I did the Camino Portuguese starting from Porto in August. You can get your credencial at the information desk in the Cathedral (where you would pay to get entry to the cloister). You need to pay a small fee for the credencial (50 cents, I think). You enter the Cathedral via the large door that faces the plaza that gives you a view of the river. On the opposite side of the plaza from the main door and a bit to the right, you will see a stone ramp/stairs going down hill. You will pick up the first marker here. The cathedral does not provide you with any information about the route. I used the Brierley guidebook to the Camino Portugues (available from amazon). It is excellent as it has good descriptions, maps of the route within larger cities and towns, info on accomodation, easy to read maps of the route, topographical advice, etc. The way marking in Portugal is very good indeed. The marking out of the city of Porto is also good. However, there are a few places where you could go astray if you didn't have a map which helped you know where to look for way marks. In Spain, particularly between Tui and Ponte de Lima, the waymarking could be a lot better. Here a guide book definately helps. The CSJ website has a downloadable guide (see link above just below the map). It is free to download, but they do ask for a donation. I haven't used their Camino Portugues guide, but are ususally quite detailed. However, they don't have maps and topos. Check out the mundicamino website for this. Still, I would go with Brierley if you can get it shipped to you in time. Check out my 'live from the camino'. I mention the areas where the way marking is problematic. Leaving Tui is particularly challenging.
I did the Caminho Portugues 22-31 july 2009 and started in Maia.
I took the Metro from the station Trindad to Maia and found the Caminho at the church "Igreja da Maia".
I used John Brierleys book - Camino Portugués - and found it very good.
The first day was it raining cats and dogs - every time a car passed a "bucket" of water was poured into my boots - but I still made it to the Alberge in Rates.
A special muito obrigado de vossa hospitalidade to the hospitaleiros in Rates.
They made surre that the pilgrims could get their cloth and fodwear dry to the next day and we also experienced the Queimada after a well prepared dinner
thanks, i found that within minutes, the rain was stressing me for a bit, finally sunshine in porto, i start my walk from barcelos tomorrow to pt de lima.....buen camino, i will report back on open alberque etc.....