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2019 Camino Guides

Urgent Advice Needed - Coastal route VS Central route

Lynsmio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2016"
#1
Hi Everyone!

I plan on doing my FIRST Camino Portuguese (starting from Porto) in May, I'm so excited and can't wait!!! I do have a few questions and hope you guys can help me out:
I'm arriving in porto on 8 May and flying back home from Santiago the 17th of May..so that gives me 8 days to walk the camino.

- Any suggestions from where I should start? Viana Do Castelo for example?

- Also wondering if I should take the coastal route or the main route? I read that the coastal route is less crowded than the main route..Seeing it's my first camino I don't want to walk alone all the time but I'm also very found of the coast so if I could combine both that would be great.. Any suggestions how I could combine both routes (in this limited time of 8 walking days)?

- Will it be crowed on the camino in the month of May? Just to know if I should book some albergues/pensions/hostels in advance..?

- I read that May can be quite rainy so I will definitely prepare myself to this but what about the temperature? Should I pack a thick outdoor jacket or will a raincoat be sufficient?

So sorry to overwhelm you with all these questions but I hope you guys can help me out :)

Greetings,
 

nc6000

John Lernihan
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Portugues & Camino Del Norte
#2
Start out from Porto by walking towards Matosinhos and onwards to Vila do Conde. This will bring you along the coast and is about 34KMs.

From Vila do Conde you can join the central route as it heads towards Barcelos and onwards.

If you want to stay on the coastal route for longer then you'll need to stay on it from Vila do Conde all the way to Valenca which is just before the route enters Spain.
 

Lynsmio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2016"
#3
Start out from Porto by walking towards Matosinhos and onwards to Vila do Conde. This will bring you along the coast and is about 34KMs.

From Vila do Conde you can join the central route as it heads towards Barcelos and onwards.

If you want to stay on the coastal route for longer then you'll need to stay on it from Vila do Conde all the way to Valenca which is just before the route enters Spain.
Thanks a lot for your advice! I'm just worried that your suggested route it too long seeing I only have 8 real walking days..?
 

nc6000

John Lernihan
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Portugues & Camino Del Norte
#4
I'm planning to walk Porto to Santiago in 7 days and that will walk via Matosinhos to Vila do Conde on my first day.

I think I'll then join the central route until Santiago. It makes for some long days but I think it's possible.
 

Lynsmio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2016"
#5
I'm planning to walk Porto to Santiago in 7 days and that will walk via Matosinhos to Vila do Conde on my first day.

I think I'll then join the central route until Santiago. It makes for some long days but I think it's possible.
Wow, sounds great! I guess you are an experienced hiker / in good shape? Do you know if the coastal route is well marked? I read a lot of people saying that it's not very clear...
 

nc6000

John Lernihan
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Camino Portugues & Camino Del Norte
#6
I'm not sure how well the route is marked but it looks like it's well explained in the latest John Brierley Camino Portugués guidebook.
 

Lynsmio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2016"
#7
Thanks Albertino!
Any idea which route (coastal VS central) is the most beautiful route? I know this is very subjective, but I prefer nature over artificial beauty..
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017
#8
Hi, here is the emergency service for pilgrims for Portugal. This is from the organization ViaLusitana that looks after this service.
(+351) 915 595 213

The persons most likely to answer will be either Jose Luis Sanches or his wife NaTercia... both speak fluent English (and some other languages too). They know the Camino routes in and out.

Great resource for the Portuguese Caminos: http://www.vialusitana.org/
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (April 2016)
Camino Ingles (April 2017)
#9
Hi Lynsmio, I am just back from my first ever camino. I walked the Coastal Route from Porto. I originally planned 12 days, but managed to walk all the way in just 10 days. The coastal route is well signposted and easy to follow.

These were my stages:
Porto - Matosinhos (10 km)
Matosinhos - Povoa de Varzim (25 km) [not many arrows but easy to walk on wooden boards along the coast]
Povoa de Varzim - Esposende Marinhas (25 km) [not many arrows but easy to walk on wooden boards along the coast]
Esposende Marinhas - Viana do Castelo (22 km)
Viana do Castelo - La Guarda (32 km)
La Guarda - Ramallosa (37 km)
Ramallosa - Redondela (37 km)
Redondela - Pontevedra (18 km)
Pontevedra - O Pino, San Miguel de Valga (32 km)
O Pino - Santiago (35 km)

As you can see, it took me 10 days and bear in mind I am NOT an experienced hiker and not particularly strong. The first few days I really struggled but after a while your body just gets used to the challenge.
Of course I don't recommend that you walk 30 km every day... I only did it because I felt like I wanted to carry on, but I did have the option to stop earlier if I wanted.

With this in mind, and bearing in mind that I "only" walked 10 and 18 km on two different days, as you can see it is doable despite perhaps difficult.

I haven't walked the central route, but once the coastal route joins back up with the central I found the way a bit "boring". The coastal, for me, is much more rewarding in terms of scenery.
Don't be worried about being completely on your own. I walked at the very beginning of April and I did meet plenty of people. I expect in May you'll find even more.

My favourite days in terms of scenery were Povoa de Varzim to Esposende, and the whole stretch that goes from Viana do Castelo to Ramallosa. They are breathtaking. So I'd suggest you don't miss those, especially if you like the ocean. Perhaps you could start from Viana do Castelo, although if you do that you are going to miss out on the first two "easy" days which for me were essential as easy training.

Don't pack a thick outdoor jacket. A week ago, in the morning the temperature was as low as 3°C. Still, I was fine walking with a long-sleeve merino top, a merino fleece and my rainjacket. In fact, I would get warm very soon and take the rainjacket off.
Definitely no thick coat.

Hope this helps and buen camino,
Sara
 

MartinBH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto - Santiago (Easter 2016)
#10
Hi,

Here's my recent trip from: Porto (with the metro to Matosinhos) - Santiago in the Easter in 8 (long!) walking days.

Hi,
I did this trip over eight walking days this Easter:
Metro from the centre of Porto to Matosinhos, then:
  • Vila do Conde (along the coast) (22)
  • Barcelos (via Rates, crossing inlands to the Central Route) (28)
  • Ponte de Lima (32)
  • Tui (38)
  • Redondela (32)
  • Pontevedra (21)
  • Valga (33)
  • Santiago (28)
I walked the first day from Matosinhos to Vila do Conde along the coast; then crossed inlands to the central route as described in John Brierley's guide (from the 7th edition).

And yes, the Atlantic is impressive to walk along. But so are the hills, valleys and small towns, you pass on the central route! I'm pleased, I got a sence of both types of landscape.

Apart from those experiences, I'll add a warning for the long stretches of cobblestones on the first stages in Portugal - on the central route. Those are particularly hard on your feet, meaning blisters for the majority of walkers.

Bom Caminho!

/Martin
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#11
Hi,

Here's my recent trip from: Porto (with the metro to Matosinhos) - Santiago in the Easter in 8 (long!) walking days.



I walked the first day from Matosinhos to Vila do Conde along the coast; then crossed inlands to the central route as described in John Brierley's guide (from the 7th edition).

And yes, the Atlantic is impressive to walk along. But so are the hills, valleys and small towns, you pass on the central route! I'm pleased, I got a sence of both types of landscape.

Apart from those experiences, I'll add a warning for the long stretches of cobblestones on the first stages in Portugal - on the central route. Those are particularly hard on your feet, meaning blisters for the majority of walkers.

Bom Caminho!

/Martin
Definitely catch the metro out to Matoshinhos - Porto is a lovely city but it's a waste of two and a bit hours just to walk through a city.

If you are going to take the coastal route when would you be arriving in Caminha? Last summer the ferry to Spain only ran at weekends - does anybody have more recent news?

As for the weather - it's the Atlantic coast so can be very variable. Late May to early June 2015 we were walking in temperatures in the upper 20s each day. The walk into SdC was in 31 degree heat. The following week it had dropped to the low 20s again (Celsius of course).

Baiona is nice, Vigo is not, Pontevedra is lovely.

I've just looked at my European train timetable and, if you get stuck, there's a train that goes all the way up the coast of Portugal to Caminha but do try and walk it, Portugal is fabulous.
 

Lynsmio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2016"
#12
Hi Lynsmio, I am just back from my first ever camino. I walked the Coastal Route from Porto. I originally planned 12 days, but managed to walk all the way in just 10 days. The coastal route is well signposted and easy to follow.

These were my stages:
Porto - Matosinhos (10 km)
Matosinhos - Povoa de Varzim (25 km) [not many arrows but easy to walk on wooden boards along the coast]
Povoa de Varzim - Esposende Marinhas (25 km) [not many arrows but easy to walk on wooden boards along the coast]
Esposende Marinhas - Viana do Castelo (22 km)
Viana do Castelo - La Guarda (32 km)
La Guarda - Ramallosa (37 km)
Ramallosa - Redondela (37 km)
Redondela - Pontevedra (18 km)
Pontevedra - O Pino, San Miguel de Valga (32 km)
O Pino - Santiago (35 km)

As you can see, it took me 10 days and bear in mind I am NOT an experienced hiker and not particularly strong. The first few days I really struggled but after a while your body just gets used to the challenge.
Of course I don't recommend that you walk 30 km every day... I only did it because I felt like I wanted to carry on, but I did have the option to stop earlier if I wanted.

With this in mind, and bearing in mind that I "only" walked 10 and 18 km on two different days, as you can see it is doable despite perhaps difficult.

I haven't walked the central route, but once the coastal route joins back up with the central I found the way a bit "boring". The coastal, for me, is much more rewarding in terms of scenery.
Don't be worried about being completely on your own. I walked at the very beginning of April and I did meet plenty of people. I expect in May you'll find even more.

My favourite days in terms of scenery were Povoa de Varzim to Esposende, and the whole stretch that goes from Viana do Castelo to Ramallosa. They are breathtaking. So I'd suggest you don't miss those, especially if you like the ocean. Perhaps you could start from Viana do Castelo, although if you do that you are going to miss out on the first two "easy" days which for me were essential as easy training.

Don't pack a thick outdoor jacket. A week ago, in the morning the temperature was as low as 3°C. Still, I was fine walking with a long-sleeve merino top, a merino fleece and my rainjacket. In fact, I would get warm very soon and take the rainjacket off.
Definitely no thick coat.

Hope this helps and buen camino,
Sara
Hi Sara,

Thanks a lot for the advice!
I'm planning on doing the same route you described but because I have two days less - I will be starting in Pavoa De Varzim!
I do have a few more questions if you don't mind :)
- Do you still remember where you stayed overnight? Which albergues? Perhaps a list?
- Also, did you manage to cross over the river with the ferry between Caminha and a Guarda? I heard it depends on the tide...
- Do you have a packing list of all the essential things you packed for the camino?
- Were you able to walk in tshirt and shorts?
- On the two days you walked 37kms, how many houres did you walk? I'm just wondering if you had the time to look around, make a few stops, have lunch etc...

Thanks in advance!

Kind regards,

Lynn
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (April 2016)
Camino Ingles (April 2017)
#13
Hi Sara,

Thanks a lot for the advice!
I'm planning on doing the same route you described but because I have two days less - I will be starting in Pavoa De Varzim!
I do have a few more questions if you don't mind :)
- Do you still remember where you stayed overnight? Which albergues? Perhaps a list?
- Also, did you manage to cross over the river with the ferry between Caminha and a Guarda? I heard it depends on the tide...
- Do you have a packing list of all the essential things you packed for the camino?
- Were you able to walk in tshirt and shorts?
- On the two days you walked 37kms, how many houres did you walk? I'm just wondering if you had the time to look around, make a few stops, have lunch etc...

Thanks in advance!

Kind regards,

Lynn
Hi Lynn,
Yes, I do have a list of albergues but I really suggest you go with the flow :)
Somewhere in this forum there is an excel document with a list of all albergues on the coastal route - that was a great help when planning my itinerary.

Anyway, here's a list of my stops:
Povoa de Varzim: Albergue de Peregrinos de S. José de Ribamar (donativo)
Esposende Marinhas: Albergue de Peregrinos S. Miguel (donativo)
Viana do Castelo: Albergue de Peregrinos de S. Joao Da Cruz dos Caminhos, Rua do Carmo, 1 (€6)
A Guarda: unfortunately no albergues here that I know of (my guide mentions one but google couldn't find it), but there are hostels and hotels. We stayed at Hotel Bruselas (€15 each)
Ramallosa: Albergue Pazo Pias (€14)
Redondela: Albergue de Peregrinos Jacobeo Casa da Torre (€6, no blankets)
Pontevedra: we stayed in a hotel but there's 2 albergues literally on the way, as you enter Pontevedra.
O Pino (San Miguel de Valga): Albergue de Peregrinos, Lugar de O Pino (€6, no blankets)

My clothing depended on the weather of course. In the morning I would normally start always wearing my fleece, but when it was sunny I would take that off within 2 or 3 hours. I would say yes, shorts are fine. My leggings were only below the knee and very thin, so I don't see why not.
And yes I have often walked in a sleeveless top (I prefer that to a t-shirt) when sunny - make sure you take/buy sunscreen though.
And of course, if it's not sunny, you'll need more layers.

As far as I remember, the ferry was working every day, and it was every hour. The ticket is only 1€. When I took it it was a Thursday. There was no mention of tides and judging by the infrastructure it shouldn't affect it... unless people are referring to different ferries (although I only saw that one. It was mainly for vehicles, with a small room for pedestrians).

The 37km days were definitely long, also because one of them included taking the ferry to A Guarda - waiting for the ferry and crossing took more than an hour, and then you also "lose" an hour when you cross the border with Spain. So no time to look around that day.
I was walking on average 4/5 km an hour (which was a comfortable pace for me, too fast or too slow for others though) so I could do 37km in 7/8 hours. Considering I left around 8am, that did give me a few hours to look around (but not many). I normally would have a packed lunch on the way, and then have a nice dinner at my destination.

As for the packing list, it really is no different from many others here on this forum, but if you want I am happy to send it to you in a private message. :)
 

Fred99

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuquese Porto - Santiago coastal route (2014)
Camino Francese planned (May June 2016)
#15
Hi Everyone!

I plan on doing my FIRST Camino Portuguese (starting from Porto) in May, I'm so excited and can't wait!!! I do have a few questions and hope you guys can help me out:
I'm arriving in porto on 8 May and flying back home from Santiago the 17th of May..so that gives me 8 days to walk the camino.

- Any suggestions from where I should start? Viana Do Castelo for example?

- Also wondering if I should take the coastal route or the main route? I read that the coastal route is less crowded than the main route..Seeing it's my first camino I don't want to walk alone all the time but I'm also very found of the coast so if I could combine both that would be great.. Any suggestions how I could combine both routes (in this limited time of 8 walking days)?

- Will it be crowed on the camino in the month of May? Just to know if I should book some albergues/pensions/hostels in advance..?

- I read that May can be quite rainy so I will definitely prepare myself to this but what about the temperature? Should I pack a thick outdoor jacket or will a raincoat be sufficient?

So sorry to overwhelm you with all these questions but I hope you guys can help me out :)

Greetings,
Hi Everyone!

I plan on doing my FIRST Camino Portuguese (starting from Porto) in May, I'm so excited and can't wait!!! I do have a few questions and hope you guys can help me out:
I'm arriving in porto on 8 May and flying back home from Santiago the 17th of May..so that gives me 8 days to walk the camino.

- Any suggestions from where I should start? Viana Do Castelo for example?

- Also wondering if I should take the coastal route or the main route? I read that the coastal route is less crowded than the main route..Seeing it's my first camino I don't want to walk alone all the time but I'm also very found of the coast so if I could combine both that would be great.. Any suggestions how I could combine both routes (in this limited time of 8 walking days)?

- Will it be crowed on the camino in the month of May? Just to know if I should book some albergues/pensions/hostels in advance..?

- I read that May can be quite rainy so I will definitely prepare myself to this but what about the temperature? Should I pack a thick outdoor jacket or will a raincoat be sufficient?

So sorry to overwhelm you with all these questions but I hope you guys can help me out :)

Greetings,
I walked the coastal route two years ago this month with my son, I was 62...he was 24. He set a brisk pace and it took us 10 days to walk from Porto to Santiago. That included having one day completely rained out due to a very severe storm. We spent the day in Oia, which turned out to be a fun day together in a very pretty little town. I would recommend getting the metro from Porto to Matosinhos, we walked from the Porto cathedral and got lost several times, signage on the route is not perfect. This is a website/blog that has the route we followed. It appears many of the links are now broken but if you scroll down the route is there. There were very pilgrims on the route until after Vigo. From that point in to Santiago there more but not a huge crowd. http://johnniewalker-santiago.blogspot.ca/2013/02/camino-portuguese-coastal-route-latest.html Good luck Fred
 

unadara

Active Member
#16
I have just returned from walking the Coastal Route, mostly on the Littoral (literally the boardwalk). I am an experienced Camino walker. I walked on my own every single entire day, except for the one walking from Redondela to Pontevedra. I walked out of Porto using my direction and very quickly got on to the Atlantic Coast beside the sea which I loved. A word of caution if the winds are against you, you will not be able to sustain days in a row on the Littoral. The Coastal route with many arrows is always a bit inland. At all times wear sunscreen, the wind burns. I went on to "Angeiros" it's just before Labruge, and got a bus (every half hour) back into Porto. (Choice). Next day metro to Vila do Conde, just a little bit further up coast (it was raining very hard). From there to Fao, highly recommend this town, very few pilgrims stay here, Hostal Juventude is €9 incls breakfast and the Café sports bar does a Menu for €6 incl wines (and a free Café and water next am!). Through Esposende on to Viana, a very long day. I came off the Littoral onto the Coastal route and it was difficult. But beautiful. I got help everywhere, little maps, a "blessed" umbrella which kept the worst of a hail storm off me and the picnics on the beach were great. Caution, the route from Povoa into Apulia/Fao passes a golf course, you can go back onto the coast here but I went inland, more kms (I think). I did meet others (5 Estonians, 1 Polish, 1 Italian) and ate some nights with them, 7 nights 3 of us/ shared Alberques. The long days were long and rain came down most afternoons. Keep a night time layer water tight, light layers otherwise, nothing heavy, I could have done with my supa light easy pack down for evenings, I got damp and cold, but instead I wore my light rain jacket to keep heat in evenings. The Alberque in Caminha is great, you can cook there and a great shop and you can get the ferry at 9/9.30 (whenever). Don't try to walk on the beaches. You end up having to cross rivers. The Dunas ruta is fabulous but slow. The maps recommended here give you so much detail they are all you need. Luis de Freixa? download onto your phone or print out. Sorry for saying so much, I could say so much more, and will go back to walk all the other Portugues routes, starting Lisbon to Porto.
 

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