Follow the inland variant of the Portuguese Way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, taking in historic towns, flowing rivers and pristine forests as you go.
Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Inland Way
14 Days / Self-guided walking
Porto to Santiago de Compostela
Pilgrims have been walking through Portugal to Santiago de Compostela for hundreds of years. This journey, beginning in Porto, will take you along the medieval inland route through small rural villages and pine forests across the border into Spain’s Galicia province and onwards to the cathedral at Santiago.
The Portuguese are famously welcoming people and nowhere is this hospitality greater than along the Camino. Expect smiling faces, lots of laughter, incredible home-cooking and some of the most underrated wine in Europe.
Day 1 | Arrive in Porto
Your Camino begins in the city of Porto on the banks of the River Douro. 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 2 | Porto – Vilar de Pinheiro – San Miguel de Arcos | 19 km / 4–5 hours
It’s always sad saying goodbye to Porto – it’s such a wonderful city – but the Camino awaits, and you’ll begin your journey. Take a train to Vilar de Pinheiro to avoid the industrial outskirts of Porto. There’s a café where you can grab a coffee or some homemade treats before beginning the stage, which is an enjoyable introduction to the Camino featuring cobbled and tarmac paths in rural surroundings.
Day 3 | San Miguel de Arcos – Barcelos | 21 km / 5 hours
Follow the yellow arrows towards Barcelos, a beautiful city that will capture your imagination from the moment you see it across the other side of the River Cavado. Its high location and medieval atmosphere make it a wonderful place to explore and its walled structure, the Torre da Porta Nova, gives a good insight into the town’s history. Barcelos is famous as the origin of the Rooster of Barcelos, one of the most common symbols of Portugal, which comes from a folk tale to do with a pilgrim.
Day 4 | Barcelos – Balugaes | 17 km / 4 hours
Another picturesque walk awaits, treading down rural roads through small villages and green forests. There are a few ascents throughout the stage, though none are too arduous, and the walking is pleasant with pine trees, woodlands, ancient bridges and olive groves along the way. You’ll be in Balugaes before you know it.
Day 5 | Balugaes – Ponte de Lima | 19 km / 5 hours
Make your way from Balugaes to the beautiful village of Ponte de Lima, one of Portugal’s oldest towns. An attractive medieval bridge spans the River Lima on the other side of Ponte de Lima, which has one of the prettiest riverbanks in the entire country. The walking today is almost entirely downhill, mainly along rural roads through small villages.
The town of Ponte de Lima was once a Roman settlement and 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 6 | Ponte de Lima – Rubiaes | 20 km / 4 hours
Cross the impressive Roman bridge and then follow the delightful paths deeper into mountainous territory. It’s worth packing some food for a picnic as there’s an irresistibly attractive spot at the day’s high point before you descend to Rubiaes, a tiny town of less than 500 people.
Day 7 | Rubiaes – Tui | 20 km / 4–5 hours | Optional rest day in Tui
We say a reluctant farewell to Portugal today and cross into the welcoming arms of Spain. Our destination today is Tui, notable for its collection of historical buildings including a cathedral that’s an obligatory stop along the Camino de Santiago. The path follows very quiet, rural roads until the sleepy town of Valenca, which is approximately 100 kilometres from Santiago de Compostela.
Valenca is connected to Tui by the Tui International Bridge, which was completed in the late-19th century under the direction of Gustave Eiffel. The beautiful town, which has a population of approximately 17,000 people, sits above the Mino River and is an ideal place to spend an additional night if you’re considering a rest day. There are a couple of interesting museums and the historical centre dates back to the 13th century.
Day 8 | Tui – O Porrino | 17km / 3–4 hours
Enjoy a relaxed walk from Tui to O Porrino, an industrial town along the trail. Its main industry is granite production and the town itself is more of a convenience stop than an aesthetic one, though the city square has some excellent tapas places to try.
Day 9 | O Porrino – Redondela | 20 km / 4–5 hours
Today’s walk is mainly paved and winds through several small towns on its way to Redondela. There’s a decent climb to the Santiaguino Cross, which is a great spot for a rest, before the path continues along a mixture of paved and unpaved sections on the way to Redondela. This is where the coastal variant of the Camino Portuguese meets the inland route, so you may well encounter a number of new pilgrims. The town is known for its seafood, particularly the oysters, and our accommodation is just off the Camino by the water, perfect for a quick paddle before a tasty evening meal.
Day 10 | Redondela – Pontevedra | 19 km / 4–5 hours
There will most likely be more pilgrims along the trail today, given the coastal route has joined, but there’s plenty of space for reflection along the way. There are two ascents today – 150 and 165 metres in height – and your excitement will no doubt be growing as the kilometres to Santiago de Compostela count down. At the top of the first climb you’ll see a commemorative collection of scallop shells for pilgrims, after which you’ll walk through several towns including Arcade and cross the Ponte Sampaio, where a famous battle took place during the Spanish War of Independence. A mixture of forest paths and paved roads take you to Pontevedra, your destination for the evening.
Day 11 | 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 St 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 12 | 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, 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 13 | 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 14 | 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.
- 13 nights accommodation, all carefully selected to enhance your Camino experience
- Private en-suite facilities
- Daily luggage transfers from hotel to hotel (1 x 20kg bag unless indicated otherwise)
- 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
- 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 Porto and ends in Santiago de Compostela.
The closest airports to Porto are Madrid, Porto or Lisbon.
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.
“This was my second ever Camino to Santiago de Compostela, and I couldn’t wait to start from Porto. I’d heard about the ‘Friendly Way’ and was excited to walk with the sun on my back all the way. I’ve taken on this challenge nine times since and I bask in the excitement of returning to old friends and staying in special places. I always look forward to seeing Antonio, who serves drinks while his wife cooks up one splendid Portuguese meal. Other highlights have been having a foot in both Portugal and Spain as I crossed the bridge over the River Mino, and sharing a nightcap in the millhouse under the viaduct in Caldas de Reis – who would even know that there was a bar under there!” – Glenyce, Founder of Wandering the World.
This was my first trip with Wandering the World, and they are way ahead of the competition.
The group was perfectly structured. Even though we didn’t have to walk at the same pace, we did because the group dynamic was fantastic. If an issue did arise Glenyce was on top of it in a flash. I’ve never experienced a happier group which was important to me as I had 3 family members on it!
The accommodation was extremely clean and comfortable, and we stayed in some beautiful and historic buildings which added to the romance of the holiday.
Arriving in Santiago with friends and family was thrilling and emotional, an experience that will never be forgotten.
Jeremy M. – Portuguese Inland, September 2015
What a thrill to walk the ancient pilgrim Camino with the lovely Glenyce and Dawn who made it even more special than just a walk. Everything went smoothly from the great choice of hotels to the amazing food and wine the extra special touches of private rooms for us to dine to make us, the pilgrims, feel special after our walk each day. Group dynamic was fantastic and new friends were made. A trip of a lifetime and memories forever.
Tim O. – September 2015
Just a few lines to say how much I enjoyed the Portugal Camino walk.
I was blown away by Portugal and the Portuguese people. They are so friendly and helpful. The walk was a little harder than the previous one but it is very ”do able”. The countryside that we walked through is beautiful and you really feel connected to the land and the way the people make their living from the land.
I feel that I was very lucky to be with the people that I walked with. I didn’t know anyone when I began but we all bonded well and I spent some wonderful hours with people as we walked along the track. I think that the accommodation that was selected was excellent all along the way. The food that was provided at breakfast and in the evening was always of a good standard and quality.
Overall, it was a wonderful walk, well organised, great places to stay and set off with a great bunch of people to travel with. How lucky I was. Would recommend this walk with Wandering the World.
Pam E, Portuguese Inland, September, 2015
Your role as organizer was fantastic. You have a way of stepping in when necessary, but your pre-planning made the trip for me seem effortless.
I really appreciated Dawn’ influence on the trip as well. She is light-hearted and easy-going – that helps to put everyone at ease.
Thanks to both you and Dawn for a great experience.
Lois – Portuguese Inland, September 2015