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via del la plata vs. camino portugues from Porto with kids

risajs

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
first one
Hi there,

My families vacation to asia has just been uprooted with airlines cancelling flights. In 10 days we start our vacation to anywhere and need guidance.
We are considering biking Via de la Plata or Camino Portugues from Porto. We have 2 children age 5 that hopefully will be on their Own bikes. Ideally we need something not too mountainous or wet, not along too many highways (because our kids are on their own bikes) BUT i saw the coastal route from Porto and thought that may work also for a more town/cultural experience. My kids can easily bike 20km a day on straight paths, or 30km on downhill
We would be traveling mid/late March-early april.

We have extensive bike touring experience in south america, but none in europe.

Any advice greatly greatly appreciated.

WE also plan to rent bikes for the adults - from Porto? from barcelona? from seville? i just don't know which is ideal.
Thank you for any help in making this very last minute trip possible.
 

Pinker to

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
Hi risajs,

A couple of queries before providing some advice.

How long are you intending to ride?
Do you have Santiago as a target?

Extra one. :)
To what extent uphills might be an issue for your kids?
 

risajs

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
first one
Thanks for replying. We plan to ride for 2 or 2.5 weeks. We are debating trying to find tandem bike rentals to make farther miles, but if my kids bike on their own we are limited to 10-15 miles a day tops. No special target, mainly looking for scenic beauty with decent weather where we don't have to carry our house on the bike. So far all I can think of is Via de la plata because of weather. Everywhere else I've looked seems iffy. And we can always walk up the hills slowly if needed. They are pretty burly kids, but can still have breakdowns when tired.
 

Jay Es

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017 the del Norte, home via the Portuguse to Vigo, Planning a Via de la Plata for October 2018.
I cycled down the Portuguese a couple of years ago, going home from SdC. There were a couple of sections I recall not being great for kids. Quite a few roads to cross although the lanes next to the road were nice. Also the Portuguese drivers are not as good with cyclists as the Spanish.
I've just walked the VdlP. It would be great with youngsters at the right time of year. Ie. When not red hot. There are a couple of longish days though you'd maybe want to look at off route accommodation. There's a few big towns to get through, probably be able to walk bikes in the busy bits
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
I would note that getting into and out of cities on all camino can include walking/bike on busy roads.

Some numbers pilgrims completed March 2019
VdlP 330
Portuguese 2127
Costal Portuguese 456

pilgrims completed April 2019
VdlP 980
Portuguese 7939
Costal Portuguese 1884

Total pilgrims 2019
VdlP 9201
Portuguese 72357
Costal Portuguese 22292

number from https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics/ searched by month and year or only year

I would suggest the VdlP mostly do to the fewer number of people on the trail however some of the days are long and you might look at if you and your wife could carry tag-along bars to use with the kids for longer days when they need help. As for the weather there is no 100% great route it really depends on the year/time of year.
 

risajs

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
first one
I would note that getting into and out of cities on all camino can include walking/bike on busy roads.

Some numbers pilgrims completed March 2019
VdlP 330
Portuguese 2127
Costal Portuguese 456

pilgrims completed April 2019
VdlP 980
Portuguese 7939
Costal Portuguese 1884

Total pilgrims 2019
VdlP 9201
Portuguese 72357
Costal Portuguese 22292

number from https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics/ searched by month and year or only year

I would suggest the VdlP mostly do to the fewer number of people on the trail however some of the days are long and you might look at if you and your wife could carry tag-along bars to use with the kids for longer days when they need help. As for the weather there is no 100% great route it really depends on the year/time of year.
Hey there, thanks for responding. If we were to do the VdlP - and I don't think they could complete 1000km all of it, is there a more scenic stretch to choose to start and finish? A portion with more trees, cultural towns, ruins versus the grassy fields? Or is it mostly grassy fields the whole way? Thanks!
 

risajs

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
first one
I cycled down the Portuguese a couple of years ago, going home from SdC. There were a couple of sections I recall not being great for kids. Quite a few roads to cross although the lanes next to the road were nice. Also the Portuguese drivers are not as good with cyclists as the Spanish.
I've just walked the VdlP. It would be great with youngsters at the right time of year. Ie. When not red hot. There are a couple of longish days though you'd maybe want to look at off route accommodation. There's a few big towns to get through, probably be able to walk bikes in the busy bits
Hey there, thanks for responding. If we were to do the VdlP - and I don't think they could complete 1000km all of it, is there a more scenic stretch to choose to start and finish? A portion with more trees, cultural towns, ruins versus the grassy fields? Or is it mostly grassy fields the whole way? Thanks for all your replies... it has been helpful.
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Not related to the Caminos, but if you just want some pleasant biking, and historically and geographically interesting route, what about the Via Algarviana across the Algarve, from the Spanish border to the Atlantic, or some part of the route? As far as I know, it pretty much stays away from the major road routes in southern Portugal, hopping between small towns and villages north of the beach areas. March/April is a beautiful time to be in that part of the country.


(I notice they also have a section on their website specifically about biking...MTB Modality)
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I would avoid the Portuguese route with young kids because of the car drivers. It was bad enough as an adult walker.
As for the Via de la Plata Mérida to Salamanca has great interest (we spent three days in Mérida and did not see everything - it’s an Ancient Rome fest!) Cáceres is notable too. Tepid Roman baths in Baños de Montemeyer. (That section is a bit hilly though).
Would you consider walking? You can cover 10-15km a day if you take breaks and chocolate.
 

Jay Es

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017 the del Norte, home via the Portuguse to Vigo, Planning a Via de la Plata for October 2018.
Hey there, thanks for responding. If we were to do the VdlP - and I don't think they could complete 1000km all of it, is there a more scenic stretch to choose to start and finish? A portion with more trees, cultural towns, ruins versus the grassy fields? Or is it mostly grassy fields the whole way? Thanks for all your replies... it has been helpful.
Mérida is fascinating loads of Romans. The extra madura through oak belota and pigs. Before Caparra was a day of beautiful easy single track through woods.
After Salamanca isn't so interesting. The early part from Seville to Castilloblanco has a bit more road that are busier.
There seemed to be quiet road alternatives. But some times you'd probably need to have close control of younger riders on shorter stretches of busy road. Like between Aldeanueva and Banos de Montemayor. But the bit after that is nice again on really lovely roman roads. ,. It would be a great adventure.
 

Pinker to

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
Two weeks on the Plata is my bet for mid to late march.
You are likely to enjoy camino infrastructure resuming activity and getting ready for upcoming high season.
As I see it, and as it’s been mentioned above, most scenic section could be north part of Extermadura, a bit hilly though.
Assuming you have no issues to step off and push if necessary, as you have no time constraints for a set goal.
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Hey there, thanks for responding. If we were to do the VdlP - and I don't think they could complete 1000km all of it, is there a more scenic stretch to choose to start and finish? A portion with more trees, cultural towns, ruins versus the grassy fields? Or is it mostly grassy fields the whole way? Thanks!
I enjoyed the whole of the VdlP.
With your want for the great section with great things to see I would look at book about the route and look at the images and the amount of elevation gain and loss daily. Unfortunately no one can pick the greatest point. The last 150km in the section of greatest hills.
 

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