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Portuguese Central- which stage to skip?

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#1
In doing more research (using the Brierley guide), I realize I will need to skip one stage of walking on the Portuguese Central route as I've now decided I really want to add in the Spiritual Variant.

For those of you who have walked the Central, what are your opinions on which stage to leave out, yet convenient to take a bus or train? I will start on the Coastal, but cross over early at Vila do Conde.

I prefer to stick with Brierley's end stage recommendations, as I plan to pre-book all stages and the larger towns he recommends have more options. Although I prefer to have flexibility each day, time constraints are an issue this time. I start from Porto on May 2nd after completing the Fisherman's Trail.

Any thoughts or advice is appreciated!
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
#2
To not break up your flow, I’d opt to skip something in the beginning. For example, if you’re not keen on walking out of cities, you could take the metro from Porto to Viila do Condo, then get in your day along the coast by walking approx. 22 k up to Esposende, from which there are frequent local buses to Barcelos on the central route. Another option would be to walk to Vila do Conde from Porto, and then the next morning (or the same day) walk a further 3.8 k to Povoa de Varzim, from which there are also frequent local buses to Barcelos. (If you want to walk from Porto to Povoa de Varzim in a single day, you could shorten that walk by about 7 - 8 k by taking the metro from Porto to Matasinhos). While I’ve never done it, the journey on foot from Vila do Conde to the central route is not reported to be that wonderful, so either of the options above allows you to skip it. Note that Esposende and Povoa de Varzim, while not Brierley towns, both offer plenty of accomodations.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances*3, Ingles, Primitive, Finisterre and now Portuguese
#4
Some of the Brierley stages on the early parts after Porto are really too long. We started in Lisbon and still found the stage into Ponte Do Lima a killer, though VERY beautiful.

The stage from Tui is too short though, imo and can be combined easily with the next one to Redondela.

Ok, the only stage to skip after Porto is the first stage as it was a slog to Vilharino, but then suddely transformative and beautiful after the river a km or two beyond. Arcos is a superb little village to stay in.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#5
Great. I'll take a better look. Yes, I had noticed the very long stage to Ponte de Lima. Maybe I can taxi a portion of it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#6
I walked to Vila Chã the first day and then up to Vila do Conde and over to Rates the second. If I *had* to skip one day of walking, it would be that second day when you go from one route to another.
 

he.panpub

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
18 Sagrès Santiago17 Camino Torrès, C Primitivo; 16 C Portugues ;15 CFrancès; 2014 Via Podensis
#7
Hi,
To skip 1 stage, i've walked from Ponte de Lima to Tui. Another time, i walked from Tui to Redondela
Henri
 
#8
I don’t have Brierley, so I can’t comment on those stages. But when I walked the Portugues years ago, I also walked from Tui to Redondela, if in fact that is now two stages. I don’t remember it being a killer stage, and this was years before I started walking longer days.

I also don’t remember that there was any other option at that time, because there was nothing in between! Maybe that made a difference — knowing that if I wanted a bed, I had to get to Redondela.
 

Jo Jo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, July 2014
Via di Francesco (Italy), July 2015
Frances, Sept-Oct 2016
Portugues Oct. 2017
#9
Chris, two thoughts:
1) The Spiritual Variant is two days, just like the Central Route walking. You can easily get dropped of by the boat in Pardon in the morning and walk into SdC that same day (especially for a veteran walker like yourself). You may not need to skip anything.

2) Brierley has some short stages (esp. 17, 18 and 20). We did not have any problems with beds (Oct. 2017). If you just walk and take a cell phone with WhatsApp, you can get WiFi and book a day or two ahead of yourself. You may very well be able to make up a day by adding 5km one day, 4km the next.

It is not that I'm opposed to skipping stages. On the CF we skip Ponferrada because it is a urban, gang-tag riddled, concrete, car exhaust nightmare. But nothing on the CP really deserves skipping, any you may be able to avoid doing so.

Enjoy the Spritual Varient. One tip: if you like photography, the morning leaving Armenteira you will go through the old mill run (very cool) too early for any decent sunlight/photos. We got into Armenteira quite early. I wish I had left my pack at the alburgue, and gone walking in the sunlight that afternoon down through the mill run, then back to the alburgue. Sure, you'll walk the same route the next morning, but I really regret the loss of some great photographs simply because I did not have sunlight (or enough time the next day to wait for the sun--even at our speed we got into Vilanova quite late in the afternoon).

Bon Caminho,
Jo Jo
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct (2018)
#10
We skipped the walk out of Porto. We took the Metro 10Km north, got off and just walked west until we ran into the ocean; then headed north along the boardwalks. The walks on city streets and cobblestones were a killer on our feet and knees.

Buen Camino
 

Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Port. Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018; Port. Coastal, 2018.
#12
I walked to Vila Chã the first day and then up to Vila do Conde and over to Rates the second. If I *had* to skip one day of walking, it would be that second day when you go from one route to another.
But then you miss this:-

1.JPG

and this:-

2.JPG

and this:-

3.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#15
I'm really glad to hear you all seem to have loved the Portuguese camino and mostly hate skipping any of it. Truth be told, I haven't been as excited about walking this route, but these responses are making me more excited to experience it!
 

Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Port. Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018; Port. Coastal, 2018.
#16
The first, CC, is the aqueduct on the north side of Vila do Conde—a bizarre structure built in the seventeenth century by an order of Catholic nuns with more money than sense who wanted to provide a private water supply to their house at Santa Clara. It ran for 4 km from a spring to the west of town to the convent, and took nearly ninety years to complete. I'm told that there were originally 999 arches in the entire structure, though a lot of them have fallen down or been knocked down over the years.

The second is the bridge over the River Este at Touguinha, about halfway between VdC and where you rejoin the Central Route at Arcos.

The last is a few kilometres further on, near Junqueira. I believe it runs down the side of a monastery. What you're seeing is how it looks in the depths of midwinter. It must be spectacular in the summertime, when plants are grown across those overhead trellises.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#17
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#18
When we arrived at Porto we walked 10km along the river for the seafood [ a must ] and to stay
Next day we commenced
We would avoid Vila , would still cross over to Spain at Caminha and would always get the train at Pardon.
Walked the last day once , never again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues March 2019
#19
To not break up your flow, I’d opt to skip something in the beginning. For example, if you’re not keen on walking out of cities, you could take the metro from Porto to Viila do Condo, then get in your day along the coast by walking approx. 22 k up to Esposende, from which there are frequent local buses to Barcelos on the central route. Another option would be to walk to Vila do Conde from Porto, and then the next morning (or the same day) walk a further 3.8 k to Povoa de Varzim, from which there are also frequent local buses to Barcelos. (If you want to walk from Porto to Povoa de Varzim in a single day, you could shorten that walk by about 7 - 8 k by taking the metro from Porto to Matasinhos). While I’ve never done it, the journey on foot from Vila do Conde to the central route is not reported to be that wonderful, so either of the options above allows you to skip it. Note that Esposende and Povoa de Varzim, while not Brierley towns, both offer plenty of accomodations.
Thank you! Very helpful, especially if the weather is really rainy!
 
#21
In doing more research (using the Brierley guide), I realize I will need to skip one stage of walking on the Portuguese Central route as I've now decided I really want to add in the Spiritual Variant.

For those of you who have walked the Central, what are your opinions on which stage to leave out, yet convenient to take a bus or train? I will start on the Coastal, but cross over early at Vila do Conde.

I prefer to stick with Brierley's end stage recommendations, as I plan to pre-book all stages and the larger towns he recommends have more options. Although I prefer to have flexibility each day, time constraints are an issue this time. I start from Porto on May 2nd after completing the Fisherman's Trail.

Any thoughts or advice is appreciated!
Then definitely skip the stage from Porto to Vila do Condo.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#23
Could you explain why you have that opinion. It was going to be the only stage I was going to walk along the water, and without the cobbles/roads. Thanks!
Maybe they thought you were going to walk along the Coastal to Vila do Conde, rather than the Senda Litoral. For this section, the Coastal doesn't actually walk along the coast (west and then north) but instead heads straight north through the suburbs.You can see the difference in your Brierley.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#24
Could you explain why you have that opinion. It was going to be the only stage I was going to walk along the water, and without the cobbles/roads. Thanks!

Please do walk this etapa. It was gorgeous. Like others already wrote. The next route from Vila da Conde to Barcelos is quite hard, not for the terrain but for the traffic. Especially just before and after Pedra Furada ( the village itself though has the best small albergue/ restaurant, with wonderful owner Antonio Martins , on the Portugues )
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#25
Maybe they thought you were going to walk along the Coastal to Vila do Conde, rather than the Senda Litoral. For this section, the Coastal doesn't actually walk along the coast (west and then north) but instead heads straight north through the suburbs.You can see the difference in your Brierley.
Good point. Yes, I was starting on the Senda before cutting over. I'll look forward to a reply from @Registration.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#26
Please do walk this etapa. It was gorgeous. Like others already wrote. The next route from Vila da Conde to Barcelos is quite hard, not for the terrain but for the traffic. Especially just before and after Pedra Furada ( the village itself though has the best small albergue/ restaurant, with wonderful owner Antonio Martins , on the Portugues )
In an above post, @Aurigny included three lovely photos not too long into the stage heading to Barcelos. I had considered skipping that stage before seeing the photos. Now I am in a quandry, as some love it, but others say eliminate it, as you suggest.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#27
In an above post, @Aurigny included three lovely photos not too long into the stage heading to Barcelos. I had considered skipping that stage before seeing the photos. Now I am in a quandry, as some love it, but others say eliminate it, as you suggest.
The remains of that bridge is just outside Vila da Conde and can be easily done imho when resting for that day and strolling around the old town.
 

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