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Caminho Central General Discussion (Faro-Santarém)

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
The Caminho Central is one of the three caminos being developed by the Caminhos de Santiago Alentejo e Ribatejo, a government-tourism project (along with the Caminho Nascente and Caminho da Raia). It begins in Faro on the Algarve coast of Portugal and ends in Santarém (about 20 stages by the looks of it), where it joins onto the main route of the Caminho Português from Lisbon.

Resources:

Official Site - includes GPS tracks and a free downloadable guide. The guide only covers the stages in the Alentejo and Ribatejo, but this is almost all of the camino, missing out only the first several stages in the Algarve.

Map - the Central is in brown:

Screen Shot 2021-04-16 at 11.51.11 AM copy.PNG
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I haven’t looked into the Central that much yet as I was more focused on / attracted by the Nascente. From skimming the official guide, I have the impression that the Central is the biggest focus camino out of the three (possibly because it’s the only one that includes the Ribatejo in addition to the Alentejo).

Of the places that the Central passes through, the starting point at Faro is obviously well known and easy to get to, while Grândola is famous in Portugal as a song about the town, Grândola, Vila Morena, was played on the radio as a signal for the 1974 revolution to begin. Two places on the route, Santiago do Cacém and Alcácer do Sal, were once the Portuguese headquarters of the Order of Santiago. Because the order was responsible for the reconquest of southern Portugal and with its obvious connection to the pilgrim route, highlighting the order’s activities is a big part of the historical justification of these new routes.

There are also two different ways to go from Castro Verde to Santiago do Cacém, and the ‘Atlantic Way’ also opens up the possibility of connecting with the Rota Vicentina.
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I pieced together a trip that takes in the Templar sites in west Portugal..e.g., .Sintra, Santarem, Tomar, Braga, Pombal and Soure. It is not easily walked and has several bus/train days. It's one of many COVID plans that I may not ever be able to actually execute, but it looks interesting.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

The Yukon

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese, Jacobs Weg, Camino Frances, Tui to Fatima
The first phase of a large camino mural has just been completed in Santiago do Cacém on the Caminho Central. The mural is 100m long! Here is a picture of part of it:

View attachment 113996

More pictures and a short article in Portuguese here:

Mural em Santiago do Cacém já saúda quem se aventura pelos Caminhos de Santiago
Thanks for this! My plan has been to start in Lisbon during the charmingly quiet winter season in Portugal. It seems I’m later than planned given that I stopped in the Azores to climb Mount Pico, Portugal’s highest peak, before embarking on the Portuguese from Lisbon. Now that I see this mural, I should ask folks if it makes any sense to begin at this new mural location. My initial plan was to begin in the very south where jungleboy and Wendy began earlier, but then with Covid, and winter, and limited Portuguese, I thought Lisbon would be the wiser starting point at this moment with less lodging options available. Suggestions would be welcome. Hoping to fly Azores to Lisbon tomorrow.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Now that I see this mural, I should ask folks if it makes any sense to begin at this new mural location. My initial plan was to begin in the very south where jungleboy and Wendy began earlier, but then with Covid, and winter, and limited Portuguese, I thought Lisbon would be the wiser starting point at this moment with less lodging options available.
If you still want to start on the south coast, you have two main options to reach Santiago: from Tavira on the Nascente-Torres-CPI/Geira/CP (what we did) or from Faro on the Central, joining the CP in Santarém. I think this second option would be best at this time of year as it's in the western (more populated) part of Portugal with more accommodation options, and it spends less time on remote caminos (about 20 stages Faro-Santarém). I'm guessing a bit here and you'd have to look into it, but because lodging is usually not going to be in the form of (seasonal) albergues on the southern routes anyway, there might still be enough places open even in winter.

If you want to do a truncated Central starting at the mural, it's about a 2-hour bus ride from Lisbon to Santiago do Cacém and then 11 stages on the camino to Santarém. I haven't been to Santiago do Cacém yet but I sense it's considered the 'anchor point' of this Caminho Central given its connection with the Order of Santiago. Although doing it this way would miss about nine stages of walking in the very south, where the weather is still nice (e.g. 19 degrees Celsius and sunny all day in Faro tomorrow).

Bom caminho whatever you decide!
 

The Yukon

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese, Jacobs Weg, Camino Frances, Tui to Fatima
Thanks Nick. I’ll do some sleuthing on places to stay further south.
And thanks for noting the balmy weather in Faro. I confess that I live near the Arctic Circle because I do heat rather poorly. 0C to 15C is pretty much ideal. Northern Portugal offers that in winter; hence, an ideal place to walk.

Tonight or tomorrow I’m going to hit one of those two restaurants/pubs with a view that you mentioned - if that’s even allowed. As you mentioned earlier, restaurants might be more open. That makes a lot of sense.

Things were wide open and masks were enforced on Terceira, Faial and Pico Islands.
 
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