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Lots of people walking!

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have spent three days as a tourist on the costa Vicentina and have been quite surprised to see LOTS of people walking this route. I have spoken to a few (mostly non-Portuguese, mostly young), and they are not camino junkies, mainly just walkers in search of sun. About equal numbers going north and south.

There’s so much beauty on the coast, and the route weaves in and out to historical villages.

In Aljezur, site of a Moorish castle, we learned why there are only 7 castles in Portugal that fly the Portuguese flag. Those are the Moorish castles that were conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese —Alcoutim, Castro Morim, Albufeira, Monchique, Aljezur —drats, I forget the rest. @jungleboy, can you help?
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2008) Le Puy to SJPP (2010) Camino Primitivo (2010)
VLP (2013) Norte (2016/17)
I have spent three days as a tourist on the costa Vicentina and have been quite surprised to see LOTS of people walking this route. I have spoken to a few (mostly non-Portuguese, mostly young), and they are not camino junkies, mainly just walkers in search of sun. About equal numbers going north and south.

There’s so much beauty on the coast, and the route weaves in and out to historical villages.

In Aljezur, site of a Moorish castle, we learned why there are only 7 castles in Portugal that fly the Portuguese flag. Those are the Moorish castles that were conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese —Alcoutim, Castro Morim, Albufeira, Monchique, Aljezur —drats, I forget the rest. @jungleboy, can you help?
Laurie- great to see you out and about again. It looks as though our travel ban in Australia (although I live in Queensland and that it another story!) may be lifted soon so I am planning another Camino! (Probably May/June next year) I hope our paths may cross sometime!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
In Aljezur, site of a Moorish castle, we learned why there are only 7 castles in Portugal that fly the Portuguese flag. Those are the Moorish castles that were conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese —Alcoutim, Castro Morim, Albufeira, Monchique, Aljezur —drats, I forget the rest. @jungleboy, can you help?
It’s the first I’ve heard of this but I imagine Silves would be one of the remaining two? It was one of the last (possibly the last) places reconquered and has a distinctive red-brick castle.

Edit: the first two are on the Caminho Nascente :)
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
It’s the first I’ve heard of this but I imagine Silves would be one of the remaining two? It was one of the last (possibly the last) places reconquered and has a distinctive red-brick castle.
It sounds a little bit odd to me that only seven castles fly the national flag of Portugal and why this is so. The English Wikipedia has something about this but it sounds a bit different: Flag of Portugal. See the section about the Portuguese shield and also Coat of arms of Portugal. Which makes me wonder whether these castles are actually generic Castilian castles … (see also comment on “popular” heraldry here).
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It sounds a little bit odd to me that only seven castles fly the national flag of Portugal and why this is so.
Well, I heard it from the woman in the museum, but maybe she is not a historian. She also told us that Aljezur was the last castle to be ”re-conquered,” and that seems to be correct.

Yes, @jungleboy, Silves is one. Now just one of them is unnamed!

The assertion about the Portuguese flag flying only in those castles should be easy to test, so keep an eye out, oh ye who walk in Portugal!
 
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
VisitPortugal says hat Paderne is one of the seven, so it must be true.

Would there be, by any chance, any old castles in Lisbon that could be checked as to whether they fly the Portuguese flag or not? :cool:
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
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I have spent three days as a tourist on the costa Vicentina and have been quite surprised to see LOTS of people walking this route. I have spoken to a few (mostly non-Portuguese, mostly young), and they are not camino junkies, mainly just walkers in search of sun.
Laurie, you reminded me vividly of that strange sensation of..
being on a regular holiday with all the faff of hotels and luggage, sitting outside in a cafe, vaguely drifting in and out of the chat of one's companions. But wholly engaged in (nay, excited by!) following the progress of people going by with backpacks. Beaming at them (forgetting I look like a regular civilian) and whenever they pause, (mostly) resisting the urge to jump up and ask them where they're heading and where they've come from etc...
 

thistleamy

Camino Portuguese - 2019; CF - 2021
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese (2019); Camino Frances (2021)
VisitPortugal says hat Paderne is one of the seven, so it must be true.

Would there be, by any chance, any old castles in Lisbon that could be checked as to whether they fly the Portuguese flag or not? :cool:
The castle of St. George in Lisbon I believe flies the Portugal flag... I will check my photographic archives!
 
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LTfit

Veteran Member
I have spent three days as a tourist on the costa Vicentina and have been quite surprised to see LOTS of people walking this route. I have spoken to a few (mostly non-Portuguese, mostly young), and they are not camino junkies, mainly just walkers in search of sun. About equal numbers going north and south.

There’s so much beauty on the coast, and the route weaves in and out to historical villages.

In Aljezur, site of a Moorish castle, we learned why there are only 7 castles in Portugal that fly the Portuguese flag. Those are the Moorish castles that were conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese —Alcoutim, Castro Morim, Albufeira, Monchique, Aljezur —drats, I forget the rest. @jungleboy, can you help?
Lucky you! The Rota Vicentina is definitely a walk to repeat. I had great weather walking North South in March with the sun on my face.
 

Madrood

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances or Madrid
I have spent three days as a tourist on the costa Vicentina and have been quite surprised to see LOTS of people walking this route. I have spoken to a few (mostly non-Portuguese, mostly young), and they are not camino junkies, mainly just walkers in search of sun. About equal numbers going north and south.

There’s so much beauty on the coast, and the route weaves in and out to historical villages.
As a non-Portuguese mostly young person I would be very interested to know if you've heard anything about what the situation with budget accommodation is like? I remember reading that while there are no albergues on this route there are 'surfers hostels'; do you know if they've reopened? Thanks!
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
As a non-Portuguese mostly young person I would be very interested to know if you've heard anything about what the situation with budget accommodation is like? I remember reading that while there are no albergues on this route there are 'surfers hostels'; do you know if they've reopened? Thanks!
I slept in these "surfers" hostels in 2016. They were very clean with sheets and towels for around €15. Sorry no info about current situation.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
As a non-Portuguese mostly young person I would be very interested to know if you've heard anything about what the situation with budget accommodation is like? I remember reading that while there are no albergues on this route there are 'surfers hostels'; do you know if they've reopened? Thanks!
I saw several that were definitely open — in Zambujeira, Aljezur, and Odeceixe. And I talked to a middle aged couple walking who had had no accommodation problems, but I am not sure if they were only staying in hostels.
 

aym924

New Member
I have spent three days as a tourist on the costa Vicentina and have been quite surprised to see LOTS of people walking this route. I have spoken to a few (mostly non-Portuguese, mostly young), and they are not camino junkies, mainly just walkers in search of sun. About equal numbers going north and south.

There’s so much beauty on the coast, and the route weaves in and out to historical villages.

In Aljezur, site of a Moorish castle, we learned why there are only 7 castles in Portugal that fly the Portuguese flag. Those are the Moorish castles that were conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese —Alcoutim, Castro Morim, Albufeira, Monchique, Aljezur —drats, I forget the rest. @jungleboy, can you help?
It is a wonderful hike. I did it 2016, North to South from Santiago de Cacém to Cabo de Sào Vicente. I think you may have the flag story reversed. They are the castles represented on the Portuguese flag. Historically there have been more than 7. I also visited some of the others at Alcoutim, Silves (spectacular) and Monchique (don’t recall this one well) whilst walking the Via Algarviana, a walk i highly recommend. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Portugal#Symbolism
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
When we walked the Rota Vicentina in April 2017 we found this website very useful including for lists of accommodation options including hostels.

Rota Vicentina website

The Portuguese people were very welcoming. Though we can barely get our tongues around basic greetings in Portuguese (and Spanish doesn't really cut it!), we found the younger people often spoke English, while the 'more experienced' like us often spoke French.

After the RV, we visited Lisbon and surrounds then took the train to Porto and walked to Santiago from there.
 

Yoyo

✿ Se hace el camino al andar. ✿
Past OR future Camino
2021
VisitPortugal says hat Paderne is one of the seven, so it must be true.

Would there be, by any chance, any old castles in Lisbon that could be checked as to whether they fly the Portuguese flag or not? :cool:
@Kathar1na , in Lisbon, there is a Portuguese flag at Castelo de Sao Jorge where I took this photo in 2016.

View attachment Lisboa .jpg

We also took a day trip to Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra which also flies the Portuguese flag:

View attachment Sintra-1.jpg

@peregrina2000 , I guess that proves the 7-castles-only theory wrong. 🙂🙃🙂
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@peregrina2000 , I guess that proves the 7-castles-only theory wrong. 🙂🙃🙂
Thanks for rubbing it in. :D @Wendy Werneth burst my bubble yesterday. Still, I am wondering if maybe Sintra and Lisbon are exceptions to the general rule. I would be interested to hear what people find in less prominent (and less touristy) castles. I am pretty sure there is not one flying in Palmela. So that makes two with Santiago do Cacém. 😁
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
Puzzled, why would a castle in Portugal not fly a Portuguese flag? What am I missing out on here?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
When we walked the Rota Vicentina in April 2017 we found this website very useful including for lists of accommodation options including hostels.

Rota Vicentina website

The Portuguese people were very welcoming. Though we can barely get our tongues around basic greetings in Portuguese (and Spanish doesn't really cut it!), we found the younger people often spoke English, while the 'more experienced' like us often spoke French.

After the RV, we visited Lisbon and surrounds then took the train to Porto and walked to Santiago from there.
This is exactly what we did in April 2019. The well designed website is great and we also loved the Rota Vicentina guidebook, which was given to us by a generous forum member. Adding a couple of extra days in Lisbon and Porto before walking the Portuguese Camino were highlights as well.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
This is exactly what we did in April 2019. The well designed website is great and we also loved the Rota Vicentina guidebook, which was given to us by a generous forum member. Adding a couple of extra days in Lisbon and Porto before walking the Portuguese Camino were highlights as well.
Have I said before … ‘I ❤️ Porto’? If not … I ❤️ Porto … ❤️
 

Pamelalove

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago (french Route) (10/19)
Podiensis (2020)
I have spent three days as a tourist on the costa Vicentina and have been quite surprised to see LOTS of people walking this route. I have spoken to a few (mostly non-Portuguese, mostly young), and they are not camino junkies, mainly just walkers in search of sun. About equal numbers going north and south.

There’s so much beauty on the coast, and the route weaves in and out to historical villages.

In Aljezur, site of a Moorish castle, we learned why there are only 7 castles in Portugal that fly the Portuguese flag. Those are the Moorish castles that were conquered from the Moors by the Portuguese —Alcoutim, Castro Morim, Albufeira, Monchique, Aljezur —drats, I forget the rest. @jungleboy, can you help?
Thank you for this, it is now on my list to walk!
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
When we walked the Rota Vicentina in April 2017 we found this website very useful including for lists of accommodation options including hostels.

Rota Vicentina website

The Portuguese people were very welcoming. Though we can barely get our tongues around basic greetings in Portuguese (and Spanish doesn't really cut it!), we found the younger people often spoke English, while the 'more experienced' like us often spoke French.

After the RV, we visited Lisbon and surrounds then took the train to Porto and walked to Santiago from there.
Thanks for giving me another walk for my list. It keeps getting longer! I love this idea, both from you, @jenny@zen and @Camino Chrissy. I'm curious - how many days did this combination of routes and stays in Lisbon and Porto take?
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Thanks for giving me another walk for my list. It keeps getting longer! I love this idea, both from you, @jenny@zen and @Camino Chrissy. I'm curious - how many days did this combination of routes and stays in Lisbon and Porto take?
Hi Jumada,
I arrived in Lisbon on April 15th, and returned back to the US on May 19th, 2019. A few of my Caminos have taken 6 weeks but this one a little less. It was a very enjoyable combination of very different experiences.
In Lisbon my favorites were the castle on the big hill overlooking the harbour, and our trip to Sintra.
Porto is amazing and my personal favorite of those two cities.
 
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jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Hi there.

I guess depends on how far you walk each day. I’d say 10 days for the RV - we walked south to north. The Camino Portuguese took us 12 days - starting on the coastal path.

As for thé travel time - allow a day to get from Santiago de Cacem to Lisbon (more if you’ve walked the RV from north to south) and a day from Lisbon to Porto.

Time in Lisbon and Porto - well as much time as you want. We had just a couple of nights in Lisbon and visited Sintra as well. We spent more time in Porto - fabulous town

All the best.
 
Past OR future Camino
2018
Hi Jumada,
I arrived in Lisbon on April 15th, and returned back to the US on May 19th, 2019. A few of my Caminos have taken 6 weeks but this one a little less. It was a very enjoyable combination of very different experiences.
In Lisbon my favorites were the castle on the big hill overlooking the harbour, and our trip to Sintra.
Porto is amazing and my personal favorite of those two cities.
Thanks for the info! Because of the cost to fly across the Atlantic, I like to get as much in as possible while there so this really appeals to me. I've heard that Sintra is a must to visit and I will need a couple of days in Porto of course. It seems to be everyone's favorite in Portugal.
 

jenny@zen

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Via De la Plata
Thanks for the info! Because of the cost to fly across the Atlantic, I like to get as much in as possible while there so this really appeals to me. I've heard that Sintra is a must to visit and I will need a couple of days in Porto of course. It seems to be everyone's favorite in Portugal.
We enjoyed our day in Sintra - easy day trip from Lisbon. And there are good reasons why Porto is so much appreciated by so many. The train station on arrival sets the tone for a wonderful stay.
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
Hi there.

I guess depends on how far you walk each day. I’d say 10 days for the RV - we walked south to north. The Camino Portuguese took us 12 days - starting on the coastal path.

As for thé travel time - allow a day to get from Santiago de Cacem to Lisbon (more if you’ve walked the RV from north to south) and a day from Lisbon to Porto.

Time in Lisbon and Porto - well as much time as you want. We had just a couple of nights in Lisbon and visited Sintra as well. We spent more time in Porto - fabulous town

All the best.
Thanks Jenny! This gives me a rough idea which I was curious about because I'm not familiar with the Rota Vicentina. If one has the time, it's nice to walk a few of the shorter routes since you've crossed the Atlantic to do it. Porto is a favorite of many so I'm looking forward to having a few days there.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I've heard that Sintra is a must to visit
It is, but it requires a bit of planning. There are four main palaces/castles to see and two of them, the Pena Palace (the colourful one) and the Moorish castle, are on the hills above the town, about a 45-minute scramble from the train station IIRC. The national palace (the least visited) is right in the centre of town (a 10-minute walk from the train station) while the Quinta da Regaleira (with the famous initiation well) is a further 12-15 minute walk from there.

It helps to decide in advance which attractions you would like to visit and to have a plan for how to get between them. Tuk-tuk touts meet trains at the station to offer transportation, or you could take a tour from Lisbon (making sure you know what's included), or do it all on foot as long as you know what you're getting yourself into!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
And to add a bit (well, it turns out it‘s more than “a bit”) onto @jungleboy’s helpful comments — IMO, Sintra is one of those places close to the breaking point in terms of crowds. I know they have tried to do something with the huge load of cars by closing off some of the roads, but last time I was there it was still pretty much a mess. I would not wait on line for an hour to be herded through the Palacio da Pena, but that’s just me — climbing around the Moorish castle nearby has many fewer crowds.

There are a couple of Sintra sites that get fewer crowds and are very fun to visit, IMO. The Convento dos Capuchos and Montserrate would be at the top of that list for me.

This website has a lot of good information on places in Sintra and in the environs. (And in fact, it looks like a couple of new places have opened that I haven’t seen — Villa Sasseti and the Chalet of the Countess of Edla.)


If you want to make a few days of it, I think it’s a great idea to spend a night in Sintra. The crowds are almost all day trippers, and the town at night is very pretty.

And there are several great places to visit nearby — particularly Cabo da Roca, which is the furthest western point of mainland Europe. (Sorry, Finisterre). Lots of nice headland paths to walk on.

And if you are in the area, take a trip to Praia d’Adraga and its excellent fish restaurant. This is a very tiny beach, with a few car spots and one restaurant, but it is well worth the drive down to eat there and enjoy the views. It’s one of those pick-your-own-fish places, and I’d swear some of them are still flopping around when you get to the case.

 
Past OR future Camino
2018
And to add a bit (well, it turns out it‘s more than “a bit”) onto @jungleboy’s helpful comments — IMO, Sintra is one of those places close to the breaking point in terms of crowds. I know they have tried to do something with the huge load of cars by closing off some of the roads, but last time I was there it was still pretty much a mess. I would not wait on line for an hour to be herded through the Palacio da Pena, but that’s just me — climbing around the Moorish castle nearby has many fewer crowds.
Isn't that the case now with so many of the "places to visit" when you travel. Thanks for the ideas @peregrina2000. I like the plan of staying a night if time allows for it and avoiding the crowds when possible.

The appeal of the caminos and other walks is that we're beginning to realize that the "authentic" way to experience another culture is to immerse ourselves in the villages and the rural aspects of it. A day or so into the well known places to see the highlights makes us realize how much we appreciate just walking in the quiet of the countryside.
 
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