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Looking for Camino warmth: Which route to choose?

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP to Fisterre/Muxia (2016)
Porto to Fisterre/Muxia (2017)
Hello my fellow pilgrims,

Hopefully you'll be able to give me some advice on my upcoming Camino from Porto to Santiago.

Last year I walked from SJPdP to Santiago and Fisterre. An absolutely amazing and warming experience. One of the things I loved most were the magical albergues and donativos I got to stay in. Communal dinners, pilgrims blessings, singing songs, sharing experiences, beautiful people and so much Camino love.

My question is, along which route of the Camino Portugues am I most likely to find those warm Camino experiences? And do you maybe have recommendations on where to stay? I would really like to walk the beautiful coastal route but am afraid that this newer and quieter route offers less of what I described above. Although I know that whichever path I choose will offer what I need, I still have a hard time deciding.

Can any of you share your experiences? Thank you so much for helping me out :)

Buen Camino!
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ronces-SdC (03-04/10);Oporto-SdC (10/2011); VdlP via Portugal 03/04 2012/2013;Part Invierno 2012; Toulouse to Sarrance 2012; Ingles to Muxia June 2013 Cami Catala and Aragones 2014; El Salvador & Primitivo 2014; Camino de Madrid 2016; Levante 2015,2017
I had a wonderful Portuguese camino, we were a very mixed, but great group of people and we had some great communal meals in the albergues. The meals weren't organised as such it started because there were friendly people who said 'how about eating together'! Most people are happy to muck in but sometimes they just need a nudge, especially when there are just a small number of people. Go for it and make it a fun camino, it may rest in your hands!!!
Bom caminho
 

sabbott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP to Ponferrada) 2016
Camino Invierno 2016
Sulu, which Portuguese route did you walk?
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ronces-SdC (03-04/10);Oporto-SdC (10/2011); VdlP via Portugal 03/04 2012/2013;Part Invierno 2012; Toulouse to Sarrance 2012; Ingles to Muxia June 2013 Cami Catala and Aragones 2014; El Salvador & Primitivo 2014; Camino de Madrid 2016; Levante 2015,2017
Sulu, which Portuguese route did you walk?
We walked from Matoshinos to Vila do Conde but then went inland and met up with others, that was in October 2011, I think the routes are much busier now. On a completely different track I also did most of the Portuguese route from Zamora to Verin but that is another story and I was completely alone.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Walked the Central last year from Porto and ot is a completely different vibe than the Frances. I am afraid you will be hard pressed to find "blessings, songs, donativos and communal meals".
 

Chantal dawson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese - part of. may 2016
Hello, I walked from Porto to Santiago and I went via Villa Do Conde, Barcelos, Ponte De Lima, Rubiaes and then the border of Spain. This route was stunning and the coastal part was amazing. Plenty of hostels too, although not much in the way of sing songs and communal meals
 

Letsgocamino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2013 Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.
Camino Portuguese Porto to SdeC May 31 2017.
Hello my fellow pilgrims,

Hopefully you'll be able to give me some advice on my upcoming Camino from Porto to Santiago.

Last year I walked from SJPdP to Santiago and Fisterre. An absolutely amazing and warming experience. One of the things I loved most were the magical albergues and donativos I got to stay in. Communal dinners, pilgrims blessings, singing songs, sharing experiences, beautiful people and so much Camino love.

My question is, along which route of the Camino Portugues am I most likely to find those warm Camino experiences? And do you maybe have recommendations on where to stay? I would really like to walk the beautiful coastal route but am afraid that this newer and quieter route offers less of what I described above. Although I know that whichever path I choose will offer what I need, I still have a hard time deciding.

Can any of you share your experiences? Thank you so much for helping me out :)

Buen Camino!
My sister and I are right now in Ponte de lima. We started in Porto, walked with our lefts to the atlantic ocean which was beautiful and cooling. Stayed at Albergue S.Tiago schoolhouse(bety, the host, was terrific) a very nice place to rest. CLEAN. had a delicious dinner down at the water, cafe novo rumo.When we got to Vila do condo we took a bus to Arcos and started the Camino again from there. So far, its been grand.
 

Sarah Olson

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017, Portugues
Hello my fellow pilgrims,

Hopefully you'll be able to give me some advice on my upcoming Camino from Porto to Santiago.

Last year I walked from SJPdP to Santiago and Fisterre. An absolutely amazing and warming experience. One of the things I loved most were the magical albergues and donativos I got to stay in. Communal dinners, pilgrims blessings, singing songs, sharing experiences, beautiful people and so much Camino love.

My question is, along which route of the Camino Portugues am I most likely to find those warm Camino experiences? And do you maybe have recommendations on where to stay? I would really like to walk the beautiful coastal route but am afraid that this newer and quieter route offers less of what I described above. Although I know that whichever path I choose will offer what I need, I still have a hard time deciding.

Can any of you share your experiences? Thank you so much for helping me out :)

Buen Camino!
I just returned, went from Porto up the coast to Vila do Conde, then cut over to central route. I deliberately stayed at Pedra Furada and Lugar do Corgo (Casa Fernanda), which were off-stage. Casa Fernanda was the only place that I stayed in with the kind of experience that I think you are looking for, so you will want to stay there, for sure. Otherwise, you will have to make your own experience! It is a really beautiful path, just doesn't have the same infrastructure as the Frances. Most of the people I saw along the way were in pairs/groups, and many of them spoke no English. I can't speak to the coastal route so much, since I haven't walked it, but from what I've heard, it is more touristy, so you are less likely to find those pilgrim-type experiences there.
 

shefollowsshells

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several alone and with children
Hello my fellow pilgrims,

Hopefully you'll be able to give me some advice on my upcoming Camino from Porto to Santiago.

Last year I walked from SJPdP to Santiago and Fisterre. An absolutely amazing and warming experience. One of the things I loved most were the magical albergues and donativos I got to stay in. Communal dinners, pilgrims blessings, singing songs, sharing experiences, beautiful people and so much Camino love.

My question is, along which route of the Camino Portugues am I most likely to find those warm Camino experiences? And do you maybe have recommendations on where to stay? I would really like to walk the beautiful coastal route but am afraid that this newer and quieter route offers less of what I described above. Although I know that whichever path I choose will offer what I need, I still have a hard time deciding.

Can any of you share your experiences? Thank you so much for helping me out :)

Buen Camino!
Somebody might have already said this, but you might be surprised as you venture out that your warmth (that we all understand and love) might be sourced from a different experience on the different paths. I have learned warmth can be found with one pilgrim saying, "I'm making you all dinner tonight, we must find a place where we can make a dinner" , and that "you all" was for me and my five children. Go where your heart leads you...there will be warmth...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances in 2016, Portuguese in 2017, and Frances again in 2018. Planning Madrid to Santiago 4/19.
I walked the same route as Sarah Olson. From Porto I took the metro to Matosinhos and walked the coastal route to Villa do Conde and then crossed over to the central route. I also took the Espiritual Variante, which I liked very much. I stayed at Albergue de Peregrinos in Porto, which did provide warmth and I was happy to have stayed there. In Villa Do Conde, I stayed at Santa Clara albergue, which was also very nice and warm. Albergue Amigos de Montana in Barcelinos was also very good. Casa Fernanda is a wonderful, warm abergue that embraces the Camino spirit. I also liked Albergue Touristinos very much, about 1K before the sign for Arcade. (Off the Camino about 500 meters).
I enjoyed my Camino on the Portuguese and it left me a bit wanting for some of the warmth of the Frances. After walking the loop from Santiago to Finistere, to Muxia and back to Santiago, I took a bus to O Cebrero and walked back to Santiago on the Frances, which provided the warmth and openness, I had missed. It may have just been my timing. I did not encounter as many solo walkers as I had on the Frances. I enjoy walking alone during the day but look forward to the socialization in the evening and on the Portuguese, quite often I was alone.
I talked with some pilgrims who loved walking the coastal route and others who did not.
As has been said. A lot of it is up to us, to bring that warmth to the table.
Wishing you a wonderful Camino.
 

Kropelka

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo April 2015
Camino Portugese April 2016, da Costa c Variante Espiritual May 2017
I walked Camino Portugese twice: Central last year and Coastal with Variante Espiritual this year. If you looking for socializing and common meals with singing I wouldn't recommend neither (although this year I had a fantastic evening with singing in a pub in Armenteira)... but the experience of friendship and closeness to other people DO depend on yourself and your attitude towards other fellow pilgrims. I always start walking alone but I very rarely finish alone. I agree with previous posts about Casa Fernanda - this is probably the closest to the "Frances" atmosphere (I've never been there so cannot tell for sure).

Buen Camino
 

rgutena

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podiensis (2016); Camino Portugues (2017); Via Regia (2018)
I have just done the section between Santarem and Coimbra on the Portuguese (central) route a couple of weeks ago. On the first day, I only met 4 pilgrims who appeared to be 2 couples. After that, I never met a single pilgrim on the way on the following 3 days over a distance of more than 80km. I did meet some pilgrims at dinner at the places where I was staying, but hardly saw them again because we all walked at different paces and covered different distances each day (some of them decided to take the bus sometimes). In contrast, I met lots more pilgrims between Tui and Santiago, but again, hardly saw them again for similar reasons.

I ended up finishing in Santiago totally alone. It was great to be there finally, but definitely no warm and magical feeling, I am afraid. On the other hand, I had that wonderful feeling in Conques last year when I completed my walk on the Le Puy route, celebrating it with all the other pilgrims I had met earlier at various points because I had seen them more often and we were all staying at the monastery. It was that feeling that made me want to return to the Camino this year, but unfortunately the experience was not repeated on the Camino Portugues.
 

dclink

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ponferrada-Sarria (2013), St. Jean-SdC (2015)
I had this experience over the past week when I walked a couple of days either side of Santarem. I didn't meet any pilgrims until I took a train ahead to Tomar, when I met two who said they had seen a few others. I've since gone back to Lisbon to weather a 40C heatwave.

I'm thinking about going to Coimbra this weekend and resuming the Camino on Monday, but the future absence of pilgrims remains a concern. Looking at the numbers, only 33K of the 46K pilgrims who walked the CP last year joined at Porto or Tui, so the remaining 12,000 must be out there somewhere, right?
 

rgutena

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podiensis (2016); Camino Portugues (2017); Via Regia (2018)
I'm thinking about going to Coimbra this weekend and resuming the Camino on Monday, but the future absence of pilgrims remains a concern.
If meeting other pilgrims is important to you, you may want to consider starting in Porto instead, and overnighting in towns where most other pilgrims stay, ie Redondela, Pontevedra, Caldas de Reis and Padron. Most of the pilgrims I met in and after Tui a couple of weeks ago had started in Porto, and only one started in Coimbra.
 

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