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What is it like from Lisbon to Porto?

After reading various posts in the Portugues forum, I decided that the Brierley guidebook looked like a good investment. It arrived today and it looks very helpful indeed. I will be starting the Portugues on August 9 from Porto (flights booked), but I am now looking longingly at the 13 stages from Lisbon to Porto and wishing that I had reorganised my time to start two weeks earlier in Lisbon and then meet up with my boyfriend on the 8th. What is this section like? Is the Porto to Santiago section nicer than the Lisbon to Porto section, or are they pretty much the same?

I notice that the map above goes from Porto to Santiago. Is the the Lisbon to Porto bit a recent add on in terms of modern pilgrimage routes? When I did the Camino Frances last year, I enjoyed starting in St Jean, because it felt like the 'proper' place to start. However, I met some hardy souls who started in Le Puy. Is Lisbon the Le Puy of the Portugues and Porto its St Jean?

I might be able to wrangle two weeks in July to do the Lisbon to Porto bit by myself and then return in August to finish with my boyfriend. Would it be worth it? Would it be OK for a woman to do this on her own? I am imagining that the answer to this would be yes, but it would be nice for confirmation.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Nicole,

I am living in Lisbon this year and have been able to walk from Lisbon to Coimbra. I did not do it all at once, but went out and back on the excellent train system, except for a three day stretch into Coimbra. I have posted pictures from that part, which you can see here: http://picasaweb.google.com/laurie.reyn ... Dxipep3Vo#

I also posted some notes on this forum and I'll try to put in a link to it, but I frequently mess this up when I try to do it, so let me know if I didn't do it right: el-camino-portugues/topic5398.html

I have been in contact with flecher, who posted on that thread. He just finished the Portugues from Lisbon and reported that it was very solitary. I can vouch for that because I have not yet met another walker on this route.

I have been sidelined for the last two months with a heel injury, but it seems to be better, so I am going to try to walk Coimbra to Porto next week, my last chance before heading back to the states. I will let you know if I manage to do it.

To answer some of your questions, I would say that I have enjoyed walking the stages from Lisbon, except for the portions I mention in my report that went through dumps, on busy roads, etc. But after the first few stages, that really almost disappeared. Tomar, the Roman ruins at Rabacal and Conimbriga, Golega, the abandoned palace in Cardiga -- there are really a lot of very nice places to walk through and visit. I was always walking alone (58 year old female), and the people were helpful and friendly -- though very few knew much if anything about the Caminho. By the way, the route from Lisbon is not a new add-on, I believe the route originally started in Faro down on the southern coast, but I don't think Faro to Lisbon has been waymarked with arrows yet.

I haven't walked from Porto to Valenca, but I've gone from Valenca to Santiago and I think it's also very pretty and the infrastructure is good. People have reported that walking out of Porto there are some pretty bad highway sections, but I don't know how long they last.

Bom caminho, Laurie
 
Thanks for the info Laurie! By the way, the link works fine and it is great seeing such up to date info. It would be interesting to see how Fletcher got on with the Brierley guide. Leaving Lisbon sounds a bit like leaving Seville (so far, we have walked as far as Monesterio. Day 1 is industrial and suburban, but by day 2 you are out in the countryside).

Does anyone know anything about the variant that goes via Fatima? Is it well marked? I met a French guy (near Palais de Rei) on the Camino has year who had started in Marseille, walked to Santiago, continued on to Fatima and was walking back to Marseille!
 

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