16-Day Escorted PORTUGUESE WAY: Porto to Santiago de Compostela

 

The Portuguese Way (Inland path): Porto to Santiago de Compostela

16-day, 240 Kilometre Pilgrimage through Portugal and Spain

ESCORTED/HOSTED TRIP

TRIP LENGTH: 16 days/15 nights  GROUP SIZE: Maximum 15

MEALS: 15 Breakfasts, 12 Dinners OTHER: Luggage Transfer – 20kg

DEPARTURE DATE: September 30, 2018

PRICES FROM: Euro2,350 per person twin share.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: Euro870 (applies if no gender share option) DEPOSIT: AUD 800 


Portugal emerged as a country in 1143, and is steeped in history. From the mid-12th century, the way of Saint James and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela has been a feature on the paths and roads across Portugal. This route was used by Queen Isabel of Portugal (1271 – 1336) to make at least one pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The hospitality offered to pilgrims started in the Middle Ages by monks and clergymen, still continues today along the less travelled Portuguese Way ('the friendly Camino') where all villages and towns participate with their generosity and warm welcome. The route heading north through rural areas, along the Atlantic coast has the sun on your back all the way to Santiago, with farmhouses, forests, rolling hills and cobbled stone paths a feature of the journey.

Walking the Camino is a time for reflection and recognition and a time to shake your worries for another time and place. It provides thinking time to crystallise the 'where to from here', or if you prefer, don't bother thinking at all.

You start in Porto, a beautiful town and a shame to miss. Transfer from Porto, rather than walk, to Vilar de Pinheiro to avoid the less interesting outskirts of Porto. You then start your walk of the last 230 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela, a journey that will be etched in your memory for a lifetime.

HOSTED/ESCORTED


This trip is hosted/escorted to welcome Wandering the World travellers at the joining hotel on the arrival day. It is also designed so you can share the journey with like-minded people and enjoy each other’s company. Your host/escort provides assistance, support and guidance to ensure you have an exceptional experience, with camaraderie and fun for all to enjoy.

ABOUT THE WALKING


Although this trip is hosted/escorted the walking is SELF-GUIDED. You are therefore free to walk at your own pace in your own time, hence the description of self-guided. You will be equipped with easy to read maps and instructions complete with directions to guide you on the well-marked paths and tracks, following the yellow arrows. Wandering the World takes care of all your accommodation and daily luggage transfer so you can relax and enjoy your journey. This itinerary is carefully designed for easy to manage walking days. There is a basic level of fitness required and some uphill stretches in part, however, given you only need carry a lightweight day bag and your water supply, which can be replenished in the various villages on route, and other essentials such as snacks, it makes this trip very manageable for any inexperienced walker.

ACCOMMODATION


The accommodation is a mix of centrally located hotels and Casa Rurals – Portuguese/Spanish privately owned accommodation. The meals are also a highlight, on occasion mama will be in the kitchen preparing a three-course hearty meal known as the pilgrim’s staple which comes complete with a bottle of wine, (which can be returned to the kitchen if you wish, or if you are under age!). There is also a variety of impressive cuisine from Michelin recognised chefs, and all dietary requirements are taken care of in advance. The language is Portuguese and Spanish. English is difficult to find, which adds an exciting dimension, a great reminder that you are travelling in a foreign land.

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

Day 1 & 2/Night 1 & 2 - September 30 (pre-night) & October 1, 2018 
ARRIVE PORTO

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, and has a population of 1.4 million. It was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. One of Portugal’s internationally famous exports, port wine, is named for Porto. The Porto region is also a major producer of cork.

Day one is arrival day and relaxation. Day 2 city tour in the morning and meeting in the reception of our hotel at 6.30pm for a briefing and introduction, followed by a welcome dinner.

Day 3/Night 3 - October 2, 2018
PORTO - VILAR de PINHEIRO - SAN MIGUEL DE ARCOS 19km. Estimated walking time approx. 4 to 5 hours

During this section, you will pass through a wide variety of landscapes, leaving the urban sprawl of Porto to green hills and quiet coastline.

You farewell Porto with some reluctance, due to its beauty, and take your transfer by road to Vilar de Pinheiro. There is a café at the end of town where your walking journey begins. Cafes are always a welcome sight, to enjoy a coffee, use the facilities and sample some homemade goodies to either eat on the spot or take away. This stage takes place almost entirely on cobbled and tarmac roads, and tarmac tracks in rural surroundings. An enjoyable introduction to the Camino before arriving at San Miguel de Arcos.

Day 4/Night 4 - October 3, 2018
SAN MIGUEL DE ARCOS - BARCELOS 21km. Estimated walking time approx. 5 hours

Continuing to follow the yellow arrows today, we head to Barcelos, a beautiful city that will draw you into its medieval atmosphere from the moment you see it from the other side of the River Cávado. Its high location with the river at its base and its walled structure with the Torre da Porta Nova, give visitors a good insight into its history. A good place to rest for a night.

Day 5/Night 5 - October 4, 2018
BARCELOS - BALUGÃES 17km. Estimated walking time approx. 4 hours

Today will be another picturesque day, walking along rural roads with small villages separated by forests that are quickly traversed. This stage contains a few ascents, which are not too arduous.

Woodland roads, pine trees and ancient bridges are all main attractions, and olive and orange groves pave some of the way, before you feel welcome to Balugaes.

Day 6/Night 6 - October 5, 2018
BALUGÃES - PONTE DE LIMA 19km. Estimated walking time approx. 5 hours

Making our way to the beautiful village of Ponte de Lima, we recommend wandering through its narrow streets and past the historical buildings that date back to the medieval period. It is allegedly the oldest city in Portugal and probably has one of the prettiest riverbanks in the country.

This stage of the Camino is practically all downhill, mainly along rural roads with small villages, passing by plenty of grapevines.

Day 7/Night 7 - October 6, 2018
PONTE DE LIMA - RUBIÃES 20km. Estimated walking time approx. 4 hours

Today starts by crossing the impressive Roman bridge in Ponte de Lima, then onto the beautiful paths that will take you ever deeper into mountainous terrain. An irresistible spot at the top for a picnic before making your way down to Rubiäes, which has a population of less than 500 people.

Day 8/Night 8 - October 7, 2018
RUBIÃES - TUI 20km. Estimated walking time approx. 4 to 5 hours

Today we reluctantly farewell Portugal, however embrace Spain. Making our way to Tui a city notable for its collection of historical buildings, in particular the Cathedral, an obligatory stop on the Camino de Santiago. The historical centre of this city is an old walled section from the 13th century, which has been declared an historical-artistic heritage site.

Before we arrive in Tui our itinerary will cover mainly very quiet rural roads until you arrive in sleepy town of Valenҫa. We are now approximately 100 kilometres from Santiago.

The Tui International Bridge which connects Tui and Valenҫa was completed in 1878 under the direction of Gustave Eiffel. Tui sits above the banks of the majestic Mino River, and is a beautiful town of approximately 17,000 people. It is an ideal place for an additional night to give you the opportunity to explore all the attractions this town has to offer. There are two interesting museums, which offer fascinating history dating back to the 10th century when Tui was raided by Vikings.

Before we arrive in Tui our itinerary will cover mainly very quiet rural roads until you arrive in sleepy town of Valenҫa. We are now approximately 100 kilometres from Santiago.

Day 9/Night 9 – October 8, 2018
TUI - O PORRIÑO 17km. Estimated walking time approx. 3 to 4 hours

O Porriño is an industrial town and its main industry is granite production. It is more of a convenience stop as it is on the trail, however you won’t be disappointed with the walk and the city square has some excellent places for Tapas.

Day 10/Night 10 – October 9, 2018
O PORRIÑO - REDONDELA 20km. Estimated walking time approx. 4 to 5 hours

An easy walk to Redondela and our way to a small fishing village just off the Camino. It is renowned for its rich oysters as well as fish. Our accommodation is by the water and its worth a paddle before the tasty evening meal.

Day 11/Night 11 – October 10, 2018
REDONDELA - PONTEVEDRA 18km. Estimated walking time approx. 4 hours

Winding through the old town of Redondela takes us towards Pontevedra, which has some of the most beautiful historical-artistic monuments in Galicia. Enjoy the narrow local roads at the beginning of the route today. There are a few food temptations along the way.

Day 12/Night 12 – October 11, 2018
PONTEVEDRA - CALDAS DE REIS 21km. Estimated walking time approx. 5 hours

Welcome to the flattest stage of the Camino. It runs along dirt roads, mostly weaving among village houses and fields. Leaving Praza da Ferreria, you cross Pontevedra’s old town and go over the O Burgo Bridge, entering the green landscapes of rural Galicia, one of the most unforgettable provinces in Spain. Arriving in Caldas de Reis, the home of thermal springs.

Day 13/Night 13 – October 12, 2018
CALDAS DE REIS - PADRÓN 20km. Estimated walking time approx. 4 to 5 hours

The road out of Caldas de Reis takes us straight to the fields, before reaching the outskirts of Padrόn, famous for its celebrated writers – monuments bearing witness to this include the Museum-House of Rosalia de Castro and the Camilo José Cela Foundation. It is also renowned for its peppers – some very spicy!!

Day 14/Night 14 – October 13, 2018
PADRÓN - SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA 25km. Estimated walking time approx. 6 hours


Our destination today is Santiago de Compostela - a rare and special city with a particular magic that can only be enjoyed by walking around its streets. Its historical centre has been designated a World Heritage Site, offering dozens of churches and religious buildings.

The most important being the impressive cathedral, which is both Baroque and Romanesque at the same time and contains the sepulchre of the Apostle St James (known in Spanish as Santiago). The plazas of A Quintana, Praterias, Acibecheria and O Obradoiro escort the Cathedral and each one stands as an open-air museum. Plaza de O Obradoiro marks the location of the Hostel dos Reis Catόlicos, which is today a parador hotel, the office of the vice-chancellor of the city’s university and the Pazo de Raxoi, which is home to the regional government and the City Hall. The cathedral marks the beginning of Rúa da Raiña and Rúa Franco, which are laden with bars and restaurants where you can enjoy all the specialities of Galicia and, at the end of the street, the beautiful Paseo da Ferradura offers impressive views of the city on one side and the university campus on the other. Another part of the historical centre contains the beautiful marketplace, which is of neo-Romanesque style. It is impossible to summarise the beauty of this great city in only a few lines. Wander around the streets and enjoy the character of this amazing city, enjoyed by pilgrims and the like from all around the world. Time to sample some Tapas and to reflect on the journey that has lead you to Santiago de Compostela.

Usually an emotional day, not wanting the journey to come to an end. We gather in the square in front of the Cathedral, congratulate and celebrate the amazing journey. It is worth attending a pilgrim’s mass, which is at midday and in the evening.

Day 15/Night 15 - October 14, 2018
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – EXTRA NIGHT

 

Free day with city tour option

 


Day 16 – October 15, 2018
ONWARD JOURNEY

Although the trip finishes after breakfast today, the memories of the Camino will live on.



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