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From Porto: Central or coastal way?

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Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I did the central and it often felt dangerous, walking on narrow roads, no shoulder, and crazy Portuguese drivers (I'm Portuguese, I can say that!). I have not done the coastal route, but would love to. However, if you prefer farms, take the central route. Just be aware that there will be narrow, dangerous stretches. Luckily, it's not all that way.
 

simeon

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPDP LosArcos 09\14 Tricastella SDDC 0515 Porto SDDC 1015 LosArcos Burgos 1016 Burgos Leon 0917
I preferred the Coastal Caminho, but didn't like the cobblestones, it was hard because of my osteoarthritis on both my feet. Despite that, I would walk it again.
The cobblestones are granite and are hard going all right! On the other hand, getting the metro out of Porto gets you walking in the tranquil countryside in no time! I've never done the coastal route.
 

ktchnofdngr

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
September '13, June '16, July '21, And July '22
I walked the central from Porto last summer. You DO have to be aware of drivers, and the first few days are almost all on cobblestone. Also, the walk from Porto to Vairao (first day) is a lot of city walking, and most of the way there is only sidewalk on one side of the street. I lost track of how many times I crossed the street to get back on the sidewalk!😂 The good thing about cobblestone is being able to hear a car coming. The bad thing is that it is REALLY tough on your feet! However, you do see a lot of forest and farmland.

If you decide to do the central route, I highly recommend two things. One, download the wise pilgrim guidebook. It has good advice about all the times the Camino splits, as it does several times on the central (as a general rule, I'd take the split--most of the time, it is a better route). Second, there is one split that isn't well marked, but we'll worth taking: it starts in a little town called something like Santa Maria or Santa Marta and goes into Pontevedra. You turn left at the road right past a sign to a bar a few meters off the Camino in the opposite direction, then turn right onto a path that goes right beside the river (you go over the river on the road, and then the path is immediately after). What it does is get you onto a local walking path for those last 5k that is beside the river, which goes into Pontevedra--no bars along the way, but shade and natural beauty! The first bit has few/no arrows, but they start up after a km or so and you see them regularly. This path is well known by locals, so near Pontevedra, you will see a lot of people running or walking their dogs. I was so very thankful for the shade and was way less wrung out--the regular route has very little shade (according to other pilgrims), and that day was very hot--it was over 100°F that day. This path basically dumps you into Pontevedra right beside the Municipal Albergue. Wise pilgrim briefly talks about this route, but doesn't have the best directions. A local pointed me to the alternative path, and I'm glad I took it.
 
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Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Past OR future Camino
Too many to count!
I will promote my website, of course, that shows lots of photos for each route, so that you may decide for yourself. It does seem to me like you should do the Central. And unlike others, I did not feel it was all that dangerous. However, I agree that you must be very careful because the Portuguese, some of the most friendly folks on earth, are all Grand Prix racer wannabees! Also, on the Central, you will do some intense climbing, see our day eighteen and day twenty-one, (we started in Lisbon). Maybe there is less cobblestone on the Central, but there is lots of nice foot/leg forgiving boardwalks on the Coastal. Happy planning!
 
Last edited:

david g

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
I’ve walked both and hands down prefer the central route. The coast, while pretty (if you like the ocean) can become a bit routine after a few days- waves, water, sand.
On the central you don’t know what little village might appear around the next bend. On the coastal? You know what village is coming up because you can look up the coastline and see it. 😁
Of course you can always switch things up at some point, cutting across from central to coastal or vice/versa.
 

Tom Hagger

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés, Norte, Primitivo, Português, Plata etc.
Ask two people, Digz, and you are likely to receive two different opinions! Unlike David 9, I preferred the coastal route. It is true that there are only a few very attractive villages on or near the Camino route, but they are worth visiting if you have the time to wander through them. In any case, there is quite a lot of variety and interest along the coastline. The walking is generally pretty easy and quite safe. Take your pick and you will not be disappointed, whichever way you go. Bom Caminho! Tom
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Your suggestions are most welcome.
Hi, I’ve walked both several times, and prefer the Central Route for pilgrim infrastucture. The Coastal Route is relatively new, a pleasant walk alongside the coastline, which is very nice (in good weather), and has some nice places to stay at, but there are no old albergues oozing pilgrimage history that I remember.
 
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Digz

New Member
Past OR future Camino
camino from porto in May 2022
I did the central and it often felt dangerous, walking on narrow roads, no shoulder, and crazy Portuguese drivers (I'm Portuguese, I can say that!). I have not done the coastal route, but would love to. However, if you prefer farms, take the central route. Just be aware that there will be narrow, dangerous stretches. Luckily, it's not all that way.
Our itinerary says we are starting the Central route from Vilar de Pinheiro to Arcos. I hope the roads are not that narrow to scare us off on our first day :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Our itinerary says we are starting the Central route from Vilar de Pinheiro to Arcos.
I've been trying to figure out where Vilar de Pinheiro is. And is it São de Miguel de Arcos, or just Arcos?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I've been trying to figure out where Vilar de Pinheiro is. And is it São de Miguel de Arcos, or just Arcos?
I just answered my own question. I finally found it on the map north of Porto. I was looking for it on Gronze and couldn't find it.
 
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Ellann

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Camino 2022
I will promote my website, of course, that shows lots of photos for each route, so that you may decide for yourself. It does seem to me like you should do the Central. And unlike others, I did not feel it was all that dangerous. However, I agree that you must be very careful because the Portuguese, some of the most friendly folks on earth, are all Grand Prix racer wannabees! Also, on the Central, you will do some intense climbing, see our day eighteen and day twenty-one, (we started in Lisbon). Maybe there is less cobblestone on the Central, but there is lots of nice foot/leg forgiving boardwalks on the Coastal. Happy planning!
What a great resource to share, thank you so much. I am trying to find a good place to ask a question. I would like to cross from the Coastal Route to Central Route but not before Baiona or possibly Saians.
Was thinking to head for Albergue De Peregrinos O Freixo near Valadares and then onto Albergue de Peregrinos Santa Baia de Mos, continuing on the Central Route. Happy to miss Porrina. Is this doable?
I have six weeks to travel the Camino so in no hurry to get to Santiago de Compostela.
Thank yo for any suggestions or tips.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
I haven't walked both completely, so take this for what it is worth, but based on what I've heard of the Coastal and what draws people to it, and looking at your stated preferences, I'd say the Central looks to be a better fit.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Past OR future Camino
Too many to count!
What a great resource to share, thank you so much. I am trying to find a good place to ask a question. I would like to cross from the Coastal Route to Central Route but not before Baiona or possibly Saians.
Was thinking to head for Albergue De Peregrinos O Freixo near Valadares and then onto Albergue de Peregrinos Santa Baia de Mos, continuing on the Central Route. Happy to miss Porrina. Is this doable?
I have six weeks to travel the Camino so in no hurry to get to Santiago de Compostela.
Thank yo for any suggestions or tips.
Thank-you, @Ellan, for your nice comments. I work hard on my resources! I am not aware of any official route that coincides with what you are interested in. I do know about the Albergue in O Freixo, and you could access it by keeping to the in-land coastal route after Saians. You would first have to crossover from the Senda Litoral to the Coastal. You can do this is Saians. If you study my maps on my day twenty, I marked this with a gold star. It is 800 meters to the Albergue de Peregrinos de San Xurxo, then a few more meters gets you back on the Coastal to the east.

Next you would take the Coastal, following the gps tracks on my map of day twenty, but it is difficult to find a direct path to the albergue in O Freixo. If you google walking directions from the albuergue in San Xurxo to the albergue in O Freixo, you get secondary roads, which looks doable. You can so the same from O Freixo to the albergue in Santa Baia de Mos.

Good luck and I wish you success in your planning. I would love to hear how you do it, if you take this route.
Elle
 

Digz

New Member
Past OR future Camino
camino from porto in May 2022
I haven't walked both completely, so take this for what it is worth, but based on what I've heard of the Coastal and what draws people to it, and looking at your stated preferences, I'd say the Central looks to be a better fit.
yep I'm starting to lean towards the central way. thanks heaps for your comment
 

Roland49

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
I planned to walk the coastal in 2020, but then came CoVID.
Postponed it to 2021, now postponed to 2022 on Easterbreak.

I hope that I will be vaccinated until April 2022, so I can fly to Porto to walk.
 
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Ellann

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Camino 2022
Thank-you, @Ellan, for your nice comments. I work hard on my resources! I am not aware of any official route that coincides with what you are interested in. I do know about the Albergue in O Freixo, and you could access it by keeping to the in-land coastal route after Saians. You would first have to crossover from the Senda Litoral to the Coastal. You can do this is Saians. If you study my maps on my day twenty, I marked this with a gold star. It is 800 meters to the Albergue de Peregrinos de San Xurxo, then a few more meters gets you back on the Coastal to the east.

Next you would take the Coastal, following the gps tracks on my map of day twenty, but it is difficult to find a direct path to the albergue in O Freixo. If you google walking directions from the albuergue in San Xurxo to the albergue in O Freixo, you get secondary roads, which looks doable. You can so the same from O Freixo to the albergue in Santa Baia de Mos.

Good luck and I wish you success in your planning. I would love to hear how you do it, if you take this route.
Elle
Thank you so much for your insight. I look forward to checking out your website this weekend. And yes I have googled walking directions and it seems fine to do. Maybe not necessarily folllowing way markers but gets me to where I want to be.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I only walked the coastal route from Porto to Vila do Conde before turning inland to the Central route. My choice was easy because I had just completed the Fisherman's Trail, south of Lisbon with its endless stunning, craggy clifftop views of the ocean, so for me the coastal route seemed a bit ho-hum in comparison to what I had already experienced.
I love the Frances Camino with all its sweeping landscapes and ancient stone villages, so the Central route was a better fit for me. I only recall a couple of days early on with Grand Prix racers; I felt that was worth putting up with, and Portugal's cobblestones do not bother my feet.
 

antepacem

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
I'm echoing what a lot of others have said here - that it sounds like the Central is a better fit. I walked from Lisbon a couple of years ago and actually intended to do the Coastal from Porto, but I ended up going over to the Central after a couple of days of sharing space with surfers and partiers. No shade on folks having a good time, but the Coastal route didn't feel as pilgrimy. So it also depends on the vibe you want! Have fun either way - it's ALL gorgeous.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I have done both and I think is depends on the time of year you go. The coastal is very busy with vacationers, revelers and surfers in the summer and like a deserted island the rest of the year. I loved it in the summer because I am beach bum at heart. The central is lovely and much like the CF with the support and infrastructure year round.
 

Larry OHeron

Member
Past OR future Camino
Via De La Plata
I walked the central from Porto last summer. You DO have to be aware of drivers, and the first few days are almost all on cobblestone. Also, the walk from Porto to Vairao (first day) is a lot of city walking, and most of the way there is only sidewalk on one side of the street. I lost track of how many times I crossed the street to get back on the sidewalk!😂 The good thing about cobblestone is being able to hear a car coming. The bad thing is that it is REALLY tough on your feet! However, you do see a lot of forest and farmland.

If you decide to do the central route, I highly recommend two things. One, download the wise pilgrim guidebook. It has good advice about all the times the Camino splits, as it does several times on the central (as a general rule, I'd take the split--most of the time, it is a better route). Second, there is one split that isn't well marked, but we'll worth taking: it starts in a little town called something like Santa Maria or Santa Marta and goes into Pontevedra. You turn left at the road right past a sign to a bar a few meters off the Camino in the opposite direction, then turn right onto a path that goes right beside the river (you go over the river on the road, and then the path is immediately after). What it does is get you onto a local walking path for those last 5k that is beside the river, which goes into Pontevedra--no bars along the way, but shade and natural beauty! The first bit has few/no arrows, but they start up after a km or so and you see them regularly. This path is well known by locals, so near Pontevedra, you will see a lot of people running or walking their dogs. I was so very thankful for the shade and was way less wrung out--the regular route has very little shade (according to other pilgrims), and that day was very hot--it was over 100°F that day. This path basically dumps you into Pontevedra right beside the Municipal Albergue. Wise pilgrim briefly talks about this route, but doesn't have the best directions. A local pointed me to the alternative path, and I'm glad I took it.
Agree, agree, agree. The Riverwalk to ponte vedra is gorgeous.
 
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