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Trip Report: Senda/Coastal from Porto 4/1 to 4/13/2022

Taholden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Route, 2022
Greetings!
I walked the Portuguese Camino from Porto (taking the Senda Litoral, Coastal, and Central routes) from April 1 to April 13. This was my first Camino, and it was so wonderful. I wanted to post this trip report in case some details help others in planning their spring trips. I walked with a friend and we met many wonderful folks along the way.

Stages (13 days walking, no rest days. We averaged 20 kms/day, maximum day was 27 kms, minimum was 16):
(Note: Average KM has been corrected to 20 km per day)
Senda Litoral
Porto to Praia de Angeiras
Angeiras to Agucadores
Agucadores to Marinhas
Marinhas to Viana do Costelo
Viana do Costelo to Vila Praia de Ancora

Coastal (along Portuguese side of Rio Minho)
Vila Praia de Ancora to Vila Nova de Cerveira
Vila Nova de Cerveira to Tui

Central
Tui to O Porrino
O Porrino to Cesantes
Cesantes to Pontevedra
Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
Caldas de Reis to Cruces
Cruces to Santiago de Compostela

Weather: Mix of sun, wind, rain, clouds, with cool mornings and generally mild temperatures (10 to 20 degrees C) in the afternoon. Very pleasant. A couple mornings along the coast there was frost on the ground.

Here are my thoughts/observations on some of the many questions I saw posed on this forum:

Covid and masks: Mask wearing was ubiquitous indoors in Spain and Portugal when we were there. Folks in the hostels/hotels would wear masks checking in, but then remove them generally once in the hostel. I didn’t hear of anyone getting covid along the route. I was able to get my 24-hour antigen covid test to return to the US at the airport in Lisbon, it was quick, easy and cost 25 euro. There are also covid testing at street locations in Lisbon. To get into Portugal, I had a PCR test here in the US, which was required by my airline (United) to check in for the flight. No one in Portugal asked to see my test results, but I couldn’t have boarded the flight without it even though I’m double vaxxed and boosted. I carried my US vaccine card but was never asked for it.

Lodging and booking ahead: We didn’t reserve anything ahead until we got to Tui. Then we booked one night ahead. I’m guessing that due to Semana Santa, the last 100 kilometer portion that starts soon after Tui, and the routes converging, it got noticeably busier once we got to Tui. We stayed in a mix of municipal and private albergues, and small hotels. We had no trouble finding lodging by booking one day ahead.

Apps and maps/guides: We used the Camino Ninja app, which was actually quite good. Linking it to Maps.me to use offline maps to find our lodging really helped make the app more useful. I also brought the Porto to Santiago portion of the Brierley guide. It was helpful to get a bigger picture overview of how the various routes converged and merged. When I tried to research the Portuguese Camino before my trip, I found the Brierley guide to be very frustrating and unorganized to use. But once you’re actually on the Camino, it makes much more sense. It wasn’t necessary to bring it, but it was nice to plan when we were going to leave the Senda Litoral and move inland.

Blankets and cooking: The municipal albergues were not generally providing blankets and I didn’t really see much kitchen activity (cooking, communal eating, etc.). I brought a very small lightweight sleeping bag (10 degree C, less than 1 pound) and was very happy to have it (I tend to “run cold” so generally needed more insulating layers than others, I noticed).

Poncho or jacket/pants/pack cover: I took a poncho and was very pleased with it. The rain poured down for hours one day, and my pack (included shoulder straps and waist belt) stayed perfectly dry, compared to some folks with pack covers whose waist belts, straps and pack contents got wet. My boots and lower pant legs were wet, but then I rolled my pants up (it wasn’t cold, just rainy) and I was very comfortable. Other days when the rain was on and off, it was great to have the easy on-off of the poncho. So now I’m a big poncho fan.

Clothing layers: As I mentioned, I run cold. So I lived in my puffy vest, longer sleeved lightweight layered shirts and hiking pants. Others were in T shirts. So the bottom line is, know your own temperature tolerances, check general weather conditions, and pack appropriately for you. I can provide my packing list if anyone want to see it. My pack is a Gregory 40L Zulu and weighed about 6.5 kilos without water. It was very comfortable for me to carry, and I had plenty of room in it. I made sure the weight was right for me and didn’t overpack my pack even though there was room for more stuff.

Water: I took a 1.25 liter water bottle (just a regular store bought plastic bottle, nothing fancy) and usually didn’t fill it completely. Tap water is good to drink and it was easy to refill along the way (also, it wasn’t hot, so wasn’t drinking as much water). I used a “smart tube” bought on Amazon so I could sip water from my bottle in my side pack pocket as I walked. I don’t like carrying a water bladder in my pack, and my shoulders aren’t flexible enough to get my bottle out on my own. The smart tube worked great, I recommend it.

All in all, the Camino experience exceeded my expectations. The scenery, comradery, wonderful variety of walking conditions (gravel roads, cobblestones, dirt trails, old roman roads, coastal boardwalks, villages, rural town and farms, forests, along streams, wow!) were just incredible. What a great way to see Portugal and Spain. I also really enjoyed meeting so many people from all over, sharing drinks and meals, stories and dorm rooms, and then running into these same folks days later in different towns. I also walked on my own for parts of several days which was nice. I felt very safe and the route was easy to follow, especially with the Camino Ninja app. Bom Caminho to all!
 
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Taholden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Route, 2022
Oops, noticed my daily average number is in miles, not kilometers! We averaged 20 kms (12 miles) per day.

(note: correction was made to original post)
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Past OR future Camino
Various Portuguese caminhos
Volunteer
Congratulations on completing your Portuguese caminho.
and I think many will be happy with your description of the route you hiked and the places you stayed.
 

Indy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese June 2022
Thank you for your trip report!
can you please post the name brand of your sleeping bag? I’m looking for a lightweight one for this summer. Thank you.
 
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Taholden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Route, 2022
Congratulations on completing your Portuguese caminho.
and I think many will be happy with your description of the route you hiked and the places you stayed.
thank you! I hope this is the first of many caminos for me.
 

Taholden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Route, 2022
Thank you for your trip report!
can you please post the name brand of your sleeping bag? I’m looking for a lightweight one for this summer. Thank you.
hi Indy - It's the Sea to Summit Traveller Down Sleeping Bag. It is a mummy bag that unzips into a blanket, so really versatile and lightweight. www.seatosummit.com.
 

Taholden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Route, 2022
Congratulations! Curious as to what the elevation gains you experienced,
I didn't track elevation (although I think the camino ninja app estimated them for based on daily stages). The route we took seemed to me pretty flat for 85% of it. A day or 2 had what I would call "hills" but nothing grueling. There was one day (coming into Viana do Castelo I believe) where there was a quite steep, short downhill road section.
 

Adelina

Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Obrigada! Great synopsis of your trip with very useful information for this Pilgrim that will begin in Porto on May 9!
 

jlamont808

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May15, 2022
Greetings!
I walked the Portuguese Camino from Porto (taking the Senda Litoral, Coastal, and Central routes) from April 1 to April 13. This was my first Camino, and it was so wonderful. I wanted to post this trip report in case some details help others in planning their spring trips. I walked with a friend and we met many wonderful folks along the way.

Stages (13 days walking, no rest days. We averaged 12 kms/day, maximum day was 27 kms, minimum was 16):

Senda Litoral
Porto to Praia de Angeiras
Angeiras to Agucadores
Agucadores to Marinhas
Marinhas to Viana do Costelo
Viana do Costelo to Vila Praia de Ancora

Coastal (along Portuguese side of Rio Minho)
Vila Praia de Ancora to Vila Nova de Cerveira
Vila Nova de Cerveira to Tui

Central
Tui to O Porrino
O Porrino to Cesantes
Cesantes to Pontevedra
Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
Caldas de Reis to Cruces
Cruces to Santiago de Compostela

Weather: Mix of sun, wind, rain, clouds, with cool mornings and generally mild temperatures (10 to 20 degrees C) in the afternoon. Very pleasant. A couple mornings along the coast there was frost on the ground.

Here are my thoughts/observations on some of the many questions I saw posed on this forum:

Covid and masks: Mask wearing was ubiquitous indoors in Spain and Portugal when we were there. Folks in the hostels/hotels would wear masks checking in, but then remove them generally once in the hostel. I didn’t hear of anyone getting covid along the route. I was able to get my 24-hour antigen covid test to return to the US at the airport in Lisbon, it was quick, easy and cost 25 euro. There are also covid testing at street locations in Lisbon. To get into Portugal, I had a PCR test here in the US, which was required by my airline (United) to check in for the flight. No one in Portugal asked to see my test results, but I couldn’t have boarded the flight without it even though I’m double vaxxed and boosted. I carried my US vaccine card but was never asked for it.

Lodging and booking ahead: We didn’t reserve anything ahead until we got to Tui. Then we booked one night ahead. I’m guessing that due to Semana Santa, the last 100 kilometer portion that starts soon after Tui, and the routes converging, it got noticeably busier once we got to Tui. We stayed in a mix of municipal and private albergues, and small hotels. We had no trouble finding lodging by booking one day ahead.

Apps and maps/guides: We used the Camino Ninja app, which was actually quite good. Linking it to Maps.me to use offline maps to find our lodging really helped make the app more useful. I also brought the Porto to Santiago portion of the Brierley guide. It was helpful to get a bigger picture overview of how the various routes converged and merged. When I tried to research the Portuguese Camino before my trip, I found the Brierley guide to be very frustrating and unorganized to use. But once you’re actually on the Camino, it makes much more sense. It wasn’t necessary to bring it, but it was nice to plan when we were going to leave the Senda Litoral and move inland.

Blankets and cooking: The municipal albergues were not generally providing blankets and I didn’t really see much kitchen activity (cooking, communal eating, etc.). I brought a very small lightweight sleeping bag (10 degree C, less than 1 pound) and was very happy to have it (I tend to “run cold” so generally needed more insulating layers than others, I noticed).

Poncho or jacket/pants/pack cover: I took a poncho and was very pleased with it. The rain poured down for hours one day, and my pack (included shoulder straps and waist belt) stayed perfectly dry, compared to some folks with pack covers whose waist belts, straps and pack contents got wet. My boots and lower pant legs were wet, but then I rolled my pants up (it wasn’t cold, just rainy) and I was very comfortable. Other days when the rain was on and off, it was great to have the easy on-off of the poncho. So now I’m a big poncho fan.

Clothing layers: As I mentioned, I run cold. So I lived in my puffy vest, longer sleeved lightweight layered shirts and hiking pants. Others were in T shirts. So the bottom line is, know your own temperature tolerances, check general weather conditions, and pack appropriately for you. I can provide my packing list if anyone want to see it. My pack is a Gregory 40L Zulu and weighed about 6.5 kilos without water. It was very comfortable for me to carry, and I had plenty of room in it. I made sure the weight was right for me and didn’t overpack my pack even though there was room for more stuff.

Water: I took a 1.25 liter water bottle (just a regular store bought plastic bottle, nothing fancy) and usually didn’t fill it completely. Tap water is good to drink and it was easy to refill along the way (also, it wasn’t hot, so wasn’t drinking as much water). I used a “smart tube” bought on Amazon so I could sip water from my bottle in my side pack pocket as I walked. I don’t like carrying a water bladder in my pack, and my shoulders aren’t flexible enough to get my bottle out on my own. The smart tube worked great, I recommend it.

All in all, the Camino experience exceeded my expectations. The scenery, comradery, wonderful variety of walking conditions (gravel roads, cobblestones, dirt trails, old roman roads, coastal boardwalks, villages, rural town and farms, forests, along streams, wow!) were just incredible. What a great way to see Portugal and Spain. I also really enjoyed meeting so many people from all over, sharing drinks and meals, stories and dorm rooms, and then running into these same folks days later in different towns. I also walked on my own for parts of several days which was nice. I felt very safe and the route was easy to follow, especially with the Camino Ninja app. Bom Caminho to all!
Thank you for this post!! We leave May 12 for the same route!! Sounds like you had a wonderful experience!!
 
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Taholden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Route, 2022
Obrigada! Great synopsis of your trip with very useful information for this Pilgrim that will begin in Porto on May 9!
Bom caminho to you! Walking out of Porto along the river was a great way to start!
 

FourSeasons

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Costa/Senda Litoral
Porto/SdC Sept 2022
Greetings!
I walked the Portuguese Camino from Porto (taking the Senda Litoral, Coastal, and Central routes) from April 1 to April 13. This was my first Camino, and it was so wonderful. I wanted to post this trip report in case some details help others in planning their spring trips. I walked with a friend and we met many wonderful folks along the way.

Stages (13 days walking, no rest days. We averaged 12 kms/day, maximum day was 27 kms, minimum was 16):

Senda Litoral
Porto to Praia de Angeiras
Angeiras to Agucadores
Agucadores to Marinhas
Marinhas to Viana do Costelo
Viana do Costelo to Vila Praia de Ancora

Coastal (along Portuguese side of Rio Minho)
Vila Praia de Ancora to Vila Nova de Cerveira
Vila Nova de Cerveira to Tui

Central
Tui to O Porrino
O Porrino to Cesantes
Cesantes to Pontevedra
Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
Caldas de Reis to Cruces
Cruces to Santiago de Compostela

Weather: Mix of sun, wind, rain, clouds, with cool mornings and generally mild temperatures (10 to 20 degrees C) in the afternoon. Very pleasant. A couple mornings along the coast there was frost on the ground.

Here are my thoughts/observations on some of the many questions I saw posed on this forum:

Covid and masks: Mask wearing was ubiquitous indoors in Spain and Portugal when we were there. Folks in the hostels/hotels would wear masks checking in, but then remove them generally once in the hostel. I didn’t hear of anyone getting covid along the route. I was able to get my 24-hour antigen covid test to return to the US at the airport in Lisbon, it was quick, easy and cost 25 euro. There are also covid testing at street locations in Lisbon. To get into Portugal, I had a PCR test here in the US, which was required by my airline (United) to check in for the flight. No one in Portugal asked to see my test results, but I couldn’t have boarded the flight without it even though I’m double vaxxed and boosted. I carried my US vaccine card but was never asked for it.

Lodging and booking ahead: We didn’t reserve anything ahead until we got to Tui. Then we booked one night ahead. I’m guessing that due to Semana Santa, the last 100 kilometer portion that starts soon after Tui, and the routes converging, it got noticeably busier once we got to Tui. We stayed in a mix of municipal and private albergues, and small hotels. We had no trouble finding lodging by booking one day ahead.

Apps and maps/guides: We used the Camino Ninja app, which was actually quite good. Linking it to Maps.me to use offline maps to find our lodging really helped make the app more useful. I also brought the Porto to Santiago portion of the Brierley guide. It was helpful to get a bigger picture overview of how the various routes converged and merged. When I tried to research the Portuguese Camino before my trip, I found the Brierley guide to be very frustrating and unorganized to use. But once you’re actually on the Camino, it makes much more sense. It wasn’t necessary to bring it, but it was nice to plan when we were going to leave the Senda Litoral and move inland.

Blankets and cooking: The municipal albergues were not generally providing blankets and I didn’t really see much kitchen activity (cooking, communal eating, etc.). I brought a very small lightweight sleeping bag (10 degree C, less than 1 pound) and was very happy to have it (I tend to “run cold” so generally needed more insulating layers than others, I noticed).

Poncho or jacket/pants/pack cover: I took a poncho and was very pleased with it. The rain poured down for hours one day, and my pack (included shoulder straps and waist belt) stayed perfectly dry, compared to some folks with pack covers whose waist belts, straps and pack contents got wet. My boots and lower pant legs were wet, but then I rolled my pants up (it wasn’t cold, just rainy) and I was very comfortable. Other days when the rain was on and off, it was great to have the easy on-off of the poncho. So now I’m a big poncho fan.

Clothing layers: As I mentioned, I run cold. So I lived in my puffy vest, longer sleeved lightweight layered shirts and hiking pants. Others were in T shirts. So the bottom line is, know your own temperature tolerances, check general weather conditions, and pack appropriately for you. I can provide my packing list if anyone want to see it. My pack is a Gregory 40L Zulu and weighed about 6.5 kilos without water. It was very comfortable for me to carry, and I had plenty of room in it. I made sure the weight was right for me and didn’t overpack my pack even though there was room for more stuff.

Water: I took a 1.25 liter water bottle (just a regular store bought plastic bottle, nothing fancy) and usually didn’t fill it completely. Tap water is good to drink and it was easy to refill along the way (also, it wasn’t hot, so wasn’t drinking as much water). I used a “smart tube” bought on Amazon so I could sip water from my bottle in my side pack pocket as I walked. I don’t like carrying a water bladder in my pack, and my shoulders aren’t flexible enough to get my bottle out on my own. The smart tube worked great, I recommend it.

All in all, the Camino experience exceeded my expectations. The scenery, comradery, wonderful variety of walking conditions (gravel roads, cobblestones, dirt trails, old roman roads, coastal boardwalks, villages, rural town and farms, forests, along streams, wow!) were just incredible. What a great way to see Portugal and Spain. I also really enjoyed meeting so many people from all over, sharing drinks and meals, stories and dorm rooms, and then running into these same folks days later in different towns. I also walked on my own for parts of several days which was nice. I felt very safe and the route was easy to follow, especially with the Camino Ninja app. Bom Caminho to all!
Thank you for your report and congratulations on completing your first Camino. Your information will be useful to me as I’m planning the Senda Literal out of Porto in September. Food, you didn’t mention food. Anything you would recommend there?
 

Kitty2022

New Member
Past OR future Camino
October 2022
Greetings!
I walked the Portuguese Camino from Porto (taking the Senda Litoral, Coastal, and Central routes) from April 1 to April 13. This was my first Camino, and it was so wonderful. I wanted to post this trip report in case some details help others in planning their spring trips. I walked with a friend and we met many wonderful folks along the way.

Stages (13 days walking, no rest days. We averaged 12 kms/day, maximum day was 27 kms, minimum was 16):

Senda Litoral
Porto to Praia de Angeiras
Angeiras to Agucadores
Agucadores to Marinhas
Marinhas to Viana do Costelo
Viana do Costelo to Vila Praia de Ancora

Coastal (along Portuguese side of Rio Minho)
Vila Praia de Ancora to Vila Nova de Cerveira
Vila Nova de Cerveira to Tui

Central
Tui to O Porrino
O Porrino to Cesantes
Cesantes to Pontevedra
Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
Caldas de Reis to Cruces
Cruces to Santiago de Compostela

Weather: Mix of sun, wind, rain, clouds, with cool mornings and generally mild temperatures (10 to 20 degrees C) in the afternoon. Very pleasant. A couple mornings along the coast there was frost on the ground.

Here are my thoughts/observations on some of the many questions I saw posed on this forum:

Covid and masks: Mask wearing was ubiquitous indoors in Spain and Portugal when we were there. Folks in the hostels/hotels would wear masks checking in, but then remove them generally once in the hostel. I didn’t hear of anyone getting covid along the route. I was able to get my 24-hour antigen covid test to return to the US at the airport in Lisbon, it was quick, easy and cost 25 euro. There are also covid testing at street locations in Lisbon. To get into Portugal, I had a PCR test here in the US, which was required by my airline (United) to check in for the flight. No one in Portugal asked to see my test results, but I couldn’t have boarded the flight without it even though I’m double vaxxed and boosted. I carried my US vaccine card but was never asked for it.

Lodging and booking ahead: We didn’t reserve anything ahead until we got to Tui. Then we booked one night ahead. I’m guessing that due to Semana Santa, the last 100 kilometer portion that starts soon after Tui, and the routes converging, it got noticeably busier once we got to Tui. We stayed in a mix of municipal and private albergues, and small hotels. We had no trouble finding lodging by booking one day ahead.

Apps and maps/guides: We used the Camino Ninja app, which was actually quite good. Linking it to Maps.me to use offline maps to find our lodging really helped make the app more useful. I also brought the Porto to Santiago portion of the Brierley guide. It was helpful to get a bigger picture overview of how the various routes converged and merged. When I tried to research the Portuguese Camino before my trip, I found the Brierley guide to be very frustrating and unorganized to use. But once you’re actually on the Camino, it makes much more sense. It wasn’t necessary to bring it, but it was nice to plan when we were going to leave the Senda Litoral and move inland.

Blankets and cooking: The municipal albergues were not generally providing blankets and I didn’t really see much kitchen activity (cooking, communal eating, etc.). I brought a very small lightweight sleeping bag (10 degree C, less than 1 pound) and was very happy to have it (I tend to “run cold” so generally needed more insulating layers than others, I noticed).

Poncho or jacket/pants/pack cover: I took a poncho and was very pleased with it. The rain poured down for hours one day, and my pack (included shoulder straps and waist belt) stayed perfectly dry, compared to some folks with pack covers whose waist belts, straps and pack contents got wet. My boots and lower pant legs were wet, but then I rolled my pants up (it wasn’t cold, just rainy) and I was very comfortable. Other days when the rain was on and off, it was great to have the easy on-off of the poncho. So now I’m a big poncho fan.

Clothing layers: As I mentioned, I run cold. So I lived in my puffy vest, longer sleeved lightweight layered shirts and hiking pants. Others were in T shirts. So the bottom line is, know your own temperature tolerances, check general weather conditions, and pack appropriately for you. I can provide my packing list if anyone want to see it. My pack is a Gregory 40L Zulu and weighed about 6.5 kilos without water. It was very comfortable for me to carry, and I had plenty of room in it. I made sure the weight was right for me and didn’t overpack my pack even though there was room for more stuff.

Water: I took a 1.25 liter water bottle (just a regular store bought plastic bottle, nothing fancy) and usually didn’t fill it completely. Tap water is good to drink and it was easy to refill along the way (also, it wasn’t hot, so wasn’t drinking as much water). I used a “smart tube” bought on Amazon so I could sip water from my bottle in my side pack pocket as I walked. I don’t like carrying a water bladder in my pack, and my shoulders aren’t flexible enough to get my bottle out on my own. The smart tube worked great, I recommend it.

All in all, the Camino experience exceeded my expectations. The scenery, comradery, wonderful variety of walking conditions (gravel roads, cobblestones, dirt trails, old roman roads, coastal boardwalks, villages, rural town and farms, forests, along streams, wow!) were just incredible. What a great way to see Portugal and Spain. I also really enjoyed meeting so many people from all over, sharing drinks and meals, stories and dorm rooms, and then running into these same folks days later in different towns. I also walked on my own for parts of several days which was nice. I felt very safe and the route was easy to follow, especially with the Camino Ninja app. Bom Caminho to all!
Thank you so much for sharing your trip. Very informative and my spouse is looking up smart tube…. Ordered it lol as I type. I struggle being able to grab my bottle so thanks! We will be doing Central route in October! Super excited. First one for me, spouse did Frances 5 years ago. Seniors from 🇨🇦
 

Taholden

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Route, 2022
Thank you for your report and congratulations on completing your first Camino. Your information will be useful to me as I’m planning the Senda Literal out of Porto in September. Food, you didn’t mention food. Anything you would recommend there?
Food was a little challenging for me as I mostly eat vegetarian. I ate a lot of dry cheese sandwiches and batatas rusticas (potato wedges). The spanish omelettes with potatoes were good. Some nice green salads. Lots of people enjoyed the fish and seafood, and the ham. There were lovely pastries everywhere - pastels de nata, quejios (like a not too sweet cheesecake tart), etc.
 

Scrag

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese - future
Greetings!
I walked the Portuguese Camino from Porto (taking the Senda Litoral, Coastal, and Central routes) from April 1 to April 13. This was my first Camino, and it was so wonderful. I wanted to post this trip report in case some details help others in planning their spring trips. I walked with a friend and we met many wonderful folks along the way.

Stages (13 days walking, no rest days. We averaged 12 kms/day, maximum day was 27 kms, minimum was 16):

Senda Litoral
Porto to Praia de Angeiras
Angeiras to Agucadores
Agucadores to Marinhas
Marinhas to Viana do Costelo
Viana do Costelo to Vila Praia de Ancora

Coastal (along Portuguese side of Rio Minho)
Vila Praia de Ancora to Vila Nova de Cerveira
Vila Nova de Cerveira to Tui

Central
Tui to O Porrino
O Porrino to Cesantes
Cesantes to Pontevedra
Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
Caldas de Reis to Cruces
Cruces to Santiago de Compostela

Weather: Mix of sun, wind, rain, clouds, with cool mornings and generally mild temperatures (10 to 20 degrees C) in the afternoon. Very pleasant. A couple mornings along the coast there was frost on the ground.

Here are my thoughts/observations on some of the many questions I saw posed on this forum:

Covid and masks: Mask wearing was ubiquitous indoors in Spain and Portugal when we were there. Folks in the hostels/hotels would wear masks checking in, but then remove them generally once in the hostel. I didn’t hear of anyone getting covid along the route. I was able to get my 24-hour antigen covid test to return to the US at the airport in Lisbon, it was quick, easy and cost 25 euro. There are also covid testing at street locations in Lisbon. To get into Portugal, I had a PCR test here in the US, which was required by my airline (United) to check in for the flight. No one in Portugal asked to see my test results, but I couldn’t have boarded the flight without it even though I’m double vaxxed and boosted. I carried my US vaccine card but was never asked for it.

Lodging and booking ahead: We didn’t reserve anything ahead until we got to Tui. Then we booked one night ahead. I’m guessing that due to Semana Santa, the last 100 kilometer portion that starts soon after Tui, and the routes converging, it got noticeably busier once we got to Tui. We stayed in a mix of municipal and private albergues, and small hotels. We had no trouble finding lodging by booking one day ahead.

Apps and maps/guides: We used the Camino Ninja app, which was actually quite good. Linking it to Maps.me to use offline maps to find our lodging really helped make the app more useful. I also brought the Porto to Santiago portion of the Brierley guide. It was helpful to get a bigger picture overview of how the various routes converged and merged. When I tried to research the Portuguese Camino before my trip, I found the Brierley guide to be very frustrating and unorganized to use. But once you’re actually on the Camino, it makes much more sense. It wasn’t necessary to bring it, but it was nice to plan when we were going to leave the Senda Litoral and move inland.

Blankets and cooking: The municipal albergues were not generally providing blankets and I didn’t really see much kitchen activity (cooking, communal eating, etc.). I brought a very small lightweight sleeping bag (10 degree C, less than 1 pound) and was very happy to have it (I tend to “run cold” so generally needed more insulating layers than others, I noticed).

Poncho or jacket/pants/pack cover: I took a poncho and was very pleased with it. The rain poured down for hours one day, and my pack (included shoulder straps and waist belt) stayed perfectly dry, compared to some folks with pack covers whose waist belts, straps and pack contents got wet. My boots and lower pant legs were wet, but then I rolled my pants up (it wasn’t cold, just rainy) and I was very comfortable. Other days when the rain was on and off, it was great to have the easy on-off of the poncho. So now I’m a big poncho fan.

Clothing layers: As I mentioned, I run cold. So I lived in my puffy vest, longer sleeved lightweight layered shirts and hiking pants. Others were in T shirts. So the bottom line is, know your own temperature tolerances, check general weather conditions, and pack appropriately for you. I can provide my packing list if anyone want to see it. My pack is a Gregory 40L Zulu and weighed about 6.5 kilos without water. It was very comfortable for me to carry, and I had plenty of room in it. I made sure the weight was right for me and didn’t overpack my pack even though there was room for more stuff.

Water: I took a 1.25 liter water bottle (just a regular store bought plastic bottle, nothing fancy) and usually didn’t fill it completely. Tap water is good to drink and it was easy to refill along the way (also, it wasn’t hot, so wasn’t drinking as much water). I used a “smart tube” bought on Amazon so I could sip water from my bottle in my side pack pocket as I walked. I don’t like carrying a water bladder in my pack, and my shoulders aren’t flexible enough to get my bottle out on my own. The smart tube worked great, I recommend it.

All in all, the Camino experience exceeded my expectations. The scenery, comradery, wonderful variety of walking conditions (gravel roads, cobblestones, dirt trails, old roman roads, coastal boardwalks, villages, rural town and farms, forests, along streams, wow!) were just incredible. What a great way to see Portugal and Spain. I also really enjoyed meeting so many people from all over, sharing drinks and meals, stories and dorm rooms, and then running into these same folks days later in different towns. I also walked on my own for parts of several days which was nice. I felt very safe and the route was easy to follow, especially with the Camino Ninja app. Bom Caminho to all!
Great summary of your camino! We start in Porto in a few days so this post is very useful and inspiring. Can't wait to start!
 
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