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Astorga or Porto?

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept/Oct 2018)
#1
For my first Camino, I'm dithering over starting from Astorga or Porto in September. Both are about the distance I want to walk, so that I can finish what I start in a reasonable period of time. I won't be in the best shape, so I'd prefer frequent opportunities to stop for the night without committing to long daily distances, especially the first week or so. Natural beauty and cultural interests are equally important to me and I'd prefer rural lanes to highway traffic. I doubt there is a bad choice, but can anyone who has done both routes offer pros and cons that might help me decide? Among all the guidebooks, I have yet to find the kind of overview that might help me choose.
 

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Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#2
Hi there!

I've done both routes, and the good thing is that you can't make a bad choice :) Both options are great.

By any chance, do you speak Portuguese or Spanish? Although you may not even need it, if you speak any of those, it may intensify the experience on that route.

Here is a very simplistic list of things about both trails:

From Astorga (Frances route)
- accommodation and food everywhere;
- plenty of water fountains along the way;
- food was very good;
- breathtaking cathedrals and historical places;
- a truckload of people after Sarria (which was not a problem for me, but can be for those who like the quietness).

From Porto (Portugues route)
- port wine port wine port wine PORT WINE;
- amazing dream-level best food ever for very cheap;
- everyone in Portugal seems to speak a lot of languages;
- quieter route, but less offer of food/accommodation (not to worrying levels though)
- cobblestones aplenty (i dont mind them, but my husband had his feet completely flattened) and a few roads;
- the challenge of Alto da Portela, which I thought was much harder than Cebreiro.

Anyway, I loved both. Whatever yo choose, is a good choice. For some people, starting in Porto may give the sensation of a "full route", but the camino starts when you leave your home's door, so do what you feel like doing! :)
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#3
For my first Camino, I'm dithering over starting from Astorga or Porto in September. Both are about the distance I want to walk, so that I can finish what I start in a reasonable period of time. I won't be in the best shape, so I'd prefer frequent opportunities to stop for the night without committing to long daily distances, especially the first week or so. Natural beauty and cultural interests are equally important to me and I'd prefer rural lanes to highway traffic. I doubt there is a bad choice, but can anyone who has done both routes offer pros and cons that might help me decide? Among all the guidebooks, I have yet to find the kind of overview that might help me choose.
Having done both, Astorga gets my vote.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#4
Very hard to say! Especially as chocolate is now off my menu! Close your eyes and put in a pin in a map... because whichever one you choose, you will probably do the other one later... ( I have walked both)
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 3 2017 to July 2017
#5
Astorga to Sarria is my favorite section of the French Way, but those would be some mean hills to climb without being in walking condition. I also left the U.S. out of shape, but the 500KM before Astorga at least got me into walking shape! Also, there are so extremely rocky sections that will be difficult if you are not already used to hiking. I've don't know Porto to Santiago, but I've walked the SW coast of Portugal, and it was much, much more forgiving than Astorga to Santiago. Good luck!
 

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