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1st Camino: Astorga (frances) vs Porto (Portugues)

Gii

Member
Past OR future Camino
First Camino: April 2022
Hey everyone, I hope you’re well.

I am new to this website (this being my very first post).

I am planning my first camino and would like make the best options for my camino as a solo traveller (30 yr old woman). I plan to go the last two weeks of April: 16-28th.

I have decided to either begin in Porto and end in Santiago or begin in Astorga to end in Santiago.
I am gluten free due to having celiac disease, do any of you have any recommendations for which way will be best for my dietary needs? I am a fairly fit person, I am active and work out 3-4 times a week wether it be weight training or yoga

I have done some research and have planned out:

Camino Frances:
Astorga to Santiago de Compostela:
267 km (166 mi), 11 days, 24 km (15 mi) / day


_____
Camino Portuguese:
Porto to Santiago de Compostela: MOST POPULAR
221 km (137 mi), 10 days, 22 km (13.5 mi) / day

If you have any tips or recommendations please let me know. Thank you!


Cheers!

Ginelle
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Best of luck with your camino. Regarding your two options, you can't really go wrong. Both offer excellent infrastructure (accommodation, eating options, way-marking etc) and the chance to meet other pilgrims, although in Covid times this is a bit more complicated.

Personally, I would probably choose the Portuguese, mostly because the Francés from Astorga is 'incomplete'. Without getting into the debate of what constitutes a complete camino (if such a thing exists), if you do the Francés from Astorga and then get the camino bug, you might be left with a bit of an awkward decision subsequently - i.e. whether to do the first part of the Francés and stop at Astorga, or do it all and repeat the Astorga-SdC part. The Portugues from Porto is not exactly complete either (as the CP starts in Lisbon), but most people start in Porto so it has the feel of a complete camino, whereas starting the CF in Astorga, you would have the feeling of joining mid-stream.

Another consideration is the option of the central vs coastal route from Porto. If walking on the coast for a few days appeals to you, then that is something the CP offers that the CF does not. Or if the coast doesn't inspire you, the central route is a more historic path with plenty of highlights. There are several possibilities for rejoining the central from the coastal and regardless of which one you take, the Variante Espiritual towards the end is highly recommended.

The CP also gives you the chance to walk in two countries, although northern Portugal and Galicia have much in common so you wouldn't note as many differences in culture, architecture etc as you would if, say, you spent a few days in Madrid and then a few days in Lisbon.

Good luck and buen camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
CF Spring 2022
Personally, I would probably choose the Portuguese, mostly because the Francés from Astorga is 'incomplete'. Without getting into the debate of what constitutes a complete camino (if such a thing exists), if you do the Francés from Astorga and then get the camino bug, you might be left with a bit of an awkward decision subsequently - i.e. whether to do the first part of the Francés and stop at Astorga, or do it all and repeat the Astorga-SdC part. The Portugues from Porto is not exactly complete either (as the CP starts in Lisbon), but most people start in Porto so it has the feel of a complete camino, whereas starting the CF in Astorga, you would have the feeling of joining mid-stream.

This is a super helpful summary to keep in mind - is it strange that I haven't even done my first Camino yet (will be walking the CF from SJPP starting May 6) and I'm already considering options for my second?

Welcome @Gii and Buen Camino!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
My first Camino was from Astorga to Santiago, and I thought it was a great choice. I have been back since to walk from SJPP, and points between, and haven't been disappointed!

Are you aware that your first few days are at the end of the very busy Easter Week? You should probably line up accommodation in advance for the nights of April 16 and 17.

I would advise allowing an extra day for the walking, and an extra day in Santiago if you can.

As @jungleboy said, there is no wrong choice here.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
As @jungleboy says the advantage of the walk from Porto is that feels more like a "complete" Camino, especially since most of the pilgrims that you meet will have just started too. The other big advantage that Porto has is the ease of getting to your starting point, since you can fly right into Porto and start the next day if you want without having to take trains and/or buses to get to your starting point.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
They are both excellent choices. I would probably go with Porto for a first Camino of that duration because it has a little more of a time cushion being a bit shorter Camino. You may find you won't like to walk quite as far in a day as you think you will. For example, my son's feet really blistered with successive days of 25km+ but didn't when we dropped down to 20-25km on the Frances. When I walked from Porto, I ended up doing it in 13 days, occasionally preferring two shorter days to one longer one. If you find that you arrive in Santiago with time to spare there is plenty to see or you could consider walking on to Finisterre and/or Muxia.
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Another vote for Porto.

By Astorga many Camino “families” will have formed and you might feel a bit of an outsider.

Or if you still want to do the Frances then start in Sarria.
 

stevepjq

Member
Past OR future Camino
2013, 2017, Next is March 2022
Given your start date is Holy Saturday, I think that there will be plenty of pilgrims on either way - especially given the propensity of Spaniards and Portuguese to take holiday and go to their native place (and walk a brief Camino) during Semana Santa. I would cast a vote for Astorga. That said, the important point for me, would be to decide sooner than later and then reserve a place for your first two nights (Holy Saturday and Easter). As an aside, I honestly don't believe that one needs to give a thought to the possibility of being an "outsider" - but I guess that depends on your personality.
 

PilgrimPillar

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Past OR future Camino
Francigena Sud
Shikoku 88
St Olav Waterways
Easy…..

….save Frances to you get truly bit by the camino-bug😁

Hey everyone, I hope you’re well.

I am new to this website (this being my very first post).

I am planning my first camino and would like make the best options for my camino as a solo traveller (30 yr old woman). I plan to go the last two weeks of April: 16-28th.

I have decided to either begin in Porto and end in Santiago or begin in Astorga to end in Santiago.
I am gluten free due to having celiac disease, do any of you have any recommendations for which way will be best for my dietary needs? I am a fairly fit person, I am active and work out 3-4 times a week wether it be weight training or yoga

I have done some research and have planned out:

Camino Frances:
Astorga to Santiago de Compostela:
267 km (166 mi), 11 days, 24 km (15 mi) / day


_____
Camino Portuguese:
Porto to Santiago de Compostela: MOST POPULAR
221 km (137 mi), 10 days, 22 km (13.5 mi) / day


If you have any tips or recommendations please let me know. Thank you!


Cheers!

Ginelle
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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Gii

Member
Past OR future Camino
First Camino: April 2022
Best of luck with your camino. Regarding your two options, you can't really go wrong. Both offer excellent infrastructure (accommodation, eating options, way-marking etc) and the chance to meet other pilgrims, although in Covid times this is a bit more complicated.

Personally, I would probably choose the Portuguese, mostly because the Francés from Astorga is 'incomplete'. Without getting into the debate of what constitutes a complete camino (if such a thing exists), if you do the Francés from Astorga and then get the camino bug, you might be left with a bit of an awkward decision subsequently - i.e. whether to do the first part of the Francés and stop at Astorga, or do it all and repeat the Astorga-SdC part. The Portugues from Porto is not exactly complete either (as the CP starts in Lisbon), but most people start in Porto so it has the feel of a complete camino, whereas starting the CF in Astorga, you would have the feeling of joining mid-stream.

Another consideration is the option of the central vs coastal route from Porto. If walking on the coast for a few days appeals to you, then that is something the CP offers that the CF does not. Or if the coast doesn't inspire you, the central route is a more historic path with plenty of highlights. There are several possibilities for rejoining the central from the coastal and regardless of which one you take, the Variante Espiritual towards the end is highly recommended.

The CP also gives you the chance to walk in two countries, although northern Portugal and Galicia have much in common so you wouldn't note as many differences in culture, architecture etc as you would if, say, you spent a few days in Madrid and then a few days in Lisbon.

Good luck and buen camino!
Thank you for all the information, I appreciate it!
 

Gii

Member
Past OR future Camino
First Camino: April 2022
My first Camino was from Astorga to Santiago, and I thought it was a great choice. I have been back since to walk from SJPP, and points between, and haven't been disappointed!

Are you aware that your first few days are at the end of the very busy Easter Week? You should probably line up accommodation in advance for the nights of April 16 and 17.

I would advise allowing an extra day for the walking, and an extra day in Santiago if you can.

As @jungleboy said, there is no wrong choice here.
I didn’t really it was Easter until after I had selected my vacation dates. Thank you for the tips!
 

Gii

Member
Past OR future Camino
First Camino: April 2022
As @jungleboy says the advantage of the walk from Porto is that feels more like a "complete" Camino, especially since most of the pilgrims that you meet will have just started too. The other big advantage that Porto has is the ease of getting to your starting point, since you can fly right into Porto and start the next day if you want without having to take trains and/or buses to get to your starting point.
Excellent! Thank you :)
 

Gii

Member
Past OR future Camino
First Camino: April 2022
They are both excellent choices. I would probably go with Porto for a first Camino of that duration because it has a little more of a time cushion being a bit shorter Camino. You may find you won't like to walk quite as far in a day as you think you will. For example, my son's feet really blistered with successive days of 25km+ but didn't when we dropped down to 20-25km on the Frances. When I walked from Porto, I ended up doing it in 13 days, occasionally preferring two shorter days to one longer one. If you find that you arrive in Santiago with time to spare there is plenty to see or you could consider walking on to Finisterre and/or Muxia.
This makes a lot of sense. I am active but I have never done that many kms in consecutive days. Thank you!
 
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G_NYC

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese Coastal/Litoral (Oct/Nov 2021)
I chose the Camino Portuguese Coastal/Litoral route for my first Camino Oct/Nov 2021. I’m like twice your age 😬 and liked that it was flat for the first few days so I could ease into it. I also love the sound of the ocean, and found it a great companion. I could look out to sea and watch the storm clouds forming with enough time to find shelter.

As much as I want to try a different Camino next time, if a friend wanted to walk with me, I wouldn’t hesitate to do this route again if it was their first Camino.
 
Past OR future Camino
2017
Another vote for the Porto route. It’ll be less busy that the CF. And while the range of amenities are fewer than the Frances, you’ll be dealing with fewer people to get them. The route—especially the Centrale—is lovely and not as physically taxing.
 

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