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Portuguese Camino from Lisbon

Camino(s) past & future
(2017) I walked the full French way from St Jean Pied
(2019) will walk Portuguese Way from Lisbon
I will be walking the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon beginning June 8. I previously walked the full French Way and I would like to know how the terrain on the Portuguese Camino compares. Also I have heard that the walk out of Lisbon is very industrial. Finally walking shoes or boots?
 

Texas Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017 summer)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
I will be walking the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon beginning June 8. I previously walked the full French Way and I would like to know how the terrain on the Portuguese Camino compares. Also I have heard that the walk out of Lisbon is very industrial. Finally walking shoes or boots?
We walked in 2015. It was a very hot year. (Took a bus from Santarem to Fatima because first 3 days were so wearing. Walked the rest.) I wore my Merrells.
It was not easy to find food, drinks, restrooms along the way the first 3 days. I suspect that if we had turned off the marked path, which runs along levees and river and train right of way, and gone into villages more often there would have been food. But the Portuguese seem to have a custom of opening late in the morning.
re the walk difficulty, terrain, etc: there are a few places where they have tried to give a little bit of "wildness". There were a couple of segments where we had to walk along the road. No sidewalk, no path off the pavement, and the gutter we had to walk in was sloped. They drive crazy there. In Gijon, the albergue is right at the edge of the street pavement, as the village basically has no sidewalks. If you turn right and are passing the cemetery, you have missed it, go back to the corner and about half a block back. There is a shell on the door. Lovely people there.
The talk about Santarem being tough is because the city is built on top of a mesa.
Almost none of the water fountains we saw were potable.
Re leaving Lisbon, we had visited the Tile Museum the day before we left, so we took the bus to the edge of town and started there. The Tile Museum is great, if you are giving yourself an adaptation day it is worth the visit.
Buen camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017) I walked the full French way from St Jean Pied
(2019) will walk Portuguese Way from Lisbon
We walked in 2015. It was a very hot year. (Took a bus from Santarem to Fatima because first 3 days were so wearing. Walked the rest.) I wore my Merrells.
It was not easy to find food, drinks, restrooms along the way the first 3 days. I suspect that if we had turned off the marked path, which runs along levees and river and train right of way, and gone into villages more often there would have been food. But the Portuguese seem to have a custom of opening late in the morning.
re the walk difficulty, terrain, etc: there are a few places where they have tried to give a little bit of "wildness". There were a couple of segments where we had to walk along the road. No sidewalk, no path off the pavement, and the gutter we had to walk in was sloped. They drive crazy there. In Gijon, the albergue is right at the edge of the street pavement, as the village basically has no sidewalks. If you turn right and are passing the cemetery, you have missed it, go back to the corner and about half a block back. There is a shell on the door. Lovely people there.
The talk about Santarem being tough is because the city is built on top of a mesa.
Almost none of the water fountains we saw were potable.
Re leaving Lisbon, we had visited the Tile Museum the day before we left, so we took the bus to the edge of town and started there. The Tile Museum is great, if you are giving yourself an adaptation day it is worth the visit.
Buen camino
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with mr
 

Michelle G Daoust

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPP to Santiago (2014)
Caminho Portuguese, Lisbon to Santiago (2017)
I will be walking the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon beginning June 8. I previously walked the full French Way and I would like to know how the terrain on the Portuguese Camino compares. Also I have heard that the walk out of Lisbon is very industrial. Finally walking shoes or boots?
Hi Old Cuban,
You are about to embark on a wonderful Journey! My husband and I did the Camino Portuguese in June, 2017, from Lisbon to Santiago. Enjoyed the people, the food, the places immensely. Four years prior, we did the Camino Frances, from St. Jean, so can compare from experience. The terrain on the Portuguese route is different, more roads and cobble stones, some skinny places; some short hilly sections; the route from Porto on is incredibly lovely. We loved the fact that we started in Lisbon despite the increase in pavement. I started in Salomon day hikers and by Santarem sent those packing and bought Air Nike Max shoes. The best decision ever and would buy high loft runners again. (We met many people changing from boots to shoes by this stop!!) All you need. And it was smoking hot so part of the problem was my sock choice to begin with. Do not use boots....your feet will not be 😆. When the Camino from Lisbon began to be more popular there were posts about not many alburgues/places to stay. We never had a problem and that was probably because the interest has increased so much. We averaged 25-27 km a day, a few longer days, but very reasonable. We found coffee early, good breakfasts, excellent dinners everywhere. We found the Portuguese were some of the most beautiful people we have ever encounter on our travels. Enjoy, Michelle
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017) I walked the full French way from St Jean Pied
(2019) will walk Portuguese Way from Lisbon
Hi Old Cuban,
You are about to embark on a wonderful Journey! My husband and I did the Camino Portuguese in June, 2017, from Lisbon to Santiago. Enjoyed the people, the food, the places immensely. Four years prior, we did the Camino Frances, from St. Jean, so can compare from experience. The terrain on the Portuguese route is different, more roads and cobble stones, some skinny places; some short hilly sections; the route from Porto on is incredibly lovely. We loved the fact that we started in Lisbon despite the increase in pavement. I started in Salomon day hikers and by Santarem sent those packing and bought Air Nike Max shoes. The best decision ever and would buy high loft runners again. (We met many people changing from boots to shoes by this stop!!) All you need. And it was smoking hot so part of the problem was my sock choice to begin with. Do not use boots....your feet will not be 😆. When the Camino from Lisbon began to be more popular there were posts about not many alburgues/places to stay. We never had a problem and that was probably because the interest has increased so much. We averaged 25-27 km a day, a few longer days, but very reasonable. We found coffee early, good breakfasts, excellent dinners everywhere. We found the Portuguese were some of the most beautiful people we have ever encounter on our travels. Enjoy, Michelle
Michelle

Thank you so much for your insightful comments. I am really looking forward to this my second Camino. I will take your advise and skip the boots
Old Cuban
 

CanuckPaul

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances(2014),Camino Portugues Lisbon,Porto,Santiago(2016),Camino Jacobean(2016)Camino de la Costa(2017)
Walking shoes would be perfect I mirror previous comments Portugal and its people are wonderful as is the food, be prepared for good amounts of road walking, spend some time in lisboa museums are fantastic so much history. All Caminos are good enjoy and safe travels.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Walking shoes are sufficient.

Until Santarém the camino touches the railway (Connections between Lisbon and Santarém every hour or even every 30 minutes) frequently. So do not worry about accomodation/food. I can remember having had a very delicious "bifana"-Sandwich at Granja - somewhere in the middle of nowhere - before Alpriarte and excellent "moelhas" (chicken stomachs in a spicy sauce) at the Galp-Petrol-Station before Azambuja.

The tile museum and the Fado museum in Lisbon are both worth a visit.

BC
Alexandra
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
Hello @OldCuban, I did not find the walk out of Lisbon to be industrial. Yes, you have to walk through the city on pavement, but large portions are along the river, and through the 1998 World Expo site. All of which I found to be enjoyable. If you'd like to see the photos of this days walk to decide for yourself, click here. Also, I have tried to make a synopsis of how the Portuguese Way differs, in this article, click here. The cobblestone is definitely to be reckoned with! I wish you a very successful Camino and happy planning!
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I was standing at ground zero: the place where the Great Lisbon Earthquake destroyed the city in 1755. At the time, Portugal controlled a vast global colonial empire, and the beautiful capital city of Lisbon was wealthy, cultured, and sophisticated, with a population
of about 275,000. When the earthquake struck, it was on All Saints’, a Catholic holy day, and at 9:40 a.m. many of the inhabitants of Lisbon were praying in one of the six magnificent cathedrals around the prosperous port city. Those cathedrals, including the Basílica de São Vicente de Fora and the Basílica de Santa Maria, would all be reduced to rubble, killing thousands. There were three distinct explosive shocks over a ten-minute period. Giant fissures fifteen feet deep tore open the cobblestone streets. A full one-third of the population of Lisbon would perish on a single day. The destruction was almost total, as eighty-five percent of Lisbon’s buildings were either immediately flattened or burned later by the massive fires that followed the earthquake. The wide-spread conflagration lasted for five days after the earthquake. Thousands of priceless documents were vaporized when the seventy-thousand volume royal library caught on fire. Historical records of the explorations of Vasco da Gama and other early navigators were obliterated when the royal archives burned. Inside the palace of the Marques de Lourcal were housed over two hundred paintings by Titian, Rubens, and Correggio. All of the priceless art was forever lost.
The epicenter of the earthquake was estimated to be just a few hundred miles southwest of Lisbon, perhaps only 120 miles off Cape Saint Vincent on Portugal’s southwest coast. Forty minutes after the apocalyptic event, an enormous tsunami slammed Lisbon Harbor, drowning inhabitants who had survived the initial earthquake. Series of tsunamis, some as high as thirty meters, struck towns and villages along Portugal’s west coast, including some of the coastal fortresses in the Algarve. It was one of the most destructive and deadly earthquakes ever recorded, estimated by modern seismologists to have a magnitude of 8.5-9.0 on the moment magnitude scale. The resilient Portuguese rebuilt the city, but most historians believe that Portugal never fully recovered.
I was at the Basílica of Our Lady of the Martyrs in the trendy Baixa-Chiado section of Lisbon, attempting to get my first stamp, or “carimbo,” for my pilgrim credential book. It would be the second time in two years that I would start out on a personal quest to conquer the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, which ends in northwest Spain at the tomb of Saint James the Apostle. I would be traveling in February and March, when the Camino has a tenth as many pilgrims as it does during the busy summer months. I took my first pilgrimage one year before along the Route Francés, walking due west across the entire breadth of northern Spain. I had started in Basque Country atop the Pyrenees mountains, and it took me forty-eight days to complete the grueling five hundred miles that the guide book says to complete in thirty-three days. I called my first book Slow Camino.
I had arrived in Lisbon a year later with a decidedly Zen approach to tackling Christianity’s most important pilgrimage. This time I would be traveling due north to Santiago de Compostela along the less-traveled Portuguese route. I had learned to Chi walk, finding that slowing down the pace and walking with correctly balanced alignment would allow me to walk more hours each day. I tried not to aggressively push myself with my extremities; instead I tried to pull my body along from the core. According to Chi-walking proponents, it is not poor muscle strength but poor muscle alignment that makes you tired. The repetition of taking one step after another was my gateway for silent meditation, in the same way that Yogic breathing and the repetition of chanting a mantra will induce a state of meditation. On my first Camino I had learned to experience what I called the “infinite moment,” in which I no longer spent time dwelling on the regrets of the past or dreaming of the promise of the future. I had read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and found that I had shifted my awareness to being more mindful in the present moment. On this second Camino, I was in better physical shape, I had studied Portuguese language tapes, I had assembled a lighter backpack, and I had become more adept at finding the best places to stay and the best regional food restaurants at which to eat.
The Basílica dos Mártires was finished in 1784, twenty-nine years after the earthquake. The most beautiful thing about the baroque church, among the many beautiful things it possesses, is the magnificent fresco ceiling painted by Pedro Alexandro de Carvalho. The scenes depict the victory by Afonso Henriques over the Moors in 1147, and the church was dedicated to the crusaders who died “as
martyrs” for their religion. Soon thereafter, Afonso was crowned the first King of Portugal.
I ambled over to the rear corner of the basílica, where I lit one of the votive candles and reflected on how the Camino acts as a giant reset button in a life. After thirty years of marriage, I had gotten divorced and sold my alpaca farm—a personal tsunami that washed away a loved partner, a best friend, her family, and our dream farm in Maine just seven months before I made my first Camino. I reflected on the irony that this tsunami had also freed me to make my first pilgrimage: I was no longer tied down to a farm where I had to take care of thirty alpacas and a farm store. If my first Camino was largely about sorting through the rubble left behind by the quake that rocked my life, then this second Portuguese Camino was about beginning to rebuild, just as the people of Lisbon rebuilt this basílica after the Great Earthquake. Like the country of Portugal, I too had not fully recovered from my personal apocalypse. I looked at the flicker of the
candle, and I hoped for mindfulness and balance in my life. I hoped for healing on my Camino as I lit a second fat candle.
I always felt more Catholic when I visited one of these stately basílicas or magnificent cathedrals in Spain and in Portugal. While I was raised Irish-Catholic, attending Portsmouth Abbey, a boarding school in Rhode Island run by Benedictine monks, I lost my faith when I was in college at Yale. As a “cultural Catholic,” I felt the resonance of the icons and rituals as well as the narratives every time I stepped into a Catholic church. “Com licença. Por favor. Americano. Peregrino preciso carimbo,” I said in my very best pigeon Portuguese to the priest sitting in a small office just off the sacristy. (Excuse me. Please. I am American. A pilgrim needing a stamp.) The priest had a colleague in his office, and so he quickly took an ink blotter and the official stamp of the basílica out of his desk drawer and banged my first “carimbo” down on my pristine Pilgrim Credential Booklet (Credencial del Peregrino). The stamp had the dagger-like Cross of Santiago in its center with a scallop shell overlaid on the center of the cross. As is the custom on the Camino, I had tied a scallop shell to the back of my backpack to identify myself as a pilgrim. Written around the outside of the stamp were the words: “Confraria do Apóstolo Santiago da Basílica de Nossa Senhora dos Mártires de Lisboa.” My booklet would be full of colorful stamps when I arrived in Santiago de Compostela, and I would present it to the official pilgrim welcome office where it would be reviewed as proof that I made the journey. Only then would I receive a document of completion—written in Latin and known as a Compostela—since I had made my pilgrimage for either “spiritual or religious” reasons. You do not have to be Catholic to walk the Camino—people from all over the world and from every religion have walked it and received their Compostela.
During medieval times, the Catholic Church would grant a “plenary indulgence” to pilgrims who completed the Camino. This was like a “get out of jail free” card, wiping out all the time the soul would have spent in purgatory. The very first Compostelas were cloth badges that were sewn onto the pilgrim’s shirt or jacket after they arrived in Santiago de Compostela. It did not take long for the counterfeiters to start selling fake badges to people who had not made a pilgrimage but were looking for amnesty for their souls. Common people in the Middle Ages could not read or write, so the Catholic Church began to issue “evidentiary letters” written in Latin, which put the illiterate counterfeiters out of business.
I purposely did not get a Compostela when I completed my Camino Francés because I felt that it was not what I got in the end that mattered, but rather it was the Easter eggs I discovered on the way. My Zen approach to Christianity’s most important pilgrimage held that happiness and enlightenment are not something like a pot of gold to be found at the end of the rainbow, but instead are to be found in the infinite moment of the here and now.
From Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment
I write about every single place I stayed at in the book!!!
 
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mark camilli

dandydon
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016, Finisterre/Muxia 2016, Coastal Portuguese 2018, to Fatima 2019
Having had a wonderful time walking the Portuguese coastal route last year , my wife and I fell in love with Portugal and decided to do the central route in reverse this year ending up in Fatima.

Obviously there is lots of info on this route, and we could walk to Tomar then cut across but there is a direct route from Rabacal. I am struggling to find any info about this, can any of you wonderful people make any recommendations about accomodation after Rabacal, are there albergues, is there an albergue in Fatima itself ?

thanks in advance
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central and Coastal 2017 & 2019; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia 2018
I walked from Santarem to Porto in late Oct 2017, there were sufficient accommodation options on the way there even out of season. The route is relatively easy, no big hills on the way, so your boots could be be a waste. I walked 4 Caminos in Portugal and found running shoes perfect for the terrain, especially considering the amount of cobblesones that you have to face. June should be hot but water situation should be ok, we found most of the water fonts working and ok to drink, tap water is also fine to drink everywhere, although there bars between Santarem and Coimbra could be a bit sparce, so take water with you and drink plenty when you see the font. The wilder nature and off the beaten roads are mostly before Coimbra, then it gets progressively more urban/suburban. L loved the hospitality if people there and my fav towns on the way are Santarem, Golega, Tomar, Coimbra and Agueda. Food is plentiful and tasty, and portions are huge, and Portuguese do tend to open up early for breakfast, at least in comparison to Spain. A friend of mine that I met on the way is helping to open a new albergue there on the way - it's in Branca, between Albergaria-a-Velha and Sao Joao da Madeira. Will be called Casa Catolico, donativo, will be open this April. They are waiting for pilgrims and would be glad to host you! :) The full comprehensive list is here: http://www.vialusitana.org/caminho-portugues/albergues/
Bom Caminho to you! :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I walked from Santarem to Porto in late Oct 2017, there were sufficient accommodation options on the way there even out of season. The route is relatively easy, no big hills on the way, so your boots could be be a waste. I walked 4 Caminos in Portugal and found running shoes perfect for the terrain, especially considering the amount of cobblesones that you have to face. June should be hot but water situation should be ok, we found most of the water fonts working and ok to drink, tap water is also fine to drink everywhere, although there bars between Santarem and Coimbra could be a bit sparce, so take water with you and drink plenty when you see the font. The wilder nature and off the beaten roads are mostly before Coimbra, then it gets progressively more urban/suburban. L loved the hospitality if people there and my fav towns on the way are Santarem, Golega, Tomar, Coimbra and Agueda. Food is plentiful and tasty, and portions are huge, and Portuguese do tend to open up early for breakfast, at least in comparison to Spain. A friend of mine that I met on the way is helping to open a new albergue there on the way - it's in Branca, between Albergaria-a-Velha and Sao Joao da Madeira. Will be called Casa Catolico, donativo, will be open this April. They are waiting for pilgrims and would be glad to host you! :) The full comprehensive list is here: http://www.vialusitana.org/caminho-portugues/albergues/
Bom Caminho to you! :)
I enthusiastically second @surya8 ‘s recommendation for running shoes. I started wearing trail runners on the camino last year, and they are fabulous. If you are new to trail runners, as I was, do a search on the forum, and keep an eye out for @davebugg’s posts. He is one of our resident gear experts and has given tons of good information on why trail runners are such a good idea. He is, however, always careful to say, that if you want to wear boots, that’s totally up to you! (But I sometimes wonder if he says that with his fingers crossed behind his back :) )
Buen camino, Laurie
 

Bobthebome

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (future - 2018) from Porto
I am planning to walk the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon in September, and was wondering about where would be good places to take zero days, say one per week or so. Definitely Porto and where else?
 

Bobthebome

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (future - 2018) from Porto
I enthusiastically second @surya8 ‘s recommendation for running shoes. I started wearing trail runners on the camino last year, and they are fabulous. If you are new to trail runners, as I was, do a search on the forum, and keep an eye out for @davebugg’s posts. He is one of our resident gear experts and has given tons of good information on why trail runners are such a good idea. He is, however, always careful to say, that if you want to wear boots, that’s totally up to you! (But I sometimes wonder if he says that with his fingers crossed behind his back :) )
Buen camino, Laurie
Appreciate the comments about running shoes, but having had many turned ankles I do feel more comfortable with mid boots. Hike in Salomons right now and find them very light comfortable. Have tried Altra mids, but find that the don't hold up too well!
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
I am planning to walk the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon in September, and was wondering about where would be good places to take zero days, say one per week or so. Definitely Porto and where else?
Santarém is a very lovely town with its fortifications, and plenty to see, but you will get there in 3-4 days, depending on how far you walk each day.
Another great place to spend an extra day, which we reached after five days is Tomar, with the Knights Templar Castle and aqueduct. Our rest day here wasn't much of a no-walk day for us, but it was great non-the-less!
We also spent a half day touring Coimbra, which we reached in nine days, with its first University in Portugal. An amazing town that one could spend days instead of hours.
If you click on the links, you can see what there is to see. After Coimbra, it is all small towns til Porto. You don't say if you are going on after Porto, and if so, which route? I can make more recommendations!
 

Bobthebome

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (future - 2018) from Porto
Santarém is a very lovely town with its fortifications, and plenty to see, but you will get there in 3-4 days, depending on how far you walk each day.
Another great place to spend an extra day, which we reached after five days is Tomar, with the Knights Templar Castle and aqueduct. Our rest day here wasn't much of a no-walk day for us, but it was great non-the-less!
We also spent a half day touring Coimbra, which we reached in nine days, with its first University in Portugal. An amazing town that one could spend days instead of hours.
If you click on the links, you can see what there is to see. After Coimbra, it is all small towns til Porto. You don't say if you are going on after Porto, and if so, which route? I can make more recommendations!
Thanks for the info. I actually haven't decided on the route from Porto to SdC; both seam to have their attractions!
 

The Kolbist

Member
Camino(s) past & future
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
We walked CP from Lisbon in 2016 and walked CF from SJDPP in 2017. For me, I can say that CF was tougher physically. The walk from Nascoes to Villafranca de Xira has some industrial areas but theres a nice boardwalk walking along the Tagus river just before Villfranca. A lot of road walking but you also walk along some vineyards. We walked towards Fatima from Santarem for Camino de Fatima but resume CP in Porto. We walked along the coastline from Porto. It was an extremely nice walk considering that you are in a big city. From Porto to Santiago is stunning, a different terrain as it is mostly vineyards and we passed by several waterfalls. Ultreya..
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
Thanks for the info. I actually haven't decided on the route from Porto to SdC; both seam to have their attractions!
I cover both paths in my blog, so starting on day fifteen, for either route, the Coastal, or the Central, you can check out lots of photos and info to help you decide! As you've said, they both have different things to offer! Happy deciding!
 

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