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Pros and Cons of Portuguese Caminos

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Edit: the article giving an overview of the Portuguese caminos is finished and published here:

The Camino de Santiago in Portugal

The original first post in this thread follows.

---

I am in the early stages of writing an article about the various Camino de Santiago routes in Portugal. As part of this article, I am going to include an 'at a glance' section for each route with basic details (start and end points, distance, approximate stages etc) and as part of this I thought about including pros and cons for each route.

To start with I have included two pros and two cons for each route (I'm open to more but prefer to have the same number for each route for consistency). There is a certain degree of subjectivity in these, of course, and since I haven't walked all of the routes I am going by what I've read in some cases, so I ask for your help in rounding out the lists.

Any feedback, criticism, additions, suggestions or other comments are most welcome!

Caminho Português Central (from Porto)
Pros
: Good pilgrim infrastructure, Variante Espiritual
Cons: Walking on cobblestones, possibly too much pilgrim traffic

Caminho Português Coastal
Pros
: Coastal views, several options for rejoining the central route
Cons: Not a traditional route, some coastal towns are touristy

Caminho Português (from Lisbon)
Pros
: More immersion in Portugal, historic towns of Santarém, Tomar and Coimbra
Cons: Some unattractive road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure before Porto

Caminho Português Interior
Pros
: Spectacular scenery, historical route
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, inconsistent way-marking

Caminho de Torres
Pros
: Douro Valley, historic cities of Guimarães and Braga
Cons: A lot of road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieros
Pros
: National Park Peneda-Gerês, welcoming pilgrim atmosphere
Cons: Inconsistent way-marking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho Nascente
Pros
: Mostly countryside walking, many historic towns and castles
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho Central
Pros
: Easy-to-reach starting point, joins standard CP in Santarém
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho da Raia
Pros
: Several historic towns including Marvão, road less travelled
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, way-marking incomplete as of 2021

Camino Zamorano Portugués (Via de la Plata Portugués)
Pros
: Historic town of Bragança, detour to see San Pedro de la Nave church
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, lack of English spoken in rural Portuguese sections
 
Last edited:
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
jungleboy,
This is indeed a big project that your are planning and a great idea!
A basic chart would be handy with perhaps a vertical list of routes and a horizontal listing of pros and cons.

Personally I have only hiked a bit in Portugal but driven a great deal in easier, happier times. Always my husband and I were warmly welcomed and found that younger people spoke fluent English and older people often French. Communication even in tiny hamlets was easy. ..We loved it all.
 
Last edited:

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Would you please edit your post to include a map or, perhaps better, a link to a larger map showing these routes.
I am going to try to produce a map but I haven't done so yet as the pros and cons was literally the first thing I did for the article today. My request here is just for people who have walked these routes to chime in with some pros and cons to help get me started with the article.

This Wise Pilgrim map doesn't have all the routes l listed but has a lot of them:

IMG_1084 2.GIF
 
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HaveringRob

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Great idea --- very helpful. On the "cons" of the coastal, not traditional, but is it official? That might throw people off. This is a little off-topic, for which I apologize. First, I have been listening to your podcast and it is very helpful. On your most recent Camino, there were two guidebooks, one for the practical aspects and one for the historical and cultural. Is there a cultural/historic guidebook for the Camino Portugues (coastal/.SV)? Also, is there a book on the history of Portugual/Spain (but mostly Portugal) that you would recommend? One that might appeal more to the pilgrim? I was hoping to find a podcast, but there is a surprising dearth of podcasts on the history of Portugal.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
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Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
@jungleboy , in 2020, we were going to walk from Lisbon following the Trilho das Areias, and parts of the Camino do Mar. Do these count as part of the various Caminos in Portugal?
 

CaptainBonnie

Member
Past OR future Camino
Plan: 2 week to arrive at Santiago de Campostela in 2 weeks. Start 12th Nov 2017
I am in the early stages of writing an article about the various Camino de Santiago routes in Portugal. As part of this article, I am going to include an 'at a glance' section for each route with basic details (start and end points, distance, approximate stages etc) and as part of this I thought about including pros and cons for each route.

To start with I have included two pros and two cons for each route (I'm open to more but prefer to have the same number for each route for consistency). There is a certain degree of subjectivity in these, of course, and since I haven't walked all of the routes I am going by what I've read in some cases, so I ask for your help in rounding out the lists.

Any feedback, criticism, additions, suggestions or other comments are most welcome!

Caminho Português Central (from Porto)
Pros
: Good pilgrim infrastructure, Variante Espiritual
Cons: Walking on cobblestones, possibly too much pilgrim traffic

Caminho Português Coastal
Pros
: Coastal views, several options for rejoining the central route
Cons: Not a traditional route, some coastal towns are touristy

Caminho Português (from Lisbon)
Pros
: More immersion in Portugal, historic towns of Santarém, Tomar and Coimbra
Cons: Some unattractive road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure before Porto

Caminho Português Interior
Pros
: Spectacular scenery, historical route
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, inconsistent way-marking

Caminho de Torres
Pros
: Douro Valley, historic cities of Guimarães and Braga
Cons: A lot of road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieros
Pros
: National Park Peneda-Gerês, welcoming pilgrim atmosphere
Cons: Inconsistent way-marking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho Nascente
Pros
: Mostly countryside walking, many historic towns and castles
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho Central
Pros
: Easy-to-reach starting point, joins standard CP in Santarém
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho da Raia
Pros
: Several historic towns including Marvão, road less travelled
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, way-marking incomplete as of 2021

Camino Zamorano Portugués (Via de la Plata Portugués)
Pros
: Historic town of Bragança, detour to see San Pedro de la Nave church
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, lack of English spoken in rural Portuguese sections
Hello Nick
Brilliant move!
I just wish to know the two headings

Caminho Portugues from Lisbon

Caminho Portugues ( Interior)

Each a different route ??
as I read the CP from Lisbon to Porto ( interior) is pretty flat, lower gradients but longer stretches as per Señor Brierley

Very Best wishes
Capt Bonnie ( Vivek)
 
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karidadpoethig

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Ingles & part of Norte (2012), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Portuguese Interior (2017)
I am in the early stages of writing an article about the various Camino de Santiago routes in Portugal. As part of this article, I am going to include an 'at a glance' section for each route with basic details (start and end points, distance, approximate stages etc) and as part of this I thought about including pros and cons for each route.

To start with I have included two pros and two cons for each route (I'm open to more but prefer to have the same number for each route for consistency). There is a certain degree of subjectivity in these, of course, and since I haven't walked all of the routes I am going by what I've read in some cases, so I ask for your help in rounding out the lists.

Any feedback, criticism, additions, suggestions or other comments are most welcome!

Caminho Português Central (from Porto)
Pros
: Good pilgrim infrastructure, Variante Espiritual
Cons: Walking on cobblestones, possibly too much pilgrim traffic

Caminho Português Coastal
Pros
: Coastal views, several options for rejoining the central route
Cons: Not a traditional route, some coastal towns are touristy

Caminho Português (from Lisbon)
Pros
: More immersion in Portugal, historic towns of Santarém, Tomar and Coimbra
Cons: Some unattractive road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure before Porto

Caminho Português Interior
Pros
: Spectacular scenery, historical route
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, inconsistent way-marking

Caminho de Torres
Pros
: Douro Valley, historic cities of Guimarães and Braga
Cons: A lot of road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieros
Pros
: National Park Peneda-Gerês, welcoming pilgrim atmosphere
Cons: Inconsistent way-marking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho Nascente
Pros
: Mostly countryside walking, many historic towns and castles
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho Central
Pros
: Easy-to-reach starting point, joins standard CP in Santarém
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho da Raia
Pros
: Several historic towns including Marvão, road less travelled
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, way-marking incomplete as of 2021

Camino Zamorano Portugués (Via de la Plata Portugués)
Pros
: Historic town of Bragança, detour to see San Pedro de la Nave church
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, lack of English spoken in rural Portuguese sections
I walked the CPI in 2017 in early Aug/September. It wasn’t just inconsistent marking at that point; it was deserted. For 8 days til the border, where I met up with a Camino friend, I was alone on the paths and in the albergues.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Great idea --- very helpful. On the "cons" of the coastal, not traditional, but is it official?
I assume so - you still get a compostela for it even if you rejoin the central with less than 100km to go, right?

This is a little off-topic, for which I apologize. First, I have been listening to your podcast and it is very helpful.
Thank you! :)

On your most recent Camino, there were two guidebooks, one for the practical aspects and one for the historical and cultural. Is there a cultural/historic guidebook for the Camino Portugues (coastal/.SV)?
Not that I'm aware of but I haven't looked into it.

Also, is there a book on the history of Portugual/Spain (but mostly Portugal) that you would recommend? One that might appeal more to the pilgrim? I was hoping to find a podcast, but there is a surprising dearth of podcasts on the history of Portugal.
I have found that the best books on Portuguese history are very narrowly focused on a specific time/event, namely Conquerers by Roger Crowley about the first 30 years of the Age of Discovery, and This Gulf of Fire by Mark Molesky about the 1755 earthquake. The First Global Village by Martin Page is probably the best of the general histories but there aren't many in English.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
@jungleboy , in 2020, we were going to walk from Lisbon following the Trilho das Areias, and parts of the Camino do Mar. Do these count as part of the various Caminos in Portugal?
I was thinking about whether to include the so-called Coastal from Lisbon but is it really a Camino de Santiago? I'm not sure, maybe someone else can enlighten us.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Hello Nick
Brilliant move!
I just wish to know the two headings

Caminho Portugues from Lisbon

Caminho Portugues ( Interior)

Each a different route ??
as I read the CP from Lisbon to Porto ( interior) is pretty flat, lower gradients but longer stretches as per Señor Brierley

Very Best wishes
Capt Bonnie ( Vivek)
Thank you! Yes, these are two different routes. The Portuguese Interior (CPI) is further to the east, starting at Viseu (and eventually Coimbra) and heading north to Chaves and then crossing to Spain and joining the Sanabrés to Santiago.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I walked the CPI in 2017 in early Aug/September. It wasn’t just inconsistent marking at that point; it was deserted. For 8 days til the border, where I met up with a Camino friend, I was alone on the paths and in the albergues.
Thanks, good to know. I wonder if the way-marking has improved since then. But in general you would say that there's a reasonable albergue network?
 
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HaveringRob

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Great idea --- very helpful. On the "cons" of the coastal, not traditional, but is it official?
"I assume so - you still get a compostela for it even if you rejoin the central with less than 100km to go, right?"

Then maybe change the description to
Caminho Português Coastal
Pros
: Coastal views, several options for rejoining the central route
Cons: Not a traditional route (but still official), some coastal towns are touristy

There are very likely to be some people who read "not traditional" and assume that it is not an official one.
 

HaveringRob

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I assume so - you still get a compostela for it even if you rejoin the central with less than 100km to go, right?


Thank you! :)


Not that I'm aware of but I haven't looked into it.


I have found that the best books on Portuguese history are very narrowly focused on a specific time/event, namely Conquerers by Roger Crowley about the first 30 years of the Age of Discovery, and This Gulf of Fire by Mark Molesky about the 1755 earthquake. The First Global Village by Martin Page is probably the best of the general histories but there aren't many in English.
Thank you so very much.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances: March 2013
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La Plata: March 2020-to be continued
I wouldn’t be too concerned about having the same number of pros and cons for each since there may be more pros or cons for particular routes. I would be more interested in a proper assessment than equality. We started our Portugues (2017) in Condeixa a Nova…just south of Coimbra …and walked the Central Route. What I loved was the history…especially the Roman roads and bridges along the way. The Portuguese people were amazing and, as stated before, so much English…compared to Spain. My Spanish is a lot better than my Portuguese.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
"I assume so - you still get a compostela for it even if you rejoin the central with less than 100km to go, right?"

Then maybe change the description to
Caminho Português Coastal
Pros
: Coastal views, several options for rejoining the central route
Cons: Not a traditional route (but still official), some coastal towns are touristy

There are very likely to be some people who read "not traditional" and assume that it is not an official one.
I would have to verify but yes, maybe a rewording is in order - thanks for bringing this up.
 
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bobbogram

Member
Past OR future Camino
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
I completed Portuguese in two three-week hikes - Lisbon to Porto, then Porto to Santiago - before the pandemic. The first segment was more historical with stumbling onto fortifications meant to repel Napoleon’s army that never showed up, Tomar and the Knight’s Templar castle, a side trip to Fatima, and an Easter Mass at the cathedral in Coimbra.
I started on the shore path for several days out of Porto, but switched to the interior path. The shore path had cooler temperatures but the winds often pelt you with sand; the interior was 10F warmer. There are only a few bridges to cross the Minho River when planning your route Crossing into Spain.
Just like El Norte, the closer you get to Santiago, the route may become more congested with fellow pilgrims. If you end up following a large organized group like I did, dining facilities get swamped. Unlike the early monks, GPS tools can find you a non-standard parallel route. The establishments for dining and accommodations may not recognize your purpose with backpack and hiking sticks, but being a novelty doesn’t exclude you.
It was never a physically challenging trek, but I had completed the El Norte trek a year earlier, which I preferred. Like your first kiss, your first car, or other introduction, it’s the same with your Caminos.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Here are routes in Portugal that I downloaded to Maps.me.
Maybe @jungleboy can label them?


View attachment 109514
Here goes:

The black route in the south is the Caminho Nascente.
The purple route starting from Salamanca is the Camino Torres (Caminho de Torres).
The brown route is the Portuguese Interior.
The light green route starting in Braga is the Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieros.
The dark green route from Lisbon is the standard Caminho Português whereas the lighter one also starting in Lisbon but further west is what AJ was talking about ('Lisbon Coastal').
The light blue routes are related to Fátima rather than Santiago.
The pink/blue overlapping routes from Porto are the Portuguese Coastal.
The pink route to the east is just the VdlP/Sanabrés in Spain.

There are a few missing from my list in the OP - the Central (from Faro), the Raia and the Zamorano Portugués.

How did I do? ;)
 

CaptainBonnie

Member
Past OR future Camino
Plan: 2 week to arrive at Santiago de Campostela in 2 weeks. Start 12th Nov 2017
Thank you! Yes, these are two different routes. The Portuguese Interior (CPI) is further to the east, starting at Viseu (and eventually Coimbra) and heading north to Chaves and then crossing to Spain and joining the Sanabrés to Santiago.
Thanks Nick
I was not aware.. meaning there are really
THREE ROUTES FROM LISBON to Santiago de Campostela?!
Very Best Wishes
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Thanks Nick
I was not aware.. meaning there are really
THREE ROUTES FROM LISBON to Santiago de Campostela?!
Very Best Wishes
I guess Lisbon -> CPI hasn't really been thought of as a continuous route in the past. As I understand it, Viseu is the usual starting point for the CPI but it's being extended to Coimbra, though I'm not sure to what extent there is way-marking or facilities between Coimbra and Viseu at this stage. But yes, theoretically you could walk Lisbon-Coimbra on the CP and then switch to the CPI from there. The new Gronze page for the CPI has Coimbra as the starting point, with four stages to Viseu.
 

GraemeHall

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés 2017/18; Portugués 2019
I completed the central route Lisbon to Santiage via Porto in 2019. I found the pilgrim infrastructure more than adequate.
Could I humbly suggest not including the speaking of English or not as either a pro or a con? It hints at cultural superiority. I'd be disappointed if Portuguese folk were deterred from visiting my city or region because a publication listed the fact that hardly anyone speaks their language here as a "con".
The project sounds great - look forward to seeing it.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
Perhaps list numbers of pilgrims walking at different times of year, if this information is available. Then those seeking company can plan to find it and those seeking solitude can also find it without valuing one over the other.

Perhaps also message @peregrina2000 as she probably has something useful to add but is unlikely to be actively scanning the Forum as she is currently seeking solitude as she walks her Camino.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Past OR future Camino
Too many to count!
Nick, some comments from me:

The Variante Espiritual is accessible from both the Coastal and the Central routes, just after Pontevedra, so not sure that is a "pro" for only the Central route.

Also are you interested in adding the "Senda Litoral" as an added Portuguese option on the list? It is different, but not entirely different from the Coastal. It may add a bit more confusion, as this way is not always well-marked, a "con," but if you like the coast, it hugs the coast more than the Coastal, a "pro." Another pro for the Coastal is that it walks on lovely, long, body and feet-forgiving boardwalks!

For the Central Route, a think a strong "pro" is the fact that it has a lot more historical value, more Roman roads and more castles, etc. However, the Igreja de Santiago de Castelo de Neiva on the Coastal has a very old inscription, found during a 20th C renovation that refute that this is not a "traditional" route. The inscription shows the dedication of the church to San Tiago the Greater in 862 by a bishop named Nausti, the Bishop of Coimbra at the time. So more historic or not?? Not so sure.

Also, for those of us who adore the beach, a very strong con for the Coastal is that it is the only Portuguese route that has long, lovely walks on the beach! At least, I think this is true - but others who have done other Portugues caminos can validate this - or not. At least the Senda Litoral route has the beach walks - maybe another reason to include it on your list.

Good luck on your project - sounds big, but fun!
 
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Past OR future Camino
Ingles 2018
Here goes:

The black route in the south is the Caminho Nascente.
The purple route starting from Salamanca is the Camino Torres (Caminho de Torres).
The brown route is the Portuguese Interior.
The light green route starting in Braga is the Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieros.
The dark green route from Lisbon is the standard Caminho Português whereas the lighter one also starting in Lisbon but further west is what AJ was talking about ('Lisbon Coastal').
The light blue routes are related to Fátima rather than Santiago.
The pink/blue overlapping routes from Porto are the Portuguese Coastal.
The pink route to the east is just the VdlP/Sanabrés in Spain.

There are a few missing from my list in the OP - the Central (from Faro), the Raia and the Zamorano Portugués.

How did I do? ;)
Excellent, there so many ways. Even more if the Caminhos de Fatima are added. Don't take that as an annoying suggestion 🤔
 

jimmyc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
I am in the early stages of writing an article about the various Camino de Santiago routes in Portugal. As part of this article, I am going to include an 'at a glance' section for each route with basic details (start and end points, distance, approximate stages etc) and as part of this I thought about including pros and cons for each route.

To start with I have included two pros and two cons for each route (I'm open to more but prefer to have the same number for each route for consistency). There is a certain degree of subjectivity in these, of course, and since I haven't walked all of the routes I am going by what I've read in some cases, so I ask for your help in rounding out the lists.

Any feedback, criticism, additions, suggestions or other comments are most welcome!

Caminho Português Central (from Porto)
Pros
: Good pilgrim infrastructure, Variante Espiritual
Cons: Walking on cobblestones, possibly too much pilgrim traffic

Caminho Português Coastal
Pros
: Coastal views, several options for rejoining the central route
Cons: Not a traditional route, some coastal towns are touristy

Caminho Português (from Lisbon)
Pros
: More immersion in Portugal, historic towns of Santarém, Tomar and Coimbra
Cons: Some unattractive road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure before Porto

Caminho Português Interior
Pros
: Spectacular scenery, historical route
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, inconsistent way-marking

Caminho de Torres
Pros
: Douro Valley, historic cities of Guimarães and Braga
Cons: A lot of road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieros
Pros
: National Park Peneda-Gerês, welcoming pilgrim atmosphere
Cons: Inconsistent way-marking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho Nascente
Pros
: Mostly countryside walking, many historic towns and castles
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho Central
Pros
: Easy-to-reach starting point, joins standard CP in Santarém
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, oppressive heat in summer

Caminho da Raia
Pros
: Several historic towns including Marvão, road less travelled
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, way-marking incomplete as of 2021

Camino Zamorano Portugués (Via de la Plata Portugués)
Pros
: Historic town of Bragança, detour to see San Pedro de la Nave church
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, lack of English spoken in rural Portuguese sections
I walked from Lisbon in 2016. I do not agree that there is an excess of unattractive road walking compared with other Caminos. I also walked the CF from SJPDP, the Primitivo and the Sanabres from Granja. The reality is that they all had their fair share of unattractive road walking.
I agree with you that pilgrim accommodation was sometimes not easy to find. A few days I had to walk over 30 klms to find a bed. It was a little more easy for me because I did not restrict myself to Albergues. However, I believe that beds were usually available in the fire stations if no Albergue was available.
I would point out that in my opinion most of the true Portugal is before Porto. Thereafter it was very much like Galicia.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I completed the central route Lisbon to Santiage via Porto in 2019. I found the pilgrim infrastructure more than adequate.
Thanks, I may have to revise my thinking on that. When I walked this route in Sep 2020 the municipal albergues were all closed, and a year later I had misconstrued that in my head to think that there basically were no albergues before Porto. I will adjust it.

Could I humbly suggest not including the speaking of English or not as either a pro or a con? It hints at cultural superiority. I'd be disappointed if Portuguese folk were deterred from visiting my city or region because a publication listed the fact that hardly anyone speaks their language here as a "con".
Yes you can. I agree that part was not well worded, I merely meant that there might be a language barrier. Having not walked that route, I wasn't sure what else to put and I had read about a lack of English. I'll adjust it if not remove it entirely.

Edit: the CSJ words it better on their site, saying for the CZP:
Language: Pilgrims without a reasonable command of Spanish and Portuguese will find this route difficult.

Thanks for your feedback!
 
Last edited:

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Perhaps list numbers of pilgrims walking at different times of year, if this information is available. Then those seeking company can plan to find it and those seeking solitude can also find it without valuing one over the other.
Yes I will, although as you suggest, this information is not widely available for all these routes. Thanks!

Perhaps also message @peregrina2000 as she probably has something useful to add but is unlikely to be actively scanning the Forum as she is currently seeking solitude as she walks her Camino.
She usually does have something useful to add! 🤣 We are in contact about her upcoming Geira e dos Arrieiros so I'll bug her for input next time I hear from her. ;)
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Nick, some comments from me:
Thanks for your feedback Elle!

The Variante Espiritual is accessible from both the Coastal and the Central routes, just after Pontevedra, so not sure that is a "pro" for only the Central route.
Yes, I knew that and realised as I was doing it that it was a bit weird to put it as a pro for one and not the other. I just didn't want to double up but I can see how it makes it seem like the VE is not accessible from the Coastal. I'll rethink this, thanks.

Also are you interested in adding the "Senda Litoral" as an added Portuguese option on the list? It is different, but not entirely different from the Coastal. It may add a bit more confusion, as this way is not always well-marked, a "con," but if you like the coast, it hugs the coast more than the Coastal, a "pro."
Good point, maybe I can just add a sentence at the end of the Coastal spiel indicating that the Senda Litoral is another, similar option. If I can do that for the Lisbon Coastal path too at the end of the CP from Lisbon section then that gets me out of having to add two more caminos to this thing!

Thanks for your other coastal/central pros/cons too.

Good luck on your project - sounds big, but fun!
Thank you, it's getting bigger by the minute! It was supposed to be a harmless overview ;)
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Excellent, there so many ways. Even more if the Caminhos de Fatima are added. Don't take that as an annoying suggestion 🤔
Very annoying, thank you! 🤣

I think I will mention Fatima caminos and other long-distance trails (e.g. the Rota Vicentina) in passing so that it doesn't look like I'm ignorant of them but it gets me out of having to expand this to fully include them.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I walked from Lisbon in 2016. I do not agree that there is an excess of unattractive road walking compared with other Caminos.
Point taken but in fairness I put 'some unattractive road walking', not an excess. I think that came more sharply into focus for me more this year because the Caminho Nascente, which we walked about six months after the CP from Lisbon, had very little road walking in comparison.

I would point out that in my opinion most of the true Portugal is before Porto. Thereafter it was very much like Galicia.
Completely agree here. We spent a fair amount of time talking about this very point in the first season of our podcast, specifically in Episode 1.2 - Walking in Portugal.
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Nick, looking forward to reading your future article & it is really nice to learn more about the Portuguese caminho's. I have only walked the CP from Porto (not the VE) and would definitely include the historical towns (Ponte de Lima, Padron) as a pro - but that is my personal opinion.

Apart from that, one little thing. Your listing of pros and cons of Da Geira is a bit confusing to me. A welcoming pilgrim atmosphere (pro) vs. lack of pilgrim infrastructure (con) comes across as a bit contradictory.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Past OR future Camino
yes...
Caminho Português Central (from Porto)
Pros
: Good pilgrim infrastructure, Variante Espiritual
Cons: Walking on cobblestones, possibly too much pilgrim traffic

Another Con for me was the first day out of Porto where there were a few sections of the route with no pavement and we ended up having to dodge traffic. In places the walls on either side of the road made it really difficult to just get out of the way. We walked out of Porto on a Sunday but I'd be nervous about walking sections on a busy weekday morning. Apart from that I loved the central route :)
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Thanks to everyone for your feedback so far. Keep it coming, especially for the less travelled caminos (@alansykes, I would love your input! You too @peregrina2000!).

The second draft of the 'at a glance' section is below. I've reworded some things based on your feedback and added some more pros and cons to some routes (abandoning the 'consistency of number' idea based on @Rellrog's logical explanation).

This time I've also included start-end points, distance and approximate number of stages for each of the 10 routes, which I should have done the first time but I started this thread on a whim without thinking enough about it before posting!

Some other points:
  • As mentioned upthread, I'll reference trails like the Senda Litoral, Lisbon Coastal and Fatima caminos in the final article but not create separate sections for them. I think 10 caminos is enough!
  • The 'at a glance' section that I'm posting below is what I have done so far as a starting point but there will be more to come. For each of these 10 caminos I'll write a description and include links and a photo. Even though I haven't walked them all, I have been to places that are on all routes so that helps a bit with photos and descriptions.
  • Stage numbers are approximate. Obviously pace can vary among pilgrims.
OK, here goes:

Caminho Português Central

Route
: Porto-Santiago
Distance: 240km
Stages: ~10
Pros: Good pilgrim infrastructure, many historic towns, Variante Espiritual
Cons: Walking on cobblestones, possibly too much pilgrim traffic

Caminho Português Coastal

Route
: Porto-Santiago
Distance: 271km
Stages: ~13
Pros: Coastal views and boardwalks, several options for rejoining the Central route, Variante Espiritual
Cons: Less historic route than the Central, some coastal towns are touristy

Caminho Português (from Lisbon)

Route
: Lisbon-Santiago
Distance: 610km
Stages: ~28
Pros: Opportunity to visit Lisbon before starting, more immersion in Portugal, historic towns of Santarém, Tomar and Coimbra, choice of Central or Coastal routes at Porto
Cons: Some unattractive road walking, fewer pilgrims and less pilgrim infrastructure before Porto

Caminho Português Interior

Route
: Viseu-Santiago
Distance: 387km
Stages: ~17
Pros: Spectacular scenery, Douro Valley, historical route, decent albergue network for a route with few pilgrims
Cons: Lots of ups and downs, inconsistent way-marking

Caminho de Torres

Route
: Salamanca-Santiago
Distance: 567km
Stages: ~23
Pros: Douro Valley, historic cities of Guimarães and Braga, several options for continuing to Santiago
Cons: A lot of road walking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieros

Route
: Braga-Santiago
Distance: 239km
Stages: ~10
Pros: Roman road and milestones, National Park Peneda-Gerês, friendly and welcoming locals
Cons: Inconsistent way-marking, lack of pilgrim infrastructure

Caminho Nascente

Route
: Tavira-Trancoso
Distance: 650km
Stages: ~30
Pros: Mostly countryside walking, many historic towns and castles, good way-marking despite having so few pilgrims, feels like an adventure
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, heat in summer, possible language barrier in rural areas

Caminho Central

Route
: Faro-Santarém
Distance: 475km
Stages: ~21
Pros: Easy-to-reach starting point, joins standard CP in Santarém, Order of Santiago connections, longer walking season than northern caminos
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, heat in summer

Caminho da Raia

Route
: Mértola-Alpalhão
Distance: 310km
Stages: ~13
Pros: Several historic towns including Marvão, road less travelled, immersion in the Alentejo region of Portugal
Cons: Lack of pilgrim infrastructure, way-marking incomplete as of 2021

Camino Zamorano Portugués (Via de la Plata Portugués)

Route
: Zamora-Santiago
Distance: 282km
Stages: ~17
Pros: Historic town of Bragança, option to see San Pedro de la Nave church, adventurous alternative to the standard Via de la Plata
Cons: Strenuous ups and downs during the Portuguese stages, possible language barrier in rural Portuguese sections
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Nick, looking forward to reading your future article & it is really nice to learn more about the Portuguese caminho's.
Thank you!

I have only walked the CP from Porto (not the VE) and would definitely include the historical towns (Ponte de Lima, Padron) as a pro - but that is my personal opinion.
Good point, I added historic towns. Considering places such as Barcelos, Valença, Tui and Pontevedra as well as the two you mentioned, there were too many to list by name.

Apart from that, one little thing. Your listing of pros and cons of Da Geira is a bit confusing to me. A welcoming pilgrim atmosphere (pro) vs. lack of pilgrim infrastructure (con) comes across as a bit contradictory.
Another good point, I can see how that is confusing and I have adjusted the pro in the second draft to say 'friendly and welcoming locals'. Basically, there's only one albergue and sometimes food can be a bit difficult to come by, which is the lack of infrastructure part (in addition to the way-marking), but the local people who promote the camino are incredibly welcoming and we had some wonderful experiences with them. It's a 'bottom-up' camino so with that comes with passionate and lovely people at a grass-roots level but a lack of funding to really improve the infrastructure.
 
Last edited:
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
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Ingles 2018
Very annoying, thank you! 🤣

I think I will mention Fatima caminos and other long-distance trails (e.g. the Rota Vicentina) in passing so that it doesn't look like I'm ignorant of them but it gets me out of having to expand this to fully include them.
Excellent again, by the time you have finished you will have enough material for a full on travel guide. Stand aside Brierley!
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
The big con for me was all the cobblestones between Portugal and the Spanish border: Hard walking...
 
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Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).

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