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Central Day 1 Route Options Porto to Vilarinho

Maurice Frank

Camino for Community
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances Sept-Oct 2023, Portuguese July-Aug 2024
Hello,

I am walking the Portuguese Central starting in Porto on July 24.

I have read that many people consider the first day out of Porto to be unpleasant because it is too much in the city, through an industrial area, and sometimes on roads with inadequate space between walkers and cars.

I have a reservation in Vilarhino for my first night and I want to stay there.

I have the 2024 Brierley Portuguese guide and I have studied the map on page 116 (stage 14) and other maps including Wise Pilgrim, Buen Camino, Camino Ninja, Gronze Maps, and others.

Yes, I know there are bus and train options to skip the walk through the city. I want to walk as much of my Camino as I can.

Are there any route alternatives from Porto to Vilarinho that I should consider? If so, are they waymarked (yellow arrows) or documented anywhere?

I have read other messages in this forum where members have described starting up the Coastal then crossing over to the Central, including a route from Vila do Conde back to Vilarinho. What is the approximate distance? I walked a few 30 km on my first Camino (Frances) last year. I train extensively and am very fit.

Thank you for your guidance.

Maurice Frank
 
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From what I understand, walking through the city is to be avoided. From the cathedral, the walk along the Douro River is quite enjoyable and it brings you out to the coast. From there just head north. Walk as far as Labruge the first day (about 25 km). From there on Day 2, I’d walk to Vila do Conde and cut in there toward the Central Route for an overnight in Sao Pedro de Rates (about 25 km). Another option which I have done is to take the bus from near the cathedral to Matosinhos and begin your Camino there. Go as far as Vila do Conde (about 25 km) that first day and then cut in the next day in the direction of Barcelos. Bom Caminho!
 
From what I understand, walking through the city is to be avoided. From the cathedral, the walk along the Douro River is quite enjoyable and it brings you out to the coast. From there just head north. Walk as far as Labruge the first day (about 25 km). From there on Day 2, I’d walk to Vila do Conde and cut in there toward the Central Route for an overnight in Sao Pedro de Rates (about 25 km). Another option which I have done is to take the bus from near the cathedral to Matosinhos and begin your Camino there. Go as far as Vila do Conde (about 25 km) that first day and then cut in the next day in the direction of Barcelos. Bom Caminho!
Thanks for the reply. I’d follow this plan if I had two days but I want to reach Vilarinho the first day. (I edited my original post to clarify that)
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hi, I did the Portuguese last year and I recommended skipping the walk out of Porto. It feels never-ending, but I also had food poisoning so I was generally miserable anyway. I thought it would be exciting to start at the cathedral, that I’d see other pilgrims gathered at the cathedral..but there were none. And I barely saw any pilgrims walking through Porto. I’d recommend getting a cab and starting at Vilar do Pinheiro and doing a short day (9 km) to Vilarihno. That will get you well rested for the following day to Barcelos which is 29 km, if you choose to do that.

I am a person who wants to walk every step and experience even urban sprawl but like I said the walk out of Porto is never-ending, it’s so blah. Skip it. You won’t miss anything except suburbs, highways, and an industrial area.

Bom caminho!!
 
Take the metro from Porto to Forum Maia station ( Line C ) and walk from there to Vilarinho. Then you will be out of the busy and unpleasant area north of Porto

I added a picture of the area , showing Forum de Maia to Vairão .
Vilarinho is 2 kms north of Vairão.
In Vairão is a nice albergue in a former monastery. I stayed there several times.

The alternative as @lovelyshell mentions here above is also a good alternative
to Vilar do Pinheiro metrostation and walk from there. But then take metroline B towards Póvoa da Varzim.

By the way I chose for Vairão on the added maps because there are 3 Vilarinhos in Portugal and the one you want to go to is hard to find at the map . Vairão is close by
After Vilarinho you will walk in a nice rural area in the direction of São Pedro de Rates and Barcelos.

Don’t forget to stay at Casa da Fernanda - between Barcelos and Ponte de Lima)
The best experience to stay at the entire Caminho Português. But because you will walk in July , reserve a bed because it is very popular a d she only has 20 beds.
Bom caminho
 

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I am counter-culture here, because I found walking through Porto to be pleasant. But I like distractions of the city. If you wish to see my day to Vilarinho with lots of photos, click here for my day fifteen on the Central Route. I really hope to convince pilgrims that this walk is really not all that bad and not all that industrial! You should walk it and make a judgement for yourself! Buen Camino!
 
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Hi, I did the Portuguese last year and I recommended skipping the walk out of Porto. It feels never-ending, but I also had food poisoning so I was generally miserable anyway. I thought it would be exciting to start at the cathedral, that I’d see other pilgrims gathered at the cathedral..but there were none. And I barely saw any pilgrims walking through Porto. I’d recommend getting a cab and starting at Vilar do Pinheiro and doing a short day (9 km) to Vilarihno. That will get you well rested for the following day to Barcelos which is 29 km, if you choose to do that.

I am a person who wants to walk every step and experience even urban sprawl but like I said the walk out of Porto is never-ending, it’s so blah. Skip it. You won’t miss anything except suburbs, highways, and an industrial area.

Bom caminho!!
I plan on doing exactly that. Originally I had a rental car booked for my first 2 days in porto. I was to return ot to the airport and was just going to start my walk from there. I have since canceled the rental but still plan on taking bus to airport and starting my walk from there to avoid city
 
I plan on doing exactly that. Originally I had a rental car booked for my first 2 days in porto. I was to return ot to the airport and was just going to start my walk from there. I have since canceled the rental but still plan on taking bus to airport and starting my walk from there to avoid city
You can take metro line E to the airport from Porto center.

A rental car in Porto ? The center is very compact and you will regret the car driving skills of the Portugues drivers. 😈
 
I am counter-culture here, because I found walking through Porto to be pleasant. But I like distractions of the city. If you wish to see my day to Vilarinho with lots of photos, click here for my day fifteen on the Central Route. I really hope to convince pilgrims that this walk is really not all that bad and not all that industrial! You should walk it and make a judgement for yourself! Buen Camino!
Elle,

Thank you so much for your impression, and for the link to the very detailed route description.

On the Frances last year I walked all through Logrono and other cities and did not mind it. The cities offer a contrast to the countryside.

Maurice
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Take the metro from Porto to Forum Maia station ( Line C ) and walk from there to Vilarinho. Then you will be out of the busy and unpleasant area north of Porto

I added a picture of the area , showing Forum de Maia to Vairão .
Vilarinho is 2 kms north of Vairão.
In Vairão is a nice albergue in a former monastery. I stayed there several times.

The alternative as @lovelyshell mentions here above is also a good alternative
to Vilar do Pinheiro metrostation and walk from there. But then take metroline B towards Póvoa da Varzim.

By the way I chose for Vairão on the added maps because there are 3 Vilarinhos in Portugal and the one you want to go to is hard to find at the map . Vairão is close by
After Vilarinho you will walk in a nice rural area in the direction of São Pedro de Rates and Barcelos.

Don’t forget to stay at Casa da Fernanda - between Barcelos and Ponte de Lima)
The best experience to stay at the entire Caminho Português. But because you will walk in July , reserve a bed because it is very popular a d she only has 20 beds.
Bom caminho
@Albertinho

Thanks for the detail and the images.

Maurice
 
I plan on doing exactly that. Originally I had a rental car booked for my first 2 days in porto. I was to return ot to the airport and was just going to start my walk from there. I have since canceled the rental but still plan on taking bus to airport and starting my walk from there to avoid city
Good idea because I could not imagine having a car in Porto center city.
 
Elle,

Thank you so much for your impression, and for the link to the very detailed route description.

On the Frances last year I walked all through Logrono and other cities and did not mind it. The cities offer a contrast to the countryside.

Maurice
Maurice,

I also walked the Frances and did not mind the cities but none of the city walking was as boring as walking out of Porto. When I say never-ending it really feels like that. On the Frances you’re out of each city within an hour, generally less. The walk out of Porto is hours - the city part is great, yay more tile buildings, but then you hit the urban apartment blocks which is just concrete jungle, which goes on and on, then you hit the industrial. It’s not the same as exiting any city on the Frances. Most cities on the Frances you are in a trail quickly except maybe Logrono and Burgos.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.

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