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Is the Portguese Coastal route viable in the winter?

Ducks

Walking for 3
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugese (2020)
Camino Frances (2021)
I am looking forward to walking the coastal route next year, health permitting. I can literally hardly wait! I have to fit it in between work and I'm musing about the possibility of being able to do it before when I've planned, which is next September. I'm free December and January :)

I've been looking ahead on Accuweather. It looks relatively mild even in December - 13 degrees. I'd rather be a bit cooler than overheat anyway - I'm British and anything over 10 degrees in winter sounds fine to me. But sometimes the 'on paper' forecast doesn't really tell you what it feels like. Wind and heavy persistent rain are not much fun.

Does anyone have any advice or experience with winter walking on this route? Or the inland version?

Because of health issues, I'm only planning to walk about 15 km per day and will probably stay in private hostels or B&Bs, so I'm not worried about albergues being open or not. It's the weather conditions that are the question.

Thank you anyone who has a moment to answer this.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
I walked last Janaury - I had finished in Vila do COnde in the spring and picked up the route again in January 2019 up the coast to Caminha and then up the river to Valenca & then the central route to SdeC. Albergues in the main stops were open. The situation with B&Bs and hotels was some were closed for the winter season but many were still open - but might need some work to only walk 15km a day. Also note heating may not be great in some B&Bs and hotesl
Sunrise was 8am and dark about 5pm. The issue may be if a storm rolls in that brings gales and rain - but you could also get glorious blue skies and sunshine. The issue will be if you have pre-booked accomodation in advance if you do get a bad batch of weather. However, there are buses, trains and taxis if you need to adjust. The coastal route at times is exposed and if it is windy you will need to be prepared for how cold it will be.
One blog that shows how cold and tough it mya be is old from 2013 and they walked the central route (from Lisbon)- here is the link from Porto onwards
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Does anyone have any advice or experience with winter walking on this route?
Hi, you just can’t predict the weather on that coastline in winter.

We had glorious days out of Porto (late Feb/early Mar), but suddenly the weather turned, and when the wind and rain came in off the Atlantic it was horizontal. We literally couldn’t stand upright and were going from lamp post to lamp post.

We gave up and took a bus from Esposende to Viana do Costelo, where we continued on the Central route, where it was much calmer.

So by all means go for it, and you could be lucky (expect the worst, but hope for the best), but be flexible, i.e. no advanced bookings so that you can revert to Plan B.

Another time, I rented an apartment for a month (Dec) in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the bridge in Porto. One evening, struggling back across the bridge in the most horrendous wind and rain I’ve ever experienced, was one of the most scariest things I’ve ever attempted.

Oh, and then there was Storm Leslie on 14 Oct 2018 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45853847). I was on the Central at the time, between Rabacal and Cernache); trees fell across powerlines and the electricity was out for 2 days.

But don’t let me put you off 😁; when the weather is good, it is very, very good :D! (But when it’s bad, it’s horrible 😨.)
 

Ducks

Walking for 3
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugese (2020)
Camino Frances (2021)
Thanks for the replies. The rain doesn't sound much fun. Do you think March is any better?
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
@Ducks
2019 early May was good . Some wet days, a few days too hot but generally lovely walking weather. Flowers, landscape and sea side pretty good.
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central and Coastal 2017 & 2019; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia 2018
I'm free December and January :) Because of health issues, I'm only planning to walk about 15 km per day and will probably stay in private hostels or B&Bs, so I'm not worried about albergues being open or not. It's the weather conditions that are the question.
We walked the Coastal from Porto + Espiritual in Jan this year. Mix of glorious sunshine, some drizzle, one day of downpour only. No strong winds, mild temp from +3 to +14C. Portuguese was a pleasant surprise to walk as expected much worse weatherwise. Now for me it's definitely an all season Camino, very comfortable to walk there! Will walk in Portugal in winter again if I have a chance! Finding accommodation is no problem even in winter, most of the albergues are open and of good quality if you fancy a change from pensions. Take some warm clothes for the albergues. My day-to-day blog of the Coastal in winter, pics a international :) https://anna-camino.livejournal.com/5457.html Bom Caminho! :)
These are the flowers from my Camino in Jan, you can glimpse some weather on the pics there as well: https://anna-camino.livejournal.com/5063.html
 

Ducks

Walking for 3
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugese (2020)
Camino Frances (2021)
Thank you for sharing. Those flowers are gorgeous. It reminds me of Malta in winter. The pics tell the story (which sadly I'm unable to read!) - if so many flowers are blooming, the weather can't be that bad, at least not all of the time. you have encouraged me that it's possible to do this in an enjoyable way even in winter.
 

Pamalita

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Oct/Nov (2019)
Would November be considered autumn or winter? Starting Coastal from Porto (w option to head inland pending weather) eo October. Tx!
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central and Coastal 2017 & 2019; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia 2018
Would November be considered autumn or winter? Starting Coastal from Porto (w option to head inland pending weather) eo October. Tx!
November is definitely autumn! Especially for those who are used to winters with low temperatrures and snow. There is no such thing in Portugal and Spain and their winters feel like my regular autumn/spring with mild temperatures. Mind you a different point of view on the heating situation though so it might be cold in some albergues, especially if it's raining - take warm clothes for the inside as well.
 

Paintboy2

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP-Coastal Route(2016), CdN (2017) CP-Senda Litoral (2018), Way of St. Francis (2019), CPVS (2020)
Efren Gonsales has a good video series going right now on youtube doing the CP. Parts are on the coast (which is called the "Litoral" route) and parts are on " Coastal" route which is actually inland from the coast. I have done both and would caution doing the " Litoral" in the winter. My advice is to do the "Coastal " route in the winter or summer and the "Litoral" in the summer. Both are fantastic Caminos and even tough they are geographically close together they are each unique and beautiful.
Here is a link to Efrens latest video.
Buen Camino.
 

Pilgrim9

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
An idea applicable to all seasons is to make use of Portugal's very excellent urban tram lines and inter-urban commuter trains within the collection areas to the north of Lisbon and to the north of Porto.

If I was to walk the CP again, I would arrange my walking plan so that each afternoon I would tram/train from the hinterland back to pre-arranged lodgings in the big city, then next morning tram/train back to the hinterland and resume northwards from where I had left off the day before. One can do this for numerous days before leaving the range of those commuter lines. The vehicles will not be crowded because the main flow of people at those times of day will be in the other direction.

In my experience in June and July, finding lodgings, restaurants, and the all-important laundromats close to the CP in those areas was sometimes a challenge, and my route ended up diverging quite a few kilometres to either side of the CP to get to the needed services. Such services are much obviously more abundant in the big cities.

For the first few days, interspersing days walking the CP with days allocated to big city tourism would allow a gradual increase of fitness.
 

Faye Walker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Heading out of Coimbra Nov 6.... Hoping to be in SdC between Nov 21-23 (weather, rest days as variables) but I could take up to the 26th to get there if I want.

Will be taking what I consider autumn clothing here. Means extra weight for rain gear. Suppose it's best to take my down comforter that is 256 grams? I'd toss it on top of my silk sleep sack. But I *could* just sleep in clothes and the sack if it's not *freezing*.

I also have to have a little pair of shoes for evenings instead of sandals... so that's a bit if extra weight over my summer packing.

Thoughts??

I will report back on November weather experience when I get home.
 

Bagobev

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lisbon to Santiago (2017)
I am curious to know more about your down comforter that is 256 grams. As a side sleeper I am looking for an ultra light alternative to a sleeping bag.
 

Faye Walker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I am curious to know more about your down comforter that is 256 grams. As a side sleeper I am looking for an ultra light alternative to a sleeping bag.
I bought it on Amazon.. searched for :lightweight down travel quilt.
There were many options, and i chose one that has actual down rather than a synthetic fill.
 

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