Walk the full Portuguese Way from the cultured cobblestones of Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela’s revered cathedral. Along the way you’ll see the rural villages of Portugal and Spain as well as Porto – yes, the home of port wine – and Coimbra, Portugal’s most magical university town.
Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Coastal Way
32 Days / Self-guided walking
Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela
The Portuguese Way is quickly becoming one of the more popular routes of the Camino de Santiago and with Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra dotted along the route, it’s completely understandable. Your journey will see you exploring the restaurants and museums of Lisbon before heading north past Porto along the Atlantic Coast and its golden beaches. Walk, swim and eat your way across the border to Spain, where you’ll traipse through the incredibly green landscapes of Galicia before arriving in Santiago de Compostela.
Day 1 | Arrive in Lisbon
Oh Lisbon, it’s just a little slice of European heaven. Built up across seven hills, the city is known for its eye-watering views and its mouth-watering foodie scene, from Michelin-starred restaurants to authentic taverns serving up – among other things – Portugal’s famous bacalhau, or salted cod.
The steep, cobbled streets burst with colour and there’s perhaps no better city in Europe to simply wander through. Pull up a chair at a bar or café, order an espresso or vinho tinto and spend an afternoon soaking up the cosmopolitan charm, then perhaps try to catch a moving fado performance in the evening.
Day 2 | Lisbon – Povoa de Santa Iria | 26 km / 6–7 hours
If you didn’t get an opportunity yesterday to visit Lisbon Cathedral in the Alfama district, head there this morning to obtain your first Camino stamp. Pilgrims will have their ‘pilgrim passport’ stamped along the way to prove that they’ve undertaken the Camino de Santiago, which allows them to obtain their certificate upon arriving in Santiago de Compostela.
From the cathedral, you’ll head to Igreja de Santiago church and pick up the yellow Camino arrows that will become your best friends over the next month. Take the Rio Tejo path past the Parque das Nacoes (Park of Nations) and you are on your way to Santiago de Compostela.
Day 3 | Povoa de Santa Iria – Vila Franca de Xira | 16 km / 4 hours
Enjoy a relatively flat walk today, perfect for training your leg muscles for the weeks ahead. It’s best to take the alternative path along the railway track, rather than walking beside the road. Vila Franca de Xira, which sits on the banks of the Tagus River, features beautiful Portuguese architecture and is famous for the traditional bull-running festivals held in July and September.
Day 4 | Vila Franca de Xira – Azambuja | 20 km / 4–5 hours
Continue north along the Camino towards Azambuja. Today is another day of flat walking and a good opportunity to get on top of any issues you may have with blisters or hot spots. The Camino is a marathon, not a sprint, so be sure to take care of your body in these early stages.
Day 5 | Azambuja – Porto de Muge | 17 km / 4 hours
Depart Azambuja for an easy day of walking across the fertile floodplains of the Rio Tejo. The path, for the most part, follows country roads and farm tracks and provides plenty of quiet for you to get to know your fellow pilgrims.
Day 6 | Porto de Muge – Santarem | 16 km / 4 hours
The flat, easy terrain continues through crop fields, fruit groves and vineyards before a steep climb at day’s end to Santarem. At just 110 metres above sea level, this is still the highest point so far and you’ll enjoy lovely views and a well-earned rest at the top. Santarem is a lovely little town with several beautiful churches and a number of stories about past miracles.
Day 7 | Santarem – Golega | 31 km / 7 hours
Depart Santarem and follow the Rio Tejo along quiet country lanes and through charming villages. Despite the longer distance the walking today is flat and easy, and you’ll no doubt find your rhythm as you go along. Golega is known as the horse capital of Portugal and the town hosts two horse fairs every year.
Day 8 | Golega – Tomar | 30 km / 7 hours
Heading out of Golega today you’ll find the walking a little more mixed once you leave the flat, alluvial plains and meet the gentle rolling hills. A highlight of the day is walking through the Quinta de Cardiga, one of Portugal’s most notable estates, which feels more like a small town. The manor house is particularly beautiful. Continue on to Tomar, a historic Templar town with a World Heritage-listed castle complex. Known as the Convent of Christ, the 12th-century building is an imposing sight high above the town.
Day 9 | Tomar – Alvaiazere | 31 km / 7–8 hours
Today is often seen as a challenging walk, but it’s also one of the most rewarding sections. The terrain is quite varied, gently climbing out of the flat plains over several hills to a high point at 310 metres, which is the town of Alvaiazere.
Day 10 | Alvaiazere – Alvorge | 23 km / 5–6 hours
Tackle more undulating terrain through forested valleys, olive groves and crop fields. It’s a physical day, with the pretty path following the medieval pilgrimage route through Ansiao before arriving at Alvorge. Though the town is very small, the Baroque Chapel of Mercy is a lovely building to visit at the end of the day.
Day 11 | Alvorge – Conimbriga | 19 km / 4 hours
Though you’ll spend most of the day a few hundred metres above sea level, the walking is reasonably flat and winds through pine forests, eucalyptus trees, olive groves and small villages. Your destination today is Conimbriga, which is the largest and best-preserved Roman settlement in all of Portugal and classified as a national monument.
Day 12 | Conimbriga – Coimbra | 19 km / 4 hours | Optional rest day in Coimbra
It’s well worth departing early today as Coimbra is one of the highlights along the Portuguese Way. A bustling student town, Coimbra is home to one of Europe’s oldest university and what is perhaps the most beautiful library in the entire world. You’ll enjoy great views of both Coimbra and the Rio Mondego valley during the last climb of the day, you’ll enjoy great food and wine once you descend.
Day 13 | Coimbra – Mealhada | 23 km / 5 hours
Once you’ve left Coimbra there’s a significant change in terrain with the path flattening out along short sections of Roman roads and, eventually, forest tracks. Mealhada is a famous wine region known for its sparkling, while the village is the perfect place to try a suckling pig roasted in a wood-fired oven.
Day 14 | Mealhada – Agueda | 25 km / 6 hours
Buoyed from your sparkling wine and succulent roasted pig, you should have no issues tackling today’s gentle walk featuring a few ups and downs. Though there is more time spent on the road than we’d prefer, the rewards are the Avelas de Caminho, a city historically linked to the Camino, and the beautiful community of Agueda on the banks of the Certima River.
Day 15 | Agueda – Albergaria | 17 km / 4 hours
This leg of the Portuguese Way follows the original Via Romana XVI, a Roman road, which features a beautiful stone bridge crossing over the Rio Marnel. It’s an easy walking day with plenty of pine and eucalyptus forests and your destination, Albergaria, is a lovely place to spend the evening.
Day 16 | Albergaria – Sao Joao de Madeira | 29 km / 7 hours
Begin the day by walking along a lovely forest road, filled with the scent of pine and eucalyptus, before reaching more urbanised areas as the Camino Portuguese progresses further towards Porto. You’ll pass through the charming town of Oliveira de Azemeis, which has a small yet pretty historical centre and is the perfect spot for an afternoon break, before tackling the final slope to Sao Joao de Madeira.
Day 17 | Sao Joao de Madeira – Grijo | 20 km / 4–5 hours
The terrain will vary today as the Camino passes through the town of Arrifana past its distinctive, blue-tiled church called Igreja Matriz. These tiles – known as azulejos – are typical of Portugal and will be particularly noticeable once you arrive in Porto tomorrow. Today, however, you’ll be treated to a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean off in the distance and it won’t be long until you have an opportunity to swim in it.
Day 18 | Grijo – Porto | 17 km / 4 hours | Optional rest day in Porto
The morning begins with an uphill stretch, though the real challenge lies in walking through the urban sprawl to arrive in Porto. It can be monotonous at times, but Porto is a magical city and your efforts along the path are well worth the reward as you finish this major stage of the Portuguese Way.
This is Portugal’s second-largest city and one of Europe’s oldest, with a population of 1.5 million and 2000 years of history. Not only is Porto’s World Heritage-listed centre filled with history, it’s also home to colourful houses and winding cobblestone streets lined with wine bars and seafood restaurants. One cannot leave Porto without heading down to the docks and visiting the internationally renowned port houses. After all, this is the home of the port wine and trust us, there’s plenty to try.
Day 19 | Porto – Vila do Conde | 28 km / 7 hours
Though leaving any major city presents some obstacles, you’ll soon find yourself in quite a different environment with the Atlantic Ocean on your left as you head north up Portugal’s coastline. Follow the path through the city streets then on to the coastal boardwalk up to Vila do Conde.
Day 20 | Vila do Conde – Esposende | 25 km / 6 hours
Let the ocean and endless beaches guide you to your first stop, Povoa de Varzim, a popular Portuguese resort town, and perhaps wash off your morning efforts with a refreshing swim. Take some time, if you wish, to see a few of the sights including the Castelo da Pavoa, a fortress that once protected the town against pirates, or the museum, which details the area’s long history. The Camara Municipal, or town hall, is a beautiful building well worth a visit as its exterior features Portugal’s famous ‘azulejos’ blue tile paintings.
Before arriving in Esposende you’ll cross the Parque Natural do Litoral Norte, which was established to preserve the sand dunes, sea birds and marine creatures. Esposende was built at the estuary of the River Cavado and is lovely spot to watch the sun set over the beach.
Day 21 | Esposende – Viana do Castelo | 23 km / 5–6 hours
A peaceful walk filled with ocean views awaits today, but not before a big breakfast and a cup of coffee. Perhaps detour via the local bakery to pick up a Portuguese tart or two then continue north out of Esposende towards Viana do Castelo, which is famous for its handicrafts and colourful traditional costumes.
The town itself is situated at the mouth of the River Lima, which you’ll cross via the Ponte Eiffel, a bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame). It’s said that during the Roman occupation of Portugal the soldiers believed that the River Lima resembled the mythical Lethe River, one of the five rivers of the underworld, and crossing it would strip a person of their memory. They refused to cross until a Roman general took his horse to the other side and called the soldiers over by their names, proving their fears to be unfounded.
Day 22 | Viana de Castelo – Ancora | 18 km / 4–5 hours
Today is an easy walking day and there is plenty of time for you to enjoy a relaxed pace and a period of reflection. Potter around the seaside villages along the path, take a swim if you feel like it, and follow the coastline all the way to Ancora, an ancient fishing village at the end of the Ancora River. The river descends some 15 kilometres through the pretty Serra d’Arga hills to the east before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 23 | Ancora – A Guarda | 15 km / 4 hours
An exciting day as you cross from Portugal into Spain. Continue along the coastline towards Caminha, where you’ll need to take a ferry across the River Minho to Galicia, which operates about 5 crossings a day, however Monday is their day of rest, so a taxi is required.
After disembarking the ferry it’s a short walk to A Guarda. We highly recommend visiting the famous hilltop fort of Castro de Santa Trega, an ancient Celtic settlement, which offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and Galicia’s verdant countryside. A Guarda – a fisherman’s port – is also known for its shellfish, including lobsters, so be sure to settle in for a delicious seafood meal to celebrate arriving in Spain.
Day 24 | A Guarda – Oia | 15 km / 4 hours
Depart A Guarda, which was a strategic point to keep watch over both the Portuguese and Galician coasts, and continue north to the town of Oia. The trail today sticks to the coast, save for a short climb and descent to arrive in Oia itself. Here you’ll discover the magnificent Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Oia, a 12th-century Cistercian monastery located right by the water. Visitors are unable, at the time of writing, to go inside, but there are currently plans afoot to refurbish the ancient building. Regardless, the exterior is simply stunning and one of the region’s gems.
Day 25 | Oia – Baiona | 15 km / 4 hours | Optional rest day in Baiona
A small resort town, which explodes in the summertime, Baiona has a special place in Spanish – and world – history. It was here, in 1493, that one of Columbus’s ships stopped to resupply and announced that the Italian explorer had ‘discovered’ the Americas on behalf of the Spanish Crown. Though Vigo eventually overtook Baiona as the region’s main port, there are still remnants of the fortresses and battlements that once protected the town. There should be plenty of time to explore the Old Town’s narrow streets and sample the local seafood and wine. The Harbour Museum is also worth visiting, where one can see a replica of La Pinta, the ship that brought the good news.
Day 26 | Baiona – Vigo | 23 km / 5 hours
Tucked away in Galicia’s southwest, Vigo is one of the region’s larger cities with approximately 300,000 residents. It’s a port city and important, economically speaking, for Galicia, though its beaches are a popular drawcard for residents and tourists.
The walk to Vigo takes in expansive views of both the Bay of Vigo and the green hills behind the city that are typical of Galicia. Once again, there are plenty of opportunities to soak up the sunshine, fabulous views of the bay and Vigo has plenty of bars and restaurants to welcome you upon arrival.
Day 27 | Vigo – Redondela | 17 km / 4 hours
The day begins with a climb out of Vigo through the city backstreets. You’ll then join unsealed forest paths for the bulk of the day, walking past eucalyptus trees and along ridges with great views of the coast. Tread lightly: it’s said that Galicia’s enchanted forests are inhabited by ancient witches. You’ll eventually descend back towards the sea and the town of Redondela, your destination for the evening.
Day 28 | | Redondela – Pontevedra | 19 km / 4 hours
Today’s walk travels along the coastal inlet of the Rio de Pontevedra and passes through the town of Arcade, a small fishing village famous for its oysters. The path to Pontevedra is paved with ancient stones, a fitting welcome to a city known for its many Romanesque churches and granite squares. The city, which has been mostly pedestrianised, is an absolute joy to walk around and was recognised as one of the world’s best cities to cycle in. There are a number of sights to visit, with the Gothic Santo Domingo Church, Baroque City Hall and the Church of San Francis Monastery being particularly impressive.
Day 29 | Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis | 22 km | 5 hours
Inland we head, past chestnut groves and eucalyptus forests, continuing through to the hamlet of Ponte Cabras and the Santa Maria de Alba, a beautiful church well worth a visit. Shops and cafes are more sporadic than in previous days, so if you tend to need a bit more fuel during the day then it’s worth stocking up before leaving Pontevedra.
A surprise awaits as you emerge from the dense woods of Lombo da Maceira – a statue of Saint James, pointing his cane to direct pilgrims onwards. Trust him, and make your way through the village of Tibo, with its fountain, public washing area and impressive stone cross, before arriving in Caldas de Reis. This town is known for its healing thermal springs, and yes, nobody deserves a spa more than you.
Day 30 | Caldas de Reis – Padron | 19 km / 4–5 hours
You’ll leave Caldas de Reis over the River Umia and enter the woods once more, gradually climbing up to the hamlet of Santa Marina before catching up with the river once more in Padron. This city has a special historical significance for the Camino as it was the first land sighted by the ship that carried the body of St James. It’s also the home of pimientos de padron, the tiny green peppers (be careful, one in 10 has a real bite!), as well as two of Galicia’s most celebrated writers: the poet Rosalia de Castro and Camilo Jose Cela, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1989.
As this is your final evening on the Camino before reaching Santiago de Compostela, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the journey so far and enjoy the company of your fellow pilgrims. Tomorrow will be a whirlwind of emotions, but tonight is about the people you’ve met, the places you’ve seen and the steps you’ve taken to get to this point.
Day 31 | Padron – Santiago de Compostela | 22 km / 5 hours
The path today will take you through many small villages and hamlets en route to Santiago de Compostela. Your first glimpse of the cathedral’s spires will be from Agro dos Monteiros – a memorable, and often emotional, moment. Continue through the ruins of A Rocha Vella, an old castle, before entering the famous city of Santiago. Follow the path to Santiago Cathedral and take some time to contemplate your achievement. Pilgrims will be coming in from all over the country and it’s just as satisfying watching them arrive.
Collect your Compostela – the official certificate of the Camino de Santiago – and explore the city’s streets. The atmosphere in Santiago is palpable and the food and wine is absolutely mouth-watering. It’s the perfect place to end your journey though the Camino, as they say, never truly ends.
Day 32 | Santiago de Compostela
Your Camino de Santiago comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you do have some extra time, we do recommend taking a bus – or walking, if you’re game – out to Finisterre to see what was once considered the end of the known world.
Visit www.wanderingtheworld.com.au for more information.
- 31 nights accommodation, all carefully selected to enhance your Camino experience
- Private en-suite facilities
- Daily breakfast
- Information packs with route maps and instructions on how to locate hotels
- Luggage identification tags
- Pilgrim’s passport
- Emergency contact details and 24/7 local on-the-ground support
- Pre-departure and ongoing support from Australian office
- Three-course dinners with local wine
- Daily luggage transfers from hotel to hotel (1 x 20kg bag unless indicated otherwise)
- Suggested rest days as outlined in itinerary or if required
- Upgraded accommodation including paradors, country properties and premium/high-end styles
- Private vehicle transfers to the trip’s starting point
- Single supplement for your own room
- Additional night’s accommodation before or after trip (please advise at time of booking)
- Travel to trip’s starting point
- Transfers not already outlined in detailed trip itinerary
We know from personal experience that a good night’s rest can make or break a trip, which is why we carefully hand-select all our accommodation. We ensure that our knowledge and firsthand experience of the best places to stay is passed on to all our walkers.
Your accommodation along the Camino is booked in advance, on a twin-share basis with private facilities, and chosen to make your pilgrimage experience as rewarding as possible. You may be staying in a refurbished farmhouse, some of which have been in the same family for centuries, or perhaps a boutique hotel with a chef who would not be out of place in a Michelin-starred restaurant. There are unique properties scattered throughout the different routes including converted monasteries, lighthouses and tiny B&Bs with the most generous hosts you could possibly imagine. Best of all, you’ll always have private en-suite facilities. Wherever you end up, you’ll be well looked after, warm and comfortable and, most importantly, ready to tackle the next day’s walk.
Single supplements are also available so you can enjoy your room with private en-suite. This supplement will apply if you are travelling alone or if there is no gender-share option. You can request a shared room through Wandering the World at the time of booking, however this is not guaranteed.
There are opportunities to upgrade to more luxurious lodgings in many places along the Camino. These are perfect for celebrating special occasions and milestones, or even to enhance your entire journey. We can recommend some very special, unique places to indulge in the Camino hospitality in spectacular style, so please ask us about these options when booking.
Food & Dining
The local cuisine is a definite highlight of your walk. The Camino regions are famous for their culinary delights, and you’ll end up exploring the destination using not only your feet, but also your taste buds.
Breakfast at your place of accommodation is usually continental style and may include cereals, yoghurt, bread, pastries, ham, tea, coffee and juices.
Lunch – at your own expense – will depend on where you are on your walk and what is available. It’s often purchased at a local café or bar, with choices along the trail perhaps including Spanish omelette (tortilla Espanola), tuna empanadas, soups or sandwiches (boccadillo). Alternatively, you may wish to enjoy a picnic in a perfect spot along the path.
Evening meals are a hearty, three-course affair known as the ‘pilgrims’ menu’. These usually consist of a salad or soup to start, followed by a choice of a meat or pasta dish, then finishing with a dessert. This is always accompanied by a bottle of local wine, of course. On occasion, the owner of the accommodation may be in the kitchen preparing the house special, which will not disappoint.
Most evening meals are included on guided group trips, and for self-guided itineraries, Wandering the World can include as many evening meals as you wish. We may strongly recommend this in some places because it’s either been a long walking day or there are limited choices available in certain destinations. We can share our advice and talk to you about this at the time of booking. We can accommodate most dietary requirements, so please let us know in advance.
This trip is a self-guided itinerary, ideal for groups and independent travellers who prefer to navigate in their own way and their own time.
You will be provided with an information pack including easy-to-read maps and instructions, complete with directions to guide you on the well-marked paths and tracks. On the Camino, you will be following the yellow arrows and Camino scallop shells, while the Chemin is marked with red and white stripes. This information pack will be available at your joining hotel on the first day of your trip.
Moderate – This itinerary is carefully designed for easy-to-manage walking days that generally average less than 20 km, or approximately 4–6 walking hours. The surfaces are fairly even with moderate ascents and descents. A reasonable level of fitness is recommended.
Given you only need carry a lightweight day pack, this trip is very manageable for those who are new to walking holidays. Whatever your previous experience, preparation and training make all our walks more enjoyable.
Wandering the World arranges a daily luggage transfer to maximise your comfort and enjoyment, so all you need to carry is a day pack. Luggage allowance is one bag per person of no more than 20 kg (13 kg on the Chemin). Your luggage must be left in the reception of your hotel before breakfast (8 am) each day.
- It is essential to attach the bag tag provided to ensure your luggage is delivered to your next accommodation.
- Only one bag will be moved each day and additional charges will apply if your bag is heavier than 20 kg (13 kg on the Chemin).
- Should you require special arrangements for additional luggage transfers, these can be made ahead of time and must be paid as part of your final payment to Wandering the World.
Wandering the World’s guided groups have a maximum group size of 12 participants. This small group size means that we have the flexibility to stay in a wider range of accommodations, can dine together in the evenings, have the freedom to walk alone or together, and there are more opportunities to get to know your travelling companions.
If, for any reason, you wish to shorten your walking day, there are options along the Camino and in the villages to arrange a taxi.
On some itineraries, there are times when Wandering the World may arrange a transfer for you or can do so at your request. This might happen where small villages do not have accommodation with private facilities, for example, or when we want to take you to a special country property that we know you are going to love. In this case, Wandering the World will either arrange a transfer for you or suggest a taxi.
Transfers on the Camino are common in parts. A simple procedure is outlined in your trip notes explaining the details of your private transfer, the designated meeting point and the agreed transfer time.
The weather and climate on the Camino can vary from country to country, region to region and, of course, from day to day. Each season has its own benefits, with long, warm and sunny days in spring and early summer, while early spring and late autumn tend to enjoy cooler walking temperatures. Some sections may be too hot for walking mid-summer, while others are more likely to be wet at certain times. The experts at Wandering the World can discuss your preferences and guide you when you are planning your trip.
Once you’ve started your walk, the weather can play an important role in your overall enjoyment of the journey. Checking the forecast can be a great help when planning your days. If you do strike hotter weather, leaving early to avoid the warmest part of the day will make a huge difference.
24/7 SUPPORT & CARE
Your information pack will include details of local emergency contacts and international contacts. We have local, on-the-ground support to provide any assistance you may require and we’ll also check-in with your hotel at the end of each day to ensure that you’ve arrived safely.
GETTING THERE / GETTING HOME
This itinerary begins in Baiona and ends in Santiago de Compostela.
The closest airports to Baiona are Porto or Vigo.
From your airport of choice there are bus, train and flight options as per the links below.
Train bookings are recommended. Please note you can only book two months in advance of the date of travel.
Bus/Train : Rome2Rio
Insurance is compulsory for everyone who travels with Wandering the World. The insurance policy must include cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability. Wandering the World recommends insurance coverage for cancellation to be taken at the same time your deposit is paid, as no exception to the cancellation provisions can be made.
BOOKING AND TRAVEL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Wandering the World’s full booking terms and conditions are available upon request and will also accompany your initial invoice for deposit.
The Portuguese Camino is a great rural experience and once again the team at Wandering the World did a great job in organizing every detail … We departed late March from Lisbon and after a few weeks arrived into vibrant Porto which you feel like you could stay a few days … the last fourteen days where we walked through into Spain and the wonderful Santiago de Compostela destination were such an awesome experience again … wonderful senses of calm and living in the moments.
C&J Gale, Portugal Coastal from Lisbon, 2018
I undertook this Camino as a single, independent traveller, staying in good quality standard hotels with luggage transfers. This was my third Camino having done the Camino Frances and Camino del Norte previously, so I knew what to expect and the need to prepare. If you have about a month to spare it is a great way to see the beautiful countryside and coastal vistas of Portugal and Spain. Spring is a great time to commence the Camino Portuguese; not too hot, not too cold, with just a few days of rainy weather to contend with.
The Camino Portuguese has essentially two parts: the first from Lisbon to Porto is relatively flat and takes you through peaceful farmland, vineyards, small villages, as well as some larger towns; the second from Porto to Santiago has some beautiful and rugged coastal stretches, and some hilly and forested areas as you leave the coast and get closer to Santiago.
If you love views of the ocean, and stretches where you can walk on the beach, then relax and enjoy seafood and local wine, this is definitely the route to take to Santiago.
David Symonds, Portugal Coastal from Lisbon, 2018