are closed and only open for a few hours in the morning.
  • I felt there wasn’t much unity amongst the pilgrims. The vibe was different (slightly negative) from walking the Camino Frances. Couples and close-knit friend groups kept mostly to themselves. The few solo hikers I met along the Camino were not interested in connecting with me. I don’t know if this is a general vibe of this route, or if this is down due to post-Covid travel or simply the time of year (June). 
  • This is in no way a criticism, it’s more an observation from my side: the Camino Portuguese Coastal Route crowd are late risers. They start their walks at 9am at the earliest, whereas on the Camino Frances Peregrinos hike with their headlamps on at 5am. This could be due to the terrain which is easier on the Portuguese way. 
  • The Galician weather is unpredictable. Make sure you bring a rain cover & permeable coat along. 

Pro’s & Con’s of the Camino Portuguese Coastal Route Itinerary 

+ Coastal views are stunning
+ Day 1 from Porto sets the bar high, with lots of interesting areas and engaging landscapes
+ Urbanised, more choice for accommodation & restaurants or setting end stages
+ You can’t get lost, as you always follow along the water in a north-bound direction
+ Interesting places & sights e.g. castelos in Portugal
+ The impressive views in Valenca & Tui were a highlight for me
+ Two countries in one hike during a manageable distance 

– Lack of diversity in landscape after Day 2
– Oversaturated by house walls and eucal forests
– Leads away from the Coast really quickly. Lots of preparation beforehand required to avoid disappointment
– Portugal is not very pilgrim-friendly
– Cafés and resting places are often off the Camino. Any detour adds additional kms
– Wide-spread and unlikely you’ll meet the same people again
– Lonely at times, because the main clientele seems to be couples and friend groups who aren’t interested in connecting 
– Vibe and unity amongst pilgrims weren’t as strong as they were on the Camino Frances
– Most sellos are blue or black and not very creative

Valenca from Tui
The view from Tui cathedral over Valenca was a personal highlight
Praia de Afife with yellow arrow Camino sign
Don’t get confused if you see Camino way marking on the Senda Litoral Way. The organisation in Portugal is desirable.

FAQs For Your Camino Portuguese Coastal Route Itinerary

I understand this is quite a lengthy post and you may have some quick questions about planning your Camino Portuguese Coastal Route itinerary. You can, of course, always come back to any section of my post and read in more detail what you’d need for your trip. If you have questions or need help, please get in touch and I’m happy to assist. 

What Do I Need To Consider When Planning A Camino Portuguese Coastal Route Itinerary? 

The Camino Portuguese Coastal route has a moderate distance, depending on your starting point. I chose Porto and found 260km manageable. If you walk it in one go, you’ll need about 9 to 10 days to finish it. There are places of interest along the way, such as Vigo, Baiona or Tui, which I highly recommend exploring. Don’t miss out on those!

If you start in Porto consider skipping the first 11km through town. It’s boring & you’ll save a day walking. Take the metro and start your walk in Matosinhos, then add that 11 km to the end which will finish your Day 1 comfortably in Povoa de Varzim. It’ll make planning your stretches easier and you will be slightly ahead, meaning less traffic on the morning of Day 2.

The daily rhythm may change according to the weather conditions. If it’s going to be 30°C you want to start your hike as early as possible, as I would not advise you to hike between 12-4pm. The terrain is easy and 25km can be hiked in 4-5h.

The Camino Portuguese Coastal route offers flexibility in Caminha. You can choose to cross the estuary to A Guarda and walk via Baiona or follow the less popular route inland to Valenca/Tui. Check the crossing options as ferry services from Caminha are unreliably on and off. Mario from the Pilgrim’s Water Taxi charges 6€ for the crossing. Do check with him beforehand though as it’ll be late by the time you get to Caminha. You reach him at +351 913 254 110.

Good To Know: If you choose the inland route Caminha to Valenca, know that most luggage transfers don’t serve this stretch or charge a ridiculous fare, e.g. TuiTrans quoted me 35€ for that stretch even though it’s part of their map. Pilbeo was the only provider who would cover that stretch for 7€.

How Different Is The Camino Portuguese to Other Caminos? 

The Camino Portuguese has a lot of flexibility so your Camino Portuguese Coastal route itinerary can be, too. The area is very urbanised compared to the Camino Frances and offers more options & choices. It is very likely you may not meet the same pilgrims again because of the widespread character. I’ve only travelled the Camino Portuguese once and I would have to travel it again to make a profound judgement.

I just felt the unity amongst the pilgrims was a bit off and I noticed more friend groups and couples travelling this route. The people and businesses along the Camino Frances seemed to embrace it more than the Portuguese. Again, this is my personal impression and can be influenced e.g. by the time of year.  

Is Planning a Camino Portuguese Coastal Route Itinerary Time Consuming?

and how complicated is it?

You’ve come to the right place, because I’m not only telling you in detail about each stage and how to plan it, but I will also share my mishaps and alternative routes on the Camino Portuguese Coastal Route itinerary. Keep an eye out for my detailed daily account posts coming soon! I’ve read a couple of blog posts, personal experience reports and compared tour operator routes to make an informed judgement on my stages. Once I had enough information, I planned out the stretches and secured accommodation. It took a good two weeks as I also included break time and additional day trips into my Camino Portuguese Coastal Route itinerary. I booked everything in March for late May/June and struggled a bit to secure accommodation in Santiago for my arrival in June. It’s a Holy Year and the Camino certainly gets busy!

Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed the post and would like to support my blog & research, you can do so via Buy Me a Coffee.

Till next time,


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  • Reply
    30 June 2022 at 1:33 pm

    Really interesting to read, what a great travelogue. I’m hugely impressed that you reached speeds of up to 6km/hour – more fool those who underestimate others just because they’re wearing a dress. The beaches on Isla Ons look spectacular, thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply
    30 June 2022 at 7:42 pm

    First, let me just say that you are amazing! I love the perfect amount of detail you provide in a day-by-day format. What an experience and super helpful that you compared & contrasted to the Camino Frances (not that I’ve done either, but just as a point of comparison for those of us that aren’t familiar).

  • Reply
    JoJo Hall
    30 June 2022 at 11:16 pm

    Loved following along on your hike! The views looked amazing as well. However, it is unfortunate that you didn’t meet a whole lot of people along the way and the few solo hikers you did meet didn’t want to connect with you.

  • Reply
    1 July 2022 at 2:02 am

    A great read and detailed account of your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Congrats on your awesome achievement.

  • Reply
    4 July 2022 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve been following your Camino posts with great interest as it is something that whilst I feel I don’t have the stamina to do, would love to hear about it to get some experience of what it is like. I am so impressed at your determination and strength of character to overcome any adverse encounter. Whilst I love walking (mainly urban though I’m afraid), I’m not sure even I could attain 25 km a day, that is incredible and requires a fair amount of stamina and fortitude. The post gives so much great info and advice, I feel like I have walked it with you from the photos and descriptions. Some of those hotels sounded great (a few not so too), The post gives great insight into your personality and also explains to all what to expect in the very helpful pro and cons section. This sounds like an epic adventure that you will remember forever with fondness.

  • Reply
    4 July 2022 at 5:06 pm

    Saving this one for later. 15 days is an incredible amount of time, that sounds amazing. I love that you’re a spreadsheet kind of organized person – my analytical self appreciates that. Especially when planning a trip like this.
    The heat is the only thing that would make me plan carefully

  • Reply
    4 July 2022 at 6:02 pm

    I can see why you wanted to do this route. The coastal views are stunning! It would be a inspiring walk to know you have a beautiful place to arrive at. It’s too bad that rest spots are off the path. I would be tempted to skip it and carry on.

  • Reply
    Riana Ang-Canning
    4 July 2022 at 9:28 pm

    Wow, this is such an epic trek! Congrats to you for doing this and documenting it so well. Those views are beautiful! I’m sorry you didn’t find the Portuguese Camino as pilgrim-friendly in terms of meeting people or amenities/resources along the way. Hopefully that’s something that changes for the better!

  • Reply
    Jen Ambrose
    5 July 2022 at 6:46 pm

    I’m sorry you got so many comments about the luggage transfer! Some pilgrims really need to mind their own business. It’s really interesting to read your comparison of the Portuguese and French routes – we just finished the Portuguese, but stayed mainly on the Senda Litoral. While we did meet some really cool people and I enjoyed the camaraderie, it definitely didn’t have the feeling of “family” I’d heard about. Maybe that’s more specific to the French route!

  • Reply
    5 July 2022 at 10:28 pm

    I love all the detail you give into planning this! I’m sure it helps others feel more motivated to take on such an amazing experience!

  • Reply
    Chalk and cheese
    6 July 2022 at 9:09 pm

    Wow you have put some great effort into this what a fantastic post.
    So much detail and I love tbe planning and pros and cons of tbe trip also. This will certainly help so many people

  • Reply
    Deah H
    14 July 2022 at 8:06 am

    Great post, very detailed! Having done with Camino Santiago as well as 130km of the Camino Portuguese (Coimbra to Porto), I would just say that a beginner Camino hiker would maybe enjoy the Santiago (French) route more, for the reasons you listed. I would not recommend the Camino Portuguese for their first Camino.

  • Reply
    Angela Santos
    15 July 2022 at 1:26 pm

    Definição it takes a lot of courage to do what you did! Congratulations on your achievement and on the blog post!

  • Reply
    15 July 2022 at 1:44 pm

    First of all: congrats! Such a great achievement to walk so many kilometers. Post for sure will be very helpful for those planning to walk the same route – such details are always very appreciated. 🙂 We were in the north of Portugal in April-May 2022 and while visiting cities like Viana do Castelo, Caminha, Valenca, or Barcelos we saw only a few people walking Camino route, so I can imagine it might be hard to meet a lot of new people. But I think generally those regions, compared to the south, were less visited so maybe that’s the case?

  • Reply
    13 September 2022 at 3:52 am

    Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

  • Reply
    20 January 2023 at 12:38 pm

    What an inspiration! The lovely views drive me to do it myself. Also like the detours which is something I would consider doing. The islands look fantastic.
    I actually like the loneliness if it’s safe. And I’ll take on the advice to plan the route in detail in order not to get lost

  • Reply
    J Ngan
    28 February 2023 at 3:29 pm

    Informative and a fun read. What more can one ask for in a personal travel blog. Bien Camino!

  • Reply
    16 July 2023 at 11:58 am

    This a wonderful post, thank you so much.

    You mention the Portuguese Coastal route, which can also lead inland and which ‘[you fell] victim to on Day 2, 3 & 4’ – could you please elaborate? In retrospect, would you have preferred to stick to the coastal route?

    I ask this as my partner and I are considering the Camino Portuguese from Porto next year, having previously walked the last week from Baiona in 2022 and the Camino Frances earlier this year.

    We love the coast so, with the addition of the Spiritual Variant after Pontevedra, we were going to stick to the coastal route, but I am aware we could switch to the central route, as you did, for the two days into Vigo. Really grateful to hear your thoughts!

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