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Camino Portugues hesitation

Discussion in 'Camino Portugues' started by Rossco, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Rossco

    Rossco New Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino de Santiago October/November 2015, Camino Portugues September 2017
    I plan to walk the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon to Santiago then hopefully onto Finesterre at the end of August. I'm committed with flights from Paris and accommodation in Lisbon but I am willing to forego the cost and redo the Camino de Santiago walk from Le Puy to SJDP because I have been reading some posts on Facebook that there is a lot of walking beside roads and highways as well as industrial areas and the scenery is quite bland. I would appreciate any advice from pilgrims with experience walking this route.
     
    HighlandsHiker and natefaith like this.
  2. onwayhome

    onwayhome Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances Ponferrada-Santiago,(c1986)
    Frances SJPP-Santiago (2011)
    Portuguese Porto- Finisterre (2016)
    St Michaels Way (2016)
    Hi Rossco, I'd say the Porto to Finisterre section has plenty of walking off road through some fine towns and villages, with the option of taking a route along the sea. I haven't walked the Lisbon to Porto section so can't comment. For road walking I carry a super lightweight fluorescent reflective vest which scrunches up into a pocket. I like to think that dangling it from my pole holding hand nearest the traffic creates a bit more space between me and the cars but this may be illusory!
     
    Mike Savage, natefaith and Rossco like this.
  3. Travellingman

    Travellingman Active Member

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    Hi, I've just returned from walking the Porto - Santiago section, and I must say I found it very disappointing.
    I took the metro from Porto to Vila do Conde to start - VERY busy roads, with no markings/arrows at all until Arcos, where the central route joined.
    Long stretches of narrow, busy roads, with no pavement - it was really quite scary in places.
    OK, it wasn't all bad, but there was a lot of tarmac, with much more traffic than, for instance, the Ingles, and certainly the Frances.
    This was my 11th camino walk, and by far the worst.
    FWIW, I'd say, "Go for the Frances, every time"
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  4. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances from 2006 to 2013. Camino del Norte from Donostia to Llanes - 2014. May 2015: Primitivo. May 2016: Portuguese central + variante espiritual. April 2017: half of VDLP.
    Well, I walked Porto to Santiago last May and also did not enjoy it, in fact I was afraid I no longer liked Caminos, but no, it's just this one I didn't like. Hardly pulled out my camera, which says a lot.

    This being said, I did not find it had lots of road walking, perhaps because I have been on the Norte and Primitivo before. But beautiful,it is not. If you've loved Le Puy I am thinking you may bitterly disappointed.

    As for the quoted bit above: there is no reason to leave Porto by metro as you can reach Villa do Conde by walkijg along the coast on the boardwalk. And yes, I also got lots leaving VdoC following the aquaduct, but that was my fault as thr guidebook didmsay itmwas not mark and Imthought it said the other route was not marked.
     
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  5. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Co Wicklow, Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Burgos-Santiago (2009) Lourdes-Burgos (2009) Logrono-Rabanal (2014) Leon-Santiago (May 2015) Norte (August 2015) Primitivo (May 2016) Baztan (October 2016) Porto-SdC (November 2016) Madrid (May 2017)
    @Rossco
    Horses for courses!!
    I walked Porto to SdC in November last year, the first two days along the littoral route and thereafter on the 'coastal' route. [I give up with the designations, they don't make sense to me.]
    I really liked it!!! Very quiet. Some very picturesque towns along the way. I don't recall long stretches on the road......my memory may be fading....but I don't remember being uncomfortable on roads. I would do it again.

    I did record most of my days here

    Here is what I said one day...

    Today's walk from Tamel Sao Pedro to Ponte de Lima 25km in strong sun, downhill, through autumnal vineyards, seeing a ewe lambing, rivals any other Camino day I have done anywhere for natural beauty........ Again only 3 of us in another very well equipped, historic and very friendly muni albergue.
    I'm very conscious that if it were raining heavily it would not be so romantically beautiful. But it is summer in November here. Feeling blessed!
     
  6. tillyjones

    tillyjones Active Member

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    I'm having similar concerns about my upcoming VDLP.
     
  7. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    The bits on VDLP along roads will quickly be forgotten when you walk through the dehesa. But there are also parts through vineyards where there is nothing to look at, nor anywhere to hide from the sun, but the terrain is excellent for walking: hard /compact, FLAT soil. Very few tractor tracks or loose stones.
     
    HighlandsHiker likes this.
  8. Shushy

    Shushy New Member

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    My husband and I walked from Santarem to Santiago last June/July and found the whole experience wonderful. Very tough, long days at times. This is the only camino we have walked. I suppose everyone has a different view of what they want our of their experience. We chose the Portuguese route as we did not want to walk with many others. Every day was quiet and beautiful at times, and at other times not great. From what I have read one cannot avoid busy roads and the occasional highway but we never felt unsafe. The only unsafe thing were the low road signs which my husband walked into twice. He is 6 four 4 inches and when walking along narrow roads one has to keep ones head focused on the road below ones feet. We always spent time with other Pilgrims along the way. We wrote a blog which you may find interesting and I took many beautiful photographs. Ourwayportuguesecaminho.wordpress.com. I would suggest walking from Porto after spending a day or two there and also we took a break in Ponte de Lima. Sad to miss out on Coimbra which is a wonderful town. Oldest university in Europe. Remember, everyone has there own views and preferences. If you want to be with people all the time, then I do not think the Portuguese route is the way for you. Kind regards, Shushy
     
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  9. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Frances (2011) C.del Ebro from Zaragoza to Logrono + C.Frances till Carrion de los Condes ( 2013) Ingles (2014) Portugues from Porto (2015).SdC to Fisterra (2016) C. Frances from Carrion dlC to Astorga ( 2017 )
    I had the same positive feelings as @timr . I really like this Camino ( from Porto ) After Barcelos no cobblestones anymore. Enough pilgrims but not a massive influx. More than adequate albergues. Great cuisine and above all wonderful people the Portugues.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017 at 11:19 AM
  10. amorfati1

    amorfati1 Veteran Member

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    please do keep in mind that some folks simply don't 'get it right' and miss the path (yellow arrows) and then indeed end up alongside busy roadways. has happened to many (most?) of us.
    but that does not mean it's entirely this way. or the intended caminho.
    yes, there is some alongside roadways - but to depict it as "lot of walking beside roads and highways as well as industrial areas and the scenery is quite bland." is not only misleading, but distortive.
    but who knows - everyones perception is different. i learned long ago not to 'argue' perceptions.
    i walked alone from Lisboa to SdC - and found the camino to be a treasure , and the landscape enchanting. and the people to be treasures as well.
    yes, there are flat parts around the tejo-valley ... but that's what many river plains do look like.
    Bom Caminho -
     
  11. Kimmo Olari

    Kimmo Olari Kimmo Donating Member

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    Camino Frances -15, Via de la Plata -15, camino Sanabres-16. Future Camino Portugues -17
    I certainly agree with those positive comments above. Wright now spending a day off at Porto. The Way from Lisbon has been amazing, especially this time of the year. The country side is so decorated with thousands of flowers, witch completely makes one to walk in wonderland. After 21 days walking we stood ahead of the most incredible skenery of Porto.
    I understand too. We all have our opinion, and the Justice to it, but at least for us this has been the number 1 , so far. Have walked CF and VdlP before. I will encourage all those who do hesitate this route. Don't worry about the highways. There is always a sidewalk along those few kilometers, and there really is a few of them. We always have had a bed to sleep and proprly of caminofrends to enjoy of the evenings.
    So, forget worries and go ahead.
    Bom Caminho
     
  12. HighlandsHiker

    HighlandsHiker Member

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    Upcoming: 2017 May Norte+Primitivo
    I thank you so much! That's what I'd suspected after reading many accounts of it that even from here seemed to be minimizing.
     
  13. philip a tobin

    philip a tobin irish scouse

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    ,St jean Santiafgo 2013. Leon Santiago 2014.Porto Santiago 2015.....from Burgos 22/08/17.
    I have posted in the past about my Camino from Oporto,it was mainly to say how much I hated the miles of cobblestones that played havoc with my feet,also my nervousness at so much road walking on busy roads,but above all,the wonderful ,helpful Portuguese people that made the 'negatives' fade into the background.From the incredible city of Oporto,to the remoter areas of the countryside I met the same kindness,helpfulness and encouragement that will stay in my memory forever.
     
  14. LakeMcD

    LakeMcD Active Member

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    I walked from Lisboa to Santiago last year, late June thru July. There are some downsides compared to the Frances, but all in all I enjoyed it immensely. If I were to recommend this to a friend I would suggest starting in Tomar, the Templar castle there was one of the highlights of the trip as well as the day's walk out of Porto along the waterfront, after the short transit hop. The Spiritual Variant I would also highly recommend. I enjoy Portugal and find the people there very hospitable and gracious to pilgrims.
     
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  15. Kimmo Olari

    Kimmo Olari Kimmo Donating Member

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    Some more observations.
    No meseta/dehesa. Quite a lot up/downhills, prefer to take poles, IF possible. Portuguese people are just great. Food is absolutely good and cheap. Example: where can you find a menu for 5€( 2 platos+ desert+ wine) in CF. Here in Porto those are almost every corner, excluding the tourist area on the Riverside. All the Way the prices in cafes are close to ridiculous. And there are a huge among of them.
    I am expecting, that it will be a bit change on next days, but we are ready for it.
    Again. Do not hesitate. Take the first step. Camino is always a Camino, where ever you are currently walking.
     
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  16. happymarkos

    happymarkos HappyMark

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    St Jean to Santiago in 2013.
    Le Puy to St Jean and on to Roncevaux 2014
    Volunteered in Camino Office in St JPDP October 2014 and October 2016
    Lisbon to Santiago 2016
    Hi Rossco
    I have done both walks and they are very different. The walk from Le Puy is mainly on paths and through fields and forests. Having said that some of the paths are rough and I have heard it said it is the toughest of the Caminos due to the steep sections before Cahor. We walked in late August through September so a similar time to you. Just be aware if the French are on holidays accommodation can be tricky and it is more expensive that Portugal. It follows the GR 65 a French walking route and approximates what might have been the original route, with variations. We found it very beautiful.
    On the Portuguese Camino, we left from Lisbon in September last year and it was was mainly on roads, hot and dry and not as scenic. The people were helpful and the accommodation easy to find. From Porto we walked the central route which improved as we got closer to Santiago, still mainly on roads so not very attractive compared to walking in France.
    We are considering walking the coastal route from Porto this September as from all we have heard it is the pick of the routes although not as well signed and accommodation can be a challenge. So Le Puy to St Jean is about 740 km and somewhat longer than Camino Portugues at about 613 km. Hope this helps.
     
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  17. Ange13

    Ange13 New Member

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    SJPdP to SDC .... 2014

    Lisbon to SDC ... 2017
    I, also, am currently in Porto after walking from Lisbon. Tomorrow I plan to walk 1 day coast route and then return to central route. I absolutely disagree with the comment that there are sidewalks at every roadside. I have felt unsafe (because of cars) multiple times. This is not from missing arrows or walking an incorrect path. There is a tremendous amount of asphalt walking. My daughter (whom is walking with me now, and also joined me on CF 3 years ago) and I both agree that up to this point any camino in Spain would have been a better choice. However, that being said, the people here in Portugal are WONDERFUL!!!! The food is really good, too. The weather has been great and , yes, there are tons of flowers. If you decide to walk the Portuguese route , do NOT stray from the recommended stops otherwise you may have some very long walks .... and make sure you take your guide book. This is a very different type of Camino. I am not in favor of using different modes of transportation during my camino , BUT , if I knew then what I know now, I would train/bus the stages from Lisbon to Santarem. Also taking the detour to Fatima then back to Tomar, does create some hard days, but that is a great option!

    I just want to add that 3 years ago my daughter and I walked Camino Frances starting in SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela (during June/July) in 26 days. Hard, long and hot days was not something that we were not expecting. What we were not expecting was the amount of pavement pounding combined with the extremely fast driving Portuguese culture.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017 at 6:24 PM
  18. frida1

    frida1 Active Member

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    I walked the Frances in 2014. Last year I did the Portugues from Santarem to Santiago, and then on to Muxia. I very much enjoyed the Portugues. Walking on an asphalt lane is not too different from the senda along the highways on the Frances in terms on road surface. The Portugues is very different from the Frances, but I loved it. There are quite a few beautiful old towns, including Santarem, Golega, Tomar, Coimbra before you reach Porto. After Porto, there are many more pilgrims, and lots of beautiful towns and forest walking. The Portugues people are very friendly, and in my opinion the food is really good. Because it is less traveled, there is more a sense of walking among locals, and being catered to by locals then along the Frances where so much is camino-oriented.
     
  19. Cmess

    Cmess New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Norte,
    I too am considering walking the Portugues from Porto to Santiago, but it seems that there are many mixed reviews. Anyone know how this route compares to the Camino Norte? I have walked that in the past and enjoyed it very much. Also, it seems difficult to tell whether the coastal route or the inland route is the better option. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Which is more scenic, has less roads, and has interesting towns?
     
  20. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    Camino Frances from 2006 to 2013. Camino del Norte from Donostia to Llanes - 2014. May 2015: Primitivo. May 2016: Portuguese central + variante espiritual. April 2017: half of VDLP.
    Nothing scenic on the central Portuguese from Porto to Santiago other than the few km along the Ruta de piedra & agua on the Variante espiritual. It doesn't hold a candle to the Norte.
     
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  21. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Frances (2011) C.del Ebro from Zaragoza to Logrono + C.Frances till Carrion de los Condes ( 2013) Ingles (2014) Portugues from Porto (2015).SdC to Fisterra (2016) C. Frances from Carrion dlC to Astorga ( 2017 )

    Barcelos and Ponte de Lima in Portugal are more than worthwile to stroll around. The same goes for Pontevedra in Spain.
    The walk from Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes is gorgeous!!
     
  22. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    Camino Frances from 2006 to 2013. Camino del Norte from Donostia to Llanes - 2014. May 2015: Primitivo. May 2016: Portuguese central + variante espiritual. April 2017: half of VDLP.
    But visiting these towns will take an hour or so, Pontevedra 90 minutes, or the equivalent of half a day's walk. Getting to them is pretty blah, and the Caminos are about the route, the walking. :rolleyes:
     
  23. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Of course " De gustibus etc " but I can easily spend a day in these towns visiting a church, the odd museum here and there and above all savouring the food and just spending time on an outside terrace seeing the world and pilgrims go by.
     
  24. laineylainey

    laineylainey Active Member Donating Member

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    2012 - 2015 Camino Frances completed
    2015 - Santiago - Finistere- Muxia
    2016 - Portuguese coastal route -Porto to Santiago
    2017 - hopefully Salvador and Primitivo
    I recommend the Portuguese coastal route for a very different and wonderful experience, but then I just love being close to the sea!
    I walked the Frances to Muxia over 4 years and when I decided to walk the Portuguese coastal last year, my main challenge was to leave or try to minimise the" comparisions" else I would get all caught up in "this is worse/better than....." It worked for me and I had a splendid time and can only echo some of the real positive comments there have been said ( especially timr)about the Portuguese camino. I am hoping to walk the Primitivo and Salvador this year and again I am expecting a very different experience! Also when I think back, I remember being told, reading, hearing that the Meseta on the Frances was best missed and I am so glad I didn't listen because for me it was one of the most beautiful parts and there being fewer walkers, when I was there, gloriously quiet in parts, giving me the chance to really experience it.
     
  25. WayWalker

    WayWalker New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances, St. Jean to Santiago Sept/Oct 2013 Camino Finnesterre Santiago to Finnesterre Oct.2013
    Camino Portuguese Lisboa to Santiago Sept/Oct 2016
    Camino do Costal October 2016
    Variante Espiritual October 2016
    Camino Muxia Santiago to Muxia October 2016
    My husband and I walked from Lisbon in September of 2016. Lisbon to Porto is tough with long stages and yes there is a lot of road walking. Tough road walking....and cobblestones. Roads with no shoulder and cars going VERY fast. They are trying to mitigate this on the route and so it keeps changing here and there. There are towns in this section that I feel sorry for anyone to never see in their lifetime!!! I will say that the coastal route from Porto on is FANTASTIC. No better scenery to be had if you like wild coastlines. Great coastal towns with ancient monasteries. Oia comes to mind. It is very different from the Frances, less populated with pilgrims but as many say, the people are amazing, the food is wonderful. I wouldn't have missed this one for anything. If I go back I'd love to go Porto to Santiago. From Ponte Vedra the Variante Espiritual is not to be missed. This was so unlike anything I saw on the Frances. My blog if your interested is http://jcadventures83.blogspot.com/ Bom Caminho~
     
  26. John Ferguson

    John Ferguson New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    The French Way May/June (2015) Complete.
    Proposed - Porto Way from Lisbon May(2017).

    Thank You for this. I'm leaving May 9th, from Lisbon. Reading some of these comments have put the Fear into me, But I've walked from StJPdP two years ago, walked the entire 800 Km. I will remain optimistic and open minded on the Portuguese Route, some people just might expect too much. I will report back!
     
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  27. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    This is a debate without resolution, but I think it's good for people to give opinions. In the end it's up to you. Some people love the Caminho from Lisbon, some don't

    (try maggie's blog for one of those who loved it.
    https://magwood.me/my-caminos/camino-portuguese/)

    You can see Kimmo's live comments sprinkled through these threads, and I think it's a fair evaluation to say he and his wife are loving it, so it is definitely an individualized opinion with a lot of variation.

    In part, I think the opinion has to do with the expectations, the weather you got, the people you met (or didn't meet), your body's conditions, etc. There is no denying that there is a lot of asphalt on this route, but there is also a lot of asphalt on the Camino del Norte and increasingly more and more on the Frances itself.

    I was in Conimbriga at the Roman ruins a few weeks ago and I met two pilgrims. One was a Danish guy and the other was a Brazilian. The Dane was loving it, the Brazilian wasn't. They both started in Lisbon, had essentially been staying in the same places, and had experienced the same weather. One said there was a lot of asphalt, the other said it wasn't a problem. One thought the towns were interesting, the other didn't, on and on (though I will inject a judgment here, I don't know how anyone can think that the Convento do Cristo in Tomar is "not interesting.")

    When I walked from Lisbon in 2008, it was hard to extract that "camino feeling," in part because there were no pilgrims and no albergues. Both of those facts have changed dramatically now. I would highly recommend the albergue in Alpriate for your first night's stay. 20 km from the Cathedral in Lisbon, it is an albergue run by the Via Lusitana (the Lisbon Amigos group). Good place to meet those who will be in your "pilgrim cohort" and to get up to date information from the hospitalero/a.

    In opinions as in all else -- vive la difference! Bom caminho, Laurie
     
  28. Chito

    Chito Member Donating Member

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    Planning to begin my second Camino April 15, 2017. I loved doing the Camino Frances last year from Saint Jean. This year I'd like to do a different one; not sure whether to do the Portuguese route or from Madrid or ? On the Frances I enjoyed doing 15 to 20 K per day. Of course there were days where I walked less and walked more. I'm not keen on the idea of taking transportation to auberge's off the Camino and would like to find beds on the Camino or in Villages that the Camino passes through. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks
    I am currently on the Camino from Porto to Santiago. I took the coastal route for the first couple days out of Porto and joined the central route; currently in Ponte De Lima. I'm enjoying it very much. The food along the coast is awesome and it reminds me very much of the northwest coast of California. On the central route also the food has been wonderful and it is even less expensive than Spain. The auberge's have been great. The coastal route a bit after Porto was very much on boardwalks which I found very comfortable on my feet. I am enjoying the fact that many of the small churches are open, people are very friendly and so far so good.
    Whichever route you decide, I wish you a Bon Camino.
     
  29. ctdkite

    ctdkite New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    hoping
    We walked Porto to Santiago last April and loved it. We found it scenic. I'm never sure why people have problems with cobblestones. It is not supposed to be trail hike, its a pilgrimage.
     
  30. John Ferguson

    John Ferguson New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    4
    Camino(s) past & future:
    The French Way May/June (2015) Complete.
    Proposed - Porto Way from Lisbon May(2017).

    Thank You very much. Perecption is everything. I've put the Alburge Alpriate into my guide.
     
  31. Kimmo Olari

    Kimmo Olari Kimmo Donating Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Finland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances -15, Via de la Plata -15, camino Sanabres-16. Future Camino Portugues -17
    Today continued from Porto, the costal. At the moment staying at Labruge, a lovely albegue, renoved from a former scool building. No bunkbeds. Good facilities, donativo. Restaurant and minimarket just around the corner. For those, who start in Porto a reasonable distance to walk for the first day. Only 900 meters inside from the seaside. Can highly recommendate.
    Bom Caminho.
     
    Rossco, Mike Savage, MeliCunn and 2 others like this.
  32. HighlandsHiker

    HighlandsHiker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    79
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Sept/Oct 2015 Frances
    May/June 2016 Frances
    Upcoming: 2017 May Norte+Primitivo
    WayWalker, did you have any trouble with the markers on the Coastal? And you're talking about the Coastal and not the Littoral, right? I also like wild coastlines, but had heard that the Coastal was inland for long stretches so that the coast really wasn't visible. I have a guide book for it, but it really helps to hear the first-hand accounts like yours, so thanks!!
     
  33. John Briscoe

    John Briscoe New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    21
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francais 2014
    Camino Portuguese 2016
    I loved Portugal and Spain. But apart from the walking (we walked from Porto in May 2016), the towns of Lisbon, Santarem, Tomar, Coimbra and Porto to name but a few are spectacular. The quiet after the Francais (September 2014) was noticeable. The people were friendly, generous and helpful. Every day was an adventure for my wife and I.
     
    Rossco, Mike Savage and laineylainey like this.
  34. John Briscoe

    John Briscoe New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    21
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francais 2014
    Camino Portuguese 2016
    Also if you would like to read my story of the Camino in Portugal, you can find it listed in www.johnandlindatravels.com
     

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