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Starting from Lisbon — good or bad idea?

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I’ve been reading the forum posts for more than a decade, and I think it’s safe to say that the route that gets the most disagreement is the Portugues starting in Lisbon. So much so that the owner of one of the albergues along the way recorded several videos with pilgrim opinions.


I walked this route about ten years ago, well before there were any albergues at all. Since the Via Lusitana (a camino group based in Lisbon) has made its appearance, they have done a lot to improve markings, get the route off the road, and incentivize albergues (they even operate one themselves, in Alpriate, 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral). They also produce their own, very nice, credencial, which you can get at the Lisbon cathedral. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/portuguese-credential-has-arrived.60265/

For those who are debating whether to start in Lisbon or Porto, would veterans care to chime in here with their opinions?

I can start by throwing out a few pros and cons. I was inspired to do this by some comments on a recent thread.

Pros
— for me, the longer the camino, the better!
— towns of Tomar, Coimbra, Roman Ruins of Condeixa a Nova
— the Portuguese people
— fresh honest food
— lower cost than Spain
— the albergue in Alpriate, kind of like the Orisson of the Portugues. A place for pilgrims to start to get to know each other.
— route out of Lisbon from the cathedral goes through old town, old port, lovely Expo site along the river

Cons
— road walking (though I cannot imagine there is more road walking between Lisbon and Porto than on the official Norte route)
—very little elevation gain (though for some that may be a pro)
— no pilgrim office in Lisbon, indifferent treatment by the cathedral (I just read this on a recent post, and it is true, but I’m not sure that distinguishes this route from any other camino, except maybe SJPP with its pilgrim office).
— pleasant, but not spectacular scenery

I’m sure there are many more, but this is a start. Bom caminho, Laurie
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012
CP 2015
St Olavs Norway 2016
88T Japan 2017
PWC/VF 2019
Israel 2020 X
Wales CP 21?
KK?
VdlP?
I’ve been reading the forum posts for more than a decade, and I think it’s safe to say that the route that gets the most disagreement is the Portugues starting in Lisbon. So much so that the owner of one of the albergues along the way recorded several videos with pilgrim opinions.


I walked this route about ten years ago, well before there were any albergues at all. Since the Via Lusitana (a camino group based in Lisbon) has made its appearance, they have done a lot to improve markings, get the route off the road, and incentivize albergues (they even operate one themselves, in Alpriate, 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral). They also produce their own, very nice, credencial, which you can get at the Lisbon cathedral. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/portuguese-credential-has-arrived.60265/

For those who are debating whether to start in Lisbon or Porto, would veterans care to chime in here with their opinions?

I can start by throwing out a few pros and cons. I was inspired to do this by some comments on a recent thread.

Pros
— for me, the longer the camino, the better!
— towns of Tomar, Coimbra, Roman Ruins of Condeixa a Nova
— the Portuguese people
— fresh honest food
— lower cost than Spain
— the albergue in Alpriate, kind of like the Orisson of the Portugues. A place for pilgrims to start to get to know each other.
— route out of Lisbon from the cathedral goes through old town, old port, lovely Expo site along the river

Cons
— road walking (though I cannot imagine there is more road walking between Lisbon and Porto than on the official Norte route)
—very little elevation gain (though for some that may be a pro)
— no pilgrim office in Lisbon, indifferent treatment by the cathedral (I just read this on a recent post, and it is true, but I’m not sure that distinguishes this route from any other camino, except maybe SJPP with its pilgrim office).
— pleasant, but not spectacular scenery

I’m sure there are many more, but this is a start. Bom caminho, Laurie
I usually avoid the Lisbon vs Porto threads as the often bad rap the Lisbon leg receives ruffles my feathers a tad 🕊 but here goes...
I walked the CP in 2015 starting in Lisbon...& would do so again. Personally I'd have felt I only did half the job if I started in Porto. I also believe if you choose to walk a path you accept all that path entails. Of course there are many reasons people start in Porto..time may be one...but I don't think its fair to disregard a section of any walk (anywhere) because it is deemed 'not worthy'. Merit & positives can always be found.
No trail is ideal...they all have good, bad & ugly. The bad & the ugly make you appreciate the good so much more. I agree with your Pro's @peregrina2000 but most of your Con's would be in my Pro column which just goes to show its all very subjective & a matter of personal choice!
The CP is my 2nd favourite walk of all the long distance paths I've tackled...& for me it was not a trail of two halves. I loved all of it...different sections for different reasons & I can't even imagine not starting in Lisbon. Many of my most treasured memories were prior to Porto.
Oh...& if you want to experience real indifference, walk 2100+ km from London & collect your VF testimonial from the Visitor Centre at Vatican City in Rome! 😄
Happy trails...which ever you choose!
👣 🌏
 
Last edited:

thejoker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
many
While the towns already mentioned above are well worth a visit and the food in some places is excellent, I felt the walking itself was the least inspiring of any Camino I have done and in addition, most of the churches were closed and we couldn't find a way to get the keys from locals, like you can on some of the less travelled Spanish Caminos. However, we really enjoyed the Caminho afet Porto.
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; geneva to ales
I liked Tomar but the cobblestones - not the asphalt - destroyed my feet. For some reason, I wasn’t crazy about Coimbra. Only started really enjoying the Caminho Portugues walking along the river out of sports. The albergues for the most part out of Lisboa were spacious, modern and really great. Very few walkers along the way, but that is the case with many trails, and was not a deal breaker for me.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
I loved the CP from Lisbon to porto. The cobbles are killing {walking into Porto I was singing away 'I hate cobblestones in the morning' - I know they are actually setts but that didn't fit the tune)
I enjoyed the smaller number of pilgrims which often meant a warmer welcome. But enough pilgrims that you had company. Most of the albergues were good.
Yes there is some road walking but I always felt it was balanced out by some lovely sections, the river and interesting towns. I think the only day I found ugh was walking into Porto but even then there was a steep climb up a roman road in woods.
It gave me more time to eat pastel de nata! And the food was good. Much more variety than what has become the standard pilgrim menu on CF and generally higher quality and cheaper
And to be honest I didn't expect a significant welcome at Lisbon cathedral. SJPdP is very different as it now deals with vast numbers of pilgrims. Then again I don't recall a significant pilgrim welcome in porto cathedral either!
I think that even since I walked 2-3 years ago more albergues have opened to address some of the long sections. Some of these longer distances did discourage but I don't think they are really an issue any longer such
 

karenhypes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (09), Chemin Le Puy (10/11), hospitaleros (11), Chemin Arles (Apr 13), Caminho Portuguese (15).
We agree with Peregrina2000. We walked from Lisbon in 2015 in May and thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of it. Yes it may have a little more ‘road walking’ than some other routes (but maybe not), but that’s the beauty of a Camino. You get up and walk......dealing with whatever is ahead of you. Every Camino is different and they are all ‘good.’

The Portuguese people are wonderful, the food is outstanding and it does seem to be less expensive than France and Spain. However cost is all relative....any route can be as expensive as you let it be.

We walked in complete sunshine from Lisbon to Santiago. We’ve walked the Frances, Le Puy, Arles and CP and all were very different but all great. We are like Peregrina2000 in that the longer the better.

Bottom line.......if you have the time......walk from Lisbon.

Karen and Dayton
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I have to put in a vote for Lisbon to Porto as well. Although I wasn't sure when I walked it. It was hot, road walking, and not a lot of pilgrims. But in hindsight, the cities you go through, the food, and the locals that you interact with make it well worthwhile. It's different. But then, each Camino is different. If you want a "rural walking" experience this one isn't for you but I did love it and would do it again (hopefully, will).
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
I’ve been reading the forum posts for more than a decade, and I think it’s safe to say that the route that gets the most disagreement is the Portugues starting in Lisbon. So much so that the owner of one of the albergues along the way recorded several videos with pilgrim opinions.


I walked this route about ten years ago, well before there were any albergues at all. Since the Via Lusitana (a camino group based in Lisbon) has made its appearance, they have done a lot to improve markings, get the route off the road, and incentivize albergues (they even operate one themselves, in Alpriate, 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral). They also produce their own, very nice, credencial, which you can get at the Lisbon cathedral. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/portuguese-credential-has-arrived.60265/

For those who are debating whether to start in Lisbon or Porto, would veterans care to chime in here with their opinions?

I can start by throwing out a few pros and cons. I was inspired to do this by some comments on a recent thread.

Pros
— for me, the longer the camino, the better!
— towns of Tomar, Coimbra, Roman Ruins of Condeixa a Nova
— the Portuguese people
— fresh honest food
— lower cost than Spain
— the albergue in Alpriate, kind of like the Orisson of the Portugues. A place for pilgrims to start to get to know each other.
— route out of Lisbon from the cathedral goes through old town, old port, lovely Expo site along the river

Cons
— road walking (though I cannot imagine there is more road walking between Lisbon and Porto than on the official Norte route)
—very little elevation gain (though for some that may be a pro)
— no pilgrim office in Lisbon, indifferent treatment by the cathedral (I just read this on a recent post, and it is true, but I’m not sure that distinguishes this route from any other camino, except maybe SJPP with its pilgrim office).
— pleasant, but not spectacular scenery

I’m sure there are many more, but this is a start. Bom caminho, Laurie

Dear Laurie and All
A wee 'chime in' here - a peregrina from Lisboa to SdC - May 2014 (before those spiffy boardwalks appeared)
It's perhaps a 'fruitless' debate if one would look for a 'winner'.
In my experience of life in general and Portuguese Caminho in particular - much has to do with ones intention/s, preferences/biases, perception/s and attitude/s.
I for one LOVED the Portuguese caminho for what it is and how it shaped me (aka the echoes of this pilgrimage are still with me and reverberate).

Considering starting in Porto was never an issue - it was to start at Lisboa. Period. I wanted to 'swim/bathe' in the country/atmosphere, not just having a toe-dip.
That's just my preference.

For e.g. some prefer to just celebrate Christmas-season On Dec 24 and 25th - and on the 26th, the tree will be de-decorated and is out the door presto.
I for one start with 1.Advent Sunday, Samichlaus (Dec 6th), etc and conclude with Epiphany, Jan 6th.
It's a peaceful, in-drawn time, not much boisterousness, but lots of candles, Panetone, Stollen, some gifts, etc.
That's just what rings my chimes. Who's to say that the chimes rung on just Dec 24 and 25th would be any less enjoyable/meaningful?

So --- Sure - the cobblestones are bloody murder - but somehow there became part of it too. And as i knew of them prior to the pilgrimage (due to multiple prior Portugal sojourns) - I prepared w/ good footwear and insoles (Montrail, as i recall. Even had a spare-set of silicone insoles)
The complaint of much road-walking i never understood. I walked many a mile through fab countryside, fields, forests, etc.
I encountered a woman who lamented the drag from Azambuja to Santarem along the busy roads. Which had me puzzled - as I had walked the same points (from A to S) but through lovely countryside and encountered the most spectacular poppy fields i had ever seen in my life.
Turns out - she had mis-read the map.
Of course - laments then would amount to: "PC has lots of road-walking" and not the less flattering, but more honest: "I am too bloody daft to read a map properly".

Am not aiming to convince anyone to do or not do XYZ.
everything has light and shadow sides, that's just the nature of life on this planet.
I just don't go along with statements or claims that a "one course meal" equals a "five course meal", or a 'three course meal of chinese food'' is the same as a 'three course meal of persian food" - as an example.
The experience is different - but if and when anyone is happy with a one course meal - who am I do debate or discuss that choice?
If the PC from Porto is the ticket for you - go right ahead.
wherever you start walking from - I wish you a blessed pilgrimage -
to me the caminho was especially precious when i realised that the Way walked me ... instead of the 'me' walking the Way.

(and as an aside - i am aiming for living less on the 'comparative mode' - when everything is measured, compared, quantified - and live with life as it is, presenting itself now and here wherever i might live, sit, walk, pilgrim, write. )

saluti, C
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
I also agree that if you have the time, a start in Lisbon is the way to go. It was my first "long" Camino of 700 km, and not having done the Frances, I had no grandiose expectations of what a Camino "should" be. I had done the Ingles, the Finisterre and the Primitivo, and frankly, they were not long enough for me, but fit my schedule at the time.

I always thought that a pilgrim must do what she must do, and I never even considered taking buses, trains, shortcuts, avoiding "industrial" areas or whatever. Every step was to be completed, in my book. I didn't know any better at the time, but now I am increasingly surprised that there are so many complaints about any section on the Portuguese, regardless if it is from Lisbon OR Porto.

Every section has its ups and downs, places I would rather not have walked, and cobblestone that I would rather have avoided! The biggest downer is indeed, the cobblestone, in my opinion.

But the beauty of the towns between Lisbon and Porto, and the history, for me was phenomenal! Yes I loved the walk out of Lisbon, along the river on fitness paths and boardwalks, and thru the old Expo site. Yes, I loved Santarem, Tomar, Coimbra, the Roman ruins and the Roman roads. These were the highlights!

But I also loved the solitude, the long walks through the fields on the farmer's lanes, the cork forests, the endless vineyards, the wine estates and the Azulejo, blue tiles. The towns and places that had Azulejo waymarks and shrines, often in the middle of nowhere, were absolutely charming.

As for the albergues, yes, more and more are popping up, keeping some of the stages more manageable for most. But we didn't even care about that. The owners of the family-run hotels were so friendly and helpful, and we had the budget to stay in these when needed.

So I will always, always give a resounding GO FOR IT to anyone who doubts the beauty, the delicious food and wine, the inexpensiveness, the friendliness, the history and and the culture of this lovely land. The CP is not a walk in the park, so if you want a cafe con leite every 10 km, this is not the Camino for you!
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; geneva to ales
I liked Tomar but the cobblestones - not the asphalt - destroyed my feet. For some reason, I wasn’t crazy about Coimbra. Only started really enjoying the Caminho Portugues walking along the river out of sports. The albergues for the most part out of Lisboa were spacious, modern and really great. Very few walkers along the way, but that is the case with many trails, and was not a deal breaker for me.
Typo: sports = Porto! Apple autospell - grrr! n
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
We walked from Lisbon to SdC in 2017.

Glad we did.

Did Porto to SdC via the coast. Loved the boardwalks and route.

Hated walking on the cobblestones but loved the cobblestone look.

Each Camino has pro's and cons.

By all means. do your research and listen to others but as always, you choose your own Camino.

And yeah

So I will always, always give a resounding GO FOR IT to anyone who doubts the beauty, the delicious food and wine, the inexpensiveness, the friendliness, the history and and the culture of this lovely land. The CP is not a walk in the park, so if you want a cafe con leite every 10 km, this is not the Camino for you!

Great advice from Elle -

And also you might find some of those wonderful cafe con leche establishments listed in the guidebook - closed! (as we discovered quite frequently on the CP)

And then you'll get grumpy :mad:

Until

You find a Cafe con leche that is open! :)

Ahhhh-the Camino provides!!

Cheers
 

Rossco

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015, Camino Portugues 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Le Puy Route (Sept. 2018)
I’ve been reading the forum posts for more than a decade, and I think it’s safe to say that the route that gets the most disagreement is the Portugues starting in Lisbon. So much so that the owner of one of the albergues along the way recorded several videos with pilgrim opinions.


I walked this route about ten years ago, well before there were any albergues at all. Since the Via Lusitana (a camino group based in Lisbon) has made its appearance, they have done a lot to improve markings, get the route off the road, and incentivize albergues (they even operate one themselves, in Alpriate, 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral). They also produce their own, very nice, credencial, which you can get at the Lisbon cathedral. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/portuguese-credential-has-arrived.60265/

For those who are debating whether to start in Lisbon or Porto, would veterans care to chime in here with their opinions?

I can start by throwing out a few pros and cons. I was inspired to do this by some comments on a recent thread.

Pros
— for me, the longer the camino, the better!
— towns of Tomar, Coimbra, Roman Ruins of Condeixa a Nova
— the Portuguese people
— fresh honest food
— lower cost than Spain
— the albergue in Alpriate, kind of like the Orisson of the Portugues. A place for pilgrims to start to get to know each other.
— route out of Lisbon from the cathedral goes through old town, old port, lovely Expo site along the river

Cons
— road walking (though I cannot imagine there is more road walking between Lisbon and Porto than on the official Norte route)
—very little elevation gain (though for some that may be a pro)
— no pilgrim office in Lisbon, indifferent treatment by the cathedral (I just read this on a recent post, and it is true, but I’m not sure that distinguishes this route from any other camino, except maybe SJPP with its pilgrim office).
— pleasant, but not spectacular scenery

I’m sure there are many more, but this is a start. Bom caminho, Laurie
I walked from Lisbon to Finisterre via the central route in September 2017. I really enjoyed it until Porto then it seemed to have a different feel. From Lisbon there were not a lot of pilgrims and most of the albergues had plenty of beds, some were just about empty. From Porto it was crowded and I had to make reservations for accommodation. From Tui onwards it was unbearable and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
 

jimmyc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
I walked from Lisbon in 2016. In my opinion there is so much of the real Portugal to be seen before Porto.
I have walked from SJPP, the PrimItivo and the Sanabres. They all had their fair share of road walking. The cobblestone did not bother me.
I would always advise anyone to commence their camino in Lisbon if they are not limited in their time.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I always thought that if I did the Portuguese Camino that I would definitely start from Lisbon, as I like a long walk, but when a friend asked me to walk with her from Porto this September - after I had already done a 900+ km in the Spring - I said yes! I was happy that I did it, but did feel that I missed something by not starting farther back. As soon as I got back into the Camino groove it was over! If I do the Portuguese Camino again I'd like to start from Lisbon.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I’ve been reading the forum posts for more than a decade, and I think it’s safe to say that the route that gets the most disagreement is the Portugues starting in Lisbon. So much so that the owner of one of the albergues along the way recorded several videos with pilgrim opinions.


I walked this route about ten years ago, well before there were any albergues at all. Since the Via Lusitana (a camino group based in Lisbon) has made its appearance, they have done a lot to improve markings, get the route off the road, and incentivize albergues (they even operate one themselves, in Alpriate, 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral). They also produce their own, very nice, credencial, which you can get at the Lisbon cathedral. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/portuguese-credential-has-arrived.60265/

For those who are debating whether to start in Lisbon or Porto, would veterans care to chime in here with their opinions?

I can start by throwing out a few pros and cons. I was inspired to do this by some comments on a recent thread.

Pros
— for me, the longer the camino, the better!
— towns of Tomar, Coimbra, Roman Ruins of Condeixa a Nova
— the Portuguese people
— fresh honest food
— lower cost than Spain
— the albergue in Alpriate, kind of like the Orisson of the Portugues. A place for pilgrims to start to get to know each other.
— route out of Lisbon from the cathedral goes through old town, old port, lovely Expo site along the river

Cons
— road walking (though I cannot imagine there is more road walking between Lisbon and Porto than on the official Norte route)
—very little elevation gain (though for some that may be a pro)
— no pilgrim office in Lisbon, indifferent treatment by the cathedral (I just read this on a recent post, and it is true, but I’m not sure that distinguishes this route from any other camino, except maybe SJPP with its pilgrim office).
— pleasant, but not spectacular scenery

I’m sure there are many more, but this is a start. Bom caminho, Laurie

Interesting thoughts, Laurie!
After our epic walk last year, we wanted to do another long walk, so as you know, we're starting in Lisbon. We had heard from many that we should start in Porto. I had been to Lisbon a few years ago, experienced Sintra and Cascais, but all without Rachel, so I wanted to share that part of Portugal with her.
Based on our experience last year, and in particular on the alternatives you suggested on the Norte, we're planning to walk alternatives to the 'official' Caminho from Lisbon to Porto.
Our plan is to walk from Lisbon to Estoril. From there walk the Caminho do Mar to Sintra. From Sintra, we will walk down to the coast to Praia das Maçãs. There, we will take the Trilho das Areias up to Peniche. We then take a bus to Obidos, where we're back on the Caminho do Mar to Caldas da Rainha (the stage after Peniche was too long for us, and we didn't fancy paying over 200€ a night in Praia d'el Rey). From Caldas da Rainha we'll get back onto the Trilho das Areias up to Nazare.
From Nazare to Fatima, and then from Fatima to Tomar, where we'll join the Caminho Português to Porto. After Porto, and we're still working on that, we intend to take the coastal route.
That should keep us busy for a few months. :)
Bom Caminho, Andrew
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues '15, '16, & '19
Via Francigena '17
Frances '18
Muxia & Finisterre '18
Tahoe Rim Trail '19
Definitely walk the whole route if you have the time. It is not the French route but it is a great route.

The Portuguese people are wonderful. The cobbles are really hard on your feet. I'd recommend shoes with a more solid sole. The food is really nice. The trail is crowded north of Porto so just start early.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Interesting thoughts, Laurie!
After our epic walk last year, we wanted to do another long walk, so as you know, we're starting in Lisbon. We had heard from many that we should start in Porto. I had been to Lisbon a few years ago, experienced Sintra and Cascais, but all without Rachel, so I wanted to share that part of Portugal with her.
Based on our experience last year, and in particular on the alternatives you suggested on the Norte, we're planning to walk alternatives to the 'official' Caminho from Lisbon to Porto.
Our plan is to walk from Lisbon to Estoril. From there walk the Caminho do Mar to Sintra. From Sintra, we will walk down to the coast to Praia das Maçãs. There, we will take the Trilho das Areias up to Peniche. We then take a bus to Obidos, where we're back on the Caminho do Mar to Caldas da Rainha (the stage after Peniche was too long for us, and we didn't fancy paying over 200€ a night in Praia d'el Rey). From Caldas da Rainha we'll get back onto the Trilho das Areias up to Nazare.
From Nazare to Fatima, and then from Fatima to Tomar, where we'll join the Caminho Português to Porto. After Porto, and we're still working on that, we intend to take the coastal route.
That should keep us busy for a few months. :)
Bom Caminho, Andrew

For anyone with time in Peniche, which is a very nice little seaside town, there is a recently renovated and reopened museum in the old political prison. The prison itself has been open for visits for years, but it looks like there has been a grand renovation and re-opening. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...se-political-prison-becomes-museum-of-freedom

With the similar museum in Lisbon, https://www.museudoaljube.pt/, there is now a good historical record of these years and a way to make sure people remember. I have seen school groups visiting the museum in Lisbon, with good guided explanations well targeted to their age.

This looks like a spectacular caminho, AJ!

P.s. If by any chance you can find a way from Praia das Maças south to Praia da Adraga, one of my favorite fresh fish restaurants in the world is located on that tiny beach. It’s not the unknown spot it used to be, but even so, it is still a wonderful location. http://restaurantedaadraga.com/
 

Adhemar78

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Via Francigena (2017)
Kumano Kodo (2018)
Portuguese Coastal Camino (2020)
I’m going to be doing the Portuguese Camino in May next year but I’ll be starting in Porto. This choice is based simply on the time available to me - if I could walk from Lisbon I would, as from a personal point of view the longer the better. But I only have four weeks holiday, and I want to walk on to Finisterre too, so Porto it is.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I’m going to be doing the Portuguese Camino in May next year but I’ll be starting in Porto. This choice is based simply on the time available to me - if I could walk from Lisbon I would, as from a personal point of view the longer the better. But I only have four weeks holiday, and I want to walk on to Finisterre too, so Porto it is.
With four weeks holiday maybe you could start at Coimbra, or somewhere a few days before Porto.

 

Adhemar78

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Via Francigena (2017)
Kumano Kodo (2018)
Portuguese Coastal Camino (2020)
With four weeks holiday maybe you could start at Coimbra, or somewhere a few days before Porto.

Yes that’s true, but I do want to have a couple of days to look around Porto before I start, and a few days to recover at home before I return to work. It’s 26 hours to get from Sydney to Porto and I’ve always had a lot of difficulty sleeping on flights, so I know I won’t be in any fit state to set off the next day when I get to Portugal (or to go straight back to work after I get home).
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
I’ve been reading the forum posts for more than a decade, and I think it’s safe to say that the route that gets the most disagreement is the Portugues starting in Lisbon. So much so that the owner of one of the albergues along the way recorded several videos with pilgrim opinions.


I’m sure there are many more, but this is a start. Bom caminho, Laurie

My two bobs;' worth, having just come off the CP Lisbon to Santiago, via the Coastal/Senda Littoral route...

If I were to do it again, I would probably start in Tomar - the first couple of days out of Lisbon, while interesting in their own right, didn't inspire me enough to wan to do it again. The way became more interesting and uplifting from around Tomar and this continued to Porto.

Post-Porto, the coastal route, while easier on the body than the inland route and (sometimes) a joy to be walking within sight of the ocean, didn't quite feel like a pilgrimage but more a walk in the park.

I don't regret having taken the route i did - I just don't plan on doing it again...
 
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AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
My two bobs;' worth, having just come off the CP Lisbon to Santiago, via the Coastal/Senda Littoral route...

If I were to do it again, I would probably start in Tomar - the first couple of days out of Lisbon, while interesting in their own right, didn't inspire me enough to wan to do it again. The way became more interesting and uplifting from around Tomar and this continued to Porto.

Post-Porto, the coastal route, while easier on the body than the inland route and (sometimes) a joy to be walking within sight of the ocean, didn't quite feel like a pilgrimage but more a walk in the park.

I dot regret having taken the route i did -I just don't plan on doing it again...

Thanks @LesR , that validates some of our planning decisions, joining the Caminho in Tomar after our excursions to the coast. And my wife will be happy to hear that the coastal route is more like a walk in the park :)
A few pilgrims in Melbourne who have walked in Portugal have told me they have gone back to Portugal to experience the alternative to what they walked, so we may well do the same: Coastal in 2020, and the Central another year.
Bom Caminho
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
Thanks @LesR , that validates some of our planning decisions, joining the Caminho in Tomar after our excursions to the coast. And my wife will be happy to hear that the coastal route is more like a walk in the park :)
A few pilgrims in Melbourne who have walked in Portugal have told me they have gone back to Portugal to experience the alternative to what they walked, so we may well do the same: Coastal in 2020, and the Central another year.
Bom Caminho

I too returned to Portugal - bus Santiago to Porto for four days, train Porto to Faro for five days, then the train back to Lisbon for three days. Would've liked to travel to other cities but ran out of time. Have to say that I found the Portuguese a more modern and vibrant society than the Spanish..
 

Lisa-W

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP April 2016
I started the coastal route in 2016 and found it too poorly signed, too tough and too expensive. I made it to praia das macas, then took a bus back to Lisbon and started again on the traditional route. I loved every minute, the people, scenery, food, vino tinto in earthenware jugs, pasta de nata for breakfast. Yes the cobblestones hurt and I got anterior compartment syndrome in my left lower leg from the camber of the roads. But are we not pilgrims? Should there not be some pain? This is not supposed to be like a some long walk in your home country.
Lisa-W
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; geneva to ales
That makes no sense. Why would you invite pain? It does not make one better. I walked this route and torn up feet did not make me a better pilgrim or person.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues '15, '16, & '19
Via Francigena '17
Frances '18
Muxia & Finisterre '18
Tahoe Rim Trail '19
I started the coastal route in 2016 and found it too poorly signed, too tough and too expensive. I made it to praia das macas, then took a bus back to Lisbon and started again on the traditional route. I loved every minute, the people, scenery, food, vino tinto in earthenware jugs, pasta de nata for breakfast. Yes the cobblestones hurt and I got anterior compartment syndrome in my left lower leg from the camber of the roads. But are we not pilgrims? Should there not be some pain? This is not supposed to be like a some long walk in your home country.
Lisa-W

Naproxen, K-Tape, and voltaren while walking. Ice and elevation while resting. Slow down a little and/or take a day off. Oh yeah, easy on the vino while eating naproxen.

On the CF a lot of us got this around the Meseta
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
That makes no sense. Why would you invite pain? It does not make one better. I walked this route and torn up feet did not make me a better pilgrim or person.
I agree. Creating more pain and suffering does not help anyone.
 

filly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
I’ve been reading the forum posts for more than a decade, and I think it’s safe to say that the route that gets the most disagreement is the Portugues starting in Lisbon. So much so that the owner of one of the albergues along the way recorded several videos with pilgrim opinions.


I walked this route about ten years ago, well before there were any albergues at all. Since the Via Lusitana (a camino group based in Lisbon) has made its appearance, they have done a lot to improve markings, get the route off the road, and incentivize albergues (they even operate one themselves, in Alpriate, 21 km from the Lisbon cathedral). They also produce their own, very nice, credencial, which you can get at the Lisbon cathedral. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/portuguese-credential-has-arrived.60265/

For those who are debating whether to start in Lisbon or Porto, would veterans care to chime in here with their opinions?

I can start by throwing out a few pros and cons. I was inspired to do this by some comments on a recent thread.

Pros
— for me, the longer the camino, the better!
— towns of Tomar, Coimbra, Roman Ruins of Condeixa a Nova
— the Portuguese people
— fresh honest food
— lower cost than Spain
— the albergue in Alpriate, kind of like the Orisson of the Portugues. A place for pilgrims to start to get to know each other.
— route out of Lisbon from the cathedral goes through old town, old port, lovely Expo site along the river

Cons
— road walking (though I cannot imagine there is more road walking between Lisbon and Porto than on the official Norte route)
—very little elevation gain (though for some that may be a pro)
— no pilgrim office in Lisbon, indifferent treatment by the cathedral (I just read this on a recent post, and it is true, but I’m not sure that distinguishes this route from any other camino, except maybe SJPP with its pilgrim office).
— pleasant, but not spectacular scenery

I’m sure there are many more, but this is a start. Bom caminho, Laurie
Hello Laurie...

Me again with my regular spot!!! The Tile Museum 8 kms out of Lisbon is fabulous!!! Right on the Camino. Beautifully laid out, interesting building, the displays thoughtful and include other European countries tile-making input.

The main downside for me was the air traffic noise which one endured for two days.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues '15, '16, & '19
Via Francigena '17
Frances '18
Muxia & Finisterre '18
Tahoe Rim Trail '19
I have walked the CP from Porto to SdC twice and bicycled Lisbon to SdC once. The bicycle was used in lieu of walking due to recovering from a broken leg.

If you have the choice between walking the CP from Lisbon or Porto I would recommend Lisbon. The route between Lisbon and Porto is incredible and very different from the Porto to SdC sections. The combination of the two makes for a great experience of Portugal. Even though I am familiar with the CP I intend to walk Lisbon to SdC to Muxia again.

I would say that the only difficulties of the CP are the Portuguese cobbles and crazy drivers. You will really see that difference after crossing into Spain. Interesting side note: the Portuguese drivers are far more tolerant of cyclists than pedestrians.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances. September 2017
Hello Laurie...

Me again with my regular spot!!! The Tile Museum 8 kms out of Lisbon is fabulous!!! Right on the Camino. Beautifully laid out, interesting building, the displays thoughtful and include other European countries tile-making input.

The main downside for me was the air traffic noise which one endured for two days.
I started in Lisbon. It is a very different experience to walking the Camino Frances. I didn't do much advance reading so had few expectations except to walk. One big difference is the lower visibility of the church... it is there of course, but not as involved with pilgrims or the Camino as on the Frances. Many churches were closed, there was very few pilgrim masses. I also liked Coimbra and Tomar, and also Santaram and Azinhaga. I highly recommend a rest day in Coimbra, so much to see there. Another difference is way fewer pilgrims until Porto. I met two people the first day out of Lisbon, and in first week or so I often had the path to myself. I really liked the solitude and the time to be with myself. The number of pilgrims picks up in Tomar, because Fatima is near and some go to Fatima and then bus to Tomar to start the Camino. The Portuguese people are wonderful. I had warm welcomes everywhere.. people calling from their garden to ask if I'd like some water or food. There is fewer albergues but many 'hostals' - catering to all kinds of travellers including pilgrims. There appears to be no pack service until Porto so don't carry too much :) Stay safe everyone
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
If I were to do it again, I would probably start in Tomar - the first couple of days out of Lisbon, while interesting in their own right, didn't inspire me enough to wan to do it again. The way became more interesting and uplifting from around Tomar and this continued to Porto.
I totally agree that if I did it again I would start in Tomar where I would spent the whole day before starting ----touring the Templar Castle there.

I walked in February and encountered just two other pilgrims the entire 375 km ( a couple from France) from Lisbon to Porto. Plus one Polish guy walking it backwards. Encountered nobody going to Fatima.
I relished the great silence and the extreme solitude - really was able to focus on my Chi Walking.
The cobblestones aren't bad if you walk along the edges of the roads.

I enjoyed my Portuguese Camino more than the first French Route journey since the walking was much flatter, the food was way better (particularly the seafood), the language more lyrical and I found the Portuguese people to be very warm and friendly.

Coimbre was awesome - everything is so centered in a small area. Loved the all-male nine piece Fado band from the University playing in the streets.

Adega Tipica in Ansiao-- had an amazing restaurant and a superb little comfortable pension. One of the top places to stay on any of my 100 Camino days/nights.

Roast Suckling Pig in Mealhada was the single best meal on all my Caminos (Tres Pinheiros).

And Agueda was an up and coming "modern" town - with great pizza! There was a real vibrancy in that town. Nice modern hotel with great breakfast buffet is Conde d'Agueda.

I would have spent 3-4 days in Lisbon instead of walking the entire route and then take the train to Tomar where I would have started if given the chance to do it differently.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Our latest podcast episode is about whether to start the CP in Lisbon. My short answer is yes!

A few things I liked in particular about Lisbon-Porto that we talk about in detail in the episode:

- Historic cities of Santarém, Tomar and Coimbra (even though we had already been to the latter two)
- The trail between Tomar and Coimbra especially
- Gaining a deeper understanding of Portugal
- Places that had the 'spirit of the camino' (fewer and further between than on some other caminos, but all the more special because of that)
- Figs!

There's plenty more that we didn't mention but in general I echo many of the thoughts upthread. A lot of my favourite memories from this camino come from the Lisbon-Porto stretch.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
IMG_0127 (2).JPGIMG_0067 - Copy.JPG
Templar Castle - the absolute highlight of my Portuguese Camino From Lisbon. Tomar Portugal.

And Fado Band in Coimbre - fantastic city.

Jungle Boy is right - route is flat- language is lyrical - people are super friendly and food is much better than on the French Route.,
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I would not have missed the opportunity to go through this stretch. Could not have gone to Portugal without being in Lisbon.
We focused on talking about the actual camino after Lisbon but yes, Lisbon itself is enough reason to start in Lisbon ;)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I spent three days visiting Lisbon and Sintra as a tourist, then a full day each in Coimbra and Tomar...all are not to be missed! I officially started my camino as a pilgrim in Porto. All of these posts are giving me pause to rethink possibly starting from Lisbon another time if the vaccine proves to be a success...even if a bit further down on my bucket list. I may have to do two caminos a year when I finally get let out of "jail" in the US.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hey, Nick! I think you considered walking the Fisherman's Trail, which I did in April 2019...any plans for it going forward? I loved it...you would too!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Hey, Nick! I think you considered walking the Fisherman's Trail, which I did in April 2019...any plans for it going forward? I loved it...you would too!
Yes, definitely considering it, especially in COVID times when domestic travel is preferable (though not right now during our state of emergency). It could be an option for Feb/March next year depending on how things play out. Training for the Mozárabe-VdlP! 🤣
 

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