Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Inland Way

32 Days / Self-guided walking

Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela

Portuguese Inland Way

Follow in the centuries-old footsteps of pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago through Portugal, beginning in unforgettable Lisbon and finishing outside the famous Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

TRIP STYLE

Self-Guided Walking

DURATION/LENGTH

32 Days/640kms

DATES

Any date to suit you

START/END POINT

Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela

GRADING

Challenging Walk

PRICE P/P TWIN SHARE

From EURO 3,680 / AUD 6,455

Make Enquiry SAVE/PRINT ITINERARY

A 32-day journey of friendship, reflection, food and wine, the Portuguese Way is an incredible experience and one of the most popular routes to Santiago de Compostela. The path takes pilgrims from the hilly streets of Lisbon to the docks of Porto then inland through Barcelos and onwards to Spain and Santiago. With time spent in the historic university town of Coimbra and the rolling hills of Galicia, this Camino will leave an imprint on your heart as much as your footsteps will leave an imprint on the path.

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.

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 boring 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 – Fajozes | 24 km / 5–6 hours

Pilgrims may choose to either transfer straight to San Miguel de Arcos or, if they’d prefer to walk an unbroken chain, continue on foot to the town of Fajozes. Leaving any city, like Porto, presents some challenges, however these can be overcome with perseverance and a Camino spirit.

Day 20 | Fajozes – San Miguel de Arcos | 12 km / 3 hours

This pretty walk will see you pass through a wide variety of landscapes including rolling green hills and a smattering of corn fields.

Day 21 | 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 22 | 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 23 | Balugae – Ponte de Lima | 19 km / 5 hours

Make your way from Baulgaes 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 24 | 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 25 | 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 26 | 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 27 | 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 28 | Redondela – Pontevedra | 19 km / 4 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 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 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 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, 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.

Inclusions

  • 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

Optional Inclusions

  • 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)

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel to trip’s starting point
  • Transfers not already outlined in detailed trip itinerary
  • Lunches

Accommodation

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.

THE WALKING

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.

TRIP GRADE

Challenging – This itinerary is designed with more experienced walkers in mind, covering an average of 20–25 km per day, or approximately 7–8 walking hours. Longer pilgrimages will generally have some longer days of over 30 km, as per the itinerary. Surfaces may be uneven at times with regular ascents and descents, sometimes in more remote areas. A good base level of fitness and experience in walking is recommended. Whatever your previous experience, preparation and training make all our walks more enjoyable.

LUGGAGE TRANSFERS

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.

Please note:

  • 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.

GROUP SIZE

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.

TRANSFERS/TAXIS

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.

WEATHER

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 Lisbon and ends in Santiago de Compostela.

The closest airports to Lisbon are Madrid, Lisbon or Porto.

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:  ALSA

Train:

The Train Line

Rail Europe

RENFE

Comboios de Portugal

Bus/Train : Rome2Rio

Flights:

Vueling

Ryan Air

Iberia Express

Iberia:

TAP

BA

Easyjet

Alitalia

Also, check out: Skyscanner OR Spanish Airport Guide

INSURANCE

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.