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.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.
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.Your suggestions are most welcome.
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 dayI 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.
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.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!
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.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.
yep I'm starting to lean towards the central way. thanks heaps for your commentI 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.
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.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.
Agree, agree, agree. The Riverwalk to ponte vedra is gorgeous.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.