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Coastal or central route with my 12 year old daughter in early April

MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Camino(s) past & future
north route spring 2013
My 12 year old daughter and I have 11 days to walk from Porto to Santiago, starting on the 29th of March.
We are wondering which route would be best, we both like the sea, but the central route seems to have more infra-structure for pilgrims. It may be that we have to skip some parts, as I don't know if she will manage more than 20kms a day, so are there any less interesting stages, or ones that mustn't be missed? Any advice, suggestions or feedback would be gratefully appreciated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
Hi, don’t miss walking along the boardwalks between Matoshinos and Vila do Conde (unless it’s a windy and rainy day); Ponte de Lima is a lovely little town; also Valenca inside the fortress walls; walking across the bridge from Portugal to Spain (Valenca to Tui) is fun; also Pontevedra is worth exploring (but don’t stay in the albergue on the edge as it’s still quite far into the old town). Have fun! Jill
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
IMG_2676.JPGIMG_2676.JPGIMG_2677.JPG
My advice having 11 Days and 20 kms a day
Take the train from Porto to Barcelos and start from there.
Your first stay after 18 kms for the night is the best of the entire caminho, Casa da Fernanda in Vitorino dos Piães. You stay with a privat family at their home or in a gardenhouse. Max 20 pilgrims. They prepare you a meal and breakfast and a nice evening with their entertainment. Casa Fernanda is donativo

I second Jill's advises about Ponte de Lima, Valença do Minho /Tui and Pontevedra.

Bom caminho
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
If you like the sea, even if you don't dip your toes in it in March, I agree with Jill and walk along the coast on your first day out of Matosinhos. Her highlights are also spot on, but I will throw another idea, or two, out there. So here goes.

Depending on thetime you arrive in Porto, take that day to explore and walk your first 10km to Matosinhos along the Douro river by crossing the Eiffel bridge by the cathedral, where you can get your first stamp, and credencial if you haven't ordered it feom your national pilgrim association or ordered it from the Forum shop here.

You will then pass by the port maker warehouses, walk along the river giving you stunning views of the city on the other side. After passing another bridge, you will see a small dock where a shittle boat can take you back across. From tnere keep walking, this time with the river/then ocean to your left. You will arrive in the suburb of Matosinhos where you can take the metro back to your hostel/pensio/hotel, visit the old town a bit more or head to bed. The next morning, leave your backpack at the hotel/hostel/pension and get on the metro to Matosinhos again, and then start walkingalomg the coast for a full day to Vila do Conde. In VdoC you can take the metro back to Porto for the night and the next day head out to Barcelos as suggested by Albertinho.

Second thought... instead of following the yellow arrows from Pontevedra on the traditional Central route, opt for the Variante Espiritual. You will find flyers about it in just every albergue. It allows you to visit the beautiful Poio monastery, the quintessencial fishing village of Combarro and then a hike up the mountain (or taxi, 10€ or so, telphone numbers to be found on posts as you come into town, or ask any reataurant to call one for you) to the Armenteira monastery. There you can eat at the excellent A Fonde restaurant and slend the night at the albergue. In the morning walk what has to be one of the most beautiful stretches of any caminos, the Camino de Piedra & Agua, a path along a small river, or large stream, flanked by a series of mill ruins. It's out of a movie. Simply beautiful. This route will also have you take a small boat from Vilanova do Roussa into what is basically Padron where you get back on the traditional Portuguese Camino.

The boat in Vilanova leave at different times every day, depending on which boat and operator it is, and depending on the tide. When at the Armenteira albergue, look on the posters on the wall, or ask the hospitalera, a lovely woman, and call the boats to let them know you would like to get on one either the next day, or the one after, depending on your schedule and their departure times on both days. If you are short on time, you could take a taxi from the pension/restaurant Os Castanos in the town at the end of the Ruta de Piedra & Agua to Vilanova. That will cost you some 20€.

http://www.gronze.com/documents/pdf/variante-espiritual.pdf

In Pontevedra, Jill suggested avoiding the large albergue at the entrance of town. I agree and suggest you stay the Santuario of the appariciomes on calle Sor Lucia, which offers a few rooms for a good price and is very well located. The Pontevedra tourism office can call and get you a room. It's not in the Brierly guide but in a German one, and my notes are currently put away due to home renos. Maybe someone else can find the phone number for you, or email if they have email.
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
Having done both the coastal and central routes, my opinions are: (a) the coastal route is beautiful, and I have a slight preference for it (although I walked it in July in fabulous weather - early April could be different); (b) there are more people on the central route, so the camaraderie/pilgrim experience may be enhanced; (c) both routes were great experiences and I think you would enjoy either.

On the coastal route I particularly enjoyed the section into A Guarda. After crossing from Portugal into Spain by the ferry (or fisherman's boat), follow along the riverside to the ocean, and then head north along the oceanfront into A Guarda. There is an easy trail to follow. We were told by the locals to do that and on a nice day it was a fabulous walk. If you were to follow the yellow arrows from the ferry dock in Spain, I understand that they take you inland over some hills.
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
Having done both the coastal and central routes, my opinions are: (a) the coastal route is beautiful, and I have a slight preference for it (although I walked it in July in fabulous weather - early April could be different); (b) there are more people on the central route, so the camaraderie/pilgrim experience may be enhanced; (c) both routes were great experiences and I think you would enjoy either.

On the coastal route I particularly enjoyed the section into A Guarda. After crossing from Portugal into Spain by the ferry (or fisherman's boat), follow along the riverside to the ocean, and then head north along the oceanfront into A Guarda. There is an easy trail to follow. We were told by the locals to do that and on a nice day it was a fabulous walk. If you were to follow the yellow arrows from the ferry dock in Spain, I understand that they take you inland over some hills.
In addition to @Doogman if the ferry between Caminha and a Guarda is not sailing because of low tide or technical reasons or whatever other reason there is an opportunity to walk back to the marineharbour ,hotel and camping of Caminha where is a fisherman who can set you over the river.
The original trail from the ferry quai in A Guarda indeed follows over a hill but it isn't that bad but I agree that the boardwalk direction the ocean and then the ocean at your left towards A Guarda is a beautiful walk. By the way this is an about 2 kms detour.

Another nice one is leaving Baiona. Once arriving at the bridge of Nigrán/ Ramalosa you can turn left and will find green arrows instead of yellow. The green ones lead you direction Vigo alongside the waterline and has beautifull views
The yellow ones lead you onto the albergue ,about 400 meters further on and into the hills to Vigo.
I followed the green waymarkers and enjoyed it. The green waymarked path was pointed out by the hospitalero of the albergue by the way.

Back to the OP's original plan to walk in 11days and 20 kms max. I should not advise to follw the Variante Espiritual because 20 kms a day means a 3 days walk of this detour and you are not shure if on the 3rd day there is a boat to set you to Padrón. You have to study the tides before you can decide to do so. If it goes wrong you are in Lack of time. If you have unlimited time, yes do so. It is a great walk from Pontevedra to Vilanova de Arousa and the boattrip from there to Pontecessurres/Padron.
 
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Anemone del Camino

Guest
Back to the OP's original plan to walk in 11days and 20 kms max. I should not advise to follw the Variante Espiritual because 20 kms a day means a 3 days walk of this detour and you are not shure if on the 3rd day there is a boat to set you to Padrón. You have to study the tides before you can decide to do so. If it goes wrong you are in Lack of time. If you have unlimited time, yes do so. It is a great walk from Pontevedra to Vilanova de Arousa and the boattrip from there to Pontecessurres/Padron.
But it's really the only really beautiful part of the Central. Its only redeaming quality in my opinion other perhaps than Pontevdra and a church with azulejos in Barcelos. If the OP is going to skip etaps anyways, then I would suggest skipping them leaving room for the Variante. Plus, there is always a taxi from Os Castanos.
 
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