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Terrain on Portuguese Camino

Past OR future Camino
2019
I'm wondering what the walking surfaces are like on the Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago. In particular, I'd like to know if it's as rocky as the Camino Frances. I'm planning on walking the Portuguese Way this coming fall (October 2017), and I'm starting to think about footwear. I wore Keen boots on the Frances in 2015. I would prefer a shoe with more give in the toe box, but I'm afraid that lighter shoes wouldn't be as comfortable or practical if the way is as rocky as the Frances was.
 
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Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Past OR future Camino
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
There is very little walking on rocky ground along the Portuguese from Porto. A larger percentage on minor roads and farm tracks than on the Frances. There are also fewer hills - none are very steep or high. A more gentle route overall.
In addition : a lot of roadwalking on tarmac and cobblestones !
Between Ponte de Lima and Rubiães is an about 425 meter high mountain .the path over the mountain is a dirt path, about 7 kms

Between O Porriño and Pontevedra are some very steep hills downwards
We used walkingpoles and now and then zigzagged down .better for the knees !
Bom caminho
 
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Past OR future Camino
2019
In addition : a lot of roadwalking on tarmac and cobblestones !
Between Ponte de Lima and Rubiães is an about 425 meter high mountain .the path over the mountain is a dirt path, about 7 kms

Between O Porriño and Pontevedra are some very steep hills downwards
We used walkingpoles and now and then zigzagged down .better for the knees !
Bom caminho
Thanks so much!
 

KentuckyJay

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Hiked Leon to Santiago in May, 2014.
Hiked Porto to Santiago in May, 2016.
That was definitely a challenge. I didn't hate it. I loved every moment of my Camino Frances (well, except for the pain in my feet). But I'll be two years older and I will welcome a more forgiving path.
I did Porto to Santiago last May and found it to be easier than the Camino Frances which I did (from Leon) in May 2013. B-T-W, I just turned 71 last month. Bom Camino.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (2016), CP (2017)
I did Porto to Santiago last May and found it to be easier than the Camino Frances which I did (from Leon) in May 2013. B-T-W, I just turned 71 last month. Bom Camino.
KentuckyJay did you do the coastal walk or central? Thanks!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This thread was originally posted in the "Interior Route" section and I've moved it to the general Camino Portugués section. I know it's confusing, but the Interior route goes from Viseu to Chaves to Verin, where it joins up with the Sanabrés. The two main Porto to Santiago routes are, as Imsundaze says, the Coastal or the Central. The Central is the "traditional" inland route, with several coastal variants. The terminology doesn't really matter for its own sake, but I'd hate to see someone wind up by mistake in Viseu! Bom caminho, Laurie
 
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frida1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
I found the Portuguese easier in terms of hills. The main issue I noticed was cobblestone. I needed a lot of cushion in the sole for that.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I found the Portuguese easier in terms of hills. The main issue I noticed was cobblestone. I needed a lot of cushion in the sole for that.
While there was cobblestone, and I had been warned here on the Forum, I never understood what the issue was. I was wearing Hoka One Ones, perhaps that's what made the cobblestones disappear.
 

frida1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
I was also using Hoka, my favorite and the reason the cobbles didn't bother me. I knew less cushiony footwear would not have worked!
 
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KariC

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
The cobblestones get very uncomfortable after several hours. I did the camino in Lowa boots, which are perfect for my feet and have thick soles, but even they couldn't keep my feet comfortable after hours of cobblestone walking. I recommend choosing something with thick soles to at least minimize the impact of the cobblestones. Loved the Camino Portugues, and the cobblestones are so picturesque, but they do get uncomfortable.
 

ctdkite

New Member
Past OR future Camino
hoping
I can't compare to the Frances, but I can add that we walked in early April, following much heavy rain. Often the path was washed out or covered with wet and slippery rock debris. Probably not a problem at other times.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
The cobblestones get very uncomfortable after several hours. I did the camino in Lowa boots, which are perfect for my feet and have thick soles, but even they couldn't keep my feet comfortable after hours of cobblestone walking. I recommend choosing something with thick soles to at least minimize the impact of the cobblestones. Loved the Camino Portugues, and the cobblestones are so picturesque, but they do get uncomfortable.
Are the cobblestones hard to use hiking poles on? I love using my poles for balance, as well as for help with hills, going up as well as down.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Are the cobblestones hard to use hiking poles on? I love using my poles for balance, as well as for help with hills, going up as well as down.
Not much up or down hill where there are cobblestones. Not many chances of needing help with your balance either where there are cobblestones (and I also am a walking pole fan in general, but only needed to use them once between Porto to Santiago, and that was on the Variante Espiritual). I would not worry.
 
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Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Past OR future Camino
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
The cobblestones get very uncomfortable after several hours. I did the camino in Lowa boots, which are perfect for my feet and have thick soles, but even they couldn't keep my feet comfortable after hours of cobblestone walking. I recommend choosing something with thick soles to at least minimize the impact of the cobblestones. Loved the Camino Portugues, and the cobblestones are so picturesque, but they do get uncomfortable.
Are the cobblestones hard to use hiking poles on? I love using my poles for balance, as well as for help with hills, going up as well as down.
as long as you use the rubber tips there is no problem walking on antique Roman cobblestone roads
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
They're not actually cobblestones which are naturally occuring round stones (bigger than a pebble, smaller than a boulder my Soil Mechanics lecture once told me). Wet cobblestones are a nightmare to walk on as anybody who has walked the old Roman sections of the CF in the wet can testify.

What you'll find are hand trimmed square granite setts:

upload_2017-1-7_21-20-43.jpeg

that can make the soles of your feet tender but are usually not slippery. Good insoles (Palmilha in Portuguese) can be a help cushioning the shock. I wore Merrell hiking shoes in 2015 and they were OK.

The only rocky section I can remember is a couple of hours before Viana do Castelo where I was dragged over a hill to see a small church.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
They're not actually cobblestones which are naturally occuring round stones (bigger than a pebble, smaller than a boulder my Soil Mechanics lecture once told me). Wet cobblestones are a nightmare to walk on as anybody who has walked the old Roman sections of the CF in the wet can testify.

What you'll find are hand trimmed square granite setts:

View attachment 31068

that can make the soles of your feet tender but are usually not slippery. Good insoles (Palmilha in Portuguese) can be a help cushioning the shock. I wore Merrell hiking shoes in 2015 and they were OK.

The only rocky section I can remember is a couple of hours before Viana do Castelo where I was dragged over a hill to see a small church.
Thank you, Jeff. That is very good information, and I'm delighted to see the photo and have a good picture of what I'll be walking on. I was very fortunate on the Camino Frances in the fall of 2015, when I didn't run into rain either on the old Roman cobblestone roads or on the very steep rocky descents throughout the Camino. I wore Keen low-rise hiking boots and plan to do that on the Portuguese as well, in a larger size. And I'll probably use Super Feet inserts.
 

Camino Tom

New Member
Past OR future Camino
See Below
I'm wondering what the walking surfaces are like on the Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago. In particular, I'd like to know if it's as rocky as the Camino Frances. I'm planning on walking the Portuguese Way this coming fall (October 2017), and I'm starting to think about footwear. I wore Keen boots on the Frances in 2015. I would prefer a shoe with more give in the toe box, but I'm afraid that lighter shoes wouldn't be as comfortable or practical if the way is as rocky as the Frances was.

Hi
As those of us who have walked this route knows the Portuguese Camino compared to the other Camino routes ( French way / Del Norte / Via de la plata ) is relatively benign with no major climbs or descents , bring boots and runners for tarmac and good surface conditions .
When you get to Caldes de Reis and if you choose to bathe your feet in the hot spring ( its lovely ) make sure you don't stand upright, sit on the side as I nearly finished all my Camino aspirations there in 2012 . The surface is as slippery as a ski slope ,I did an almost 360 degree flip in this small basin and miraculously avoided the granite surrounds , fortunately living to tell the tale. - THE CAMINO PROVIDES !!

Good Luck
tom
 
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Past OR future Camino
2019
Hi
As those of us who have walked this route knows the Portuguese Camino compared to the other Camino routes ( French way / Del Norte / Via de la plata ) is relatively benign with no major climbs or descents , bring boots and runners for tarmac and good surface conditions .
When you get to Caldes de Reis and if you choose to bathe your feet in the hot spring ( its lovely ) make sure you don't stand upright, sit on the side as I nearly finished all my Camino aspirations there in 2012 . The surface is as slippery as a ski slope ,I did an almost 360 degree flip in this small basin and miraculously avoided the granite surrounds , fortunately living to tell the tale. - THE CAMINO PROVIDES !!

Good Luck
tom
Thank you for the warning! So glad that you lived to tell the tale!
 
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
When you get to Caldes de Reis and if you choose to bathe your feet in the hot spring ( its lovely ) make sure you don't stand upright, sit on the side as I nearly finished all my Camino aspirations there in 2012 . The surface is as slippery as a ski slope ,I did an almost 360 degree flip in this small basin and miraculously avoided the granite surrounds , fortunately living to tell the tale. - THE CAMINO PROVIDES !!

When I passed the fountain last year there was a sign saying people were not allowed to bathe their feet in it :( Seemed a little mean - is anyone going to drink from the basin? :rolleyes:
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Past OR future Camino
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
When I passed the fountain last year there was a sign saying people were not allowed to bathe their feet in it :( Seemed a little mean - is anyone going to drink from the basin? :rolleyes:
I don't :p:confused:
I think if you 'll drink the water, it will be your last 50 steps direction Santiago.
it is soooo filthy yaggg:cool:
 

Burnergirl

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Twice did the first parts of the route from St. Jean Pied de Port.
I did Porto to Santiago last May and found it to be easier than the Camino Frances which I did (from Leon) in May 2013. B-T-W, I just turned 71 last month. Bom Camino.

I'm looking to do the Camino from Porto, next spring... mid April into May... did you find it hard to find accommodations in May? Was is particularly wet? I know the summer months are very busy, and I'm trying to avoid crowds.
 

sulu

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
It's funny but reading these comments I wonder if I walked the same caminos to everyone else:confused:
The only problems I had on the Frances were to do with snow and ice after Roncesvalles but I distinctly remember a stretch on the Portugues, near Ponte de Lima I think, where the hill was steep and rocky and I ended up using hands and feet to get over a couple of big rocks. It was not a big hill but it was not so easy!!
It just shows that it is all to do with perceptions.
 
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frida1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
Sulu, there is one climb of about 1,000' after Rubaies. It's rocky and steep. But it's the only one in the entire route.
 

Claudia Stephens

New Member
Past OR future Camino
(June 1-July 25)
I'm wondering what the walking surfaces are like on the Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago. In particular, I'd like to know if it's as rocky as the Camino Frances. I'm planning on walking the Portuguese Way this coming fall (October 2017), and I'm starting to think about footwear. I wore Keen boots on the Frances in 2015. I would prefer a shoe with more give in the toe box, but I'm afraid that lighter shoes wouldn't be as comfortable or practical if the way is as rocky as the Frances was.
Did you go? How was it?
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
Yes, and it was wonderful! There are as many cobblestones as reported, especially in Portugal. Not so much in Galicia. I decided on Hoka One One's, with Superfeet inserts, and the cobblestones didn't both me at all. I found that I didn't need the extra ankle support that boots give either. The Hoka's are incredibly lightweight and also are more forgiving in the toe box than the waterproof Keens were. My feet were much happier on this Camino, although I did get a couple of blisters. That was inevitable, I think, given my problem feet. We walked in several days of heavy rain, so my shoes got wet, but they dried quickly overnight.
 

Claudia Stephens

New Member
Past OR future Camino
(June 1-July 25)
Yes, and it was wonderful! There are as many cobblestones as reported, especially in Portugal. Not so much in Galicia. I decided on Hoka One One's, with Superfeet inserts, and the cobblestones didn't both me at all. I found that I didn't need the extra ankle support that boots give either. The Hoka's are incredibly lightweight and also are more forgiving in the toe box than the waterproof Keens were. My feet were much happier on this Camino, although I did get a couple of blisters. That was inevitable, I think, given my problem feet. We walked in several days of heavy rain, so my shoes got wet, but they dried quickly overnight.
Did you stay in municipal albergues? Were there enough (cheap) choices? I walked the Frances in 2016 and it was freeing to be able to decide where to stay as you go. Can you do that in Portugal? (I always stopped early between noon and 15:00)
 
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Past OR future Camino
2019
Did you stay in municipal albergues? Were there enough (cheap) choices? I walked the Frances in 2016 and it was freeing to be able to decide where to stay as you go. Can you do that in Portugal? (I always stopped early between noon and 15:00)
I walked the Frances in 2015, and like you, usually stopped between noon and 2:00-3:00p.m. On the Portuguese this fall, I was with three other pilgrims, so I didn't have the autonomy to decide on my own where to stop. As a consequence, we stopped at a mix of private albergues and hostels, and a couple of municipals. We called ahead for reservations most days. I had the sense that there were plenty of places to stay, and lots of options, from municipals to hotels and in-between. It was never expensive, I thought, even in hostels where we shared double rooms. There didn't seem to be nearly as many pilgrim dinners offered, with the exception of a few wonderful private albergues. The best was Casa da Fernanda at Lugar do Corgo, the best pilgrim experience I had on either Camino. Don't miss that! There were often menus of the day, a little more than the usual pilgrim menu, inexpensive and ample.
 

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