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Recommendations for best route if only walking 5 days

2020 Camino Guides
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
Hi, my husband and I are planning to walk the El Camino in May or September of 2021. It will be our first time and we also plan to visit Fatima and Porto in Portugal and after seeing Santiago, visiting Grenada and Valencia (we've only been to Sevilla and Barcelona and never Portugal). We really can't be gone more than 2.5 weeks and want to end the walk in Santiago. I've been told if we can only do 5 days and we want do to a pilgrimage ending in Santiago to get our Compostela, most people start in either Tui (on the Portugués) or in Sarria (following the Francés). I've heard these are both flat and not as picturesque as other routes (we love the mountains) but popular routes. I'm trying to decide so I can get the right guide books and start studying. I'm wondering if we are missing out on the best parts of the walk and should just settle for attending mass in the Cathedral and choosing a different more picturesque route, or if starting at either of these locations and ending in Santiago is the way to go? I'm new to this forum so also posting this in the Camino Portugués which may not be necessary but I don't know who will see this post!
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Hi, my husband and I are planning to walk the El Camino in May or September of 2021. It will be our first time and we also plan to visit Fatima and Porto in Portugal and after seeing Santiago, visiting Grenada and Valencia (we've only been to Sevilla and Barcelona and never Portugal). We really can't be gone more than 2.5 weeks and want to end the walk in Santiago. I've been told if we can only do 5 days and we want do to a pilgrimage ending in Santiago to get our Compostela, most people start in either Tui (on the Portugués) or in Sarria (following the Francés). I've heard these are both flat and not as picturesque as other routes (we love the mountains) but popular routes. I'm trying to decide so I can get the right guide books and start studying. I'm wondering if we are missing out on the best parts of the walk and should just settle for attending mass in the Cathedral and choosing a different more picturesque route, or if starting at either of these locations and ending in Santiago is the way to go? I'm new to this forum so also posting this in the Camino Portugués which may not be necessary but I don't know who will see this post!

Hello and welcome here on this forum.

What wonderful cities you plan to visit.

The good thing is that there are no right guide books . Just follow those books, sites etc that you like or appeal to you.
This forum is a good place to start anyway.
Also very informative is the Gronze website.

IMHO opinion there is no such thing as a picturesque Camino. Like I regularly write here..A Camino is a combination of the good , the bad and the ugly...

I do like the Portugues but you might also consider walking the Camino Ingles? More hilly, wonderful smaller towns and good accomodations in all price categories.

Happy preparations ! And if you have any more questions, do not hesitate and please ask!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
Wonderful! Thank you so much! I will look into that website and that route as well. I appreciate your help! Robin
 

wjohnk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugese Coastal (2019)
The Portuguese Coastal Route is another one to consider. Do you want to get a Compostela? If so you have to walk at least 100km to Santiago. You will then need another day in Santiago to get your Compostela.
If you do not need a Compostela, then start at Pontevedra which desrerves some time to explore.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
I suppose it depends on your motivation. If you want to walk, finishing in Santiago, and getting a Compostella, then the Ingles could work for you. Not mountains, but in my opinion a lot nicer than Sarria to Santiago, with enough accommodation and easy to get to. If you simply go to Santiago and attend Mass then you are still a pilgrim, just not a walking one. You can then choose a walk on any section of the Camino you fancy. Personally I suggest the Aubrac in France. Whatever you do, enjoy!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Hi, my husband and I are planning to walk the El Camino in May or September of 2021. It will be our first time and we also plan to visit Fatima and Porto in Portugal and after seeing Santiago, visiting Grenada and Valencia (we've only been to Sevilla and Barcelona and never Portugal). We really can't be gone more than 2.5 weeks and want to end the walk in Santiago. I've been told if we can only do 5 days and we want do to a pilgrimage ending in Santiago to get our Compostela, most people start in either Tui (on the Portugués) or in Sarria (following the Francés). I've heard these are both flat and not as picturesque as other routes (we love the mountains) but popular routes. I'm trying to decide so I can get the right guide books and start studying. I'm wondering if we are missing out on the best parts of the walk and should just settle for attending mass in the Cathedral and choosing a different more picturesque route, or if starting at either of these locations and ending in Santiago is the way to go? I'm new to this forum so also posting this in the Camino Portugués which may not be necessary but I don't know who will see this post!

Hello, robindysard , and a warm welcome to the Forum. :)

Here is a link which also may be of help as you begin: American Pilgrims on Camino's FAQs about a camino pilgrimage

The good news is, you are in a forum with a wonderful group of people. Most are here to help people like you to achieve their pilgrimage goals. We can offer you encouragement, knowledge, and point you in the direction that will help you help yourself.

My suggestion to start is this:
  1. Take a deep breath. Write down in large letters the reasons why you want to go on Camino. Place that piece of paper where you can see it every day. That way, if anxieties and fears threaten to overwhelm you as you plan, you can just breath, read what you have written, and focus on those reasons until the negative stuff fades.
  2. Make a list of questions and concerns that you have.
  3. Go to the Search Engine at the top of the Forum pages.
  4. Enter the words or phrase that you want more information about. You will get a huge amount of information to explore.
  5. If you find that you need help with anything, post a new thread so that your question or concern can be readily seen. If you post a question within someone else's thread, you won't receive as big of a response.
  6. Remember that perfect timing as it relates to how you feel, scheduling, and day to day life issues, seldom align themselves perfectly. If one waits for such to occur, doing something like a pilgrimage will always be in danger of taking a back seat while you wait for that perfect alignment to happen.

Here is what the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela states about the Compostela:

To get the “Compostela” you must:
  • Make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search.
  • Do the last 100 km on foot or horseback, or the last 200 km by bicycle. It is understood that the pilgrimage starts at one point and from there you come to visit the Tomb of St. James.
  • You must collect the stamps on the “Credencial del Peregrino” from the places you pass through to certify that you have been there. Stamps from churches, hostels, monasteries, cathedrals and all places related to the Way are preferred, but if not they can also be stamped in other institutions: town halls, cafés, etc. You have to stamp the Credencial twice a day at least on the last 100 km (for pilgrims on foot or on horseback) or on the last 200 km (for cyclists pilgrims).
You can do the Way in stages, provided they are in chronological and geographical order. However, if you only do the minimum required distance (last 100 or 200 km), you must always get your Credencial stamped at the start and end of each stage, including the corresponding date, to show that the pilgrim has resumed the Way in the same place where they last stopped (i.e. you should always get the stamp at the starting point even though you have already stamped the card in the same place at the end of the previous stage).


--------------------------------------------
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
I did want to get a Compostela. But that is why I'm exploring, to see what we may or may not be missing if we do the last 100 km to Santiago vs another 5 day route that would not have us ending in Santiago. I will look into that route, thank you! Why do you say we need another day in Santiago to get our Compostela...is there a day wait to get it? Let me know if you see this response, there are two places to select "reply" and I can't see the earlier responses:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
Hello, robindysard , and a warm welcome to the Forum. :)

Here is a link which also may be of help as you begin: American Pilgrims on Camino's FAQs about a camino pilgrimage

The good news is, you are in a forum with a wonderful group of people. Most are here to help people like you to achieve their pilgrimage goals. We can offer you encouragement, knowledge, and point you in the direction that will help you help yourself.

My suggestion to start is this:
  1. Take a deep breath. Write down in large letters the reasons why you want to go on Camino. Place that piece of paper where you can see it every day. That way, if anxieties and fears threaten to overwhelm you as you plan, you can just breath, read what you have written, and focus on those reasons until the negative stuff fades.
  2. Make a list of questions and concerns that you have.
  3. Go to the Search Engine at the top of the Forum pages.
  4. Enter the words or phrase that you want more information about. You will get a huge amount of information to explore.
  5. If you find that you need help with anything, post a new thread so that your question or concern can be readily seen. If you post a question within someone else's thread, you won't receive as big of a response.
  6. Remember that perfect timing as it relates to how you feel, scheduling, and day to day life issues, seldom align themselves perfectly. If one waits for such to occur, doing something like a pilgrimage will always be in danger of taking a back seat while you wait for that perfect alignment to happen.

Here is what the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela states about the Compostela:

To get the “Compostela” you must:
  • Make the pilgrimage for religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search.
  • Do the last 100 km on foot or horseback, or the last 200 km by bicycle. It is understood that the pilgrimage starts at one point and from there you come to visit the Tomb of St. James.
  • You must collect the stamps on the “Credencial del Peregrino” from the places you pass through to certify that you have been there. Stamps from churches, hostels, monasteries, cathedrals and all places related to the Way are preferred, but if not they can also be stamped in other institutions: town halls, cafés, etc. You have to stamp the Credencial twice a day at least on the last 100 km (for pilgrims on foot or on horseback) or on the last 200 km (for cyclists pilgrims).
You can do the Way in stages, provided they are in chronological and geographical order. However, if you only do the minimum required distance (last 100 or 200 km), you must always get your Credencial stamped at the start and end of each stage, including the corresponding date, to show that the pilgrim has resumed the Way in the same place where they last stopped (i.e. you should always get the stamp at the starting point even though you have already stamped the card in the same place at the end of the previous stage).


--------------------------------------------
Oh my goodness, thank you so much!! That's very helpful!! I did not know that about how often to get stamped and those are great ideas for how to collect my thoughts and intentions! I so appreciate your help!
Robin
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Maybe a kind moderator will merge for you... The day in Santiago to get the Compostella is maybe a wee exaggeration. The queue can get a bit long in high season. The trick is to arrive at the start of the day, if you want the paperwork. It's better now the office is in a larger and more organized building.
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
I suppose it depends on your motivation. If you want to walk, finishing in Santiago, and getting a Compostella, then the Ingles could work for you. Not mountains, but in my opinion a lot nicer than Sarria to Santiago, with enough accommodation and easy to get to. If you simply go to Santiago and attend Mass then you are still a pilgrim, just not a walking one. You can then choose a walk on any section of the Camino you fancy. Personally I suggest the Aubrac in France. Whatever you do, enjoy!
Wonderful! That's good to know, thank you so much!
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Clearly everyone has their own expectations and time constraints. You are looking to pack in a considerable amount into a short period of time - your planned visits to four excellent destinations coupled with a camino of any kind will be rather rushed, to say the least.

The Camino Ingles is, at least, an entire route. You could rush it in four days (but you might as well stay home, go to the gym and order in tortilla), enjoy it in five or be a little more Spanish and take six. When you get to Santiago, if you don’t stay a full day more you will miss a great deal.

Do less, experience more.
 

Lexicos

Jim K
Camino(s) past & future
French Way 2017. Lisbon to Santiago September 2019. Planning for Frances again Sept 2020
A great pity you’re days for it are limited Robyn. I would do the last 100k of the Frances. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it and go back to do the lot.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Oh my goodness, thank you so much!! That's very helpful!! I did not know that about how often to get stamped and those are great ideas for how to collect my thoughts and intentions! I so appreciate your help!
Robin
You are welcome, Robin.

Also, keep in mind that pilgrims travelling for sport or cultural reasons can obtain a non-religious version of the Compostela, called Certificate of Welcome, also from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago (Rúa Carretas 33). The same rule of 100km for walkers, and the collection of sellos, apply for this certificate.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
My wife and I waited 4 hours for our Compostella in September 2019. I enjoyed the wait as much as the walk. Take the time and value every part and every hour. It’ll never come back in the same way.
Jill and I were prepared to wait for quite a while last October, but it turned out to only be 30 minutes. That was a happy surprise. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
Maybe a kind moderator will merge for you... The day in Santiago to get the Compostella is maybe a wee exaggeration. The queue can get a bit long in high season. The trick is to arrive at the start of the day, if you want the paperwork. It's better now the office is in a larger and more organized building.
Oh, now this is all appearing on one page, awesome! Ok, we will hope to arrive early...I need to get mass times!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
A great pity you’re days for it are limited Robyn. I would do the last 100k of the Frances. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it and go back to do the lot.
Yes, I'm sad about that too but we work full time and have a Giant Schnoodle dog who needs a live in babysitter...gets expensive! I do hope to get back to finish!! Even if it takes us two more trips!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
My wife and I waited 4 hours for our Compostella in September 2019. I enjoyed the wait as much as the walk. Take the time and value every part and every hour. It’ll never come back in the same way.
Thank you! I will savor every moment! In this world today, we never know when anything will come our way again!
 

terryvinet

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances '13, VDLP '16, Salamanca to Santiago/Finesterra/Muxia '17, Madrid/San Salvador '19.
Thank you for the map! Is that a 100 km journey? And what do you like about it?
Yes it is 105 km's. I liked it because it was;
a) - not too crowded, but enough company
b) - Nice and green!
c) - Interesting villages and albergues along the way.
d) - Hilly region with nice views.

Start off in Orense by going to the hot springs!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
Yes it is 105 km's. I liked it because it was;
a) - not too crowded, but enough company
b) - Nice and green!
c) - Interesting villages and albergues along the way.
d) - Hilly region with nice views.

Start off in Orense by going to the hot springs!
Oh my gosh, that sounds perfect!! Thank you so much!!
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Fatima, Porto, Santiago, Grenada and Valencia + a five day walk in 2.5 weeks is quite a whirlwind tour, so much fun!

I think I would look at the logistics and work out where is easy to travel to, especially if a connection doesn’t work out as planned. Depending on where you fly into one of the routes might make a lot more sense. Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Tui is probably a lot easier than Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Sarria for example.

I don’t think you’ll have time I bet you could plan a fun trip driving and walking sections of the camino (with taxi journeys back to the car). SJPDP to Roncesvalles is a special trip IMHO, not because of the mountains ( but they are nice) but because of the people walking, the sense of excitement and the history. The cities along the way are interesting but if all you do is drop into a couple of cathedrals you’ll have done more than many pilgrims :) . I suspect Cruz de Ferro is an emotional stop even if you’ve driven there. You can walk Sarria (or Tui) to Santiago in a lot less than 5 days if you’re fit and used to walking. As others have said you need to think about why you are walking and if the express options make sense for you.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Hello, and welcome to the forum!
I'm wondering if we are missing out on the best parts of the walk
No. The best parts are the parts that you walk.
I'm exploring, to see what we may or may not be missing if we do the last 100 km to Santiago vs another 5 day route that would not have us ending in Santiago.
This is an unavoidable conundrum. You will miss everything else in the world. The walk from Sarria to Santiago is very picturesque, as are any of the walks in Galicia.
I think I would look at the logistics and work out where is easy to travel to
I agree with this. If you have only 2.5 weeks, and you want to visit Fatima, Porto, Santiago, Valencia and Grenada, and spend 5 days walking, you don't have time to be cherry-picking scenic sections on various other routes. I suggest that you keep things simple and walk from Tui or from Sarria.
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
Hello, and welcome to the forum!

No. The best parts are the parts that you walk.

This is an unavoidable conundrum. You will miss everything else in the world. The walk from Sarria to Santiago is very picturesque, as are any of the walks in Galicia.

I agree with this. If you have only 2.5 weeks, and you want to visit Fatima, Porto, Santiago, Valencia and Grenada, and spend 5 days walking, you don't have time to be cherry-picking scenic sections on various other routes. I suggest that you keep things simple and walk from Tui or from Sarria.
Ok, thank you so much!! This is very helpful! Yes, we just looked and we'd have to fly from Porto to Sarria. I do want to see Northern Spain so we may be able to work it out! One of my challenges will be figuring out my transportation within Spain...I want to see Santander as my daughter lived there. We backpacked Europe once for a month and ended up hiring a travel agent to book the trains as we never could figure out how to book it online!
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
Fatima, Porto, Santiago, Grenada and Valencia + a five day walk in 2.5 weeks is quite a whirlwind tour, so much fun!

I think I would look at the logistics and work out where is easy to travel to, especially if a connection doesn’t work out as planned. Depending on where you fly into one of the routes might make a lot more sense. Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Tui is probably a lot easier than Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Sarria for example.

I don’t think you’ll have time I bet you could plan a fun trip driving and walking sections of the camino (with taxi journeys back to the car). SJPDP to Roncesvalles is a special trip IMHO, not because of the mountains ( but they are nice) but because of the people walking, the sense of excitement and the history. The cities along the way are interesting but if all you do is drop into a couple of cathedrals you’ll have done more than many pilgrims :) . I suspect Cruz de Ferro is an emotional stop even if you’ve driven there. You can walk Sarria (or Tui) to Santiago in a lot less than 5 days if you’re fit and used to walking. As others have said you need to think about why you are walking and if the express options make sense for you.
That's good to know we can do it in less than 5 days! Yes, we are fit and walk up and down steep hills in NC every day walking our dog and hike in the mountains often. Can you tell me what these initials are abbreviating? "SJPDP to Roncesvalles is a special trip IMHO" Thank you!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
SJPDP or SJPP is San Jean Pied de Port, a popular starting point on the French side of the Pyrennees. IMHO is "in my humble opinion.".

I'm not sure what "a lot less than 5 days" would mean. Surely not less than 4 days for most pilgrims.

Now you are adding another city to your tour - Santander. It all sounds too hectic to me! o_O Just a reminder - you don't need to "do it all."
 
Camino(s) past & future
None in the past. Planning for 2021 May or June God willing!
SJPDP or SJPP is San Jean Pied de Port, a popular starting point on the French side of the Pyrennees. IMHO is "in my humble opinion.".

I'm not sure what "a lot less than 5 days" would mean. Surely not less than 4 days for most pilgrims.

Now you are adding another city to your tour - Santander. It all sounds too hectic to me! o_O Just a reminder - you don't need to "do it all."
Ok, thank you! Yes, you're probably right! I should not be planning this trip, lol!! We once backpacked 13 cities in 9 countries in 30 days and that was too much so it should be a red flag to me that I overplan!! I will cut out Santander:)
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi @robindysard
Like most of us travelling to Europe ... our wish list sometimes gets out of control.
With your limited time 2.5wks / I would like to add a few comments to the great feedback you’ve received.

My first camino from Porto to Santiago was at the end of a trip around spain to see some of the places I’d always dreamt of. There was so much time involved getting to and from each destination - ‘so wearying’ - In hindsight I’ve realised that to choose a route (section of the camino) Which is nearer these places or you can walk through and ‘really’ get to see it / would have been the best way to attack it ... unless you have months ..
All the places you’ve mentioned are on one or other route in spain.
Have a browse through gronze.com (see link) as it will give maps of route, accommodation, etc etc

I’d suggest to make the most of your time : to travel to Portugal if a priority is Porto and Fatima.
Then: 1 ( From Porto you’d have time to walk to Santiago )

Or if you only want 5 days walking
Then 2.. after visiting Porto
Get a train or transport to Ourense. You said you liked hills etc. and walk to Santiago - then see what time is ‘up your sleeve ‘. You may be happy with a walk to Finisterra and/or Muxia after that., which could be the icing on the cake for that trip.

There is no airport at Sarria so if you wanted to start from there on the Camino Francés... time to get there from Porto would be quite a lot (see link below )
Still you’d have time available for that ..
A good source of finding connections ., accommodation etc is this little link. For anywhere in the world !!!
(https://www.rome2rio.com/

El Camino in May or September of 2021. It will be our first time and we also plan to visit Fatima and Porto in Portugal and after seeing Santiago, visiting Grenada and Valencia (we've only been to Sevilla and Barcelona and never Portugal). We really can't be gone more than 2.5 weeks and want to end the walk in Santiago.
Why do you say we need another day in Santiago to get our Compostela
Prior to coronavirus (last year) the numbers arriving in Santiago were creating a huge queue and a system was put in place whereby you received a number at the pilgrims office and you could return closer to your number to save a wait. - however in the earlier stages of this system., there was a limit to how many Compostelas could be processed by the staff and volunteers there and some people had numbers which meant they had to come back next day - if they wanted a Compostela. This may change and since the virus a process of drop off and have certificate mailed happened too. So not sure you’d miss out ... depends how far down the number line you are.

I would suggest starting in Orense, and walking the Sanabres
I think this is a good idea as it’s closer by public transport to Porto. But not as ‘pilgrim’ populated - if you like lots of people. Btw Sarria to SdC has a lot of beauty and is not all flat !!

I do hope to get back to finish!! Even if it takes us two more trips!
I read in this quote from your msg that you may come back ! I’d add Granada and Valencia onto one of the less travelled caminos. Even if you only have time for a section. Just to see the difference.. that is fit in the places you mention that is still on your bucket list to visit on your next trip to spain.

Now you are adding another city to your tour - Santander. It all sounds too hectic to me! o_O Just a reminder - you don't need to "do it all."
Yes .. the wish list grows for all of us because Spain has so many great destinations. All worth visiting.
You can walk through Santander on the first half of the Camino Del Norte


So many choices -
No matter what combination you choose - it will be a great trip I can guarantee..

Would love to get a report one day after you’ve made your decision

Buen camino
Annie
 
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Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
The good news is that whichever route you take, it will be a great experience. The CP is flatter and has more road walking but passes through some bigger and prettier towns. The CF is quite hilly and has the best facilities and accommodation options and this is the route I take groups of first timers on. Buen Camino!
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016;CP (Central) Porto-SdC 2017;CP (Coastal) Porto-SdC 2018;CF Leon-SdC 2019
My vote would be Camino Portuguese, from Pontevedra to Santiago, via Variante Espiritual. It includes what I have heard is the prettiest 10km stretch on any Camino (Route of Rock and Water, which I have walked 3 times and find enchanting), a very long climb into the hills, the beautiful yet strange touristic town of Combarro which has a decidedly medieval feel, the monastery of Armenteira which holds a pilgrim mass, a walk along the beach at Vilanova de Arousa (if the weather is good you can enjoy a quick dip) and a boat ride. I don't think it meets the 100km criteria for a Compostela, if that is something you are interested in but it's a wonderful path.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte Sept 2013
Camino del Norte Sept 2014
Camino del Norte 2015,16,17,18
I can only comment on the Norte as I have done this route hurrah! You could start at Ribadeo where El Norte goes inland. I think it was about a week's walking from there. You can stop at the lovely Monastery on the route. Name escapes me now but I wonder how the brothers are keeping? You join el Frances just before getting into Santiago near the Airport . Burn Camino
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
The correct answer depends on a lot of things: your motivation for walking, whether or not you want to get a Compostela, how far you can comfortably walk in a day, etc.

If it were me, and I was planning on seeing Fatima and Porto before the walk and Valencia afterwards, I would walk from Valença in Portugal, just across the bridge from Tui. It is quite convenient to get to from Porto. You get a smidgen of Portugal and then walk through a number of nice Spanish villages and towns, including Padron, just before Santiago, which is closely associated with the legend (or history) of Saint James, the source of the pilgrimage, as well as the famous pimientos de Padron. And you qualify for a Compostela at the end.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
You might also consider the Sanabre from Ourense part of the VDLA. It is easy to get to, one hour by train. Beautiful, historic and scenic. Great accommodations . This will not be a slow saunter for five days but with your travel schedule you sound energetic. Enjoy your planning but don't overplan.
 

daesdaemar

Camino-holic
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles - twice
If you want to do a "complete" Camino then the Camino Ingles is the way to go. Five days of walking is very do-able.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
You have not asked about dates...but I'd suggest you choose early May or late September for your walk. Not so hot, less crowded.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
You might also consider the Sanabre from Ourense part of the VDLA. It is easy to get to, one hour by train. Beautiful, historic and scenic. Great accommodations . This will not be a slow saunter for five days but with your travel schedule you sound energetic.
Or from Monforte on the Invierno. It is a bit more arduous and quiet than the other options, but it is an amazing walk. Like Ourense, there is a direct train connection to Santiago, so you can fly in there.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
That's good to know we can do it in less than 5 days! Yes, we are fit and walk up and down steep hills in NC every day walking our dog and hike in the mountains often. Can you tell me what these initials are abbreviating? "SJPDP to Roncesvalles is a special trip IMHO" Thank you!
Others have explained the abbreviations - sorry!

Walking for 5 days or less really depends on how you feel about the distances to be covered. 100 km is 60 miles give or take. For some forum members 20 mile days are no problem, they naturally walk quickly and will arrive at their destination at the same time as others who are doing a 12 mile day. For most of us 20 miles a day would take us from dawn to dusk and we would be too stiff to walk the next day (I think you'll know if you fit this category)! 15 miles a day is probably quite comfortable if you're a regular hiker and regularly walk those kinds of distances. Big generalisation but 12 miles a day seems to be what most people do and feel comfortable with and is a relaxed kind of distance.

Given you're so tight on time 4 days might be an option. If you're walking from Sarria, lots of people do a short day 5, they get up early and then walk into Santiago in time for the service, get their certificate and see a bit of the city.

Good luck with your planning!
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016;CP (Central) Porto-SdC 2017;CP (Coastal) Porto-SdC 2018;CF Leon-SdC 2019
Sounds great! What guidebook do you recommend?
Hey, I just used John Brierley's guidebook - his newer one includes the VE :) let me know if you have any questions!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Hi, my husband and I are planning to walk the El Camino in May or September of 2021. It will be our first time and we also plan to visit Fatima and Porto in Portugal and after seeing Santiago, visiting Grenada and Valencia (we've only been to Sevilla and Barcelona and never Portugal). We really can't be gone more than 2.5 weeks and want to end the walk in Santiago. I've been told if we can only do 5 days and we want do to a pilgrimage ending in Santiago to get our Compostela, most people start in either Tui (on the Portugués) or in Sarria (following the Francés). I've heard these are both flat and not as picturesque as other routes (we love the mountains) but popular routes. I'm trying to decide so I can get the right guide books and start studying. I'm wondering if we are missing out on the best parts of the walk and should just settle for attending mass in the Cathedral and choosing a different more picturesque route, or if starting at either of these locations and ending in Santiago is the way to go? I'm new to this forum so also posting this in the Camino Portugués which may not be necessary but I don't know who will see this post!
Hi there. I have done both and the Portugues starting in Tui is by far the more pleasant (Loved Tui). It can be done in 5 days but this involves doing the Tui - O Porino - Redondela stages (33km in total) in one go. Our group found it eminently doable with just a fierce 5km stretch between points 25 and 30 km. The added bonus is that you do not have to stay in O Porino which is industrial and without any charm whatsoever as compared to Redondela which is gorgeous. Thereafter the route - Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis - Padron - Santiago - is very forgiving and all of the stopping places have charming places to visit and eat/drink in. Amusingly enough the last stage is very badly signposted. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Hi Robindysard,
You've collected some good suggestions here. I'll just throw in another: look at Vigo-Redondela-Pontevedra-Caldas de Reis-Padron-Santiago. My wife and I walked this in 2018 and did another variation of this trip in 2019, when we added the Spritual Variant (Pontevedra-Combarro-Armenteira-Vilanova de Arousa-Padron). You can see her blog of both trips at https://twoclinestraveling.wordpress.com
But in any case, the key points you might want to consider are:
1) You can take a train from Porto to Vigo. Just download the Portuguese rail app and book online. Easy as pie.
2) The Vigo to Santiago route keeps you just within the 100 km rule for earning your Compostela. The Pilgrim's Office has this on their list of approved routes.
3) The route is mostly flat and easy walking. It's possible to do in 5 days if the weather cooperates. I'd actually recommend taking more time, if possible, and including the Spritual Variant, but that's another issue.
4) The scenery is mostly very nice, particularly from Vigo to Redondela, which takes you through the mountains along the Vigo estuary (but not too strenuous climbing though). Pontevedra and Padron are also lovely towns to visit with lots of sites related to St. James.
Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2012), Camino Norte (Fall 2015)
Fatima, Porto, Santiago, Grenada and Valencia + a five day walk in 2.5 weeks is quite a whirlwind tour, so much fun!

I think I would look at the logistics and work out where is easy to travel to, especially if a connection doesn’t work out as planned. Depending on where you fly into one of the routes might make a lot more sense. Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Tui is probably a lot easier than Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Sarria for example.

I don’t think you’ll have time I bet you could plan a fun trip driving and walking sections of the camino (with taxi journeys back to the car). SJPDP to Roncesvalles is a special trip IMHO, not because of the mountains ( but they are nice) but because of the people walking, the sense of excitement and the history. The cities along the way are interesting but if all you do is drop into a couple of cathedrals you’ll have done more than many pilgrims :) . I suspect Cruz de Ferro is an emotional stop even if you’ve driven there. You can walk Sarria (or Tui) to Santiago in a lot less than 5 days if you’re fit and used to walking. As others have said you need to think about why you are walking and if the express options make sense for you.
This my opinion. Start in St. Jean and walk for 5 days. You will be walking with other people who are just starting, the excitement, the people, the newness of the pilgrim meals, the albergues, etc. We have done three Caminos (Francis, Portugal and Via Francigena in Italy), and I remember the start of each the most. When we did the Francis route, we walk for five days and our first rest day was in Estella. When we started walking again, we looked for all the people who we started with but they were gone, and we were looking at all these new faces - it felt strange for a couple hours. The people we still keep in touch with seem to be people we met the first or second day. That’s my opinion.
Plus, if you can comeback in a year or two, you can take a bus to Estrella and carry on from where you left off.
 

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