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Camino Portugués coastal/litoral: A Guarda to Vigo

MaxHelado

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués via Variante Espiritual 2022
Last year was our first Camino from Vigo to Santiago via the Variante. We had the most wonderful experience and as a direct result of that we are planning to return next year. We are planning to follow the same route (that's how much we loved it) but to start further south - perhaps in A Guarda or Baiona. I've been reading reviews and watched the (excellent) Efrén González videos. In both there seems to be a lot of road walking complete with traffic; multiple references to the fabulous views of the sea but seen from the roadway.

I guess what I'm asking is how does the A Guarda to Vigo stretch compare to the Variante? Would very much appreciate the views of those that have walked both.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
(Note my two biases from the outset: 1) I am not as enamoured with the coast in general as most people seem to be unless it's spectacular, like the Rota Vicentina; and 2) I really loved the Variante Espiritual.)

I have walked both. The part you have already done is the better part; your problem here is that your first camino was too good!

Starting from Baiona is only one more stage before Vigo so that doesn't give you much new walking. A Guarda gives you two short stages (or one long one) more than that.

Yes, there is some road walking, and it's a main road (PO-552) but there is a 'pilgrim lane' (for lack of a better term) at all times - a different coloured shoulder lane. There are views of the sea but not all coastline is created equal and personally I didn't think this stretch was that impressive. It might depend on how drawn you are to the ocean. Between A Guarda and Baiona, most of it looks like this, so you can make of that what you will:


View attachment IMG_8807.MOV

That said, there are some nice highlights. The Oia monastery is one of those (although the visit is by guided tour in Spanish only), and La Cala Inn in Oia is a wonderful place to stay. If you're into sea glass (or think you might be!), the 'beach of the crystals' between Oia and Baiona is a detour from the camino but worth going to. Baiona itself has a nice castle and a long waterfront that includes a couple of small city beaches and a marina. Between Baiona and Vigo (if you take the coastal option) the coastline is less rocky and contains quite a few low-key beaches.

My suggestion for a similar length extension would be to start in Ponte de Lima on the central, from where it's 3-4 stages to Redondela, which you would have been through. This gives you Ponte de Lima itself, a very nice town, plus Valença and Tui on either side of the border and the bridge crossing between them - both are also very interesting. You will also get to walk through a lot of vineyards on this stretch, something I always enjoy.
 
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MaxHelado

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués via Variante Espiritual 2022
Jungleboy, thank you.

I think you hit the nail firmly on the head with your diagnosis and your cure.

I spent a lot of time planning that first Camino - it was more than 2 years in the making because of the pandemic - and I felt that I made a good choice.
Your idea of starting in Ponte de Lima really appeals and I have spent this morning figuring out how that will work. Right now it very much looks like the way I will go.
So thanks!

Any idea of an easy route to Ponte de Lima? I'm flying in from the UK and it looks like the best route is into Porto and then jump on a bus to Ponte de Lima. Does that sound about right? I don't think it makes any sense to travel down from Santiago de Compostela.
 

kenwilltravel

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Jungleboy, thank you.

I think you hit the nail firmly on the head with your diagnosis and your cure.

I spent a lot of time planning that first Camino - it was more than 2 years in the making because of the pandemic - and I felt that I made a good choice.
Your idea of starting in Ponte de Lima really appeals and I have spent this morning figuring out how that will work. Right now it very much looks like the way I will go.
So thanks!

Any idea of an easy route to Ponte de Lima? I'm flying in from the UK and it looks like the best route is into Porto and then jump on a bus to Ponte de Lima. Does that sound about right? I don't think it makes any sense to travel down from Santiago de Compostela.
Ponte de Lima is a great town to start from. As you noted, you can take a bus from Porto to Ponte. Or, you can take the train from Porto to Braga, and then short bus ride from there to Ponte. The last idea that comes to mind is train to Viana do Costello and then bus from there.
 

MaxHelado

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués via Variante Espiritual 2022
Thanks for that info, Ken.
Assuming Rome2Rio is working correctly, it looks like the bus from Porto passes through Viana do Costello and then swings sharp right for Ponte. If that's the case I think I might as well just take the bus for the full route.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Your idea of starting in Ponte de Lima really appeals and I have spent this morning figuring out how that will work. Right now it very much looks like the way I will go.
So thanks!
Great! I think that's an excellent choice.

A couple of early decisions to start thinking about:

1) Where to stay on the first day out of PdL? Rubiães is a common choice at about 19km from PdL, and that's what we did, but it's a bit of a nothing place and if I were to do it again I'd look for a different option. I'm not sure how many other choices there are nearby, though.

2) Valença or Tui? Hard to go wrong here as they're both worth exploring. Or you could choose both and treat yourself to a 2.6km stage between them!
 

kenwilltravel

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Thanks for that info, Ken.
Assuming Rome2Rio is working correctly, it looks like the bus from Porto passes through Viana do Costello and then swings sharp right for Ponte. If that's the case I think I might as well just take the bus for the full route.
Yes, that would be the least complicated way. If you have a little time in Ponte de Lima, you might want to consider checking out some of the museums: 1) wine history of region with tasting room, 2) Portuguese toys, 2) military history of the area. I'd also recommend the Solar do Picato restaurant.
 

MaxHelado

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués via Variante Espiritual 2022
I haven’t found the right place to stay yet (north of Ponte) so will keep looking and stay open to ideas!

Definitely Tui rather than Valença. My heart is in Spain. ❤️

I have watched a couple more youtubes on the Ponte to Redondela route and it looks absolutely perfect. Very excited!
 

kenwilltravel

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
2) Valença or Tui? Hard to go wrong here as they're both worth exploring. Or you could choose both and treat yourself to a 2.6km stage between them!
One thing we did in 2019 that was kind of fun was get a lodging within the Valença fortress and then take the tourist train across the river to the Tui Cathedral, which is well worth seeing. Most of the interesting stuff in those two towns is focused on those two areas: fortress and cathedral.
 

MaxHelado

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués via Variante Espiritual 2022
One thing we did in 2019 that was kind of fun was get a lodging within the Valença fortress and then take the tourist train across the river to the Tui Cathedral, which is well worth seeing. Most of the interesting stuff in those two towns is focused on those two areas: fortress and cathedral.
You stayed in the fortress? That sounds cool. How did you pull that off?
 
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kenwilltravel

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
You stayed in the fortress? That sounds cool. How did you pull that off?
We stayed in a guesthouse called Alojamento da Vila. I just checked booking.com and it's still in operation.

 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
(Note my two biases from the outset: 1) I am not as enamoured with the coast in general as most people seem to be unless it's spectacular, like the Rota Vicentina; and 2) I really loved the Variante Espiritual.)

I have walked both. The part you have already done is the better part; your problem here is that your first camino was too good!

Starting from Baiona is only one more stage before Vigo so that doesn't give you much new walking. A Guarda gives you two short stages (or one long one) more than that.

Yes, there is some road walking, and it's a main road (PO-552) but there is a 'pilgrim lane' (for lack of a better term) at all times - a different coloured shoulder lane. There are views of the sea but not all coastline is created equal and personally I didn't think this stretch was that impressive. It might depend on how drawn you are to the ocean. Between A Guarda and Baiona, most of it looks like this, so you can make of that what you will:


View attachment 132307

That said, there are some nice highlights. The Oia monastery is one of those (although the visit is by guided tour in Spanish only), and La Cala Inn in Oia is a wonderful place to stay. If you're into sea glass (or think you might be!), the 'beach of the crystals' between Oia and Baiona is a detour from the camino but worth going to. Baiona itself has a nice castle and a long waterfront that includes a couple of small city beaches and a marina. Between Baiona and Vigo (if you take the coastal option) the coastline is less rocky and contains quite a few low-key beaches.

My suggestion for a similar length extension would be to start in Ponte de Lima on the central, from where it's 3-4 stages to Redondela, which you would have been through. This gives you Ponte de Lima itself, a very nice town, plus Valença and Tui on either side of the border and the bridge crossing between them - both are also very interesting. You will also get to walk through a lot of vineyards on this stretch, something I always enjoy.
Ponte de Lima maybe my favorite town on any camino.
 
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Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many to count!
1) Where to stay on the first day out of PdL? Rubiães is a common choice at about 19km from PdL, and that's what we did, but it's a bit of a nothing place and if I were to do it again I'd look for a different option. I'm not sure how many other choices there are nearby, though.

2) Valença or Tui? Hard to go wrong here as they're both worth exploring.
There is not much else other than Rubiães for a decent stop. If you go here, I'd recommend the Pilgrim's Nest albergue, if you are OK with a private albergue. It's really a cute place in an old restored building.

72-Albergue-Ninho-Rubiaes.jpg

As for staying in Valença or Tui, I've stayed in both, and my humble opinion is to stay within the walls of Valença. But I am a castle nut, I admit. However, the narrow streets within the walls are fun to explore, as well as walking up and along the ramparts. In Tui, its mostly about the cathedral, but it is very nice too! We stayed in the not expensive Alojamento da Vila which is very nice and newly redone.

I'd also recommend walking over the bridge, on the pedestrian way into Spain. You can do a ridiculous picture like this! Ha ha. One foot in each country!

58-Ponte-International-Tui-Valenca.jpg

The views of the cathedral on the hill in Tui as you cross the River Minho are superb!

If you like, you can read more on my website about day nineteen and day twenty.
Elle
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguez Coastal Litoral 5/22, Ingles 8/22
Oh no! That is stunning! Please tell me you took this picture while standing at the edge of a major road full with trucks and buses! 😀
Actually it was from the balcony of the Hotel in Oia where we were booked, the meal at the restaurant there was top notch too! Yes, the road is close and busy, but the Way is lovely :)
 

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