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I walked the Central Route last year. North of Porto and before Valenca, there was only one place that I thought of a city, Barcelos. There were many towns of various sizes, but none that I would have called a city.

I'm not sure what you might mean by 'highway walking'. One answer is that there isn't any. The roads that I walked on, at least north of Porto, weren't highways.
 
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I walked the Central Route last year. North of Porto and before Valenca, the was only one place that I thought of a city, Barcelos. There were many towns of various sizes, but none that I would have called a city.

I'm not sure what you might mean by 'highway walking'. One answer is that there isn't any. The roads that I walked on, at least north of Porto, weren't highways.
Thank you for the information. That’s heartening.
 
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And Barcelos is hardly a city of any great size, especially in the off-season. You’ll walk waaaaay more cobblestone streets than highway.
 
Where would you suggest switching to the Central for a taste of that route without big cities and highway walking? I was looking at following the river inland from Caminha.
There is a very nice 12-mile EcoTrail - "Ecopista do rio Minho," along the Rio Minho that starts after Caminha and runs to Valenca and beyond. It is not an "official" Camino way-marked variant, but I read about it being described as a nicer alternative to the "official" Camino which runs along the hillside of the river. As such we walked the Eco Trail and were glad we did as there was plenty of hillside walking to come. Taking the EcoTrail wa not an issue in terms of receiving our compostela, which only requires that one walk the last 100 kilometers to SdC from Tui. Also, there are no big cities until Valenca and only a little highway walking along the river route.
 
There is a very nice 12-mile EcoTrail - "Ecopista do rio Minho," along the Rio Minho that starts after Caminha and runs to Valenca and beyond. It is not an "official" Camino way-marked variant, but I read about it being described as a nicer alternative to the "official" Camino which runs along the hillside of the river. As such we walked the Eco Trail and were glad we did as there was plenty of hillside walking to come. Taking the EcoTrail wa not an issue in terms of receiving our compostela, which only requires that one walk the last 100 kilometers to SdC from Tui. Also, there are no big cities until Valenca and only a little highway walking along the river route.
Is the trail on the opposite side of the river? It’s exactly what I’m hoping for.
 
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Is the trail on the opposite side of the river? It’s exactly what I’m hoping for.
The trail is on the south side of the river, which is the same side of the river as Caminha and Valenca. You can either walk straight from Caminha to Valenca or Tui, but there is also an intermediate town after Caminha, Vila Nova de Cerviera that has lodging. Valenca has a really interesting old city within the walls of it's citadel, which is very much worth exploring.
 
I have walked along the river from Caminha to Valenca. Lovely walk. The walk to Caminha along the coast is also.
 
We are thinking about walking the Minho ecovia trail between Valenca and Caminha as part of a "mini" three-day Camino. We walked from Sarria to Santiago a few years ago and really loved the small villages, eucalyptus forests and farms along the way. Will we have that experience along the Minho? I've read the trail is concrete all the way and (according to some) quite boring.

Your input would be appreciated! :)
 
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And now I've found a recommendation to walk along the River Lima between Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima, Dios mio!

Has anyone walked either or both of these riverside routes? What was your experience?
 

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