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Elevation Gain: How Challenging are the Hills on the Central Portuguese Camino?

Circle56

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2015)
Camino Francés (2020)
Hi, three of us will be walking the Camino Portuguese, starting in mid-April in Porto.
I have looked at the elevation gain and am just wondering how big the hills actually are? I am thinking there are more hills in the section Porto to Tui, than in the section Tui to Santiago?
All three of us are walking in areas that have hills and some elevation gain, so, hoping that we will be prepared for any hills.
Any info on the hills would be appreciated.
Thanks.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Yes, there are some days with substantial hills. But will knowing the specifics about those hills change your plans or your training?

Before I set out for my first Camino on the Francés I contemplated hiking a mountain a couple of hours from my home that had a similar elevation gain to the stage over the Pyrenees from SJPDP. I had already been training on hills near my home, and had been planning my Camino for months.

My husband asked me "if you try hiking up that mountain and it's too hard, are you going to cancel your trip?" Of course I wasn't! And I doubt that you will cancel your trip either.

But you can always check elevation profiles on Gronze or in guidebooks. On days with substantial climbs you might want to walk fewer kms.

 
Thanks for your speedy reply. I have ordered a guidebook and hope that it arrives soon. We have thought that we can adjust distance we walk, if there is sections that are challenging. I do think we will be good, just was looking for any info that people wanted to share.
 
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Hi, three of us will be walking the Camino Portuguese, starting in mid-April in Porto.
I have looked at the elevation gain and am just wondering how big the hills actually are? I am thinking there are more hills in the section Porto to Tui, than in the section Tui to Santiago?
All three of us are walking in areas that have hills and some elevation gain, so, hoping that we will be prepared for any hills.
Any info on the hills would be appreciated.
Thanks.
Hi. I have completed the Portuguese coastal and central. Maybe my memory is hazy but I don't remember any substantial climbs on either route. My only training before any Camino is about 30/40 minute daily walks a month prior to going. Unfortunately I am also a smoker so I'm sure it will be a breeze. Enjoy and Buen Camino, Daniel
 
There are some hills on the central route, but the only one that stands out for me is just before Sao Roque: View attachment 139660 The rough track is the issue rather than the hill itself, however it is not an impossible feat for anyone of reasonable fitness, which will be you after a few days walking from Porto. :)
Hi, thanks for your info and photo. The 3 of us are seniors, and fairly fit. Two of us have done Camino Frances. Am fairly confident that the 3 of us can do the Camino Portuguese, but, appreciate any info we receive. Getting excited about this Camino. Thanks again.
 
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Hi. I have completed the Portuguese coastal and central. Maybe my memory is hazy but I don't remember any substantial climbs on either route. My only training before any Camino is about 30/40 minute daily walks a month prior to going. Unfortunately I am also a smoker so I'm sure it will be a breeze. Enjoy and Buen Camino, Daniel
Hi Daniel, thanks for your reply and encouragement. The 3 of us r training and I am thinking we will be good on the Camino Portuguese. Take care.
 
Hi, three of us will be walking the Camino Portuguese, starting in mid-April in Porto.
I have looked at the elevation gain and am just wondering how big the hills actually are? I am thinking there are more hills in the section Porto to Tui, than in the section Tui to Santiago?
All three of us are walking in areas that have hills and some elevation gain, so, hoping that we will be prepared for any hills.
Any info on the hills would be appreciated.
Thanks.
My brother and I walked the central Caminho Português from Porto in September, 2018. In comparison to the terrain from St. Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona, the hills were like muffin tops–except for the climb to the top of Labruja mountain. We started the day in Ponte de Lima and ended in Rubiães after about 18 km. The climb begins around km 3, and it is gradual to about km 6. At that point, the ascent begins in earnest. It starts from about 30 meters and reaches 405 meters at about km 13.

I was only 67 then, and I was able to race my brother the last 100 meters to the top where laughter erased the exhaustion. For me, it was not the hills of the CP that were challenging. It was the uneven granite cobblestones and other rough tracks. Fortunately, I had just discovered the Altra Timps, and the CP was exhilarating.

My recollection is that there are more hills in the section from Porto to Tui. Here’s a photo of the concrete cistern at the top of Labruja mountain, and a view of the descent toward Rubiães.
 

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Only one day that was particularly hilly that was between Porto and Santiago and it was on the stretch from Ponte De Lima to Rubiaes. Otherwise some smaller climbs, but nothing all that significant,
If you aren't fond of hills, you'll likely want to skip the Primitivo route which in comparison has many very hilly days, but rewards with spectacular scenery.IMG_1470.JPG
 
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My brother and I walked the central Caminho Português from Porto in September, 2018. In comparison to the terrain from St. Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona, the hills were like muffin tops–except for the climb to the top of Labruja mountain. We started the day in Ponte de Lima and ended in Rubiães after about 18 km. The climb begins around km 3, and it is gradual to about km 6. At that point, the ascent begins in earnest. It starts from about 30 meters and reaches 405 meters at about km 13.

I was only 67 then, and I was able to race my brother the last 100 meters to the top where laughter erased the exhaustion. For me, it was not the hills of the CP that were challenging. It was the uneven granite cobblestones and other rough tracks. Fortunately, I had just discovered the Altra Timps, and the CP was exhilarating.

My recollection is that there are more hills in the section from Porto to Tui. Here’s a photo of the concrete cistern at the top of Labruja mountain, and a view of the descent toward Rubiães.
Hi, thanks so much for your info and pics. So good of you to send pics. I will be checking out this hill that u mentioned. The 3 of us are keen to walk the CP and hearing how others enjoyed it, make the anticipation even more.
 
Here's the stage on Gronze with the hill before Rubiães:

And here is the elevation profile. Note that it goes from right to left.

Screenshot_20230116-131355.png
 
Hello! There is a hill on the Portuguese side, well known between the Pilgrims but, it's more fame rather than the difficult. Step by step you will cross the Labruja hill which is a beautiful memorable walk! Normally you start that day in Ponte de Lima and then you have several options to sleep (it will depend on you, how tired you feel). For example, you will find accommodation in the Labruja village ( 10Km after Ponte de Lima), in Rubiães (18Km after Ponte de Lima) or if you think you can walk more,, from now on down the hill, there is a really nice place in Passos, Albergue Quinta Estrada Romana (10 km after Rubiões, so total of 28Km if you start in Ponte de Lima) that I highly recommend. If it is too many km's you can maybe stay in Rubiões and then, on the next day, take a easy day and do a shorter walk of 10 kms and stay in that place. Buen Camino!
 
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Hello! There is a hill on the Portuguese side, well known between the Pilgrims but, it's more fame rather than the difficult. Step by step you will cross the Labruja hill which is a beautiful memorable walk! Normally you start that day in Ponte de Lima and then you have several options to sleep (it will depend on you, how tired you feel). For example, you will find accommodation in the Labruja village ( 10Km after Ponte de Lima), in Rubiães (18Km after Ponte de Lima) or if you think you can walk more,, from now on down the hill, there is a really nice place in Passos, Albergue Quinta Estrada Romana (10 km after Rubiões, so total of 28Km if you start in Ponte de Lima) that I highly recommend. If it is too many km's you can maybe stay in Rubiões and then, on the next day, take a easy day and do a shorter walk of 10 kms and stay in that place. Buen Camino!
Hi, wow, thanks so much for all your info. All that really helps. The encouragement and suggestions that I have received from my question has been great. Nice to have replies based on personal experiences.
 
Hi, three of us will be walking the Camino Portuguese, starting in mid-April in Porto.
I have looked at the elevation gain and am just wondering how big the hills actually are? I am thinking there are more hills in the section Porto to Tui, than in the section Tui to Santiago?
All three of us are walking in areas that have hills and some elevation gain, so, hoping that we will be prepared for any hills.
Any info on the hills would be appreciated.
Thanks.
I walked from Porto to Santiago in September/October 2019 at age 69. The only serious hill I remember is the Fabruja mountain. As @Blue Tang mentioned already, it is the stony track that is more difficult than the height of the climb. Parts of the trail were washed away by rain. I found walking poles of great help when stepping up and over the rocks. That day, I started walking from Pont de Lima at 7am and arrived in Rubaies at 12:30. Where I live in SW Ontario, Canada, it is very flat, but none of the hills on the Camino caused me any difficulty. The walking poles were also a big help when walking on cobble stones on the first few days out of Porto. FYI, although a marathon runner in my younger days, I had a heart attack in 2010 and bypass surgery in 2017. I did not find the Camino difficult and if you are reasonably fit, you should have no problems.
 
Hi, thanks for your info. The 3 of us are all seniors, ranging from 66 to 78. We are all active and want to do the CP. We had planned on having walking poles and are using them now. Just received CP guidebook in the mail yesterday and have been reading it. We will not be rushed for time, so, if need be, can break our walks into smaller distances. Your encouragement and all the encouragement that we have received means a lot. Actual information from past pilgrims is what I was hoping for.
 
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Hi, thanks for your info. The 3 of us are all seniors, ranging from 66 to 78. We are all active and want to do the CP. We had planned on having walking poles and are using them now. Just received CP guidebook in the mail yesterday and have been reading it. We will not be rushed for time, so, if need be, can break our walks into smaller distances. Your encouragement and all the encouragement that we have received means a lot. Actual information from past pilgrims is what I was hoping for.
When are you walking the CP? The wife and I (both mid 70s) will be there in May. Hope to see you.
 
Hi, three of us will be walking the Camino Portuguese, starting in mid-April in Porto.
I have looked at the elevation gain and am just wondering how big the hills actually are? I am thinking there are more hills in the section Porto to Tui, than in the section Tui to Santiago?
All three of us are walking in areas that have hills and some elevation gain, so, hoping that we will be prepared for any hills.
Any info on the hills would be appreciated.
Thanks.
There are hills and there are hills. Compared to the Frances, with the mountains between France and Spain, or between Leon and Galicia, there is nothing too terrible. I remember one day with a reasonably substantial climb, after Ponte de Lima. That's before Tui. After Tui, it certainly isn't flat, but neither is it mountainous.
 
Hi, thanks for your reply and info. I have looked at the hill that comes after Ponte de Lima. We appreciate having this info and are looking forward to the CP.
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
Yes - the Portela de Grande - over Lebruja mountain was the only monumental hill... we did it years ago - by bicycle - we still look back at it and wonder why we are still married.... My fault - I insisted on following the exact route - with 2 bikes and a trailer.... I remember lying down in tears and waking up to find it was still there... as the day went on - we took all the panniers off and carried each of them up each section of goat track - near the top an older Irish couple overtook us (on foot) she was at her wits end - but cheered up immensely at seeing us and the state we were in...! (even more pleased with the teabags i gave her at the albergue - many hours later!) We eventually got to the top and the relief was awesome!! Until we saw the rocky path down the far side which was nearly as strenuous and hard - it was the hardest day of my life.....!
But without a heavily loaded bicycle it would be a breeze!! So enjoy the views from the top!
.After Tui it was not too hilly at all.....
 
Thanks for your speedy reply. I have ordered a guidebook and hope that it arrives soon. We have thought that we can adjust distance we walk, if there is sections that are challenging. I do think we will be good, just was looking for any info that people wanted to share.
Download the Buen Camino App. You can plot your days and see the daily elevation gain as well as other valuable data.
 
The wonderful reward for conquering the Labruja 450M “mountain” was a misting rain and about ten miles of a walk through Heaven. An old Roman rock road with deep green ferns to about three feet, then the yellow Pussywillows blooming in May-thick and intense for about six more feet up to the triple canopy. The only sounds were the rain hitting the trees, a distant church bell ringing out the time, and an occasional rooster crowing. It was just one of the precious times on our Camino. In our mid seventies we appreciate such blessings. Now in Porto…for me…everything was “uphill”…way uphill. Bon Cominho!
 
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How would you say Labruja compares to O Cebreiro? That was the only day on the Frances where I hated my life as I was walking.
 
How would you say Labruja compares to O Cebreiro? That was the only day on the Frances where I hated my life as I was walking.
If you want to really hate your life consider this Camino from Cape Town, South Africa to Russia. According to brilliantmaps, the journey would take 4,492 hours to walk, meaning 187 days. However, this is assuming you were walking non-stop. If we assumed a walking pace of 8-hours per day (no rest days!), the journey would actually take 562 days. No need for boats there are bridges.
It’s know as the worlds longest walking path.
 
How would you say Labruja compares to O Cebreiro? That was the only day on the Frances where I hated my life as I was walking.
It’s about half or maybe even less of a challenge…unless it’s raining…a lot.
 
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