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Camino de Santiago (Portuguese): coastal

€1030 per person

The Way of St. James (also popular as El Camino De Santiago) has been followed by millions of pilgrims, travelers, muleteers or just merchants since the 9th century when the tomb of Apostle James (Santiago) was discovered. His relics are now kept in the crypt of the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela which attracts many people to make their own pilgrimage following the Way of hope and faith. The endeavor of walking for a week or a month, being disconnected to modern devices, is immensely liberating. However, not everyone could free the whole month to experience one of the branches of this walking journey, so the Portuguese Way is one of the shorter choice to do so. Within 15 days of independent hiking you will have the opportunity to discover the vast architectural heritage, centuries-old cultural traditions, rich gastronomy and generous hospitality of Portugal and northwestern Spain. The self-guided walking tour will cross the borders of your beliefs and literally – the border between two magnificent lands – Portugal and Spain. Walking the Way of Santiago is a life-time experience that lets you know yourself better and see the world with different eyes!

  • Destination
  • Duration
    15 Days I Difficulty: 3/4 (of 5)
  • What is included
    14 nights bed and breakfast (en-suite rooms throughout in a combination of 2-, 3- and 4- star hotel, restored manor houses and country inns); Private transfer from Porto to Matosinhos on Day 2; Luggage transfers between accommodations (1 bag per person - max 15kg); Pilgrim kit: pilgrim passport and shell; Roadbook of the way with tips, maps and detailed information (in English); Emergency support phone line
  • What is not included
    Drinks and other meals, entry fees, public transportation tickets
  • Best period
    March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
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Day 1: Arrival to Porto
Plan your arrival in the city of Porto. You will be greeted by our representative in the hotel. He will give you the full set of documents as well as a briefing with important information about the upcoming tour. Depending on how much free time you have, you may consider stroll around the city.
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Day 2. Porto (Matosinhos) - Vila do Conde (20km, 5-6hrs, +100m/-100m)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the suburbs of Porto and start your hike from Matosinhos. This is to avoid the unnecessary walk among the busy morning streets and to have more time of admiring the coastline and the awaking ocean. Today your trek will take you to Villa do Conde, alternating tarmac roads with dirt tracks, forest pathways and wooden boardwalks. Most of the time the trail will touch the sandy beaches and you may have many options to bath your feet in the salty waters of the Atlantic. Ending your trek in Vila do Conde, if you still have energy, you may consider strolling around the historical center of the city. If not, you would be always pleased by the local tasty fish dishes and fresh wine.
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Day 3. Vila do Conde - Esposende (25km, 7hrs, +150m/-150m)
Another long walk is planned for you today. Half of the route you will be closer to the refreshing oceanic air, walking on the vast beaches and enjoying the turquoise waters contrasting with the white sand. Soon, after you pass through Povoa de Varzim, the trail veer away inland, passing through market gardens, small patches of forests and some villages until it finishes at Esposende. Just before entering the city, you will cross the River Cávado - natural habitat to thousands of bird species.
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Day 4. Esposende - Viana do Castelo (24km, 7hrs, +600m/-600m)
After a healthy breakfast, get ready for another day between the Earth and the Sky, surrounded by peaceful nature. Today you will walk more inland, starting from Esposende towards Viana do Castelo. You will have several glimpses of the ocean, vistas that deserved to be captured on your photo camera. Most of the time you will walk on dirt paths and enter forested areas offering relieving shadows from the blazing sun. You will enter Viana do Castelo from the Eiffel Bridge standing over the River Lima which offers marvelous views towards the city. Viana do Castelo is a charming Portuguese city that flourished mainly during the Ages of the Discoveries and now it is a palette of many impressive historical buildings and sites worth to be visited. In case your energy is not completely wasted after this long hiking day, you may ramble around the narrow streets and stop for a glass of wine in a local tavern.
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Day 5. Viana do Castelo - Vila Praia de Âncora (19km, 5-6hrs, +500m/-500m)
One walk far from the shoreline but meanwhile offering some vistas towards it so you won’t miss the blue color of the Atlantic Ocean. Hiking inland, passing through some villages, uphills with eucalyptus forests, you will dive completely in Portugal ambiance. Take some time to stay with your own thoughts, enjoying the reviving green color of the world around you. Soon, you will enter in Vila Praia de Âncora where you can enjoy the sandy beach or simply find a way to gratify yourself with delicious food!
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Day 6. Vila Praia de Âncora - A Guarda (15km, 4hrs, +200m/-200m)
Bid farewell to Portugal, as your independent walking journey today will cross borders and dock in Spain, in the charming Galician city of A Guarda. Your trail starts again parallel to the coast and most of the time you can enjoy the sound of the waves, bathing the golden beaches. Soon you have to follow the train track which will take you to the adorable village of Caminha. In case you want to extend more your walk, before catching the ferry, you can make a detour in the breezy pine forest near River Minho (between Caminha and Moledo). Once reaching the other side of River Minho, enjoy the scenery of the towering peaks in the distance and the calm atmosphere of this petit city.
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Day 7. A Guarda - Oia (13km, 4hrs, +300m/-300m)
Before heading off to your next destination, you may wish to explore some of the highlights of A Guarda. We suggest you pay a visit to the Celtic settlement of Santa Tegra. With its 341 meters above the sea level, it offers splendid views of the ocean and the majestic green hills of Portugal from the one side and the red roofs of A Guarda. Don’t forget to immortalize this panorama on your photo camera. Your daily trek will wind between to coastline and the breezy forests and sometimes will match tarmac roads but will definitely please your soul with the serenity of the surroundings. Today’s easy walk will end in Oia where you can enjoy the small beach dominated by the mighty stone walls of 12th-century Monastery of Santa Maria de Oia.
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Day 8. Oia - Baiona (18km, 5-6hrs, +300m/-300m)
We suggest an early morning start as the city of Baiona deserves some of your time in order to explore its historical and cultural heritage. Starting from Oia, today’s independent trek will have some brief ascends, which are not long or steep. As gaining elevation, you will have more and more of the beautiful marine vistas. Today the landscape will vary from vast fields, through small vibrant villages to high forested hills. Once reaching Baiona's you can stroll around the old center with a number of the narrow corridor-like streets with typical Galician terraced houses lining. Undoubtedly a must-see attraction will be Castelo de Monterreal, towering on the small peninsula that etches into the ocean.
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Day 9. Baiona - Vigo (25km, 6-7hrs, +500m/-450m)
Make sure you get up early as today will be a quite long day. Leaving Baiona, you will soon have all of the urban areas behind your back and stroll into meadows and forests. The lovely countryside will be a good excuse to make short stops for your tired feet and for your eyes, who will wish to absorb the beauty and tranquility around. To avoid the contrast between this eternal serenity and the busy and noisy city of Vigo, our trail will cut through Castrelos Park.
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Day 10. Vigo - Arcade (22km, 6hrs, +500m/-550m)
Leaving Vigo through its main shopping street, it will take you soon out of the city where the route is easy to follow. It passes through several charming hillside villages and later enters a forest. From the highest points of your daily hike, you can admire the vistas towards the deep bay, the green crest of the hills from its other side and the floating mussel farms in the River Vigo. There won’t be many options to buy food or a drink before reaching Radonela where we suggest you stop for lunch and to collect some energy for the final stage towards Arcade. After the long steep climb towards Arcade, you can pamper yourself with the famous hors d'oeuvre from oysters.
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Day 11. Arcade - Pontevedra (13km, 4hrs, +250m/-250m)
Today your self-guided trip will be a short hike but truly pleasant. Followed by bird songs and surrounded by the calming green color of the forested hills you will lose track of time. There would be only one significant ascend, still not steep, most of the time you are going downhill. You do not need to hurry today, even with a late start you will have plenty of time to wander around the historical center of Pontevedra - the capital of the province with the same name. The cozy narrow streets and the big squares offer unique experiences for every passionate explorer. Many Gothic churches will attract your attention, and you can not resist the small restaurants offering the typical for the Spaniards tapas.
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Day 12. Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis (22km, 6hrs, +300m/-300m)
Pretty long walk but not tiring without any steep stages present. You will depart from Pontevedra rambling along its ancient streets which take you out of the city to your daily pilgrim adventure. A short stage of the walk will match a busy road but this will be soon behind your back as you dip in cool woodland. The pathway will take you to the riverside spa town of Caldas dos Reis, famous for its thermal springs.
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Day 13. Caldas de Reis - Padrón (19km, 5-6hrs, +400m/-400m)
Your two-week long independent walking tour comes to an end. Enjoy today’s walk with your own pace, giving you the opportunity to admire the peaceful atmosphere of hamlets, the fresh air of the woods and the vast, seemingly empty sky stretched out for infinity. Padrón is closely related to the story of St. James and you may be curious to learn more about the legend in the church Santiago de Padrón.
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Day 14. Padrón - Santiago de Compostela (25km, 7hrs, +650m/-450m)
The farewell hike will be long but satisfying! Most of the time you will hike under the shades of mighty trees and even one steep ascend won’t be an object of difficulty. There will be a reasonable amount of urban areas so do not forget to make your stops for coffee - they make the world a happier place. Entering the city of Santiago de Compostela you will be completely soaked by the atmosphere. There are many places to see or just to be, but undoubtedly visiting Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is a must.
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Day 15. Departure day
After breakfast, prepare to leave back home. If your flight time permits, you may have time to stroll around the historical center and enjoy

TOUR LOCATION

Price
1030 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (March/April/May/October)
1095 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (June/September)
1155 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (July/August)
* N.B.: If your travel period falls into two periods with different prices, the one with the higher price will be invoiced!
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement:
440 Euro (March/April/May/October)
520 Euro (June/September)
560 Euro (July/August)
Solo traveler supplement: N/A (min. group size: 2 pax)
Tips
Daily departures between the beginning of March and the end of October. The signage of the Portuguese Way of Saint James uses the conventional European system to clearly identify the Jacobean routes; a yellow arrow painted on walls, pavements, trees, posts, etc. where pilgrims might hesitate, mainly at intersections and crossroads. In Portugal, we still maintain the periodically re-painted yellow arrows, a solution that is relatively reliable. When you cross into Spain, there are tiles and granite way markers with a blue tile with an arrow or yellow shell motif as well as painted yellow arrows. Pilgrim card to Compostela: The pilgrim card (credential) is a document to identify you as a pilgrim throughout the Way and on arrival in Santiago. It is a modern version of the old safe-conduct pass, certifying your honest purpose of pilgrimage with a stamp. All along the Way, you can have your credential stamped by hostels, parishes, police stations, institutions and shops who have witnessed your passage. You need a minimum of two stamps per day to prove the distance you have covered. When you get to Santiago de Compostela, present your credential at the Oficina do Peregrino situated in Rua de Carretas, N.º 33 (300 meters from the cathedral), to receive the compostela. Be aware that you have to request it in person, from 9 am to 9 pm (8 pm in winter months). Do not worry about the queue as you will not have to wait for a long time.
Accommodation
A combination of 2-, 3- and 4-star hotels, restored manor houses, and small inns located on the Camino. All rooms have their own bathrooms. Breakfast is included everywhere. Options for dinner are readily available around each place where you stay overnight.

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