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Solo Young Woman, Camino Portugues in May

EllenO

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future: Camino Portugues, May 2018
#1
I apologise for yet another question about solo female safety on the Camino. It's an issue that arises simply by fact of being female and I do greatly appreciate your insights on the below.

I'm 22 and would like to walk my first Camino along the Portugese Way in May. I'm not too fussed about whether it is the coastal or inland route. BUT I have two primary concerns:
1. SAFETY: Which route is likely to be more populated in mid-late May? How likely is it that I will see other pilgrims on the route and would I ever be truly "alone" and potentially unsafe for long periods of time each day?
2. DOGS: On which route am I less likely to encounter aggressive dogs? Concerned about some of the recent posts on this forum.

Thank you for your time and thoughts :)
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Autumn 2017:CP, Lisbon-Vila Do Conde
Spring 2018: Villa Do Conde to Santiago
#2
When my wife and I walked Lisbon to Vila Do Conde via the coastal route last October, we saw several but not many other pilgrims along the way. On the stretches of boardwalk that comprise many kilometers of this segment, you could absolutely be alone with nobody else in either direction as far as you can see.

I've never walked the Fatima route, so I can't compare that aspect, but as far as violence, while we were walking the coastal route there were two serious incidents against single young women on the Fatima route. They were written about on this forum. 1: a woman was beaten and her possessions were taken, a traditional mugging. 2: was far more sinister, a single woman had an automobile pull up alongside of her, the window was down, the man was wearing rubber gloves, the dashboard was covered in plastic, and she started taking photographs of the license plate. She was all alone and was very lucky that the car just drove off.

Don't be discouraged, just be aware.

I don't remember any incidents of dogs running out to us anywhere at all.

We return to Vila Do Conde in two weeks to complete the CP/Litoral/Variante Espiritual. Maybe see you out there. Bom Caminho!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (May 2018)
#7
@EllenO yes, I am walking alone. I'm definitely pretty nervous about it, but have been reassured to read a lot of comments in these forums saying that I really needn't be. I will be carrying pepper spray or mace in the event of an animal encounter. And I am still unsure of my route, as I am tempted to take the coastal route all the way until Redondela, but I have read I might be very much alone going that way.. I don't mind being alone per se, but I feel like meeting other pilgrims is a big part of the experience and I would hate to miss that!
 

Ed Aster

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May 2017
#8
Hi Ellen,
I will be walking the Coastal route from Porto starting May 19 to Santiago. Hopefully we can connect to walk together at some point.
Buon Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugal Coastal Route from Porto May 2018
#9
I apologise for yet another question about solo female safety on the Camino. It's an issue that arises simply by fact of being female and I do greatly appreciate your insights on the below.

I'm 22 and would like to walk my first Camino along the Portugese Way in May. I'm not too fussed about whether it is the coastal or inland route. BUT I have two primary concerns:
1. SAFETY: Which route is likely to be more populated in mid-late May? How likely is it that I will see other pilgrims on the route and would I ever be truly "alone" and potentially unsafe for long periods of time each day?
2. DOGS: On which route am I less likely to encounter aggressive dogs? Concerned about some of the recent posts on this forum.

Thank you for your time and thoughts :)
Solo female walker here as well. I'll start May 22nd from Porto. When do you you start?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugal Coastal Route from Porto May 2018
#10
Hi everyone! Solo female walker here. I'll start in Porto May 22nd. I'll carry a small knife, pepper spray and a whistle. Better safe than sorry!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from Sarria ( May 2016 ) and Camino Portuguese from Tui (May 2017 )
#11
Can you fly with pepper spray? Where do you get it?
 

miffy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese 2018
#13
This is really scary. Those two incidents that David writes are awful. I was hoping to walk the Portuguese Way in the Summer, but from Lisbon, but if it's so dangerous I may change plans.
Is it easy to get this pepper spray in Portugal?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from Sarria ( May 2016 ) and Camino Portuguese from Tui (May 2017 )
#14
I walked alone from Tui last May and fortunately had no problems. I was surprised to hear on Wednesdays it is hunters Day for wild boar . But the Spaniard that I walked briefly with stated that they are aware of Pilgrims and stay away from the Camino. Great I thought just when I was mediating on being calm against any dogs , now wild boar to worry about. It is too bad incidents happen two those woman. Being alert , aware , informed , positive and supportive to one another is about all we can do and pray hard. Have a great Camino. I did twice , alone.
 

Spduncan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (May 2018)
#15
I am a solo walker starting in May as well. The 7th I will be in Porto. I am nervous, but I think the Portugese is getting more and more attention and it should have more. Foot traffic this summer from what I have gathered.
 

Anniesantiago

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#16
There is a Facebook group called Camigas where you can find female walking partners. I'd try that.
 

Cindy B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I hope to walk a Camino spring (2018)
#17
I am a 66 and I too am walking the Camino Portugues in May alone. Reading the responses regarding pepper spray for protection against animals makes me curious and nervous. How frequent are animal attacks, and human for that matter?
 

Cindy B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I hope to walk a Camino spring (2018)
#18
I have another question about walking the Camino Portugues safely from Ponte de Lima. I am okay walking alone, although I am hoping to meet and walk with others when I choose. How likely is it that I might have stretches on the path when I see no other walkers?
 

Boog237

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2013 SJPP to Santiago
May 2018 Porto to Santiago
August 2018 SJPP to Santiago
#19
Hello All - I will be walking my second Camino flying into Porto on May 19, then taking Metro north to Vila do Conde to save a day or so walking to give me some time to explore Porto en route home June 2. I hope to meet some of you all on the way. I'll be the tall, grey haired kinda fat guy with a smile on his face walking the costal route! Bom Caminho
 

Cindy B

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I hope to walk a Camino spring (2018)
#21
Hi Rosemaryk1,

I am walking in early May, around the 3rd. Where are you beginning?
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Norte/Liebana (Planning)
#23
I walked the Central last year (April) from Porto with my partner and did not see dogs at all. Our experience was very, very tranquil - we would see pilgrims in cafes and albergues, but the trail was fairly quiet.
There were more people after Tui, but not many.

The idea of carrying pepper spray seems a bit weird to me (for the extra weight and trouble boarding), especially if you are already using walking poles that can help with the (very unlikely) case of an aggressive animal.

(Of course, each camino is different, but my impression of this one was that it was SUPER tranquil.)
 
Camino(s) past & future
None to this point
#24
For what it’s worth, it seems to me the accounts of issues with dogs (and I have not come across many) that I’ve read about in the forum have happened somewhere between Lisbon and Porto, where there are fewer pilgrims for dogs (and their owners) to be accustomed to. When I walked from Porto to Vigo last year, the handful of barking dogs I came across were behind fences. I may invest in Dazer, which I've read about in the forum, which would be lightweight and harmless to dogs, and somewhat (if not fully) effective from what I know.
 

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
#26
Be careful with the sprays and gasses. Totally prohibited in some European Countries. If you transit via the UK and it's found in your hold luggage then arrest is likely. I did the Portuguese from Porto to Santiago last October and no problems with dogs at all. Yes they barked at you. As for walking alone, yes there are sections when you won't see anyone for hours. Make a point of trying to start of with someone in the morning or from a cafe. It's not like the Frances for numbers but everyone will look out for each other.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving Porto May 17, 2018 walking to Santiago
#27
I am a 66 and I too am walking the Camino Portugues in May alone. Reading the responses regarding pepper spray for protection against animals makes me curious and nervous. How frequent are animal attacks, and human for that matter?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving Porto May 17, 2018 walking to Santiago
#28
Hi Cindy,

I will also be walking solo, arriving May 17 in Porto. I am 58. If you see me say Hello!
 

ophelia

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Português Central - October 2017
Planning the Camino Português da Costa - May 2018!
#29
Hi!

I did the interior route last October and had no issues whatsoever with dogs. Usually they are inside the fences. If you find a dog outside, just ignore the dog and show no fear, that will probably be it.
Do not bring pepper spray - you need a special license to carry it in Portugal. If you do not have that license issued, it is like carrying an illegal weapon - you WILL be in trouble for that. It is very serious. In Portugal you cannot carry any kind of weapon without a license, even if it is for self-defense. You need to apply first and it involves a lot of red tape. Forget about it. You won't need it very likely as well.

When I walked the camino, I saw a lot of peregrinas walking solo and there seemed to be no issue with that. There even was a group of female friends and they would be together at the albergue but each one of them walked at their pace, so sometimes they would be kms apart from each other during the day. But it is very likely that you are going to always have one or another pilgrim on the lookout - this was my experience.

Leave the fear at home and enjoy this life experience to the fullest, it's so worth it - Buen Camino and have fun!
 

Owensr23

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
9/2016 Frances
5/2018 Portugues
#31
So am I, starting May 20th. Maybe I will see you along the way - buen camino!
My wife and I are “seniors” on our second Camino. Leaving Porto on May 20 hoping for 10days to Santiago, but we have extra time if needed.

If you don’t walk with poles get a simple 5 foot walking stick when you get there. Dogs and other animals can be kept at bay.

On first Camino we had no dog issues. We did see some huge dogs who were sleeping beside the trail watching pilgrims with one eye open. My wife called them Camino Dogs....guarding the Way. Not even a bark.
 

jbdron

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(April May 2013)
#32
I am a solo female walker starting from Lisbon 9 of May, any pilgrims starting then or abouts? Would like to start out with some others. Thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012
Camino Portugues May 2018
#33
In Barcelinhos at the moment ans just a word of warning that it is very busy. Stayed in Vila’s do Conde Albergue last night & could only get a mattress - beds all full. Similar story here’s tonight - the ‘nicer’ Albergue is full so only option was ‘less nice’ albergue.
Called Fernando’s place today And they were also booked up tonight.
 

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