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Lisbon or Porto?

Camino(s) past & future
Frances April-May 2018
Planning 2019
#1
We are planning our 2019 Camino. The question is do we start in Lisbon or Porto. We intend to do Finistere and Muxia which we didn't get to on our Frances this spring. We will need to have at least one backpack transportred occasionally and it seems that there is none available between Lisbon and Porto. Any insight would be appreciated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept - Oct 2014, Camino Portugues Sept - Oct 2017
#2
We are planning our 2019 Camino. The question is do we start in Lisbon or Porto. We intend to do Finistere and Muxia which we didn't get to on our Frances this spring. We will need to have at least one backpack transportred occasionally and it seems that there is none available between Lisbon and Porto. Any insight would be appreciated.
We did the Portuguese last year from Lisbon and several people including ourselves were not enamoured with very flat and rather boring countryside. You could fly into Lisbon and take a train to Fatima and start there then head inland back to the central path to Tomar and your on your way to Santiago. Tomar is very beautiful and of historical significance. I can't say much about transporting backpacks because we carried ours but I don't think it is as popular as in Spain. Your choice of spring is good as I have done 2 caminos in the fall and from now on will do them in the spring. The days get longer in spring and it helps if you don't have to start your day in the dark. We did mid Sept to mid Oct and left the albergues before 7am in the dark.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017
#3
We are planning our 2019 Camino. The question is do we start in Lisbon or Porto. We intend to do Finistere and Muxia which we didn't get to on our Frances this spring. We will need to have at least one backpack transportred occasionally and it seems that there is none available between Lisbon and Porto. Any insight would be appreciated.
I’m currently on The Portuguese Camino about 100KM south of Porto. I haven’t come across anyone sending their bags ahead. The accommodation and food is generally better and cheaper than on the French Camino.
 

Stacyv

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminó francés (2017)
Planning Caminó portugués (2018)
Planning Lycian Way (2018)
#4
I’m two days out of Porto and recommend it as a starting point. Porto is lovely but the walk out is very uninspiring. The Camino Frances is the best Camino! I’m carrying my pack and haven’t seen and bag transportation like on the Frances. All not bad, pastries are to die for:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
#5
I’m just short of Coimbra now. What has been said is largely correct. Lisbon to Tomar wasn’t exciting or even that nice. Tomar is worth a visit. The convent is astounding. Food has been cheaper and better than on the Frances. English is more of a problem but everybody is friendly. I have run into very very few pilgrims. With what I know right now (meaning unless Coimbra to Porto is totally different), I’d start from Porto (unless you just want more Portuguese immersion).

Some of the hotels will offer to ship your bag via taxi to your next hotel but before Porto, it is a problem (unless you use a service to book your rooms).
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#8
I agree with everyone who was not in love with the Camino out of Lisbon. I would say to start in Porto and when you get to Santiago go do the Primitivo or Inglés. Go to Santiago and then keep going to Finesteria
 
#10
Well, I haven’t walked from Lisbon since 2008, when it was barely a twinkle in anyone’s eyes, but it did not disappoint. I like walking solitary caminos, so the fact that I was all alone didn’t bother me. I did get lost in a couple of eucalyptus forests, but the markings have been dramatically improved. I am never bored on a camino, I am just present in the moment. If it happens to be a few kms on the side of the highway, so be it, if it goes through the “boring” outskirts of big cities, well, that’s where you see people going about their regular normal daily lives. I love dramatic mountain scenery as much as the next person, and have gone to the Olvidado, Vadiense, Levante, etc for that, but enjoyed the small villages and pleasant rural setting in Portugal too. I think that the Porto vs. Lisbon decision requires you to figure out what it is you are looking for. What I want in a camino is the backdrop to a very long, frequently solitary, walk with open spaces and passing through towns and villages so I can rest, buy food, etc. A few historical or archaeological sites are great to fill in the afternoon hours but for me it’s all about the walking. Maybe that’s why I have never walked a camino that I didn’t love!

But if you are curious about what there is to do and see, the highlights before Porto for me were numerous:

— the walk out of Lisbon goes through the Alfama, the old port area with its beautiful buildings, past the tile museum (well worth a visit), the Parque das Naçoes, a long park along the Tejo River, site of an expo in the 90s and very pleasant.

—small towns like Azambuja, Golega, Vila Franca, Ansiao, etc etc. have their little plaza, market, church, all pleasant. There are plenty of historical buildings and parks to explore. Good local restaurants. I tend to be pretty active, and was always happy to walk around town and explore, and there was almost always something to see and do. And the people are so kind and helpful.

— you can see the birthplace of Portugal’s Nobel Prize author, José Saramago in Azinhaga.

— the ruined royal estate at Cardiga is a great place for a stop and hunting around you can find some fragments of what must have been beautiful tiled murals.

— Tomar, as others have said, has a must-visit monastery/castle up above the town, and the central part of the town down below has lovely little squares, a nice river park, etc.

— The Roman villa outside of Rabaçal is very interesting. There is a museum in town with some artifacts and historical explanation and the person in charge of giving tours drove me and one other out to the site for the visit. Beautiful mosaics of the four seasons.

— Roman ruins at Conímbriga are very interesting, lots of mosaics, baths, ongoing excavations.

— Coimbra is an ancient university city, and its old core has a romanesque fortress-type cathedral, plus the old universitiy library open for visits.

— if you are a meat eater, there is no place like Mealhada to eat roast suckling pig. There are as many restaurants in Mealhada as there are albergues in Sarria, I bet.

Though this thread is four years old, the video at the start of the thread will give some personal experiences. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-start-in-lisbon.29651/#post-633867

The numbers have increased dramatically, so I think most people walking these days from Lisbon join up with others. One really nice new feature is the albergue in the small village of Alpriate. It’s 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral, intended to be a first day’s stopping point. It is run by the Via Lusitana, the Lisbon amigos association, and they are very helpful. The bar in Alpriate has good homemade food and crazy cheap prices — no pilgrim gouging here.

So, yes, this has run on quite a bit, so I will close by saying that I will always choose a longer route over a shorter route, and since Lisbon is 300 km south of Porto, it was an easy decision. Bom caminho, Laurie
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#11
Well, I haven’t walked from Lisbon since 2008, when it was barely a twinkle in anyone’s eyes, but it did not disappoint. I like walking solitary caminos, so the fact that I was all alone didn’t bother me. I did get lost in a couple of eucalyptus forests, but the markings have been dramatically improved. I am never bored on a camino, I am just present in the moment. If it happens to be a few kms on the side of the highway, so be it, if it goes through the “boring” outskirts of big cities, well, that’s where you see people going about their regular normal daily lives. I love dramatic mountain scenery as much as the next person, and have gone to the Olvidado, Vadiense, Levante, etc for that, but enjoyed the small villages and pleasant rural setting in Portugal too. I think that the Porto vs. Lisbon decision requires you to figure out what it is you are looking for. What I want in a camino is the backdrop to a very long, frequently solitary, walk with open spaces and passing through towns and villages so I can rest, buy food, etc. A few historical or archaeological sites are great to fill in the afternoon hours but for me it’s all about the walking. Maybe that’s why I have never walked a camino that I didn’t love!

But if you are curious about what there is to do and see, the highlights before Porto for me were numerous:

— the walk out of Lisbon goes through the Alfama, the old port area with its beautiful buildings, past the tile museum (well worth a visit), the Parque das Naçoes, a long park along the Tejo River, site of an expo in the 90s and very pleasant.

—small towns like Azambuja, Golega, Vila Franca, Ansiao, etc etc. have their little plaza, market, church, all pleasant. There are plenty of historical buildings and parks to explore. Good local restaurants. I tend to be pretty active, and was always happy to walk around town and explore, and there was almost always something to see and do. And the people are so kind and helpful.

— you can see the birthplace of Portugal’s Nobel Prize author, José Saramago in Azinhaga.

— the ruined royal estate at Cardiga is a great place for a stop and hunting around you can find some fragments of what must have been beautiful tiled murals.

— Tomar, as others have said, has a must-visit monastery/castle up above the town, and the central part of the town down below has lovely little squares, a nice river park, etc.

— The Roman villa outside of Rabaçal is very interesting. There is a museum in town with some artifacts and historical explanation and the person in charge of giving tours drove me and one other out to the site for the visit. Beautiful mosaics of the four seasons.

— Roman ruins at Conímbriga are very interesting, lots of mosaics, baths, ongoing excavations.

— Coimbra is an ancient university city, and its old core has a romanesque fortress-type cathedral, plus the old universitiy library open for visits.

— if you are a meat eater, there is no place like Mealhada to eat roast suckling pig. There are as many restaurants in Mealhada as there are albergues in Sarria, I bet.

Though this thread is four years old, the video at the start of the thread will give some personal experiences. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-start-in-lisbon.29651/#post-633867

The numbers have increased dramatically, so I think most people walking these days from Lisbon join up with others. One really nice new feature is the albergue in the small village of Alpriate. It’s 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral, intended to be a first day’s stopping point. It is run by the Via Lusitana, the Lisbon amigos association, and they are very helpful. The bar in Alpriate has good homemade food and crazy cheap prices — no pilgrim gouging here.

So, yes, this has run on quite a bit, so I will close by saying that I will always choose a longer route over a shorter route, and since Lisbon is 300 km south of Porto, it was an easy decision. Bom caminho, Laurie
I think that your response really highlights something that people almost always fail to mention when they ask questions regarding which Camino to walk. It is obvious that you have a great love for the Camino and you are very aware of the beauty and culture which surrounds us on our Caminos. When people ask me about which Camino to walk I never think about everything you have just mentioned. In fact most everything you have mentioned I missed COMPLETELY when I walked CP last year.
For example my friend and I walked through Alfama out of Lisbon and I bet is is a lot more developed now than when you walked. I remember my friend saying to me, that this is a place to visit another time, I thought yes it would be interesting but I wish I was in the country and walking alone.
I saw the Cathedral in Coimbra, and my friend and I had a nice chat with some black caped students. Loved Tomar and remember seeing Jose Saramango's birthplace. Now I think boy I would like to see everywhere that you mentioned one day.
But when I am walking my focus is so narrow. It is about stillness, the rhythm of the sounds of my shoes on the ground and listening to my body. You have a much broader and expansive view, and I bet at the same time are still doing your own personal journey. It is something I admire. I also know it is all our own Camino so whatever is right for each of us is the right way to go. That was a lot to just say again that experienced Pilgrims can help with these types of questions best with as much information as possible.
BUEN CAMINO TO ALL!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015, Camino Portugues 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Le Puy Route (Sept. 2018)
#13
Many thanks to all . Still undecided but will continue to ponder. enticed by the food and lodging responses. Maybe the coastal from Porto to SdC then Finistere/Muxia?
I walked from Lisbon to Finisterre in September last year and was amazed how cheap food, drink and accommodation was compared to the Frances, especially from Lisbon to Porto. A few times I had a private room in an Albergue for 10 or 12 euros. Have to agree with other opinions about the boring sections.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - St Jean to Santiago - Sept 2016
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon to Santiago - Apr 2018
#14
Many thanks to all . Still undecided but will continue to ponder. enticed by the food and lodging responses. Maybe the coastal from Porto to SdC then Finistere/Muxia?
Hi Jim,
I'm getting to this thread rather late. You've probably already made up your mind whether or not you're going to start CP from Lisbon or Porto. For what it's worth this is my opinion after completing it all in March 2018. Besides being flat and boring it's also very dangerous with the traffic. For example the last 3-5kms into Golega, you're walking on a busy road with cars buzzing by at 80km+ and with no where to move over. The car drivers don't appear friendly, don't acknowledge when you wave to them. Also lots of dogs!

This is my Camino Portuguese Video that will give you some idea of the terrain & Environment
 

Stacyv

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminó francés (2017)
Planning Caminó portugués (2018)
Planning Lycian Way (2018)
#15
Porto is a great place to start especially if you’re continuing to Muxia, makes it a nice distance. The coastal route is more interesting than the central route, and at every opportunity take the Senda Litoral.....so much better especially out of Porto. Bag transport seems evident once you cross the border into Spain:)
 
#16
Well, I haven’t walked from Lisbon since 2008, when it was barely a twinkle in anyone’s eyes, but it did not disappoint. I like walking solitary caminos, so the fact that I was all alone didn’t bother me. I did get lost in a couple of eucalyptus forests, but the markings have been dramatically improved. I am never bored on a camino, I am just present in the moment. If it happens to be a few kms on the side of the highway, so be it, if it goes through the “boring” outskirts of big cities, well, that’s where you see people going about their regular normal daily lives. I love dramatic mountain scenery as much as the next person, and have gone to the Olvidado, Vadiense, Levante, etc for that, but enjoyed the small villages and pleasant rural setting in Portugal too. I think that the Porto vs. Lisbon decision requires you to figure out what it is you are looking for. What I want in a camino is the backdrop to a very long, frequently solitary, walk with open spaces and passing through towns and villages so I can rest, buy food, etc. A few historical or archaeological sites are great to fill in the afternoon hours but for me it’s all about the walking. Maybe that’s why I have never walked a camino that I didn’t love!

But if you are curious about what there is to do and see, the highlights before Porto for me were numerous:

— the walk out of Lisbon goes through the Alfama, the old port area with its beautiful buildings, past the tile museum (well worth a visit), the Parque das Naçoes, a long park along the Tejo River, site of an expo in the 90s and very pleasant.

—small towns like Azambuja, Golega, Vila Franca, Ansiao, etc etc. have their little plaza, market, church, all pleasant. There are plenty of historical buildings and parks to explore. Good local restaurants. I tend to be pretty active, and was always happy to walk around town and explore, and there was almost always something to see and do. And the people are so kind and helpful.

— you can see the birthplace of Portugal’s Nobel Prize author, José Saramago in Azinhaga.

— the ruined royal estate at Cardiga is a great place for a stop and hunting around you can find some fragments of what must have been beautiful tiled murals.

— Tomar, as others have said, has a must-visit monastery/castle up above the town, and the central part of the town down below has lovely little squares, a nice river park, etc.

— The Roman villa outside of Rabaçal is very interesting. There is a museum in town with some artifacts and historical explanation and the person in charge of giving tours drove me and one other out to the site for the visit. Beautiful mosaics of the four seasons.

— Roman ruins at Conímbriga are very interesting, lots of mosaics, baths, ongoing excavations.

— Coimbra is an ancient university city, and its old core has a romanesque fortress-type cathedral, plus the old universitiy library open for visits.

— if you are a meat eater, there is no place like Mealhada to eat roast suckling pig. There are as many restaurants in Mealhada as there are albergues in Sarria, I bet.

Though this thread is four years old, the video at the start of the thread will give some personal experiences. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-start-in-lisbon.29651/#post-633867

The numbers have increased dramatically, so I think most people walking these days from Lisbon join up with others. One really nice new feature is the albergue in the small village of Alpriate. It’s 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral, intended to be a first day’s stopping point. It is run by the Via Lusitana, the Lisbon amigos association, and they are very helpful. The bar in Alpriate has good homemade food and crazy cheap prices — no pilgrim gouging here.

So, yes, this has run on quite a bit, so I will close by saying that I will always choose a longer route over a shorter route, and since Lisbon is 300 km south of Porto, it was an easy decision. Bom caminho, Laurie
I second everything! Just returned from my Camino Lisbon to Santiago. I thoroughly enjoyed it!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are planning to do the Camino Portuguese in May!!
#17
We are planning our 2019 Camino. The question is do we start in Lisbon or Porto. We intend to do Finistere and Muxia which we didn't get to on our Frances this spring. We will need to have at least one backpack transportred occasionally and it seems that there is none available between Lisbon and Porto. Any insight would be appreciated.
We started in Coimbra!! It was awesome!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean - Finisterre (August 2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (January 2015)
Bilbao - Santander (May 2015)
St Jean - Sahgún (2nd Sept - 20 Sept 2015)
León - Sarria (26/12/2015 - 04/01/2016)
Lisbon - Tomar (02/04/16 - 10/04/16)
Pau - Pamplona (August 2016)
#18
I quite liked Lisbon to Tomar. I don't like the word boring. It's what you bring to your Camino that makes it your unique experience. Open your eyes, look around, see different cultures, different ways of living, local people ... look for beauty and interesting things, they are always there. People skip the walk out of Bilbao, or the Meseta, or walking the outskirts of Burgos or Seville - the dirt, grime, industrial areas, ruins and slums are just as much the real Spain and real Camino. In fact, in my opinion, more so because that is the Spain and life-experience of many Spaniards who don't have my privilege, opportunity and luxury of being pilgrims. Walking out of Lisbon is wonderful, a good reality check ... and very beautiful!
 

Geoff1951

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017)
Portugues (2019)
#19
Well, I haven’t walked from Lisbon since 2008, when it was barely a twinkle in anyone’s eyes, but it did not disappoint. I like walking solitary caminos, so the fact that I was all alone didn’t bother me. I did get lost in a couple of eucalyptus forests, but the markings have been dramatically improved. I am never bored on a camino, I am just present in the moment. If it happens to be a few kms on the side of the highway, so be it, if it goes through the “boring” outskirts of big cities, well, that’s where you see people going about their regular normal daily lives. I love dramatic mountain scenery as much as the next person, and have gone to the Olvidado, Vadiense, Levante, etc for that, but enjoyed the small villages and pleasant rural setting in Portugal too. I think that the Porto vs. Lisbon decision requires you to figure out what it is you are looking for. What I want in a camino is the backdrop to a very long, frequently solitary, walk with open spaces and passing through towns and villages so I can rest, buy food, etc. A few historical or archaeological sites are great to fill in the afternoon hours but for me it’s all about the walking. Maybe that’s why I have never walked a camino that I didn’t love!

But if you are curious about what there is to do and see, the highlights before Porto for me were numerous:

— the walk out of Lisbon goes through the Alfama, the old port area with its beautiful buildings, past the tile museum (well worth a visit), the Parque das Naçoes, a long park along the Tejo River, site of an expo in the 90s and very pleasant.

—small towns like Azambuja, Golega, Vila Franca, Ansiao, etc etc. have their little plaza, market, church, all pleasant. There are plenty of historical buildings and parks to explore. Good local restaurants. I tend to be pretty active, and was always happy to walk around town and explore, and there was almost always something to see and do. And the people are so kind and helpful.

— you can see the birthplace of Portugal’s Nobel Prize author, José Saramago in Azinhaga.

— the ruined royal estate at Cardiga is a great place for a stop and hunting around you can find some fragments of what must have been beautiful tiled murals.

— Tomar, as others have said, has a must-visit monastery/castle up above the town, and the central part of the town down below has lovely little squares, a nice river park, etc.

— The Roman villa outside of Rabaçal is very interesting. There is a museum in town with some artifacts and historical explanation and the person in charge of giving tours drove me and one other out to the site for the visit. Beautiful mosaics of the four seasons.

— Roman ruins at Conímbriga are very interesting, lots of mosaics, baths, ongoing excavations.

— Coimbra is an ancient university city, and its old core has a romanesque fortress-type cathedral, plus the old universitiy library open for visits.

— if you are a meat eater, there is no place like Mealhada to eat roast suckling pig. There are as many restaurants in Mealhada as there are albergues in Sarria, I bet.

Though this thread is four years old, the video at the start of the thread will give some personal experiences. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-start-in-lisbon.29651/#post-633867

The numbers have increased dramatically, so I think most people walking these days from Lisbon join up with others. One really nice new feature is the albergue in the small village of Alpriate. It’s 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral, intended to be a first day’s stopping point. It is run by the Via Lusitana, the Lisbon amigos association, and they are very helpful. The bar in Alpriate has good homemade food and crazy cheap prices — no pilgrim gouging here.

So, yes, this has run on quite a bit, so I will close by saying that I will always choose a longer route over a shorter route, and since Lisbon is 300 km south of Porto, it was an easy decision. Bom caminho, Laurie
Thank you so much for all that info. We are walking from Lisbon in late April 2019 and looking forward to it even more now after reading your descriptions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Past 2016:Sarria - Santiago
Past 2018:Central CP & Finist-Muxia-SdC
Future 2020:Via Francigena
#20
Lisbon, Lisbon, Lisbon. Glad we did and would do it again. Although I would start from Faro next time.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#21
We are planning our 2019 Camino. The question is do we start in Lisbon or Porto. We intend to do Finistere and Muxia which we didn't get to on our Frances this spring. We will need to have at least one backpack transportred occasionally and it seems that there is none available between Lisbon and Porto. Any insight would be appreciated.
Porto .......Muxia ......... Lires .........Finistere.
And loved every second , good accommodation , great fish meals and plenty of what you have in your hand in photo Jim
Enjoy the walk and first day only 10 km , glad we choose this stop.
 
#23
Many thanks to all, as always great information and opinions.
Lisbon it is. In retrospect, a great deal of the Frances experience was immersion into the culture so why not. Next, the logistics.
Jim & Jane
Hi Jim and Jane, good to have one decision made. Hope you weigh in on this “debate” once you have first hand experience, because a diversity of opinions is one of the things that makes this forum such a valuable resource.

Btw, when are you planning to walk? Bom caminho, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPdP - Santiago) Spring (2016)
Portuguese (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) Spring (2018)
#25
As has has already been said, we did not hear great things about the Lisbon to Porto walking route. however there are a number of wonderful places to see between Lisbon and Porto, some that are not actually on the Camino. Our solution was to fly into Lisbon, spend a couple of days there, rent a car and take 3 days driving from Lisbon to Porto. Then drop the car, spend a couple more days in Porto and then start walking. It worked very well.
 

Texasguy

And so...we keep on walking ..
Camino(s) past & future
French completed in 2013
Portuguese Conpleted March 2015
Ingles Completed November 2015
French 2016
#26
Many thanks to all . Still undecided but will continue to ponder. enticed by the food and lodging responses. Maybe the coastal from Porto to SdC then Finistere/Muxia?

Having done once from Lisbon and another time from Porto, I would do it from Porto the next time. And if you can, do it in November. Truly, Truly, beautiful.

Buen Camino.

Texasguy
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2013)
Camino Portuguese (2018)
#27
I have just returned from Camino Portugues. I started in Lisbon, but I wouldn't have done it if I would know how it would be like. If I were to do it again, I would start in Porto. The reasons:
I didn't seen any pilgrims for the first week. Slightly many after Tomar. Many more from Porto.
There are fewer albergues than on Camino Frances and they are often fully booked in advance. You might need to call in advance as well.
The stages are longer, the supplies are fewer.
There are long portions of road with high traffic and no margins.
Scarce shadow.
To cut a long story short, do not expect any of the things you liked on the Camino Frances. Your experience and thrill of your first Camino are still fresh and you seem eager to live it again. I believe you can partially have them starting from Porto...

Indeed, there are many wonderful places, as peregrina2000 has listed and beautifully described. You can visit them before starting your Camino...
 

Keyes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF May-June 2016
Francesco June-July 2017
Francigena July-August 2017
Portuguese July 2018
#28
Well, I haven’t walked from Lisbon since 2008, when it was barely a twinkle in anyone’s eyes, but it did not disappoint. I like walking solitary caminos, so the fact that I was all alone didn’t bother me. I did get lost in a couple of eucalyptus forests, but the markings have been dramatically improved. I am never bored on a camino, I am just present in the moment. If it happens to be a few kms on the side of the highway, so be it, if it goes through the “boring” outskirts of big cities, well, that’s where you see people going about their regular normal daily lives. I love dramatic mountain scenery as much as the next person, and have gone to the Olvidado, Vadiense, Levante, etc for that, but enjoyed the small villages and pleasant rural setting in Portugal too. I think that the Porto vs. Lisbon decision requires you to figure out what it is you are looking for. What I want in a camino is the backdrop to a very long, frequently solitary, walk with open spaces and passing through towns and villages so I can rest, buy food, etc. A few historical or archaeological sites are great to fill in the afternoon hours but for me it’s all about the walking. Maybe that’s why I have never walked a camino that I didn’t love!

But if you are curious about what there is to do and see, the highlights before Porto for me were numerous:

— the walk out of Lisbon goes through the Alfama, the old port area with its beautiful buildings, past the tile museum (well worth a visit), the Parque das Naçoes, a long park along the Tejo River, site of an expo in the 90s and very pleasant.

—small towns like Azambuja, Golega, Vila Franca, Ansiao, etc etc. have their little plaza, market, church, all pleasant. There are plenty of historical buildings and parks to explore. Good local restaurants. I tend to be pretty active, and was always happy to walk around town and explore, and there was almost always something to see and do. And the people are so kind and helpful.

— you can see the birthplace of Portugal’s Nobel Prize author, José Saramago in Azinhaga.

— the ruined royal estate at Cardiga is a great place for a stop and hunting around you can find some fragments of what must have been beautiful tiled murals.

— Tomar, as others have said, has a must-visit monastery/castle up above the town, and the central part of the town down below has lovely little squares, a nice river park, etc.

— The Roman villa outside of Rabaçal is very interesting. There is a museum in town with some artifacts and historical explanation and the person in charge of giving tours drove me and one other out to the site for the visit. Beautiful mosaics of the four seasons.

— Roman ruins at Conímbriga are very interesting, lots of mosaics, baths, ongoing excavations.

— Coimbra is an ancient university city, and its old core has a romanesque fortress-type cathedral, plus the old universitiy library open for visits.

— if you are a meat eater, there is no place like Mealhada to eat roast suckling pig. There are as many restaurants in Mealhada as there are albergues in Sarria, I bet.

Though this thread is four years old, the video at the start of the thread will give some personal experiences. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-start-in-lisbon.29651/#post-633867

The numbers have increased dramatically, so I think most people walking these days from Lisbon join up with others. One really nice new feature is the albergue in the small village of Alpriate. It’s 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral, intended to be a first day’s stopping point. It is run by the Via Lusitana, the Lisbon amigos association, and they are very helpful. The bar in Alpriate has good homemade food and crazy cheap prices — no pilgrim gouging here.

So, yes, this has run on quite a bit, so I will close by saying that I will always choose a longer route over a shorter route, and since Lisbon is 300 km south of Porto, it was an easy decision. Bom caminho, Laurie
Wonderful post! You've captured much of the joy of walking a Camino. Over the last three years I've spent 120+ days on 4 different caminos, and never had a boring day. So glad that I started in Lisbon this past July. Definitely prefer longer over shorter.
 

igailfh

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Português, Camino de Tejo (Fatima)
#29
Well, I haven’t walked from Lisbon since 2008, when it was barely a twinkle in anyone’s eyes, but it did not disappoint. I like walking solitary caminos, so the fact that I was all alone didn’t bother me. I did get lost in a couple of eucalyptus forests, but the markings have been dramatically improved. I am never bored on a camino, I am just present in the moment. If it happens to be a few kms on the side of the highway, so be it, if it goes through the “boring” outskirts of big cities, well, that’s where you see people going about their regular normal daily lives. I love dramatic mountain scenery as much as the next person, and have gone to the Olvidado, Vadiense, Levante, etc for that, but enjoyed the small villages and pleasant rural setting in Portugal too. I think that the Porto vs. Lisbon decision requires you to figure out what it is you are looking for. What I want in a camino is the backdrop to a very long, frequently solitary, walk with open spaces and passing through towns and villages so I can rest, buy food, etc. A few historical or archaeological sites are great to fill in the afternoon hours but for me it’s all about the walking. Maybe that’s why I have never walked a camino that I didn’t love!

But if you are curious about what there is to do and see, the highlights before Porto for me were numerous:

— the walk out of Lisbon goes through the Alfama, the old port area with its beautiful buildings, past the tile museum (well worth a visit), the Parque das Naçoes, a long park along the Tejo River, site of an expo in the 90s and very pleasant.

—small towns like Azambuja, Golega, Vila Franca, Ansiao, etc etc. have their little plaza, market, church, all pleasant. There are plenty of historical buildings and parks to explore. Good local restaurants. I tend to be pretty active, and was always happy to walk around town and explore, and there was almost always something to see and do. And the people are so kind and helpful.

— you can see the birthplace of Portugal’s Nobel Prize author, José Saramago in Azinhaga.

— the ruined royal estate at Cardiga is a great place for a stop and hunting around you can find some fragments of what must have been beautiful tiled murals.

— Tomar, as others have said, has a must-visit monastery/castle up above the town, and the central part of the town down below has lovely little squares, a nice river park, etc.

— The Roman villa outside of Rabaçal is very interesting. There is a museum in town with some artifacts and historical explanation and the person in charge of giving tours drove me and one other out to the site for the visit. Beautiful mosaics of the four seasons.

— Roman ruins at Conímbriga are very interesting, lots of mosaics, baths, ongoing excavations.

— Coimbra is an ancient university city, and its old core has a romanesque fortress-type cathedral, plus the old universitiy library open for visits.

— if you are a meat eater, there is no place like Mealhada to eat roast suckling pig. There are as many restaurants in Mealhada as there are albergues in Sarria, I bet.

Though this thread is four years old, the video at the start of the thread will give some personal experiences. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-start-in-lisbon.29651/#post-633867

The numbers have increased dramatically, so I think most people walking these days from Lisbon join up with others. One really nice new feature is the albergue in the small village of Alpriate. It’s 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral, intended to be a first day’s stopping point. It is run by the Via Lusitana, the Lisbon amigos association, and they are very helpful. The bar in Alpriate has good homemade food and crazy cheap prices — no pilgrim gouging here.

So, yes, this has run on quite a bit, so I will close by saying that I will always choose a longer route over a shorter route, and since Lisbon is 300 km south of Porto, it was an easy decision. Bom caminho, Laurie

I walked from Lisbon in 2017 & thoroughly enjoyed the area. I walked the Camino do Tejo to Fatima so only the first four days were on the Camino Português. From Fatima I bused to Porto & started again from there. Because of that I'm going back in 2019 to walk all the way to see all that I missed as it sounds great! Then I'll walk the Senda Litoral/Coastal/Spiritual Variant from Porto to Santiago de Compostela.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April/May 2006, Camino Fisterre May, 2006, Camino Frances - Oct/Nov 2017
#30
Having done once from Lisbon and another time from Porto, I would do it from Porto the next time. And if you can, do it in November. Truly, Truly, beautiful.

Buen Camino.

Texasguy
Hi Texas guy. I am thinking of a last minute Porto to SDC. You say November is wonderful. I am a little concerned about weather changing and walking totally solo. Don't mind cold but incessant rain would not appeal. I know it is a juggle and no one can forecast but....your two bits on this?
 

Rex

Pilgrim Trekker
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
#32
Just finished CP from Lisbon last week. Route out of Lisbon is occasionally difficult to follow, as arrows are occasionally covered by posters or banners. Still, the four day walk through the Rio Tejo valley with all the agricultural sights is a different kind of beauty and I came to appreciate it after a couple of days. The people along the way were friendly (even if the car/truck drivers were a bit terrifying at times). It helps to plan your stops ahead, as there are more hotels, hostels, inns being built, but still a paucity of lodging choices in the first two or three nights out of Lisbon. As noted above, once you reach Tomar, there seems to be an increase in the number of pilgrims, and definitely was the case when I reached Coimbra (a city well worth spending a few hours in, even if you don't stay there). For personal reasons, I took a detour and went to Fatima by bus for one day, a side trip which was worth the time IMO.
Note: farmers in the Rio Tejo valley occasionally run over the way markers with farm machinery, so I became adept at looking around the intersections of tomato and grape fields for markers laying in the ditch or along the fence row of the intersection. Lots of dirt roads and trails, which are peaceful, with interludes of walking on asphalt roads, many of which have little or no verge/shoulder, so you really have to pay attention to oncoming traffic. Farmers seemed to be very attentive and courteous, but local auto traffic seems to travel at high speeds, no matter the road conditions. I wore a fluorescent yellow bicycling vest many days, with a yellow pennant attached to my pack, preventative self-defense measures. The route is totally different than the CF, but has its own beauty and character.
Bom Caminho.
 

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