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Solo travel - Lisbon to Porto

Looking4suggestions

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hello - I am a single woman in her late 50s hoping to walk (solo) from Lisbon to Porto and meet with friends to continue on to Santiago. I have been advised that the Lisbon-Porto section is not the safest for a single traveller. I've been told there are thefts and exhibitionists along the way. I was cautioned against walking alone. I am not planning to walk until next year (2022), but I am starting my plans. Can anyone advise? I am an experienced traveller.
 
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Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Past OR future Camino
Too many to count!
Hello @Looking4suggestions. Welcome to the forum! There have been issues that have occurred, especially the stage out of Lisbon after you leave the river, where it is a very isolated area. Yet for most there are none. I would suggest you join the Camigas Facebook page, which is a buddy system for single women on the Camino. I can't help you with specifics, as I always walk with my spouse. But I have heard extremely good things about this group and there is a wealth of information for single women there. Good luck and Buen Camino!
 

Helen1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Hello! Avoiding the whole Lisbon to Porto section seems a bit extreme to me. Plus, Coimbra is an interesting place to visit. I didn’t feel safe on the outskirts of Lisbon (couldn’t explain why but I was glad to leave). This is the area that other people have identified as a problem and there have been various incidents there. Before and after that I was fine on my own. I walked in August and walked mostly alone but there were a handful of pilgrims around, some locals exercising along the boardwalks, quite few farmers harvesting in fields. There are some bits of urban dereliction/old factories/paths along a railway line that aren't the nicest but I didn't feel particularly unsafe (but then I live in an area of city where some people wont get out of their cars so perhaps I am less concerned than some). The buddy system Ellie mentions sounds good. Have fun planning!
 

Kch

Member
Past OR future Camino
French Camino competed (2019)
Portuguese Camino maybe (2020)
Hi - I did this last year. ( single woman) Due to covid there were few others but I felt safe. There have been incidents on the outskirts of Lisbon . The first day you walk through a fairly deserted rural section once you leave the city properly and problems have been reported there but few and far between. ( Also my umbrella saved me from the sun - it’s baking hot , sunstroke and water were my biggest problems with that section of Camino )
I think it is worth walking from Lisbon - I did enjoy the section from Porto a lot more .. as it’s my type of walking basically a path beside the most dramatic beautiful coastline :).. the Lisbon - porto section is very different but I was very glad I experienced it.
maybe worth adding .. I found day one out of Lisbon was the hardest day of the Camino.. added to issues with sun/water - the Camino signs are really bad , it’s easy to get lost - but you can download a map of Camino before hand which I should have done!
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
Hi. Walked from Lisbon to Porto several years ago solo (I am in my 30s) and apart from the section leaving the city I felt reasonably safe. It is worth seeing if anyone else is leaving Lisbon that day on some of the camino Facebook groups or on the forum even if you don't plan to walk with them beyond that first day. Or take a train out to one of the first towns like Alverca or Vilafranca de Xira to skip the section were there have been issues and it feels isolated. (As for flashers unfortunately they can happen on any camino route and anywhere else too for that matter, but worth reading advice on forum about how to get help and contact police. My second day walking on the camino Frances involved a flasher and I wasn't going to let him stop me.) Over the years lots of people have thought of me as crazy for travelling solo and walking solo on caminos/Via Francigena but doing so I experienced so many things and met so many incredible people, that any small risk is outweighed.

As for the rest of the route from Lisbon to Porto I really enjoyed it and actually found as a solo pilgrim it was easier to mix than on the crazy busy Frances route in the main season. The locals were friendly and helpful, and I ate way too many pastels de nata.
 
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evanlow

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Or take a train out to one of the first towns like Alverca or Vilafranca de Xira to skip the section were there have been issues and it feels isolated.
I did it a few years back and can concur this is the best if I am to walk this route again. What got to me wasn't the safety but the bland experience. Passing the dingy outskirts and then the souless and huge buildings and modern monuments (one of them even hosted the Eurovision the year I passed through).
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
I have to agree with those that have said avoidance is not a good idea. I walked Lisbon to Porto a few years ago on the way to Santiago and found the cities very interesting. Yes, it's not the historical treasure trove that some Caminos are. But, Tomar and Coimbra and Fatima are worth a visit (although Fatima is a bus ride away if you don't want to walk). I enjoyed it not because of the spiritual experience (other than Fatima) but because it took me to some "ordinary" cities where people live day to day. Plus the food was very good along the way. I will agree that there aren't a lot of pilgrims along the way, but I didn't feel unsafe at any point. There are enough people that I'm pretty sure you will be able to find someone to walk with.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I have to agree with those that have said avoidance is not a good idea. I walked Lisbon to Porto a few years ago on the way to Santiago and found the cities very interesting. Yes, it's not the historical treasure trove that some Caminos are. But, Tomar and Coimbra and Fatima are worth a visit (although Fatima is a bus ride away if you don't want to walk). I enjoyed it not because of the spiritual experience (other than Fatima) but because it took me to some "ordinary" cities where people live day to day. Plus the food was very good along the way. I will agree that there aren't a lot of pilgrims along the way, but I didn't feel unsafe at any point. There are enough people that I'm pretty sure you will be able to find someone to walk with.
Were not most of the attacks on women?
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I have to agree with those that have said avoidance is not a good idea. I walked Lisbon to Porto a few years ago on the way to Santiago and found the cities very interesting. Yes, it's not the historical treasure trove that some Caminos are. But, Tomar and Coimbra and Fatima are worth a visit (although Fatima is a bus ride away if you don't want to walk). I enjoyed it not because of the spiritual experience (other than Fatima) but because it took me to some "ordinary" cities where people live day to day. Plus the food was very good along the way. I will agree that there aren't a lot of pilgrims along the way, but I didn't feel unsafe at any point. There are enough people that I'm pretty sure you will be able to find someone to walk with.
Were not most of the attacks on women?
I have read about various attacks on the forum that have transpired for many years. Not to be rude John, but men are not the victims of 99% of attacks of this nature on or off the Camino. As the father of two daughters I always have a little worry for them especially now as it seems that more aggressive hostility towards women seems to be growing. I have walked with a few young women who for whatever reason have felt unsafe. I have also advised them to find some old guys like me who have daughters like them and would love to have someone we dads can help out. It may not sound too progressive but it is our natural instinct.

I have been advised that the Lisbon-Porto section is not the safest for a single traveller. I've been told there are thefts and exhibitionists along the way. I was cautioned against walking alone.
Having said this I believe the Camino is safer than any city in the world
.I would suggest you join the Camigas Facebook page, which is a buddy system for single women on the Camino.
I do not think you should be too worried but listen to your rational heart. If you do feel unsafe wait for a pilgrim to come. I bet it being 2022 and not many pilgrims for a while it will be more crowded.
Listen to Elle's advice and I bet you can find a companion to walk with.
Finally there are a surprising number of people who speak English especially around Lisbon. The Portuguese people are the friendliest, warmest most generous people you will find anywhere. I know they will be there to assist you. Don't let your worry effect what you have no idea could or would happen. The same issues on the Camino are faced walking out your front door.
There are steps you can take to make yourself feel more secure.
Take them and go out and have a great Camino.
 
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Laura Blue

Member
Past OR future Camino
Saria to SDC 2014 - SDC to Muxia 2015 - planned Porto to SDC coastal March 2016
Hello - I am a single woman in her late 50s hoping to walk (solo) from Lisbon to Porto and meet with friends to continue on to Santiago. I have been advised that the Lisbon-Porto section is not the safest for a single traveller. I've been told there are thefts and exhibitionists along the way. I was cautioned against walking alone. I am not planning to walk until next year (2022), but I am starting my plans. Can anyone advise? I am an experienced traveller.
Hi I just walked alone from Lisbon to Fatima last week and walked Porto to Santiago in 2016, I have done 7 short Caminos over the last 8 years and am now 67.
I am a great believer in being aware but that what will be, will be. Whether you are walking on the street in your home town, or alone on a trail, or indeed at home in your own bed. But what anyone can live with is a personal matter.
Personally the early part of the route from Lisbon is very boring, industrial and flat as a pancake farmland. It doesn't get interesting till you get past Santarem.
I would suggest getting the bus from Lisbon to Santarem, walking to Fatima and then getting back on the main route to Porto. People walk all sorts of ways you don't need to be too purist, it's your Camino.
There is an old man known to have been inappropriate on the Fatima route after Santarem, he has a little very colourful stall that on a hot day looks like it might be full of lovely cold drinks and offer respite from the sun, bit like a gingerbread house to a child. It's great you can see him well ahead, don't go in there. As I went past it I just happened to be with others, but if not just keep walking.
I have only ever felt a bit unsafe once on the route from Porto, I think before Fao, there is a wood you can walk through, I can't remember the order but was approached by a very strange couple I was weary of, I was then told by a Portuguese woman not to go through the wood and get back to the beach route , all in Portuguese, me with no Portuguese, her with no English, but I clearly knew what she meant and I feel that there are many people along the way who help you in one way or another and everyday I give thanks to them for helping me along the way.
Bon Camino.



Hello - I am a single woman in her late 50s hoping to walk (solo) from Lisbon to Porto and meet with friends to continue on to Santiago. I have been advised that the Lisbon-Porto section is not the safest for a single traveller. I've been told there are thefts and exhibitionists along the way. I was cautioned against walking alone. I am not planning to walk until next year (2022), but I am starting my plans. Can anyone advise? I am an experienced traveller.
 

Lexicos

Jimmy
Past OR future Camino
2019
Why take the risk? Why not pair up with someone? I simply don’t buy this attitude of whatever will be will be. Also, risk taking at home, where you know exactly what to do and who to call if things go wrong, is very different to things going wrong in a place where you don’t know anybody and nobody knows you. And it’s not only personal attacks but all manner of things can and do go wrong. I don’t agree with the laissez-faire attitude. A personal attack, let alone a sexual attack, can be very traumatic and can leave you scarred for life. I know it’s not always possible but if you can, give yourself a chance. Give yourself peace of mind, a bit of security and some company. Why not? Why walk the Camino, Portugal or anywhere else, with that fear and uncertainty hanging over your head? Give yourself the best chance of enjoying it, as risk free as you can possibly make it and enjoy a shared experience as an extra bonus.
 
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Walton

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
I agree - there have been attacks on women walking from Lisbon to Porto and there are two precautions that you can take.
The first one is to try to enrol in a women's self defence course near where you live. Don't leave it until the last minute to do this - do your research now maybe by contacting womens associations or the police or perhaps martial arts clubs to find out what might be on offer.
You won't become an expert at self defence (takes years of training generally) but you will learn to be more confident while out and about not just on the camino, but wherever you are. You'll also learn to be more aware of behaviours and situations that could place you at higher risk.
You need a face to face course if possible, rather than online because you have a lot of fun being trained by an expert and you'll pick up a lot of good advice along the way.
The second thing is to try to buddy up with a small group or other pilgrims as suggested by various posters in this forum.
I recall one morning leaving a town along this route and there was a middle aged woman pilgrim waiting on the outskirts of town who asked us if we would mind her joining us for a bit while we walked through some forests.
You shouldn't let the few bad people that are out there discourage you from doing what you love but rather than worry it is much better to be prepared.
Prepare and go! :)
Buen Camino!
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
As my wife is wont to remind me from time to time I’m a heavily built male ex rugby playing former army officer who practices aikido, and she isn’t. Her perception of risk is very different to mine and so I don’t presume to comment, other than factually, on risk as it might pertain to a woman.

Having said that, I’m slightly scared of Mrs Henrythedog, which I am told is the natural order of things.

The industrial outskirts of any big city are rarely attractive and best passed-through in company or on public transport, in my opinion. Let’s face it, you’re on holiday it’s supposed to be pleasurable.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I think the problem areas is the past were (1) the canal along the Tejo after Sacavém (2) the path along and under the A-1 after Alpriate and (3) around the railway station at Sacavém.

See previous threads by searching the forum tags "safety and crime".
 
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Bill632

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2017). Portuguese (2019). Le Puy (2021)
Some good advice above, especially about taking a companion. We walked from Lisbon two years ago and were careful when leaving the city, even as a couple (in our mid 60s). I think the walk from the cathedral to the bridge at Sacavém along the river is well worth while, and we always felt safe with plenty of people around. Because of the dangers we had read about in the next section, we decided for this not so popular and historically viewed as unsafe part till Vilafranca de Xira to use the railway. So, we would walk in the morning till we reached a station, then we returned to the city for the afternoon and night. Next morning, we returned by train to the station from the day before and walked to the next planned station (via caminho route). It is not ideal, especially for those who do not like to "go back"; but it worked for us. Personally, I found the road walking (traffic) a lot more dangerous than the quieter tracks. Finally, may I strongly encourage you to visit Tomar (we took a bus from here to Fatima on a morning of our rest day) and Coimbra. They are beautiful cities and the people are wonderful.
 

Susan tankard

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2017, camino del Norte 2018
Hello - I am a single woman in her late 50s hoping to walk (solo) from Lisbon to Porto and meet with friends to continue on to Santiago. I have been advised that the Lisbon-Porto section is not the safest for a single traveller. I've been told there are thefts and exhibitionists along the way. I was cautioned against walking alone. I am not planning to walk until next year (2022), but I am starting my plans. Can anyone advise? I am an experienced traveller.
I walked Lisbon to Santiago de compostella alone in 2018, I loved it, the History is incredible, the people are friendly and helpful.I felt pretty safe, just take the usual care in the larger tourist areas. As with most cities pick pockets are at large.
Enjoy your camino
 

Walton

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
As my wife is wont to remind me from time to time I’m a heavily built male ex rugby playing former army officer who practices aikido, and she isn’t. Her perception of risk is very different to mine and so I don’t presume to comment, other than factually, on risk as it might pertain to a woman.

Being big and heavily built henrythedog has visual and strength advantages which would most likely deter anyone who harbours ill intentions except for the brainless, and there are unfortunately, plenty of them. :)

One does not have to be big or heavily built though as you would well know.

Wing Chun is a martial art that is said to have been developed by a woman in ancient China. Originally, it was designed for women and it still is a very effective martial art as are all the others of course, including Aikido.

When I trained in Wing Chun, people of all shapes and sizes trained as well and it's probably the same for Aikido.

I thus learned never to judge a person by size or build. And I learned that as a skinny 80kgs old fellow, I can be effective when training against big and muscular young guys. Good for the confidence!

Woe help anyone who ever physically picks on some of the most ordinary looking Wing Chun people that I had the pleasure to train with and learn from. You would never be able to pick these people out in the street as trained and competent martial artists.

In all seriousness, we also learned that it is far better to avoid, walk away, de-escalate than to be involved physically, however if physical comes then training should come to the fore instinctively but, seriously, that's a last resort for most martial arts.

There are short courses that are specifically designed for women to learn about self defence techniques.

If I was a woman, planning on walking alone on a Camino (Why not? ... don't let fear hold you back), I would be more confident in myself after having done a course of self defence for women.

Walking on the road is another whole danger, that scares me more. Bed bugs is another one.

In saying that, can't wait to do another Camino post-covid.

Cheers to Mrs Henrythedog!

Graham
 
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Lexicos

Jimmy
Past OR future Camino
2019
Self defence training is a good thing, of course, and I did it too some years ago. It might get you out of a tight spot, might, and it may not. Besides, let’s not kid ourselves, it takes years to become at all effective and competent. Many years. And then what if there’s two or three assailants? What then? It’s all very well for us blokes to swing a punch but even for us a violent and aggressive attack can easily disarm you, especially a surprise attack in an unfamiliar place. Martial arts is a small part only, not an answer. As we say, there is safety in numbers. But, if you must walk alone, man or woman, take every precaution, take safety devices and take it seriously. Whether we want to accept it or not it is a fact that there are people in every place who would do us harm, no matter how benevolent the society and no matter how beautiful the surroundings or noble our cause. There are bad people in this world.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Portugues '15, '16, & '19
Via Francigena '17
Frances '18
Muxia & Finisterre '18
Tahoe Rim Trail '19
If my wife or daughter wanted to solo a Camino I would be be comfortable with the entire CF or CP sections north of Porto. South of Porto I would insist they prearranged to travel with others. I really like the entire CP but between Lisbon and Porto it will be better to have company for both social and safety reasons. If you really prefer to go solo I would suggest starting in Santarem. The towns and trail between Santarem and Porto are really great.
 

Walton

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
While in Lisbon, we left our backpacks in our accomodation and walked from the Se Cathedral to Oriente train and bus terminal. It was a pleasant walk and we enjoyed that part. We returned to Lisbon that afternoon and on the next morning returned to Oriente with backpacks and walked to Alpriate Alburgue.

You could do the same, except you could walk to to Oriente Train and Bus Terminal in Lisbom and catch a train to Azambuja or even Santarem. The Camino basically parallels the railway line for a fair distance from Lisbon.

I think you would be wise to walk with someone for at least the first two days out of Lisbon and if you walk during popular walking periods, you shouldn't find it too hard to find a walking companion.
 
Past OR future Camino
2018
Hello - I am a single woman in her late 50s hoping to walk (solo) from Lisbon to Porto and meet with friends to continue on to Santiago. I have been advised that the Lisbon-Porto section is not the safest for a single traveller. I've been told there are thefts and exhibitionists along the way. I was cautioned against walking alone. I am not planning to walk until next year (2022), but I am starting my plans. Can anyone advise? I am an experienced traveller.
I did that stretch without trouble.
 

CaptainBonnie

Member
Past OR future Camino
Plan: 2 week to arrive at Santiago de Campostela in 2 weeks. Start 12th Nov 2017
Hello - I am a single woman in her late 50s hoping to walk (solo) from Lisbon to Porto and meet with friends to continue on to Santiago. I have been advised that the Lisbon-Porto section is not the safest for a single traveller. I've been told there are thefts and exhibitionists along the way. I was cautioned against walking alone. I am not planning to walk until next year (2022), but I am starting my plans. Can anyone advise? I am an experienced traveller.
Hi Jane
I am looking for another pilgrim to walk the first days from Lisbon in early Oct 2021.As read certain sections it's best to have company!Best wishes and Good Luck Safe Camino in 2022.Capt Bonnie ( Vivek)
 
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Cleigh

Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Hi Jane
I am looking for another pilgrim to walk the first days from Lisbon in early Oct 2021.As read certain sections it's best to have company!Best wishes and Good Luck Safe Camino in 2022.Capt Bonnie ( Vivek)
Hi Bonnie,

We are setting off from Lisbon on Sept 26th and would welcome the company, if that's not too early.
 

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