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Is the full Portuguese Camino doable in 3 weeks?

MiaT

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks 😊
 
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Firstly, a "full" Camino is one that ends in Santiago, regardless of where you start.

Whichever route you choose pick a starting point where you can complete it in your time frame.

Lisbon to Santiago is about 315 615 km. Divide that by 3 weeks and you have to average over 29 km per day. Whether or not that is doable is up to your fitness level.

I did meet people between Lisbon and Porto, but I was alone for much of it.
 
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You might find this planning tool to be useful for planning intervals: https://godesalco.com/plan/portugues .

At 629 km long (according to the Godesalco link), that would mean an average of about 30 km/day. To meet that, some days will likely be shorter, and some longer. Have you tried walking 30+ km for several days in a row?
 
Firstly, a "full" Camino is one that ends in Santiago, regardless of where you start.

Whichever route you choose pick a starting point where you can complete it in your time frame.

Lisbon to Santiago is about 315 km. Divide that by 3 weeks and you have to average over 29 km per day. Whether or not that is doable is up to your fitness level.

I did meet people between Lisbon and Porto, but I was alone for much of it.
Lisbon to Santiago is over 530 km +
 
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Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks

Yes, it can be done; and at your age (and a bit older) I most certainly could have done it.

You may not want a philosophical debate on the topic; as your basic questions have been answered above, but: why?

The starting point is totally arbitrary, although the destination is fixed. If you want to meet people, going at the necessary speed, it’ll not be for long as you’ll have to overtake them every day.

Slow down. Decide what is the most important, and don’t think it’s a competition. If you want an adventure race, there are more and better than any Camino route will provide. Do the Corsica GR20? (Not as hard as it seems); or if you want to meet people in a meaningful way, plan a trip that goes at normal people’s pace.

At your age, I’d have ignored me.
 
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You might find this planning tool to be useful for planning intervals: https://godesalco.com/plan/portugues .

At 629 km long (according to the Godesalco link), that would mean an average of about 30 km/day. To meet that, some days will likely be shorter, and some longer. Have you tried walking 30+ km for several days in a row?
You might find this planning tool to be useful for planning intervals: https://godesalco.com/plan/portugues .

At 629 km long (according to the Godesalco link), that would mean an average of about 30 km/day. To meet that, some days will likely be shorter, and some longer. Have you tried walking 30+ km for several days in a row?
Thanks that link is very useful!

No, I’ve done a couple day in a row walking this distance but no not more than this. I am planning to start getting some training in over the next few weeks, will see how it goes. That’s one of the things I am trying to determine, whether it would be too much, without time for rest days.
 
The official amount of kms at the Pilgrims Office is even 655 kms
If you apply for a certificado da distância is that the number of kms to be mentioned. But I think your available 22 days will turn out into a desillusion and a race against the clock. Find a shorter distance e.g from Coimbra and enjoy the people, the beautifull Portuguese and Galician landscape and the food instead of running like mad. These are my 2 cents with 5 times walking the Portuguese routes as experiences



We did it in 34 days , an average of about 20 kms per day with a restday in Coimbra,Porto and Pontevedra. And we loved it.
 
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Yes, took me 24 days from Lisbon to Santiago. So 22 days is doable. But it won't be enjoyable. You will meet folk on the route from Lisbon to Porto. However, most of them will be trekking to Fatima. There are lonely stretches along the route. Things pick up after Porto, especially once you arrive in Tui. I walked two 40 km stages on my Camino Portugués. So I will say you'll be looking at 30+ km each day. There aren't a lot of private albergues in Portugal. Mostly hostels, pensions, hotels, and parochial accommodations. The donativos are expecting 10 Euros a bed now.
 
Please consider first answering for yourself "Why" you would want to rush through an often life changing experience, no matter what length you walk... Since it appears to be your first, recognize it most likely will not be your last, so why exhaust yourself, why rush, why eliminate the opportunities to relax with others and fully enjoy the experience with no pressure... I liked the suggestion to start in Porto (a city worth a several day visit) and finish in Santiago and then continue to Finisterre and Muxia.. it's your Camino and no one, including me is saying how it should be done, we're just suggesting a few thoughts..
 
Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.
My journal shows 23 days including a rest day in Porto. Lisbon to Porto is flat and a lot of it on pavement or tarmac, so you can scoot along. 30km takes the same time as 25km on some other routes. I found it easy to get into a 30km+ routine. It was October, mild and usually dry. Would be harder in a heatwave...
After Porto my distances varied much more, with Barcelos to Casa Fernada (18km) and Rubiaes to Tui (19km) the shortest.
 
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But I think your available 22 days will turn out into a desillusion and a race against the clock. Find a shorter distance e.g from Coimbra and enjoy the people, the beautifull Portuguese and Galician landscape and the food instead of running like mad. These are my 2 cents with 5 times walking the Portuguese routes as experiences



We did it in 34 days , an average of about 20 kms per day with a restday in Coimbra,Porto and Pontevedra. And we loved it.
I have considered, for quite a time, Albertinho wise about the Portuguese Caminho and I concur with the assessment completely. The Portuguese people, landscape, (and food) is just too good to hurry!
 
Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks 😊
Mia, I notice you haven't answered the couple of people who have asked you why. You don't need to answer here, of course, but it is a very good question to ask yourself.

If you're looking foe a long distance hike with infrastructure along the way and interesting places to see then you're on the right track. But there are a whole load of other options too. Many of them non-Camino routes.
(And you don't need to read the rest)

If you're looking for a deep immersive experience in a beautiful part of the world, a chance to soak up nature, eat different food, drink local wine, appreciate some culture, then a race is probably going to compromise that.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for something that the Camino is known for, something of a more meaningful, perhaps spiritual or even religious experience then I'd encourage you to ask yourself if that goal is compatible with a large ticking clock.
One of the great advantages, certainly of the more developed Camino routes, is the freedom to just "be". Speaking only for myself, I find it hard to "be" when watching a clock.

A couple of things to ponder;
If the "usual" time is 3.5 - 4 weeks and you plan to do it in 3 then you'll be 20-25% faster than the "usual". That's a lot!

The idea of a start point is an interesting one to me. Back in the day, the Camino started at home. The usual jumping on places are, to a certain extent, "manufactured" and probably used because most people have a time limit to follow. Perhaps thinking on that may help you to think more flexibly about where you start, which, will in turn, affect your pace.
In that vein, I'm curious as to why you are not attempting the Frances, which you say is your first choice. SJPP is but a notional startpoint (Or Pamplona, or Burgos or wherever). There are Camino arrows all over Europe pointing south. Starting north of St Jean is no more or no less than starting south of it.

To stick specifically to your question, don't forget that public transport is also an option to make up time - although that can have the drawback of losing contact with any fellow travellers (something you might need to consider anyway with your planned pace).

Another consideration is heat. Last May saw record temperatures in Spain and Portugal. When the local media is full of warnings us visitors need to take notice and make adjustments!

My own experience was to cycle from my home in the Netherlands through Belgium and France, and beginning my "Camino" in St. Jean. It took me 15/16 days to get to Santiago from St. Jean- very slow for a bike - and if I was to do it again I'd go even slower.

Since then, I've travelled in many places on my bike and my preferred circumstances are definitely the ones where I am not under pressure to make progress. The freedom to stop, to slow down, to explore, to seek out what speaks to me, to pass time with interesting people (and animals!) or even just to soak up a view is a remarkable gift to give ourselves. The advantage of taking a day off for inhospitable weather or to tend to body or soul is not to be underestimated.

We all travel our own Caminos. Good luck to you on yours.
 
Ok, I'll just stick my head over the parapet, tin hat at the ready...
I walk quite fast, and managed the Frances in 18 days from SJPDP to Santiago, met some lovely people, had some very enjoyable 'camino' moments. Feet complained a couple of times but nothing more than a couple of blisters which can happen to anyone. I had my own personal reasons for going that fast, I wouldn't recommend it as being for everyone. I did Porto to Santiago in May in 8 days, SL until just north of Esposenda then switched to the coastal. I hope this helps with your planning? If your fit enough and can absorb a little discomfort then what you plan is definitely possible. It's your Camino.
I don't know if this is relevant but I'm 58 years old .
 
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Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks 😊
Why would you do this?
Camino’s are a journey and trying to rush through such historical and culturally significant places is to my way of thinking wrong. As a coupe of French sisters told me years ago Caminos are to be “experienced, not done”
Anyhow that’s my 2 cents worth.
 
Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks 😊
anything is doable, but what is it you want to achieve, it is not a race and hurrying through it may mean you miss the experience of the Camino, I would start in a town closer and take your time and enjoy the people the peace and reflection of the Camino. But each their own.
 
I did the Portuguese in three weeks! It was the first time I ever did consistently super-long days, with my last few being 40+. I hadn't intended to do so (I'd planned for four weeks), but I met a thru-hiker who convinced me I should go hard and get to SdC by my fortieth birthday...so I did! I didn't feel rushed at all; it was an awesome challenge and I've been pulling longer days ever since. A+ can recommend!
 
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Ok, I'll just stick my head over the parapet, tin hat at the ready...
I walk quite fast, and managed the Frances in 18 days from SJPDP to Santiago, met some lovely people, had some very enjoyable 'camino' moments. Feet complained a couple of times but nothing more than a couple of blisters which can happen to anyone. I had my own personal reasons for going that fast, I wouldn't recommend it as being for everyone. I did Porto to Santiago in May in 8 days, SL until just north of Esposenda then switched to the coastal. I hope this helps with your planning? If your fit enough and can absorb a little discomfort then what you plan is definitely possible. It's your Camino.
I don't know if this is relevant but I'm 58 years old .

Hey @Martin-B. How amazing.
One of the things I am learning in this forum is not to judge. I pootle, doodle, wander and stop while on Camino.
I’m beginning to appreciate that the pleasure I get in my slow wondering is the same pleasure others get from walking 30 to 40 km a day every day, day after day.
On my last Camino I met a young man who said the thing he loves about Camino is the actual act of walking, which for me is not the most pleasurable part. What I understood was that for this young man, walking was his meditation in the same way, as sitting and staring (in nature), is mine.
Buen Camino
 
This certainly isn't the most efficient way of walking the Portuguese but if you really want to do the "full" Portuguese you could start in Porto, walk to Santiago, take transportation to Lisbon and see how close you can get to Porto in the time you have.

I'll probably choose Porto to Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia myself.
 
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Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks 😊
Hola

One more vote for stating in Porto, include the Variante Spiritual (+3 days), go to Finisterra and then to Muxia.
And if you got more time go back to Santiago and get yourself a second compostela...

There is no right or wrong way to do a Camino, but I hope you willl allow yourself time to sit in small towns and relect upon your life.

I hope this helps

Buen Camino
Lettinggo
 
With one of the goals of walking the Camino being meeting other pilgrims I would start in Porto and continue on to Finisterre and Muxía.
So would I.

In 2014 (I think) I walked from Lisbon. Can't remember how many days, but pretty sure it was more than 3 weeks.
 
What's possible?
In 2005 I heard that someone had done the 720 km+/- Frances in 12 days. (we hear lots of stories)
Another time I met a delightful elderly (!!) Canadian couple who tried to do 18km max, and on longer stages used bus or taxi for partial assist.
And yet another time in Jaca I met the (famous?) Frenchmen on his 10th consecutive 1,500 km Arles walk averaging 30km/day. He was 82.
So 615 is probably physically possible for you, but do you want to?
As has been said many times, "we" are not in your head or body - it is your preference, or choice and all options likely enjoyable.
In regards to meeting people, we meet people in many different ways, and you will have 22 days of meeting people.
 
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There are videos of people who literally ran the entire Camino Frances, completing it in a couple of weeks. As this shows, and you can see from several posts above, it is certainly possible to do the shorter Camino Portugues in three weeks. Is it advisable? I depends on what you are looking for in a Camino. Myself, I prefer not to race literally or figuratively to Santiago. I like to build in some cushion in case something unexpected occurs just so that I never find myself racing to Santiago to catch a plane. So I find myself tending to agree with those who suggest starting from Porto and taking the VE and perhaps continuing on to Finisterre/Muxia. But that's my way of doing a Camino. You know best what you are looking for from a Camino and can best judge what will provide it.

For what it's worth, I find the "whole Camino" construct somewhat artificial. Many people say the "whole Camino Frances" starts at St. Jean Pied de Port but the halfway point is marked from Roncesvalles and the three routes from Paris, Vezelay, and Le Puy join some 20 km before SJPdP in Ostabat. If the Frances starts at SJPdP, what route is it between Ostabat and St Jean?

Lisbon is equally an arbitrary starting point. Some start further south and many start further north. In comparison with the Frances and where pilgrim volumes tend to increase, I tend to think of Tui as like Sarria (where most join), Porto as like SJPdP (where most who aren't starting from 100 km join), Lisbon as like Le Puy (for those who want an even longer journey), and south of Lisbon like Geneva or parts north east in Europe (for the vanishing few really long distance walkers on the route who start where there is much less infrastructure).
 
Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks 😊
Yes, one can walk from Lisbon to Santiago in under 21 days. Having said that, might I recommend that you start from Porto and enjoy some company that you say you would like and when you reach Santiago, take a three more days to go to Finisterre or Muxia. Then take a bus back and enjoy Santiago or take a bus to Sarria and walk the last bit of the Camino Frances to Santiago.
 
Hi I have 22 days to walk the Camino in early May. I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints. So I have been looking into doing the Portuguese route. I’ve been reading it takes about 3.5-4 weeks to do. Has anyone done this in 3 weeks? I would like to have a day off in Porto leaving me just 21 days for walking.

I am 35 and fitness isn’t an issue for me, although I realise injuries/aches and pains may still occur after spending so much time on the feet.

I’ve also read the services and accommodation are sparse between Lisbon and Porto. Is there sufficient accommodation to walk a bit further each day than the suggested breakdown so I can squeeze it into a smaller number of days? If anyone has done it in 3 weeks and has a breakdown of where they stayed I’d be glad to hear.

I was also a little concerned about how quiet it may be between Lisbon and Porto. I’d like to meet people along the way. Can anyone comment on this?

Thanks 😊
You could check out the wise pilgrim app for the Portuguese camino. It's a very good resource and has all the places to stay and the distances between them. If you look at that, you will be able to figure out what's possible for you to walk.
 
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I have for years wanted to do the full France pilgrimage but I know this is out of the question this year due to time constraints.
Um... depends on what you want or expect, but 22 days on the Frances from SJPdP is doable, given you are a walking machine. I did it in 22 days at the age of 41. Now, the bummer with this kind of walk is that, unless you meet another walking freak, everyday you'll meet people and most likely never see them again. I had zero rest days. I did it this way because I too wanted to do a "full" camino and had to get back to work... it was great for me and quite satisfying, but it really depends on what you are looking for.

One more thing, if this is your first walk on the Camino, and you like people, I'd mildly suggest that the Frances is a great "Camino introduction" because it has the most robust infrastructure.

Just last Nov/December I walked the Portugues from Lisbon. But I chilled and did it "by the book".

Like everything else on this site... YMMV.
 
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MiaT, perhaps trying to drink from this fire hydrant has not answered any question but provided many more. That said, in my opinion (so what, you may say) just take a look at what you want to do - as many have pointed out. Personally, I found other routes to be as enjoyable as SJPdP - SdC and the time investment (for me) much less - as I needed (also for personal reasons). In offering advice - which you likely don't need- go for the one that your "gut" tells you will work for your own personal benefit! They all are journeys which offer a lot of good stuff. Buen Camino / Bom Caminho!
 
Ok, I'll just stick my head over the parapet, tin hat at the ready...
I walk quite fast, and managed the Frances in 18 days from SJPDP to Santiago, met some lovely people, had some very enjoyable 'camino' moments. Feet complained a couple of times but nothing more than a couple of blisters which can happen to anyone. I had my own personal reasons for going that fast, I wouldn't recommend it as being for everyone. I did Porto to Santiago in May in 8 days, SL until just north of Esposenda then switched to the coastal. I hope this helps with your planning? If your fit enough and can absorb a little discomfort then what you plan is definitely possible. It's your Camino.
I don't know if this is relevant but I'm 58 years old .
Amen! Go at the pace you want. It's a pilgrimage. If you get a little discomfort, you earned it.:)
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Thanks all for your comments, your advice is really appreciated and I’ve been giving it all some thought.



A few asked my motivations for doing the Camino. I love long walks, being out in nature, exploring new places/cultures and meeting new people, so have always wanted to do the Camino one day as it sounds perfect to me. I have recently been trying to overcome a personal issue and so now feels like a good time to go to take a break and for some reflection. I am not religious. I previously only knew about the Frances route until I recently read further into it. I have been wanting to travel around Portugal so this turned my interest to this route, and also the shorter distance given my time frame.



A few have suggested starting in Porto and walking on to Finnisterre. I am giving this some thought but do think I would prefer a longer walk. This also got me thinking about instead doing the Camino Frances route and starting in Burgos, then with the option of walking to Finnisterre depending on how I get on at the time. However part of me hopes that one day I may have a month off work to walk that route from SJdPP, so maybe I should save it. But I am drawn to this being a more social route.



I’m thinking if I start in Lisbon, it’s perhaps only an extra hours walking per day I would have to do which sounds ok. But then yes as others have said it would be nice to relax and feel I can go at the pace I want and how I feel on the day depending on where Im staying and who I meet and what I fancy doing. Life is currently rushed and busy (hence my long time to reply) so it would be nice to take a break from all this and not have a strict plan.



I’m still very undecided but appreciating your comments.
 
This also got me thinking about instead doing the Camino Frances route and starting in Burgos, then with the option of walking to Finnisterre depending on how I get on at the time. However part of me hopes that one day I may have a month off work to walk that route from SJdPP, so maybe I should save it. But I am drawn to this being a more social route.
Hi Mia, yes, I think we've established you could do the Portugues from Lisbon in your 22 days, but I don't think it'd be an optimal first camino.
I'm glad to hear you are considering the Frances. Starting in Burgos won't spoil it for whenever you finally have time to come back and start in SJPP (or Le Puy or Vezelay...). The pilgrims, and all the different life stories they bring, are different each time.
Also situations change: that 4-5 week window that would allow you to do the 'whole/perfect' CF may not come around. Carpe Diem and all that, and head for the CF this May... would be my recommendation
 
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