Search 62305 Camino Questions

Caminho Central General Discussion (Faro-Santarém)

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some 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
 
Last edited:
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some 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
Time of 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.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese

The Yukon

Member
Time of 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)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some 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

Member
Time of 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.
 
Pocket guides that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
I looked into this camino a little more closely today as I might have a window to walk it this spring. Here are the potential stages, taken from the excellent official guide referenced above from the Alentejo onwards and from Douglas A Johnson's website for the first three stages in the Algarve:

1 − Faro > Loulé 24km
2 − Loulé > Salir 21km
3 − Salir > Ameixial 23km
4 − Ameixial > Santa Cruz 15km
5 − Santa Cruz > Almodôvar 20km
6 − Almodôvar > Castro Verde 30km
7 − Castro Verde > Messejana 29km
8 − Messejana > Fornalhas Velhas 23km
9 − Fornalhas Velhas > São Domingos 20km
10 − São Domingos > Santiago do Cacém 24km
11 − Santiago do Cacém > Roncão 22km
12 − Roncão > Grândola 23km
13 − Grândola > Alcácer do Sal 33km
14 − Alcácer do Sal > Casebres 23km
15 − Casebres > Vendas Novas 22km
16 − Vendas Novas > Branca 33km
17 − Branca > Santo Estêvão 17km
18 − Santo Estêvão > Samora Correia > Benavente 26km
19 − Benavente > Muge 19km
20 − Muge > Santarém 20km

(In the Alentejo stages there are differences, including possible inconsistencies, between the two sources, but I'll cross that bridge later.)

For the Algarve stages, this site lists some recommended accommodation options.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
Some in the past; more in the future!
As part of my very preliminary investigation into this route, today I looked at accommodation options just to see what pilgrims would be looking at.

Firstly, Santa Cruz at the end of stage 4 has basically no services, and since it's only a 15km day and the next day is 20km, I think combining these two into one 35km day would make sense. That would make it 19 stages in all, rather than the 20 I listed in the previous post.

Of the 19 end-of-stage destinations, six have no listings on Booking.com and the official guide recommends contacting the parish council (junta de freguesia) at these places to arrange accommodation. This is a bit inconvenient but we did it several times on the Caminho Nascente last year and it always worked out. The six places are: Fornalhas Velhas (stage 7), São Domingos (8), Casebres (13), Branca (15), Santo Estêvão (16) and Muge (18).

The remaining 13 end-of-stage destinations have accommodation options, apparently including one albergue, in Ameixial. Apart from this, most options cost between €30-50 on Booking.com.

Here are the most budget-friendly options I found doing a quick search in each place. Bear in mind that pilgrim discounts can sometimes be had by calling in advance, or that the parish council might be able to provide more economical accommodation in these places too. Prices are for single rooms unless otherwise indicated.

Faro - Baixa Terrace Hostel - singles €26, dorms €14
Loulé - Loulé Careto Hostel - singles €30, dorms €12
Salir - Casa da Mae - €38 (€32 w/ Booking.com Genius discount)
Almodôvar - several options on Booking from €35-45, e.g. A Casa da Vila
Castro Verde - Hotel Vila Verde €53
Messejana - A Praia da Messejana €90!
Santiago do Cacém - A Deolinda €40
Roncão - Vivenda Palheiras, entire home! €50
Grândola - Casa Vaz 2 - €41
Alcácer do Sal - Alcácer 4Ever - €38
Vendas Novas - MIX inn, €55
Benavente - O Cantinho €40
Santarém - Santarém Hostel, dorms €24, single €48
 

jill___a

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Caminho Português / Variante Espiritual 2021

Santarém - Santarém Hostel, dorms €24, single €48

I’d like to add this recommendation in Santarém: Villa Graça - Hostels and Apartments // +351 243 327 127. I stayed in a bunk room in September, and I had the room to myself. It appeared to be brand new, and it was impeccably clean.

Downstairs is an excellent restaurant,
Pátio da Graça. It’s a splurge, but a delicious one—blending Peruvian and Japanese cuisines.

Also, the city is beautiful!
 

The Yukon

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese, Jacobs Weg, Camino Frances, Tui to Fatima
Thanks for this excellent information, Nick. Finally, got back home this week to the subArctic at -37 and a couple meters of snow in the yard, so the thought of coming back again next December for a sunny, warm walk (like this year from Lisbon) on the southern route that you've illuminated is enchanting indeed.
 

How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2023 Camino Guides
Top