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Safety concerns: First time walking Camino Portuguese as a female traveller

Goldenfrapucino

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Time of past OR future Camino
future-Camino Portuguese ( first time)
Hello, I am a 20-year-old female from the Czech Republic and I will be starting this summer 2024 my first Camino accompanied by my mother.
I talked with her about my concerns regarding our safety on the trail, but she of course told me that I shouldn't be concerned that much about it and that it would be ok.
I rather be overly paranoid than assaulted etc... I am turning here for some advice from people who have already successfully done this camino. Would you have some tips and safety measures for your fellow pilgrim?
Thank you.😊👋
 
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Oh, I read some other people also saying something like that. Thank you.
I forgot to mention that I mostly asking about the Camino Portuguese, because it will be our first we will be walking this summer. Sorry.😅
 
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Oh, I read some other people also saying something like that. Thank you.
I forgot to mention that I mostly asking about the Camino Portuguese, because it will be our first we will be walking this summer. Sorry.😅
You also won't be walking alone so another safety measure.
 
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I rather be overly paranoid than assaulted etc
Welcome to the forum, @Goldenfrapucino. I completely understand your sentiment, but if you think about it, being overly paranoid isn’t going to prevent you from being assaulted. It’s just going to put a fear in you that will dampen and interfere with the joy of being on the camino. Being alert and relying on your instincts is your best defense. As @J Willhaus has pointed out, we get reports every year of flashers, but incidents of physical assault are extremely rare.

I’ve been walking caminos for more than 20 years and have been flashed more than a half dozen times. It is disgusting, but the important thing is not to panic, keep on walking with purpose, and report report report.

I’m not saying this to freak you out, @Goldenfrapucino, but if you put this all in the perspective that you are walking in a very safe place, I hope you can push the “paranoia” aside and revel in the wonderful opportunity you have to walk a camino with your mother!
 
@peregrina2000 - thank you, Laurie; i was going to say exactly the same thing but in "my" typical fashion (i.e. being overly paranoid does not preclude you from being assaulted)

@Goldenfrapucino. Now, thats said I REALLY do NOT want you to be scared! I think problem is that people forget that something unpleasant can happen to you absolutely ANYWHERE in the world and that includes your own neighborhood. I wholeheartedly agree with everything the ladies said in the posts above - and they would definitely know; they have BEEN THERE for a while (and I am not referring to anyone's age here - disclaimer! 😇)
Its ok to be slightly nervous, I believe each and every one of us was and to some extend is nervous any time we start any new 'adventure' (heck if I decided to travel to Prague - which is on my bucket list... walk across Karlův Most... if anything) I'd be nervous... and you might tell me not to be , right?

Camino is very safe. There are many people like you that walk with the same purpose - you will meet and make many wonderful friends.... No worries, be happies! 😍

Good luck and Buen Camino!

P.S. @MilenaS - out of curiosity - that drunken pilgrim, was he "on the way" so to speak or was it in or near albergue? (NO ITWAS NOT ME!!!!!! 🙃)
 
@peregrina2000 - thank you, Laurie; i was going to say exactly the same thing but in "my" typical fashion (i.e. being overly paranoid does not preclude you from being assaulted)

@Goldenfrapucino. Now, thats said I REALLY do NOT want you to be scared! I think problem is that people forget that something unpleasant can happen to you absolutely ANYWHERE in the world and that includes your own neighborhood. I wholeheartedly agree with everything the ladies said in the posts above - and they would definitely know; they have BEEN THERE for a while (and I am not referring to anyone's age here - disclaimer! 😇)
Its ok to be slightly nervous, I believe each and every one of us was and to some extend is nervous any time we start any new 'adventure' (heck if I decided to travel to Prague - which is on my bucket list... walk across Karlův Most... if anything) I'd be nervous... and you might tell me not to be , right?

Camino is very safe. There are many people like you that walk with the same purpose - you will meet and make many wonderful friends.... No worries, be happies! 😍

Good luck and Buen Camino!

P.S. @MilenaS - out of curiosity - that drunken pilgrim, was he "on the way" so to speak or was it in or near albergue? (NO ITWAS NOT ME!!!!!! 🙃)
The pilgrim started being unpleasant at the café in "town" (Villares de Orbigo). He started drinking really early (I arrived early since we had done a moon shine walk that night) and was drunk before dinnertime. Nothing directly towards me, but just that unpleasant feeling when you know somebody is possibly on the way to being unhinged, loud and obnoxious. When it came time to closing the albergue the hospitalero had to go and get him from the bar. And he was loud, woke us all up, crashing into things etc. He also snored like a tornado. They could hear him in the hospitalero part of the albergue 😂

EDIT: I see my "moon shine" walk can be misunderstood 😂 (sorry @CWBuff) I ment to say that we started walking under a lunar eclipse and I was therefor finished walking early...
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
well... definitely not me. I just walked through VdO without causing problems.... although I am partial to moonshine walks and snoring 🤣

I agree - it is a shame when people just simply cannot behave... and for crying out loud it REALLY DOES NOT TAKE MUCH!!!!
 
well... definitely not me. I just walked through VdO without causing problems.... although I am partial to moonshine walks and snoring 🤣

I agree - it is a shame when people just simply cannot behave... and for crying out loud it REALLY DOES NOT TAKE MUCH!!!!

Hahaha, had to clarify in my post - the moon shine was in my case a walk under the lunar eclipse that had us walking from 4 in the morning 🌑🌕🌝🌚
 
@Goldenfrapucino Just to add to what has already been said, during our recent camino on the CF I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of women peregrinos (both young and not so young) we met who were walking alone. All of them were confident about their safety and had no issues about walking alone even in the dark very early in the morning, as well as meeting and making friends with strangers. They were a mixed group too (mostly Caucasians but many Asians as well). Buen Camino!
 
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@Goldenfrapucino , I met one of your fellow countrywoman on my first Camino, she has walked numerous camino's alone, ( including the Portuguese) and now works as a camino guide helping others. One of the first things that she said when asked this question by another woman about how she felt on camino was that she felt safer than at home.

To increase your feeling of security, you may wish to consider downloading this app for the Spanish part of your journey:


It can be used for any situation that you may need the police, not just for emergency assistance, and the operators speak English.

Bom caminho!
 
Hello, I am a 20-year-old female from the Czech Republic and I will be starting this summer 2024 my first Camino accompanied by my mother.
I talked with her about my concerns regarding our safety on the trail, but she of course told me that I shouldn't be concerned that much about it and that it would be ok.
I rather be overly paranoid than assaulted etc... I am turning here for some advice from people who have already successfully done this camino. Would you have some tips and safety measures for your fellow pilgrim?
Thank you.😊👋
I was on the Camino Portugues when our group heard a siren going off. It turns out a woman was being followed and flashed by a man. She had a personal safety alarm with her and used it. That’s not a bad ideal. You never know when a situation like that can escalate, and she looked pretty shaken up. I would say just be prepared with something like this. I always carry a whistle.
Buen camino :)
 
I walked the Portuguese Camino last September by myself. There were many solo, or pairs of women walking. I had no issues what so ever. Use normal safety measures as you would anywhere.
 
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Hello, I am a 20-year-old female from the Czech Republic and I will be starting this summer 2024 my first Camino accompanied by my mother.
I talked with her about my concerns regarding our safety on the trail, but she of course told me that I shouldn't be concerned that much about it and that it would be ok.
I rather be overly paranoid than assaulted etc... I am turning here for some advice from people who have already successfully done this camino. Would you have some tips and safety measures for your fellow pilgrim?
Thank you.😊👋
I am a 75 year old female and I walked solo . I had no problems. And àlso you will meet many other pilgrims along the way . Buen Camino.
 
The pilgrim started being unpleasant at the café in "town" (Villares de Orbigo). He started drinking really early (I arrived early since we had done a moon shine walk that night) and was drunk before dinnertime. Nothing directly towards me, but just that unpleasant feeling when you know somebody is possibly on the way to being unhinged, loud and obnoxious. When it came time to closing the albergue the hospitalero had to go and get him from the bar. And he was loud, woke us all up, crashing into things etc. He also snored like a tornado. They could hear him in the hospitalero part of the albergue
I had a similar experience in 2019. This pilgrim seemed very friendly, and bought drinks for several pilgrims at the albergue in the afternoon. At first I thought that he was being nice and generous, then I realized that he wanted drinking buddies. I don't know how much he ended up drinking (I think that there was weed involved too), but he came lumbering into the dorm room after everyone else was already in bed. He snored, farted, and tossed around in bed. Plus he must have gotten up at least 5 times to use the toilet, and I don't think that he closed the doors to the dorm or the bathroom, because I could hear everything. On one trip back to his bed he knocked over someone's metal water bottle and fell on a woman's bed. Around 5:00 am he made another trip to the bathroom, which woke me and a couple of others up, including the woman he had fallen on and her husband. We decided that we should just get an early start. I'm glad that I did, because I decided to walk 37 km to put distance between us.
 
Hello, I am a 20-year-old female from the Czech Republic and I will be starting this summer 2024 my first Camino accompanied by my mother.
I talked with her about my concerns regarding our safety on the trail, but she of course told me that I shouldn't be concerned that much about it and that it would be ok.
I rather be overly paranoid than assaulted etc... I am turning here for some advice from people who have already successfully done this camino. Would you have some tips and safety measures for your fellow pilgrim?
Thank you.😊👋
I walked the Portuguese Central route in late September / early October 2019, as @TashH mentioned, the route from Porto is quite busy with pilgrims. It was rare for me not to be in sight of at least one other, and often, I would see other pilgrims a few hundred metres in front of, or behind me for hours at a time. Certainly within shouting distance.

On the road and at hostels, I spoke to many women pilgrims, some of whom had done many Caminos solo and one who had cycled on her own from Holland to Santiago the previous year. None had experienced any problems or ever felt unsafe.
Bom Camino
 
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Hello! My wife and I walked the camino in 2022, and we are living in the Czech Republic right now, in Liberec, for about another year. If you would like to talk at more length about walking the Camino, we would be happy to connect with you, either in person or online. If you would like to meet, just send me a PM.
Greg & Mary Ann
 
Hello, I am a 20-year-old female from the Czech Republic and I will be starting this summer 2024 my first Camino accompanied by my mother.
I talked with her about my concerns regarding our safety on the trail, but she of course told me that I shouldn't be concerned that much about it and that it would be ok.
I rather be overly paranoid than assaulted etc... I am turning here for some advice from people who have already successfully done this camino. Would you have some tips and safety measures for your fellow pilgrim?
Thank you.😊👋
I'm a 63 year old woman who walked the full Portuguese Camino from Lisbon in 2022. I walked single, on my own and never had any problems. It's just like any other form of travel; be aware, keep your wits about you and be prepared. Make sure you know how to call for help on your phone. I also had a whistle with me to alert others. I never used either!
 
Hi,
I am walking the CP Camino now. A few days ago I was followed by a man on a bike in a secluded area (board walk from Povoa De Verzim) towards Esposende. I met him first behind the wind mill on the board walk, there are some houses around. I have done this Camino twice before, last time last April, solo- no problem, quite many people around. This time I am solo again but not many pilgrims around. Actually that day and the following day I didn’t see any pilgrims. Anyway this guy on a bike was going opposite direction. When I was passing by him I had a feeling I will see him again. I looked behind my back and he kept cycling the opposite direction. I kept walking and forgot about him. It was beautiful sunny day and despite of walking alone (now between plantations and football stadium and golf course) I didn’t feel unsafe until..I kept walking and when I came to the point I absolutely heard and seen nobody either in the plantation fields or the golf course I decided to go to the toilet just beside the board walk as I thought there is no one around. The moment I wanted to come out of the board Path I turned my head to the right and the guy on the bike was literally beside me. I didn’t hear him at all. He didn’t let me know he was cycling behind me, I realised later on when I reflected on this situation that he must have waited until I come to this place and on purpose he cycled slowly and was very quiet. He started asking questions about me. I kept waking and he kept sticking with me. I asked him a few times to leave so that I can walk alone. He ignored it. When I raised my voice he then said “ok ok” and went oh the path to sit down. I kept walking and just heard “beautiful woman”. In that moment I grabbed my phone to check emergency number. As I turned my head he was again beside me. I asked him three times if he was following me. He pretended he didn’t understand. I showed him my phone and I said if you don’t leave immediately I will call police. In that moment he left. Later on when I came of the board walk (approx 20 min or so later) I decided to turn left towards Apulia (the coastal way). I saw a couple with a dog. Fortunately the man had a good English. I told them what happened and I showed them a photo of that man I took from his back. They said they know him. He is Romanian, and they told me his name. He lives in that area. They said that place is very dangerous to walk alone and In dark many bad things happen there. Unfortunately it is part of the Camino and I didn’t expect to walk completely alone without any other pilgrims around. I talked to the hotel receptionist In Esposende about this situation and she told me there were some reports in recent months about these areas in regards to solo women being harassed. I sent email to local police with the man’s photo plus one post I found here about woman being almost raped by a man on a bike in the same location 8 years ago (it was May in her case so it should have been busy with pilgrims but I think that time this route wasn’t as popular as it is now and if I remember correctly the board walk wasn’t there beside the football course as it is now). I haven’t heard back from the police yet. I asked about any incidents in other hotels and a man at the reception in Viana do Castello said the same about some incidents that happened after Esposende in the forests…only then i did more research and found this forurm, so hopefully this situation can help others to avoid walking alone in that area.
 
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Hello, I am a 20-year-old female from the Czech Republic and I will be starting this summer 2024 my first Camino accompanied by my mother.
I talked with her about my concerns regarding our safety on the trail, but she of course told me that I shouldn't be concerned that much about it and that it would be ok.
I rather be overly paranoid than assaulted etc... I am turning here for some advice from people who have already successfully done this camino. Would you have some tips and safety measures for your fellow pilgrim?
Thank you.😊👋
Hi,
I am walking the CP Camino now. A few days ago I was followed by a man on a bike in a secluded area (board walk from Povoa De Verzim) towards Esposende. I met him first behind the wind mill on the board walk, there are some houses around. I have done this Camino twice before, last time last April, solo- no problem, quite many people around. This time I am solo again but not many pilgrims around. Actually that day and the following day I didn’t see any pilgrims. Anyway this guy on a bike was going opposite direction. When I was passing by him I had a feeling I will see him again. I looked behind my back and he kept cycling the opposite direction. I kept walking and forgot about him. It was beautiful sunny day and despite of walking alone (now between plantations and football stadium and golf course) I didn’t feel unsafe until..I kept walking and when I came to the point I absolutely heard and seen nobody either in the plantation fields or the golf course I decided to go to the toilet just beside the board walk as I thought there is no one around. The moment I wanted to come out of the board Path I turned my head to the right and the guy on the bike was literally beside me. I didn’t hear him at all. He didn’t let me know he was cycling behind me, I realised later on when I reflected on this situation that he must have waited until I come to this place and on purpose he cycled slowly and was very quiet. He started asking questions about me. I kept waking and he kept sticking with me. I asked him a few times to leave so that I can walk alone. He ignored it. When I raised my voice he then said “ok ok” and went oh the path to sit down. I kept walking and just heard “beautiful woman”. In that moment I grabbed my phone to check emergency number. As I turned my head he was again beside me. I asked him three times if he was following me. He pretended he didn’t understand. I showed him my phone and I said if you don’t leave immediately I will call police. In that moment he left. Later on when I came of the board walk (approx 20 min or so later) I decided to turn left towards Apulia (the coastal way). I saw a couple with a dog. Fortunately the man had a good English. I told them what happened and I showed them a photo of that man I took from his back. They said they know him. He is Romanian, and they told me his name. He lives in that area. They said that place is very dangerous to walk alone and In dark many bad things happen there. Unfortunately it is part of the Camino and I didn’t expect to walk completely alone without any other pilgrims around. I talked to the hotel receptionist In Esposende about this situation and she told me there were some reports in recent months about these areas in regards to solo women being harassed. I sent email to local police with the man’s photo plus one post I found here about woman being almost raped by a man on a bike in the same location 8 years ago (it was May in her case so it should have been busy with pilgrims but I think that time this route wasn’t as popular as it is now and if I remember correctly the board walk wasn’t there beside the football course as it is now). I haven’t heard back from the police yet. I asked about any incidents in other hotels and a man at the reception in Viana do Castello said the same about some incidents that happened after Esposende in the forests…only then i did more research and found this forurm, so hopefully this situation can help others to avoid walking alone in that area.
OMG, Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world one of the reasons I (single, older lady) moved here. I am so surprised that you’ve been hassled like this—but maybe the fact that this fellow is not Portuguese….? There are not so many pilgrims on the coastal route at this time of year. I live in Povoa De Varzim and see many of them when I’m out walking my dog. I give small shell charms to as many as I can. I think I’ll buy a bunch of whistles and give those to the single lady walkers that I see, along with a warning.
 
You will be accompanied by your mother. She is not worried. ..I travelled and walked a lot on my own. My mother was always worried. I had to explain how safe it is and gave her assurance. Unlike some other mothers who prohibit such an adventure, she understood and let me go.
Now, I am planning another solo trip in a country in central America. I have been advised not to go out after dark on my own, keep belongings with me all the time, there are lots of petty crimes and con men around etc etc... Now I appreciate how safe I felt on camino Portuguese. And people were honest. I sometimes had to start when the sun was not out yet in the morning where nobody else were around. Yet, I felt safe. Most of the days, there were constant flow of pilgrims as I stepped out my accom. That was Sep- Oct. It was rather difficult to be away from anybody...if I needed to hide in the bush!
 
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Hello! My wife and I walked the camino in 2022, and we are living in the Czech Republic right now, in Liberec, for about another year. If you would like to talk at more length about walking the Camino, we would be happy to connect with you, either in person or online. If you would like to meet, just send me a PM.
Greg & Mary Ann
Hi. Thank you very much for being willing to meet together. I will talk to my mother about it, as I am currently studying in Holland and have no idea when I will be returning to the Czech Republic. I will talk to her about it together and let you know if we are interested in meeting up. I would definitely get back to you though. I am so happy that there are so many nice people on the forum, even willing to help like this. Thank you.
 

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I also posted this in my live, but I want to warn others. This happened our way to Tui today, just outside of Tuído. We had just taken a short break, and my daughter suddenly noticed a walking...

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