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Which route - CF or CP?

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
For a young, healthy, in shape, first timer, which route would you suggest - the Camino Frances or the Camino Portugues?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I always advise the Camino Francés for a first camino.

It is the one described in the Codex Calixtinus, the 12th Century Book of St James, and the road followed by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in the middle ages.

I have really liked lots of the other routes, and have walked quite a few (including the CP, which was OK, but not, imo, one of the best). Some routes are more spectacular (the Norte, the Primitivo, the Le Puy), some have been wonderfully enjoyable (the Via de la Plata, the Madrid), but the CF remains the one that pulls me.
For me it will always be "The Camino".
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-FIN(09/2018)
PORTO-SANT(11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe(01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT(09/2019)
Madrid(7/2020)
I agree, first time CF and at end walk Porto to Santiago. 2 in 1, make the first last as long as possible if you have the luxury. The only one that calls me is the CF 🤠
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-FIN(09/2018)
PORTO-SANT(11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe(01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT(09/2019)
Madrid(7/2020)
For a young, healthy, in shape, first timer, which route would you suggest - the Camino Frances or the Camino Portugues?
And if you are walking the CF a second time, try walking the route you did not take the first, whichever it was. That's what I did with zero regrets.
I'm expecting your asking on behalf of another as see you've walked CF before? 🤠
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Depending on sufficient time: CF (3,5-4,5 weeks walking-time in average)
For 14 days off: CP from Porto.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
For a young, healthy, in shape, first timer, which route would you suggest - the Camino Frances or the Camino Portugues?
What time of year are you walking?

Are you looking for your Camino to be social or more solitary?

How long do you have?

The answer to these questions will help in making a recommendation.

Joe
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Both caminos are suitable for a first-timer, the main difference is the time required to walk the (whole) camino.

Porto-Santiago is easily doable in 2 weeks (Lisbon-Porto is not suitable for first-timers, as there are only very few people and very long distances + only few "albergues", so it is difficult to get in touch with other pilgrims),
the Camino Francés requires about 4 weeks minimum.

Camino Francés offers lots of culture, history, different landscapes (mountains, meseta). You will meet a lot of people but you will not feel obliged to befriend with them as tomorrow you will meet other people, walking different daily distances.

Camino Portugues offers less history, but nice portugese countryside and friendly locals. There are enough albergues, but people will roughly walk the same stages, so you are likely to meet them again in the evening. This makes even people who do not befriend that easily feel part of the camino family.

So, the choice is up to you!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I'm with those who say it depends on how much time you have. With two or three weeks, I would walk the CP from Porto to Santiago or Finisterre/Muxia. With six weeks I would walk the CF from the French/Spanish border.

I see where the CF people are coming from and, if time is not a factor, I would definitely recommend the CF first. It is the more "archetypical" Camino that is generally reflected in books, movies, etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
I'm with those who say it depends on how much time you have. With two or three weeks, I would walk the CP from Porto to Santiago or Finisterre/Muxia. With six weeks I would walk the CF from the French/Spanish border.

I see where the CF people are coming from and, if time is not a factor, I would definitely recommend the CF first. It is the more "archetypical" Camino that is generally reflected in books, movies, etc.
Some of us have never had enough freedom to walk the entire Frances straight through.... I never have! But, in bits and pieces, two weeks here, three weeks there, I've walked the entire Frances twice, and some parts three times. ... No-one should think that they must do the whole 4-5-6 weeks Frances walk in one fell swoop!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Some of us have never had enough freedom to walk the entire Frances straight through.... I never have! But, in bits and pieces, two weeks here, three weeks there, I've walked the entire Frances twice, and some parts three times. ... No-one should think that they must do the whole 4-5-6 weeks Frances walk in one fell swoop!
Good point. And I agree. But if someone is only ever going to get two to three weeks at a time, I would still advise doing the CP from Porto before the CF as a first camino. It allows them a complete Camino (and a slightly gentler one) as an introduction to the Camino experience, while still having a solid infrastructure and good pilgrim community. Then, if they find they like it, they can start on doing the CF in stages.
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
These are all tremendous points!
My traveling companion recently (today) pointed out to me that time IS a factor for her. I think she is thinking of the CP from Porto. You see my CF experience - I had originally planned on doing the CP from Lisbon solo for my third Camino, then she decided to come along. I think a new pilgrim should start with the CF as a baseline, all other factors being equal. I don't have time constraints.
Her new information, and the suggestions and advice from everyone here in this thread, puts a whole new spin on the question. Fortunately, we have time - we plan to do it in the Fall.
Question for another thread - is the cathedral in Santiago still under major construction/covered with scaffolding and the "photo" of the facade??
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@FooteK the wrappings are off the outside of the cathedral and it looks wonderful. The inside was supposed to be finished by February 2020, but I'm not sure that it is. I do know that you can book tickets to see the wonderfully restored Portico of Glory here.
 

Susan B Johnson

PuraVida
Camino(s) past & future
June (2016)
I always advise the Camino Francés for a first camino.

It is the one described in the Codex Calixtinus, the 12th Century Book of St James, and the road followed by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in the middle ages.

I have really liked lots of the other routes, and have walked quite a few (including the CP, which was OK, but not, imo, one of the best). Some routes are more spectacular (the Norte, the Primitivo, the Le Puy), some have been wonderfully enjoyable (the Via de la Plata, the Madrid), but the CF remains the one that pulls me.
For me it will always be "The Camino".
May I ask why you thought the CP was not one of the best?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Susan B Johnson - stone sets and cobblestones, rain, bedbugs, two bad falls, and lots of eucalyptus forests (of which there are plenty where I come from, where they belong). I also was not very fit to begin and had arranged to meet a friend in Vigo, which put time pressure on me.

It was not unenjoyable, and I'd walk it again.
 

Tony Walsh

Tony in Perth
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria last 120km 2014, Full Camino Frances 2017, Via Francigena 2018, Coast Caomino Portugues 2020
If you have 5 weeks definitely do the whole Camino Frances. If you have 2 weeks I suggest you do Leon to Santiago or the CP from Porto
 


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