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how hard are certain sections of the Camino Portugues?

Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2015
#1
Hi everyone,

I walked 100 miles total of the Camino Frances in 2015. Now this summer, I'll be walking the Camino Portugues, starting from Porto. I have the Village to Village Map Guide, and in looking in the inside front cover, I see the terrain maps and mileage. From stage 19 through 26, I see a LOT of up and down hills. How difficult are these, compared to say, Portomarin on the Camino Frances? Overall I've heard that the Camino Portugues is much easier. Any ideas or suggestions you can give me about these hills would be most appreciated. Thanks.

P. S. I'm a slow stroller, but thought that I might go back and walk from Lisbon to Porto if I have time. However, this is up for debate. I'm not sure if I want another compostela, which would remain rolled up in a tube, or if I just want the walk experience overall, and might start from Lisbon. Ideas?

Katie
 

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stratophile

Active Member
#2
Hi Katie,

I don't have the Village to Village guide -- what do they consider to be stages 19 through 26 (which communities are the endpoints)? Keep in mind that different people / sources organize the stages differently, depending on their own preferences. There are no 'official' stages.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#3
In the whole the CP is pretty tame from Porto to SdC but it depends on the route you choose. The coastal is very flat until the crossing of the Minho and after some climbing the trek into A Guarda is no big deal. The Interior route has a rough spot after Ponte do Lima. The end of the CP has lots of ups and downs which I guess is the 19 to 26 stages you mention but they are no worse than the final 100km from Sarria or Ferrol.
Buy the Wise Pilgrim Guide by Michael Iglesias, he has nailed it.
 

TangoBravo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2013, Norte 2016, Muxia/Finisterra 2016, Portuguese 2017
#4
I just accomplished that route last summer. I did do the interior (traditional) route. Only one day really put a strain on my 55 YO body. Can't remember if it had to do with the hills or the distance (or maybe a combo of both). Good luck.
 

TangoBravo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2013, Norte 2016, Muxia/Finisterra 2016, Portuguese 2017
#5
One more thing...You can strap your pack on at the Porto Airport and find the route fairly easy. Since we got in around noon, and that the airport is on the north side of town, we immediately took off walking to Vilarinho.
 

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zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15 & 16 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo (Sept.)
#6
CaminoKate, my wife and I did this the central route in April last year from Porto. The only days that were tougher elevation wise were Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes which has a good climb half way through the day and to a lesser extent, a couple of medium climbs in the Redondela to Pontevedra stretch.
What this route lacks in elevation changes, it gains in the use of cobble stones and the worse granite setts that are used on many paths. We found the extensive cobble stones and granite setts wearing on the feet to the point that asphalt sections felt like foam rubber in comparison!
In any case a great Camino walk and we thoroughly loved Portugal and will be back at some point.
Picture attached is of the granite setts. 20170408_022916.jpg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#8
I walked CP last fall. I had read and seen a documentary about the stretch from Ponte de Lima and how hard it was. I am 63 and it turned out to be no where near as hard as I thought. It isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible either. There are always some steep killer hills on all the Caminos. I think you mentioned you walked 100 miles on your other Camino. Is that The longed distance you have ever walked? If it was, part of your struggle and worry may oddly be you haven’t wLk far enough and your body hasn’t been abused enough and strengthened enough yet. I have done 3 long Caminos and I train a little less fortunate r each one. I do this because I know, for me, training doesn’t truly reflect the experience. So now, I go a little shorter distances early on. Put a lot of creams on my feet and body. Accept the suffering and let it go. Take one step at a time and before you know it (sometimes not so quickly) I am walking free from the garbage that screws with our body,mind and spirit. Don’t worry, and just learn, without thinking, to walk your walk. Because Pilgrims walk.
Bom Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - April-June, 2016
Portuguese Lisbon-Santiago - October, 2017
#9
If you take the route that hugs the coast (Litoral) it is much easier. Boardwalks much of the time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#10
There are many hills on the central route between Porto and Santiago, but most are not very difficult. They look steep on the guidebook profiles because of the compression of the vertical vs horizontal scales of the diagrams. This short but steep and rocky climb up the Alto da Portela Grande was the hardest for us, mainly because the rain made the rocks slippery. However, the climb starts as the trail crosses a road, and if you follow the road around to the right, it reaches the same point at the top of the hill.

(Edit: This is probably the worst section of the hill that @zrexer and @It56ny refer to in their posts above. It's between Ponte de Lima and Rubiães. Other than the rain that day and my wife not feeling well from intestinal problems, I would consider it pretty normal, but a bit rockier, for our typical hikes in Colorado, but probably a bit more challenging for those from flatter terrain.)

IMG_0713r.jpg IMG_0713r.jpg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés (2004-), C. Portugués, C. de Madrid, 1/2 V. Plata, 1/8 Levante, hospitalera Grado 2016.
#11
I have a wrecked knee and hip and had no problems walking from Porto. Just bring poles and don't hurry!
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#12
Hi everyone,

I walked 100 miles total of the Camino Frances in 2015. Now this summer, I'll be walking the Camino Portugues, starting from Porto. I have the Village to Village Map Guide, and in looking in the inside front cover, I see the terrain maps and mileage. From stage 19 through 26, I see a LOT of up and down hills. How difficult are these, compared to say, Portomarin on the Camino Frances? Overall I've heard that the Camino Portugues is much easier. Any ideas or suggestions you can give me about these hills would be most appreciated. Thanks.

P. S. I'm a slow stroller, but thought that I might go back and walk from Lisbon to Porto if I have time. However, this is up for debate. I'm not sure if I want another compostela, which would remain rolled up in a tube, or if I just want the walk experience overall, and might start from Lisbon. Ideas?

Katie
Walk to
Hi everyone,

I walked 100 miles total of the Camino Frances in 2015. Now this summer, I'll be walking the Camino Portugues, starting from Porto. I have the Village to Village Map Guide, and in looking in the inside front cover, I see the terrain maps and mileage. From stage 19 through 26, I see a LOT of up and down hills. How difficult are these, compared to say, Portomarin on the Camino Frances? Overall I've heard that the Camino Portugues is much easier. Any ideas or suggestions you can give me about these hills would be most appreciated. Thanks.

P. S. I'm a slow stroller, but thought that I might go back and walk from Lisbon to Porto if I have time. However, this is up for debate. I'm not sure if I want another compostela, which would remain rolled up in a tube, or if I just want the walk experience overall, and might start from Lisbon. Ideas?

Katie
Walk to Rubiases is especially difficult.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#13
Just about all of the hills on the central route, with the exception of parts of the Alto Portela Grande shown in my photo above, are on or beside roads or on well-maintained gravel pathways. (The immediate descent from the Alto Portela Grande is rough and rocky in parts also, at least as far as Cabanas.) Properly used trekking poles are recommended.

While the hills look steep on the elevation charts, remember that the vertical scale is in meters and the horizontal scale is in kilometers. Draw these out to scale on a sheet of graph paper and you'll see the true slope. I don't have the Village to Village Guide, but in the Brierley Guide, the elevation chart for the climb up the Alto Portela Grande shows an elevation gain of approximately 250 meters over a distance of approximately 2.5 kilometers (820 feet in 1.5 miles for us in the imperial measure world). That means an average grade of 10 percent, which is certainly doable--albeit a huff and puffer--for the average person if he or she takes his/her time.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15 & 16 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo (Sept.)
#14
There are many hills on the central route between Porto and Santiago, but most are not very difficult. They look steep on the guidebook profiles because of the compression of the vertical vs horizontal scales of the diagrams. This short but steep and rocky climb up the Alto da Portela Grande was the hardest for us, mainly because the rain made the rocks slippery. However, the climb starts as the trail crosses a road, and if you follow the road around to the right, it reaches the same point at the top of the hill.

(Edit: This is probably the worst section of the hill that @zrexer and @It56ny refer to in their posts above. It's between Ponte de Lima and Rubiães. Other than the rain that day and my wife not feeling well from intestinal problems, I would consider it pretty normal, but a bit rockier, for our typical hikes in Colorado, but probably a bit more challenging for those from flatter terrain.)

View attachment 39349 View attachment 39349
Yeah, I remember this stretch very well, in a heavy rain I am sure it is a river! Met a few cyclists that were not amused at all. IMG_1470.JPG
 

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