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Thoughts on The Portuguese Camino from Lisbon

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
I've finished day 9 of The Portuguese Camino from Lisbon. What I didn't expect was the heat. Apparently it's not uncommon in this part of Portugal at this time of year. It's a dry heat but hitting the mid 30s Celsius has forced me to start as early as possible. I stayed near Oriente station in Lisbon, and this allowed me to use the train to do the part until Vila Franca de Xira. I broke that section into 3 days to make shorter days. I really enjoyed the walk especially along the waterfront around Oriente and after that beside a river. I stayed 2 nights in Vila Franca de Xira and again used the train. I walked from Vila Franca to Azambuja, took the train back and the next morning again took the train to Azambuja and did the 30 odd km to Santarem. It was very hot and the last 10 km offered no shade. It is hard to imagine this in August. I started to meet a few pilgrims and the route was flat with few hills. The uphill into Santarem after 28 hot kilometers was difficult. As usual a cold beer was the reward and I stayed in a hotel not far from the route. My travelling companion began to develop blisters and is still walking although painfully. Lots of grapes and oranges along the way. Again the heat is the really story, and it's only early May.
The route is well marked, although maps.me has been helpful to have. I pre book a few days ahead as I like to have a daily destination. I haven't used albergues yet mostly because I can't book them usually and at 63 aren't interested in wandering around looking for a bed if they're full. There has been no problems finding restaurants and cafes open along the way and haven't had to carry food. After Santarem Gronze has 2 more 30 odd km days and I broke that into roughly 3 20 km days. In fact since pre Santarem I've never done more than 25 km. With my age and in this heat it's enough.
I need to sleep now so I'll write more in a day or 2. I've already had a couple of those magical camino evenings sitting and eating and drinking with groups of pilgrims, so I'm highly enjoying the route.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
If you are still in the Santarem area, the temperatures seem to have been climbing over the last week and not yet coming down according to the IPMA website. I am a bit further north, and the temperatures haven't hit 30degC here, and they appear to have dropped a little over the past two days.

My big issue has been water supply. Yesterday's consumption was the lowest for several days with a bit over 3 li from all sources consumed. A couple of days ago it was just under 4 li of water alone, not counting other sources. More potable roadside fonts have been appearing after Coimbra. A lot before that were labelled as not controlled. Bars have always been happy to refill my reserve bottle, but so many listed in Brierley's guide have been closed that even this hasn't been as reliable as I thought it might be.

I hope you get cooler temperatures as you keep moving north.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
You're probably a day or two ahead of me. I'm in Azinhaga, and will walk to Vila Nova da Barquinha today, then Tomar tomorrow.

I've already had a couple of those magical camino evenings sitting and eating and drinking with groups of pilgrims
You're lucky! Other that pilgrims walking to Fatima I haven't encountered anyone.

I'm staying mostly in private rooms, but I have also booked in a few private albergues.
 

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
If you are still in the Santarem area, the temperatures seem to have been climbing over the last week and not yet coming down according to the IPMA website. I am a bit further north, and the temperatures haven't hit 30degC here, and they appear to have dropped a little over the past two days.

My big issue has been water supply. Yesterday's consumption was the lowest for several days with a bit over 3 li from all sources consumed. A couple of days ago it was just under 4 li of water alone, not counting other sources. More potable roadside fonts have been appearing after Coimbra. A lot before that were labelled as not controlled. Bars have always been happy to refill my reserve bottle, but so many listed in Brierley's guide have been closed that even this hasn't been as reliable as I thought it might be.

I hope you get cooler temperatures as you keep moving north.
Hi. I'm in Ansiao tonight. No issues with water. I carry 2 l in a camelback. Fill it every chance I get. Adds weight but it's vital. Leaving at 6 am works too,and avoiding the 30 km distances. I hope you're enjoying your camino. I'm loving it, and am thankful to the Portuguese for all the help I've received.
 

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
You're probably a day or two ahead of me. I'm in Azinhaga, and will walk to Vila Nova da Barquinha today, then Tomar tomorrow.


You're lucky! Other that pilgrims walking to Fatima I haven't encountered anyone.

I'm staying mostly in private rooms, but I have also booked in a few private albergues.
Yes I've been very lucky meeting so many wonderful people. I'm in Ansiao tonight. It's looking like a cooler day and having started at 615 I'm about half way there. Bon Camino.
 
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Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Barquinha is generally the last stop with the brutal heat. Then you go over some hills on the way to Tomar, and you seem to be in a much more temperate climatic zone. It seems the heat from the Alentejo runs north till it hits those hills just on the north side of the Tejo (Tagus).

The flats along the river are really the most challenging, when there's a heat wave. No shelter for long periods, through the farm fields.

So the shorter days between start and stop are probably a good plan, if you can find beds.
 
Last edited:

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
Barquinha is generally the last stop with the brutal heat. Then you go over some hills on the way to Tomar, and you seem to be in a much more temperate climatic zone. It seems the heat from the Alentejo runs north till it hits those hills just on the north side of the Tejo (Tagus).

The flats along the river are really the most brutal, when there's a heat wave. So the shorter days are probably a good plan, if you can find beds.
I walked about 20 km today until Ansiao. And as you've stated it was much cooler. It was also Cloudy which really helped. We took a little shortcut across a field into Barquinha and it was incredibly hot on the dirt. Thanks for the information, it's great to know. It must be almost unbearable in August.
 

lvf

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future
I've finished day 9 of The Portuguese Camino from Lisbon. What I didn't expect was the heat. Apparently it's not uncommon in this part of Portugal at this time of year. It's a dry heat but hitting the mid 30s Celsius has forced me to start as early as possible. I stayed near Oriente station in Lisbon, and this allowed me to use the train to do the part until Vila Franca de Xira. I broke that section into 3 days to make shorter days. I really enjoyed the walk especially along the waterfront around Oriente and after that beside a river. I stayed 2 nights in Vila Franca de Xira and again used the train. I walked from Vila Franca to Azambuja, took the train back and the next morning again took the train to Azambuja and did the 30 odd km to Santarem. It was very hot and the last 10 km offered no shade. It is hard to imagine this in August. I started to meet a few pilgrims and the route was flat with few hills. The uphill into Santarem after 28 hot kilometers was difficult. As usual a cold beer was the reward and I stayed in a hotel not far from the route. My travelling companion began to develop blisters and is still walking although painfully. Lots of grapes and oranges along the way. Again the heat is the really story, and it's only early May.
The route is well marked, although maps.me has been helpful to have. I pre book a few days ahead as I like to have a daily destination. I haven't used albergues yet mostly because I can't book them usually and at 63 aren't interested in wandering around looking for a bed if they're full. There has been no problems finding restaurants and cafes open along the way and haven't had to carry food. After Santarem Gronze has 2 more 30 odd km days and I broke that into roughly 3 20 km days. In fact since pre Santarem I've never done more than 25 km. With my age and in this heat it's enough.
I need to sleep now so I'll write more in a day or 2. I've already had a couple of those magical camino evenings sitting and eating and drinking with groups of pilgrims, so I'm highly enjoying the route.
My husband and I just finished the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon to Santiago. We liked to keep our walks from 22 -24 km a day. Those long days before and after Santarem were very hard on a number of pilgrims we met. Some had to end their Camino because of injury. It’s wise to not go with these long stages when they are day after day as in this case. We had a wonderful time and we are planning our next Camino in the Fall! Bom Camino!
 

Albertinho

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022
My husband and I just finished the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon to Santiago. We liked to keep our walks from 22 -24 km a day. Those long days before and after Santarem were very hard on a number of pilgrims we met. Some had to end their Camino because of injury. It’s wise to not go with these long stages when they are day after day as in this case. We had a wonderful time and we are planning our next Camino in the Fall! Bom Camino!
Congratulations 👏👏👏
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
You're probably a day or two ahead of me. I'm in Azinhaga, and will walk to Vila Nova da Barquinha today, then Tomar tomorrow.


You're lucky! Other that pilgrims walking to Fatima I haven't encountered anyone.

I'm staying mostly in private rooms, but I have also booked in a few private albergues.
I walked when it was the centennial celebration in Fatima. So I did encounter some people, many who were just walking to Fatima. Overall it was very quiet and very hot (Started in late September) and very little shade much of the day. When I was past Tomar and the route to Fatima from the North was again the same as the Camino route I passed alot more pilgrims going to Fatima than pilgrims walking to Santiago. But of course once I got to Porto that all changed dramatically.
 
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CreationRamblers

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Awaiting our first Camino!
My husband and I just finished the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon to Santiago. We liked to keep our walks from 22 -24 km a day. Those long days before and after Santarem were very hard on a number of pilgrims we met. Some had to end their Camino because of injury. It’s wise to not go with these long stages when they are day after day as in this case. We had a wonderful time and we are planning our next Camino in the Fall! Bom Camino!
congratulations! can't wait to begin our first Camino!.
 

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
After Santarem we stayed a few km before Azinhaga at Casa Das Portas. It was an oasis with a swimming pool, refreshments and wonderful guests, most of whom were pilgrims. You can pay for dinner and breakfast, so there is no need to leave the beautiful property. I highly recommend a stop here if it's within your budget. The next day we walked about 18km to Vila Nova da Barquinha and stayed at a hotel. The route passes a former summer palace in disrepair. There was 1 restaurant we could find open and again I was lucky enough to have a wonderful dinner with some pilgrims. I am travelling with a friend so hotels are pretty reasonable for 2. The next day was a bit longer at about 24 km and we stayed in Tomar. It is a good town for a rest stop as there is a castle that those who visited felt was well worth the time.I ate dinner in the old part of town. Lovely meal and atmosphere. Beautiful old stone streets and a very traditional Portuguese square enhanced the evening. I highly recommend the quirky and intriguing Central Family Palace. The clue is in the name.A former palace, it is really an amazing place for those looking for a very different experience. History buffs will be in their element. It's centrally located.
Next day was again about 25km and we had another great place to stay. In my opinion the Camino is best after Tomar for various reasons. I'll return to those reasons at another time. We stayed in Cortica at the Quinta da Cortica-Casa da Torre. A relatively new place with no nearby resources you can get dinner and breakfast there. It has great rooms,a dorm, a pool and an incredible building you can hang out in. For a fee you can wash your clothes too. They did run out of breakfast due to the fact people took way more than their fair share but please remember places are struggling after covid did so much damage to the tourist infrastructure. Anyways, it is a beautiful place to stay. I'll update again in a few days.
 

Sineadmk

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May 2013
After Santarem we stayed a few km before Azinhaga at Casa Das Portas. It was an oasis with a swimming pool, refreshments and wonderful guests, most of whom were pilgrims. You can pay for dinner and breakfast, so there is no need to leave the beautiful property. I highly recommend a stop here if it's within your budget. The next day we walked about 18km to Vila Nova da Barquinha and stayed at a hotel. The route passes a former summer palace in disrepair. There was 1 restaurant we could find open and again I was lucky enough to have a wonderful dinner with some pilgrims. I am travelling with a friend so hotels are pretty reasonable for 2. The next day was a bit longer at about 24 km and we stayed in Tomar. It is a good town for a rest stop as there is a castle that those who visited felt was well worth the time.I ate dinner in the old part of town. Lovely meal and atmosphere. Beautiful old stone streets and a very traditional Portuguese square enhanced the evening. I highly recommend the quirky and intriguing Central Family Palace. The clue is in the name.A former palace, it is really an amazing place for those looking for a very different experience. History buffs will be in their element. It's centrally located.
Next day was again about 25km and we had another great place to stay. In my opinion the Camino is best after Tomar for various reasons. I'll return to those reasons at another time. We stayed in Cortica at the Quinta da Cortica-Casa da Torre. A relatively new place with no nearby resources you can get dinner and breakfast there. It has great rooms,a dorm, a pool and an incredible building you can hang out in. For a fee you can wash your clothes too. They did run out of breakfast due to the fact people took way more than their fair share but please remember places are struggling after covid did so much damage to the tourist infrastructure. Anyways, it is a beautiful place to stay. I'll update again in a few days.
Mike,
I am avidly following this account of your travels 😊Thank you so much for the up to date details you've provided already. The mixed reviews of Lisbon to Porto influenced me to allocate only 8 walking days for that stretch, but now, from reading your experience I'm thinking of taking longer. I will only be starting out & able for 20km days & was thinking of hoping on a bus or train to make up the distances. Is there much public transport? (usually Portugal & Spain has great services)
I'm leaving Lisbon Tues 7th June & thought I would skip ahead to Porto Tues 14th. My flight home from Santiago is July 3rd so I've a good bit of walking time
Looking forward to your next installment 👊🙂
Sinéad
 

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
We left Cortica early the next morning again to avoid the afternoon heat. I really enjoyed the days walk, I think visually this was the best wLking of the Camino so far. The rolling hills made for nice visuals and we seemed far into the Portuguese interior. We decided to spend a rest day in Ansiao. I was pleased with the choice. We stayed in the Ansiturismo Alojamento hotel and it's literally right on the route. Maybe 200 m further on was the town square, which had a nice Cafe where generally pilgrims seemed to stop. It proved to be a great place together and greet as well as drink coffee and snack. I highly recommend Arte da Massagem, on a street running off the square. Tel 917 744 004. After an hour and one half I felt ready to continue walking. It's quite reasonably priced.
It was a good town to have an off day as it had all the necessary services. My friends blisters still being a problem we broke up the 50 or so km to Coimbra into 3 walking days. Again after a beautiful walk we went to Alvorge and stayed at a B&B about 2 km from town. We booked it on Airbnb but it's also listed on booking.com as Casa Vale Florido. It was great. We had the whole house to ourselves...including a pool. We were able to wash our close for free and the nice couple running the place have a restaurant maybe 400 m from the B&B. In all a great stay!! Again the walking is lively thru rolling hills and farmland. Next we stayed at Conimbriga hotel do Paco. A bit of a treat, it is in a lovely area of a town named Condeixa-a-Nova. It has a pool, but the pool was being renovated. Lots of restaurants in the area of our hotel. The heat had become less of a factor and we were able to leave later in the morning. We walked to Coimbra, a nice walk that brings you to the river,across a bridge and right into the main street of Coimbra. We again took an extra day to enjoy the many attractions it offers. Luckily we met up with pilgrims we had previously connected with and had 2 very enjoyable evenings. I highly recommend sometimes taking the time to enjoy Portugal so it doesn't simply become a backdrop to the hike. We got an Airbnb right across from a 12th C church. Pretty spectacular, maybe 400 m from the must see university that is so historical.
Today we had a pleasant walk to Mealhada, an area that has many accommodation options. It was a varied and pleasant walk. We are staying at Residence Hilario where single rooms cost 20 €. For various reasons we have avoided Albergues, covid, my snoring etc. We have about 5 more walking days left. Today was Cloudy and it really makes the walking easier. My right knee has started hurting a little, I would guess from all the walking. But it's a small price to pay. As someone that doesn't blister I feel I've been lucky. Especially when I look under a table when pilgrims have taken their shoes off and see the many bandages and second skin products and the like on people's feet.
Since Tomar the route has been hilly but with few long climbs. At this time of the year there are many flowers in the fields and with very blue skies it has been very scenic. A shout out again to the wonderful Portuguese people that are so helpful in many ways,and always answering a Bom Dia with the same.
 
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mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
Mike,
I am avidly following this account of your travels 😊Thank you so much for the up to date details you've provided already. The mixed reviews of Lisbon to Porto influenced me to allocate only 8 walking days for that stretch, but now, from reading your experience I'm thinking of taking longer. I will only be starting out & able for 20km days & was thinking of hoping on a bus or train to make up the distances. Is there much public transport? (usually Portugal & Spain has great services)
I'm leaving Lisbon Tues 7th June & thought I would skip ahead to Porto Tues 14th. My flight home from Santiago is July 3rd so I've a good bit of walking time
Looking forward to your next installment 👊🙂
Sinéad
You can use the train from Oriente station to Santarem. If pressed for time I would do Tomar to Coimbra. I think the best stretch. Both are big enough to have good public transit connections. I think Tomar is about 2 hours by train from Lisbon. Tomar to Coimbra would easily be done in 7 days probably with no more than 20 km per day.
 

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
Mike,
I am avidly following this account of your travels 😊Thank you so much for the up to date details you've provided already. The mixed reviews of Lisbon to Porto influenced me to allocate only 8 walking days for that stretch, but now, from reading your experience I'm thinking of taking longer. I will only be starting out & able for 20km days & was thinking of hoping on a bus or train to make up the distances. Is there much public transport? (usually Portugal & Spain has great services)
I'm leaving Lisbon Tues 7th June & thought I would skip ahead to Porto Tues 14th. My flight home from Santiago is July 3rd so I've a good bit of walking time
Looking forward to your next installment 👊🙂
Sinéad
Sorry, and Bon Camino!!!
 

Albertinho

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022
You can use the train from Oriente station to Santarem. If pressed for time I would do Tomar to Coimbra. I think the best stretch. Both are big enough to have good public transit connections. I think Tomar is about 2 hours by train from Lisbon. Tomar to Coimbra would easily be done in 7 days probably with no more than 20 km per day.
Tomar to Coimbra is 80 kms so about 4 days walk.
 

mike105

Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2016
Via Francigena 2018
Madrid 2019
San Salvador 2019
Primitivo 2019
I'm sitting in emergency awaiting X-ray results in Toronto. I've possibly torn my meniscus in my right knee. Happened 2 days ago so yesterday I took an Uber to the airport in Porto and flew home. It sucks but in life stuff happens. Seeing hallways filled with elderly people today puts my minor setback in perspective. I had a great trip and although it didn't end as I wished, I shall be back to walk again! Lol. More later on the last few days before I blew a tire...
 
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Friend from Barquinha

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
I'm sitting in emergency awaiting X-ray results in Toronto. I've possibly torn my meniscus in my right knee. Happened 2 days ago so yesterday I took an Uber to the airport in Porto and flew home. It sucks but in life stuff happens. Seeing hallways filled with elderly people today puts my minor setback in perspective. I had a great trip and although it didn't end as I wished, I shall be back to walk again! Lol. More later on the last few days before I blew a tire...
Bom caminho for the future, and boa sorte (good luck) right now, with the knee!
 

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