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A Second Camino - but which route to take?

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JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
Hello all

Having completed the Camino Frances last August and September, the idea of returning to walk another Way to Santiago has rarely been far from my mind.

Now I've finally decided that it must be done - and after dabbling with the idea of walking the Ingles, or the triangle between Santiago, Muxia and Finisterre, I've settled on walking the Portugues between Porto and SdC from the end of April into mid May.

I'm going to check out the various threads in a moment, but I'm keen to ask about the choice between the three paths for this Camino.

The Central appears to be the most popular, but the other two routes have their advocates too.

Which would you take, and why?

Advice and guidance warmly welcomed...
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
I count 4 main variants and several connecting trails in between.
CPor central is the most crowed and known for its cobblestone roads. It's full of history.

The coastal trail becomes very popular after June since you can swim in the sea any time you want. If it is historically authentic, I don't know. The official route does not follow the coastline every day, but goes up and down from village to village or church to church after a while. The so-called litoral variant is intended to follow the coastline if somehow possible.
Since the portuguese made a lot of wooden paths and an unfinished bicycle trail along the seashore it is mostly easy walking without many ups and downs.
A very uncommon alternative is the Caminho passing Braga. It's well marked, but the infrastructure is not as good as on the other variants. It's also less information available.

Most people start with the coastal variant and take a detour to the central trail from Vila do Conde. Walking inside Porto is possible, but not very pleasant, so the coastal variant or the unmarked route along the river towards the coast and then up north is more attractive.
In early May the Bars and restaurants along the coast should be mainly open, but its still to cold for swimming in the Atlantic. If it is windy and rainy it's much easier to walk inland. In summer the coast feels less hot than the interior. So you should consider the weather forecast as well.
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
Thanks very much for that, Pilger99 - that's very useful.

I do like the idea of the coastal variant at first and then turning into the central trail.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I read alot that the coastal route is much more expensive then the central. But after meeting people on my Portuguese camino who took the coastal and started in Lisbon they all disagreed with that. If I ever do the Portuguese again I will take the coastal when I get to Porto. The biggest issue with the Camino that I have is all the road walking. I guess on the coast it is alot more boardwalk walking.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
In my experience, I like the entire Coastal/Senda Litoral route which we did a combination as we felt it was the most rewarding. I don't understand the current view to walk inland to the Central after a few Km on the Coastal. They are both unique and interesting Caminos, the Coastal and the Central and I recommend putting both on your bucket list! I have written extensively about both Caminos, with lots of photos and info to help you decide on one of the Many Ways on the Camino Portugués.

On the coast, Viana do Castelo is a wonderful town, and the ability to see the Santa Luzia monastery at the top of the hill is superb. (day seventeen - my day counting is from Lisbon, NOT Porto!) The walk from the ferry dock on the other side of Caminha is very nice and affords amazing views on the way to Oia. In Oia, the cathedral along the coast is stunning. (day nineteen) I found the walk past Mougás, up and over the mountain on the old Roman road to be quite nice and interesting and as you drop on the other side into Baiona, there are two historic churches, a castle and amazing long sandy beaches suitable to walk upon (day twenty). Again the birdseye views of the coast on this section is quite nice! I didn't even find walking through Vigo to be bad. Folks call it industrial, but the Camino goes through the center of town, by an old Roman bridge, through parks on wonderful trails, then picks up a high shelf road for the final section into Redondela where the two Caminos meet. This shelf road also has amazing views of the bay/estuary below and because it is flat, it is easy walking. Take a look at my photos of this "industrial" day, on day twenty-one and see if you think it is industrial for more than a short ways.

The Central is most historical, starting on day fifteen, with the amazing towns along the way, not to be missed: Tui, Valença, Ponte de Lima, Barcelinhos, at times walking on many glorious and rocky old Roman roads. And the strenuous climb out of Ponte de Lima to Alto da Portela Grande de Labruja (day eighteen) will enthrall you. I didn't even mind walking north out of Porto, through town. Yes, it's on pavement, but a pilgrim needs to do what a pilgrim needs to do, right?

I hope you have a glorious time making up your mind and planning your Camino!
 

Mera

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
Hello all

Having completed the Camino Frances last August and September, the idea of returning to walk another Way to Santiago has rarely been far from my mind.

Now I've finally decided that it must be done - and after dabbling with the idea of walking the Ingles, or the triangle between Santiago, Muxia and Finisterre, I've settled on walking the Portugues between Porto and SdC from the end of April into mid May.

I'm going to check out the various threads in a moment, but I'm keen to ask about the choice between the three paths for this Camino.

The Central appears to be the most popular, but the other two routes have their advocates too.

Which would you take, and why?

Advice and guidance warmly welcomed...
I and my daughter also walked the CF last year, starting on 08/11 and completing it on 09/12. You might have seen us. We each carried a silver-color hiking umbrella (from Gossamer Gear)) for sun protection. People called us "the Umbrellas". It saved us from the midday sun, especially while we were walking the shade-less Meseta. Sometimes we confused people because they would see my daughter/her umbrella (who was always about 5 miles behind of me because she was busy talking) and then suddenly see me/my umbrella so far ahead. Some people actually asked me how I made it so fast. BTW, I actually highly recommend this umbrella which is so very light and can be used for sun and rain. I anchored it to my backpack so used it hand free.

This year, I was torn between Camino del Norte and Camino Portuguese. I decided to do the Norte because it is supposed to be more difficult than Portuguese, and I am not getting younger. Anyone starting Norte at the end of April?
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
I read alot that the coastal route is much more expensive then the central. But after meeting people on my Portuguese camino who took the coastal and started in Lisbon they all disagreed with that. If I ever do the Portuguese again I will take the coastal when I get to Porto. The biggest issue with the Camino that I have is all the road walking. I guess on the coast it is alot more boardwalk walking.
The more I read, the more I agree that the coastal route appears to be the more attractive, certainly at first!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
In my experience, I like the entire Coastal/Senda Litoral route which we did a combination as we felt it was the most rewarding. I don't understand the current view to walk inland to the Central after a few Km on the Coastal. They are both unique and interesting Caminos, the Coastal and the Central and I recommend putting both on your bucket list! I have written extensively about both Caminos, with lots of photos and info to help you decide on one of the Many Ways on the Camino Portugués.

On the coast, Viana do Castelo is a wonderful town, and the ability to see the Santa Luzia monastery at the top of the hill is superb. (day seventeen - my day counting is from Lisbon, NOT Porto!) The walk from the ferry dock on the other side of Caminha is very nice and affords amazing views on the way to Oia. In Oia, the cathedral along the coast is stunning. (day nineteen) I found the walk past Mougás, up and over the mountain on the old Roman road to be quite nice and interesting and as you drop on the other side into Baiona, there are two historic churches, a castle and amazing long sandy beaches suitable to walk upon (day twenty). Again the birdseye views of the coast on this section is quite nice! I didn't even find walking through Vigo to be bad. Folks call it industrial, but the Camino goes through the center of town, by an old Roman bridge, through parks on wonderful trails, then picks up a high shelf road for the final section into Redondela where the two Caminos meet. This shelf road also has amazing views of the bay/estuary below and because it is flat, it is easy walking. Take a look at my photos of this "industrial" day, on day twenty-one and see if you think it is industrial for more than a short ways.

The Central is most historical, starting on day fifteen, with the amazing towns along the way, not to be missed: Tui, Valença, Ponte de Lima, Barcelinhos, at times walking on many glorious and rocky old Roman roads. And the strenuous climb out of Ponte de Lima to Alto da Portela Grande de Labruja (day eighteen) will enthrall you. I didn't even mind walking north out of Porto, through town. Yes, it's on pavement, but a pilgrim needs to do what a pilgrim needs to do, right?

I hope you have a glorious time making up your mind and planning your Camino!
Wow, that’s a fantastic summary, Elle! Thanks so much for your time in providing all this information. I’ll start looking through your links now!
 

JohnLloyd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
I and my daughter also walked the CF last year, starting on 08/11 and completing it on 09/12. You might have seen us. We each carried a silver-color hiking umbrella (from Gossamer Gear)) for sun protection. People called us "the Umbrellas". It saved us from the midday sun, especially while we were walking the shade-less Meseta. Sometimes we confused people because they would see my daughter/her umbrella (who was always about 5 miles behind of me because she was busy talking) and then suddenly see me/my umbrella so far ahead. Some people actually asked me how I made it so fast. BTW, I actually highly recommend this umbrella which is so very light and can be used for sun and rain. I anchored it to my backpack so used it hand free.

This year, I was torn between Camino del Norte and Camino Portuguese. I decided to do the Norte because it is supposed to be more difficult than Portuguese, and I am not getting younger. Anyone starting Norte at the end of April?
I finished my Frances on September 23rd, so I think I was always a few days behind you!

Good idea with the umbrella.
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
@Mera: "Camino del Norte" sounds correct. It's often winding far away from the coast and for sure it starts with a lot ups and downs. It does not really fit to the name "coastal camino", which is much more the case for the one in Portugal/Galicia.
I guess weather in Portugal will be more stable than in green Spain. Starting end of April I'd walk Lisbon - Santiago instead of Irún-Santiago, just to get some sun and warmth. The Fatima area is at least hilly and so a lot of towns. You can even find public elevators to change from upper town to lower town on both ways. In northern Spain you'll have to take more ferries/boats than in Portugal.
 

The Kolbist

Member
Camino(s) past & future
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
If I have to re-do my CP, we would like to include the Spiritual Variant near Pontevedra. I heard its beautiful plus we would have had 3 Caminos in one - Fatima, CP and Spiritual Variant. Who knows next time in CP, we might start in Fatima and take the Coastal Route then Spiritual Variant. Buen Camino...
 

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