I'm starting the Portuguese Coastal route from Porto (starting with the Litoral route) on the second half of September; this is my first camino so I have tons of questions!
- I was planning on staying in albergues, but I read another horrifying thread about the "bed race," which is a stress I don't want to deal with as it would defeat the whole purpose of this experience. Should I book ahead or is this not an issue on the coastal route in late September? I've been browsing hostels on Booking.com and several are getting booked up, which is worrying me.
- I'm interested in taking the Spiritual Variant. Which are good stopping points along the way? I have the Brierley guide and have also looked at several blogs, and have the following stages so far: Porto- Vila do Conde - Esposende/Marinhas - Carreco - A Guarda - Baiona - Vigo - ? I was thinking Vigo - Pontevedra (and from there to Armenteria to Vilanova de Arousa) but I'm not sure if that would be too much walking for one day, though I'm in very good shape, have hiking experience, and have the appropriate gear/clothing. Note that I have 13 walking days and was hoping to also add Fisterra OR keep the extra 2-3 days as resting days (or taking side trips - any suggestions?).
- What is the weather like in late September? I'm trying to figure out what layers to take (and whether a fleece sweater would be overkill). Is it rainy this time of year? Is the water swimmable along the public beaches if I want to take a dip or is it too cold by then?
- Where do you leave your bag once you get to the albergue/hostel (i.e. what is the security situation like)? I'm keeping my bag light, but it would be nice to not carry around the bag when walking around town/ having dinner.
- How safe is this camino for female solo travelers? I've only read about issues along the Lisbon-Porto sections.
- Are bed bugs a problem along this camino? Any tips on mitigating this risk?
- What is the best way to get back from either Santiago or Fisterra to Lisbon (for my flight home)?
- What are highlights or "must sees" along the way? Any parts that are worth spending an extra day?
- Any other tips are welcome!