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New albergue just north of Tomar

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
The municipality of Tomar has just opened a second municipal albergue, following the autumn 2019 opening of one in Asseiceira (see thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/albergue-in-asseiceira.64419/).

This one is in Calvinos, a village about 5 km north of Tomar itself, and like the other one, remodeled from a no-longer-used elementary school

Here is a slightly edited story, translated courtesy of Google, describing how it's happened. The Portuguese link follows and includes photos.

"Tomar has won a new hostel for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, which is the result of the conversion of the old primary school in the village of Calvinos. The Municipality of Tomar and the União de Freguesias de Casais e Alviobeira signed the lease agreement for Albergue de Calvinos, with the management being ensured by the parish council. Tomar thus contains two hostels that are municipal property, in addition to other responses in private tourist developments.

The works to improve the space were carried out by the Municipality of Tomar with the objective of "providing conditions for the welcoming of pilgrims who travel the Camino de Santiago, the first European Cultural Itinerary created by the Council of Europe".

On the occasion, Filipa Fernandes, councilor of the Municipality of Tomar, and João Luís Alves, president of the União de Freguesias de Casais and Alviobeira, expressed their satisfaction and highlighted the importance of this new space, “not only for the support it will give to pilgrims, but also for the satisfaction of the local residents in seeing this space rehabilitated ”.

In an interview with mediotejo.net, Filipa Fernandes spoke about the municipal strategy on the section of the Way that crosses the municipality of Tomar, which essentially aims to ensure conditions for the walkers to travel safely and with information when disposing the original and historically proven route.

On the other hand, the municipality was able to give new life and use to old primary schools, which, being municipal property, end up being assigned to associations or converted into other types of equipment, such as pilgrims' hostels.

“One of the priorities of the Municipality of Tomar is to give life back to the already vacant school spaces, something that makes no sense at all. We have attributed its usufruct to associations or parish councils to return the space to the community and to give new life to what was an unused space ”, he begins by mentioning.

On the issue of hostels, he stresses that it is "something particular" because "there was no answer for this type of accommodation on the Camino de Santiago in Tomar and we created a protocol with two parish councils, which are completely different questions".

In the case of Calvinos, this is a project that the municipality already had under development in order to convert the old primary school, in that village of União de Freguesias de Casais and Alviobeira. "A hostel thus emerges so that there is an answer at two different points on the Santiago road in Tomar", explains the councilwoman.

“At the entrance to the Tomar road, there is the Asseiceira hostel, where you can stay overnight and then stay in the municipality and enjoy all the heritage that Tomar has to offer. And then you can stay at the Calvinos hostel, which is already off the Tomar road, and then continue the route ”, he concludes.

The Calvinos hostel, whose protocol with UF Casais and Alviobeira was signed on April 29, will be managed by the parish council, which may delegate to an association, for example, the delivery of keys to the walkers, the management of cleaning and maintenance of the building. space.

For its part, the Asseiceira parish council has a lending protocol signed with the City of Tomar, and it was the council itself that took the initiative to create a pilgrim hostel in the old primary school, the current Albergue D. Dinis, inaugurated at the end of October 2019.

On balance of the initiative, Filipa Fernandes says that this hostel in Asseiceira is a space widely used by the walkers who make the Camino de Santiago, even though with the pandemic the affluence has decreased because these places had to close doors and these activities were conditioned .

In order to standardize the process in both spaces, the City Council created rules for the functioning of the hostels, “so that the purpose is not distorted: the idea, in the first place, is to give the possibility of a walker who come to Tomar to stay at that location, and at the same time, that this objective is not distorted by any other type of compromise or use other than the purpose for which it was created ”.

“We created a protocol and rules, and they were given to both parish councils so that they can proceed with the dynamization of the hostels in our municipality”, says Filipa Fernandes.

The mayor argues that the Camino de Santiago "is a path that needs to be preserved, it needs to be safeguarded, and there is a long way for municipalities to take steps towards certification".

“The Municipality of Tomar is a member of the direction of the Federation of Caminhos de Santiago, which intends to safeguard the historic and safe paths, so that more conditions are gradually created for the walkers. For example, ensuring that signage is well established on the way in each municipality; at the level of useful information for the walker, in the case of the walker who needs some medical care, some being
service by firefighters or similar; to give conditions to hikers in terms of overnight stays, which previously did not exist, and in that sense to attract more visitors and fix the visitor more time in the territory ”, he enumerates.

The objective in Tomar is also to conquer the hiker, so that “instead of spending the night in another territory, you can spend the night in the municipality, enjoying meals or other commerce”, getting involved in the local dynamics and contributing to the economy of Tomar.

In the Centro region, an area of which Tomar is part, it is expected that either Turismo do Centro or the Federation, “both with the competence to apply for certification” according to the councilwoman, will define who is going forward with the process.

The section of the Portuguese Central Way that crosses the municipality of Tomar passes through Crane, Asseiceira, Tomar, the Ponte de Peniche, Casais, Soianda, Calvinos and Ponte de Ceras, being considered a linear route on mixed ground.

The route through Tomar municipality has a length of about 27 km, with an average duration estimated at 10 hours to cover it." [The story concludes with some political reporting--hard to understand outside Portugal--about the competition between the different regions to get tourism funding for the caminhos. It seems that the Alentejo/Ribotejo area--where JungleBoy is currently walking--has been first off the mark, but the other regions including this one, "Central", are hard at work as well!

 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
The municipality of Tomar has just opened a second municipal albergue, following the autumn 2019 opening of one in Asseiceira (see thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/albergue-in-asseiceira.64419/).

This one is in Calvinos, a village about 5 km north of Tomar itself, and like the other one, remodeled from a no-longer-used elementary school

Here is a slightly edited story, translated courtesy of Google, describing how it's happened. The Portuguese link follows and includes photos.

"Tomar has won a new hostel for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, which is the result of the conversion of the old primary school in the village of Calvinos. The Municipality of Tomar and the União de Freguesias de Casais e Alviobeira signed the lease agreement for Albergue de Calvinos, with the management being ensured by the parish council. Tomar thus contains two hostels that are municipal property, in addition to other responses in private tourist developments.

The works to improve the space were carried out by the Municipality of Tomar with the objective of "providing conditions for the welcoming of pilgrims who travel the Camino de Santiago, the first European Cultural Itinerary created by the Council of Europe".

On the occasion, Filipa Fernandes, councilor of the Municipality of Tomar, and João Luís Alves, president of the União de Freguesias de Casais and Alviobeira, expressed their satisfaction and highlighted the importance of this new space, “not only for the support it will give to pilgrims, but also for the satisfaction of the local residents in seeing this space rehabilitated ”.

In an interview with mediotejo.net, Filipa Fernandes spoke about the municipal strategy on the section of the Way that crosses the municipality of Tomar, which essentially aims to ensure conditions for the walkers to travel safely and with information when disposing the original and historically proven route.

On the other hand, the municipality was able to give new life and use to old primary schools, which, being municipal property, end up being assigned to associations or converted into other types of equipment, such as pilgrims' hostels.

“One of the priorities of the Municipality of Tomar is to give life back to the already vacant school spaces, something that makes no sense at all. We have attributed its usufruct to associations or parish councils to return the space to the community and to give new life to what was an unused space ”, he begins by mentioning.

On the issue of hostels, he stresses that it is "something particular" because "there was no answer for this type of accommodation on the Camino de Santiago in Tomar and we created a protocol with two parish councils, which are completely different questions".

In the case of Calvinos, this is a project that the municipality already had under development in order to convert the old primary school, in that village of União de Freguesias de Casais and Alviobeira. "A hostel thus emerges so that there is an answer at two different points on the Santiago road in Tomar", explains the councilwoman.

“At the entrance to the Tomar road, there is the Asseiceira hostel, where you can stay overnight and then stay in the municipality and enjoy all the heritage that Tomar has to offer. And then you can stay at the Calvinos hostel, which is already off the Tomar road, and then continue the route ”, he concludes.

The Calvinos hostel, whose protocol with UF Casais and Alviobeira was signed on April 29, will be managed by the parish council, which may delegate to an association, for example, the delivery of keys to the walkers, the management of cleaning and maintenance of the building. space.

For its part, the Asseiceira parish council has a lending protocol signed with the City of Tomar, and it was the council itself that took the initiative to create a pilgrim hostel in the old primary school, the current Albergue D. Dinis, inaugurated at the end of October 2019.

On balance of the initiative, Filipa Fernandes says that this hostel in Asseiceira is a space widely used by the walkers who make the Camino de Santiago, even though with the pandemic the affluence has decreased because these places had to close doors and these activities were conditioned .

In order to standardize the process in both spaces, the City Council created rules for the functioning of the hostels, “so that the purpose is not distorted: the idea, in the first place, is to give the possibility of a walker who come to Tomar to stay at that location, and at the same time, that this objective is not distorted by any other type of compromise or use other than the purpose for which it was created ”.

“We created a protocol and rules, and they were given to both parish councils so that they can proceed with the dynamization of the hostels in our municipality”, says Filipa Fernandes.

The mayor argues that the Camino de Santiago "is a path that needs to be preserved, it needs to be safeguarded, and there is a long way for municipalities to take steps towards certification".

“The Municipality of Tomar is a member of the direction of the Federation of Caminhos de Santiago, which intends to safeguard the historic and safe paths, so that more conditions are gradually created for the walkers. For example, ensuring that signage is well established on the way in each municipality; at the level of useful information for the walker, in the case of the walker who needs some medical care, some being
service by firefighters or similar; to give conditions to hikers in terms of overnight stays, which previously did not exist, and in that sense to attract more visitors and fix the visitor more time in the territory ”, he enumerates.

The objective in Tomar is also to conquer the hiker, so that “instead of spending the night in another territory, you can spend the night in the municipality, enjoying meals or other commerce”, getting involved in the local dynamics and contributing to the economy of Tomar.

In the Centro region, an area of which Tomar is part, it is expected that either Turismo do Centro or the Federation, “both with the competence to apply for certification” according to the councilwoman, will define who is going forward with the process.

The section of the Portuguese Central Way that crosses the municipality of Tomar passes through Crane, Asseiceira, Tomar, the Ponte de Peniche, Casais, Soianda, Calvinos and Ponte de Ceras, being considered a linear route on mixed ground.

The route through Tomar municipality has a length of about 27 km, with an average duration estimated at 10 hours to cover it." [The story concludes with some political reporting--hard to understand outside Portugal--about the competition between the different regions to get tourism funding for the caminhos. It seems that the Alentejo/Ribotejo area--where JungleBoy is currently walking--has been first off the mark, but the other regions including this one, "Central", are hard at work as well!

Thanks for posting this. It is a pity that the article didn't provide an address for the new Albergue 🙁
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
It’s always great to see new albergues opening up on the CP between Lisbon and Porto. However, I’m not sure how useful this one will be given that it’s only 5km from the city of Tomar, which is such an obvious overnight stop (despite its lack of an albergue, although there is a hostel). Hopefully I’m wrong.
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Thanks for posting this. It is a pity that the article didn't provide an address for the new Albergue 🙁
Remember this was an artlcle for the locals. They'll all know! The news site it's quoted from is the local regional website.

Realistically, I think this is a small enough village that it should be easy to find the albergue. The village itself is shown on GoogleMaps.
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
It’s always great to see new albergues opening up on the CP between Lisbon and Porto. However, I’m not sure how useful this one will be given that it’s only 5km from the city of Tomar, which is such an obvious overnight stop (despite its lack of an albergue, although there is a hostel). Hopefully I’m wrong.
I know what you mean :) Especially since it's *after* Tomar, rather than just before. This tends to be the way Portuguese new-initiative-funding in the smaller places works.

Time will tell whether it works or not. Tomar is definitely the focus of the area!
 
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Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Year of past OR future Camino
2014
It’s always great to see new albergues opening up on the CP between Lisbon and Porto. However, I’m not sure how useful this one will be given that it’s only 5km from the city of Tomar, which is such an obvious overnight stop (despite its lack of an albergue, although there is a hostel). Hopefully I’m wrong.
What I have noticed is that the locals have less interest for the tourist sites and prefer the munis over all other accommodations if available. However, the extra kilometers from Golegã, past Tomar to Calvinos would be at least a 35 kilometer stage if the 5k figure is accurate. Too long for many pilgrims. According to my gps tracks, Calvinos is 11 km from the bridge in Tomar, making it a total of 41 km. Way too long for most! And too short for a stage by itself. But who knows?
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
What I have noticed is that the locals have less interest for the tourist sites and prefer the munis over all other accommodations if available. However, the extra kilometers from Golegã, past Tomar to Calvinos would be at least a 35 kilometer stage if the 5k figure is accurate. Too long for many pilgrims. According to my gps tracks, Calvinos is 11 km from the bridge in Tomar, making it a total of 41 km. Way too long for most! And too short for a stage by itself. But who knows?
Thinking a bit more about this. There are times when there isn't a bed to be had in Tomar, particularly during the every-four-year Festival of the Tabuleiros. And as you say, the locals prefer the stripped down albergues. Partly because they don't have a lot of money to spend, in many cases! And possibly this would also be useful for some of the monthly or quarterly mass pilgrames to Fatima? Not sure about the routing.

Anyway, it was an old, unused building. There are lots of these abandoned schools along the way, since the tendency, as with other countries, is to centralize the elementary schools as bigger institutions with more infrastructure. The building don't have a lot of other potential uses. So a few tax dollars get spent on this kind of initiative in the smaller communities; it ups the level of caminho infrastructure across the country, and peregrinos have another alternative. Seems win-win.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I thought the reasoning of the municipality of Tomar was interesting. In the article it said that they already have an albergue in Asseiceira, which is a few kms before Tomar. So the idea is that pilgrims will sleep in Asseiceira, then enjoy Tomar during the day, and then continue on to Calvinos to spend the night. Only problem is that Asseiceira to Calvinos is more than 20 km.

Not sure many pilgrims will actually find that suggestion appealing, but it is a really positive sign that there are more and more municipal albergues on this route, especially south of Porto.
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
I thought the reasoning of the municipality of Tomar was interesting. In the article it said that they already have an albergue in Asseiceira, which is a few kms before Tomar. So the idea is that pilgrims will sleep in Asseiceira, then enjoy Tomar during the day, and then continue on to Calvinos to spend the night. Only problem is that Asseiceira to Calvinos is more than 20 km.

Not sure many pilgrims will actually find that suggestion appealing, but it is a really positive sign that there are more and more municipal albergues on this route, especially south of Porto.
Their focus is definitely having the pilgrim euro spent in Tomar municipality. The overall view of "completing the caminho" is secondary, from their perspective. But whatever helps!
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
I thought the reasoning of the municipality of Tomar was interesting. In the article it said that they already have an albergue in Asseiceira, which is a few kms before Tomar. So the idea is that pilgrims will sleep in Asseiceira, then enjoy Tomar during the day, and then continue on to Calvinos to spend the night. Only problem is that Asseiceira to Calvinos is more than 20 km.

Not sure many pilgrims will actually find that suggestion appealing, but it is a really positive sign that there are more and more municipal albergues on this route, especially south of Porto.
For those who might want a quiet, not very expensive place to stay while taking a break in Tomar, it seems there is a 7:30 bus out of Calvinos going down to Tomar, and then a 6:50 run back, on weekdays. Friday is market day in Tomar, near the bus station, and well worth visiting, quite apart from the historical sites. If you could stay 2 nights in the albergue, that might be a nice way to go. Most of the lodgings in Tomar are in the streets of the historical area; interesting, but not very quiet, I suspect!

Up-to-date link for buses in the central area: http://www.rodotejo.pt/

Note that you might want to look for Freixo, the nearest bigger place to Calvinos using this bus schedule website. First stop out of Freixo, 3 minutes out, is Calvinos.
 
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Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
Both places before and after Tomar will help some Peregrinos, Albergues like these gradually make the CP from Lisbon more accessible to people who are only comfortable with short distances, and some people no matter what the various attractions of a location would rather not stay in largish towns but go somewhere quieter where they can keep their own focus. Maybe also like the Frances we are starting to look at the recommendation to find the places in-between on the CP south of Porto which Pandemic aside becomes evermore busy.
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
Looks like it might work with my next CP plan which is to take shorter stages and spend more time at the Templar sites along the way. After stopping in Atalaia via Almoral Castle, this will allow me to walk through Tomar to the albergue and then backtrack for an easy day to spend in Tomar before the 16.4 mile stage to Cortica. I'm not a high mileage fan..
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Looks like it might work with my next CP plan which is to take shorter stages and spend more time at the Templar sites along the way. After stopping in Atalaia via Almoral Castle, this will allow me to walk through Tomar to the albergue and then backtrack for an easy day to spend in Tomar before the 16.4 mile stage to Cortica. I'm not a high mileage fan..
I'm not sure if the Casa do Patriarca in Atalaia is still accepting guests. The place has been for sale (for a very high price!) for quite a while. Their website is only partly operative (lacking a booking function) and they don't use booking.com.

In any case, if you want to visit the Almourol Castle, you'd have less back-tracking staying in "downtown" Vila Nova da Barquinha. Their tourist office right down by the big park has a new Templar centre that supports visits to the island with the castle.

The Hotel/Guesthouse Soltejo is a good spot to stay, easy strolling distance from the town centre. They don't use booking.com either, but it's a working hotel, and generally has space available, at a very reasonable price. Good restaurant downstairs as well, and very cheap for people staying. Contact information in Brierley.

Bom caminho!
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I'm not sure if the Casa do Patriarca in Atalaia is still accepting guests. The place has been for sale (for a very high price!) for quite a while. Their website is only partly operative (lacking a booking function) and they don't use booking.com.

In any case, if you want to visit the Almourol Castle, you'd have less back-tracking staying in "downtown" Vila Nova da Barquinha. Their tourist office right down by the big park has a new Templar centre that supports visits to the island with the castle.

The Hotel/Guesthouse Soltejo is a good spot to stay, easy strolling distance from the town centre. They don't use booking.com either, but it's a working hotel, and generally has space available, at a very reasonable price. Good restaurant downstairs as well, and very cheap for people staying. Contact information in Brierley.

Bom caminho!
Very helpful, this is what makes the Forum so great. Your suggestion clarifies things that are not so easy to discern in the guide (Brierly). It looks like this may save me a day in an already tight three-week trip. Thank you so much!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
In any case, if you want to visit the Almourol Castle, you'd have less back-tracking staying in "downtown" Vila Nova da Barquinha. Their tourist office right down by the big park has a new Templar centre that supports visits to the island with the castle.
Sorry about taking the thread off topic, but I am now very curious. The last time I went to the castle on Almourol, which must have been 2005 or thereabouts, we just went to a place someone pointed to and waited for a little chug chug boat to arrive. All very informal and not too organized. It sounds like things have changed. Are there lots of visitors now, @Friend from Barquinha?
 
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Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Very helpful, this is what makes the Forum so great. Your suggestion clarifies things that are not so easy to discern in the guide (Brierly). It looks like this may save me a day in an already tight three-week trip. Thank you so much!eek trip. Thank you so much!
De nada :) Here is the contact info for the Soltejo. Like many, many small Portuguese businesses, they only use Facebook (sadly) and don't have their own websites.

 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Sorry about taking the thread off topic, but I am now very curious. The last time I went to the castle on Almourol, which must have been 2005 or thereabouts, we just went to a place someone pointed to and waited for a little chug chug boat to arrive. All very informal and not too organized. It sounds like things have changed. Are there lots of visitors now, @Friend from Barquinha?
They are trying to get more. The small town (Tancos) that the castle is closest to, is part of Vila Nova da Barquinha municipality, and like all those central Portuguese munis, they are trying to develop their tourism, and take advantage of what historical and cultural resources they have.

Barquinha and Tomar have decided to really emphasize their Templar heritage, and with that in mind, Barquinha has been putting a lot of local funding, with help from the national tourism funding and from the EU, into developing resources about the Castle of Almourol, which, to the Portuguese, is a very significant site. The north side of the Tejo is the Templar "boundary," south of which was the land of the Moors.

Thus the new Templar historical displays in the Barquinha tourist office, and developing better access to the island with the castle.
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
Sorry about taking the thread off topic, but I am now very curious. The last time I went to the castle on Almourol, which must have been 2005 or thereabouts, we just went to a place someone pointed to and waited for a little chug chug boat to arrive. All very informal and not too organized. It sounds like things have changed. Are there lots of visitors now, @Friend from Barquinha?
I'm planning to finish this trek before Easter, so I hope the locals with the chug chug can be found.🧐
 

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
I'm planning to finish this trek before Easter, so I hope the locals with the chug chug can be found.🧐
The people at the info centre in Barquinha should be able to help you!

There are also plans for a new bike route/walking path all the way east along the river (Tejo) from central Vila Nova da Barquinha to Praia de Ribatejo (the easternmost town in the municipality). Not sure if the funding will be available this year, with the usual slowdowns because of more other responsibilities with Covid, but when that is done, it will be a real game-changer in the area.

You'll be able to safely and pleasantly walk, all the way to the boat-access for the Castle of Almourol. Right now, the only access is via the highway, which is not a pleasant one to walk!

The town's website, which is normally available but seems offline just this moment--maybe getting updates--is cm-vnbarquinha.pt They have an English-language section which is not bad, and have a lot of information about their various historical and cultural sites, including the Castle of Almourol.

Here is a promotional video they made. They are VERY keen on increasing their tourist numbers. It is a small but dynamic town; we're really glad we've settled there.

"Terra de sorrisos" means "land of smiles," which is very appropriate for the community!
 
Last edited:

Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
And a bit more on the Castle of Almourol--here's a great little video, with the added help of superimposed English-language subtitles...


And from the same guys, a second one about Barquinha, taken in August of 2020. You can see it's pretty hot in this area in the summers--we have seen 40 celsius in August and early September.

 
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