Day 1. Arrival in Porto
A pre-tour night there is highly recommended to have at least one full day to enjoy the city. Walk along the Douro banks and taste the exquisite sweet wine that this charming city offers on one of the many terraces overlooking the river. And of course take one of the "6 bridges cruise" tours to get a different glimpse of the city.
Day 2. Porto (Mosteiró) to Arcos (17km; 5hrs; +400m/-400m)
It’s a time your independent walk to begin and this will happen with a short transfer to Mosteiró. This will reduce your walking to your final destination Arcos with approx. 18 km and instead of walking 35km, you will hike only 17km. From Mosteiró onwards you will have more rural landscapes and enjoy small wooden patches. The track is well-marked and easy to follow, crossing two impressive Romanesque bridges before entering the tiny village of Arcos.
Day 3. Arcos to Barcelos (20km; 5-6hrs; +300m/-300m)
Most of the time today you will spend walking through small hamlets and arable lands. Some shady stages are present so you won’t get too tired from the sun. Give a chance to the local taverns and make some lunch break in a village restaurant. The traffic on the main roads and streets of Barcelos may be unkind, but you will be completely satisfied with the historical center. The charming ambiance will engage your attention and you would be keen into exploring the local legends and stunning temples.
Day 4. Barcelos to Balugães (15km; 4hrs; +350m/-320m)
The walking trek today is particularly easy except one a bit arduous ascent. There won’t be any big cities near or buzzing roads. Most of the time you will be far from civilization and so close to nature that you will be completely soaked by the rhapsody of peaceful sounds. Every now and then you may meet some villagers in the small hamlets you will cross. Get some well-deserved rest after today’s walk in the comfort of your accommodation.
Day 5. Balugães to Ponte de Lima (18km; 5hrs; +320m/-300m)
Leave Balugães after breakfast, ready to explore more of the unique charm of this region. Most of the time the landscape will be rural and peaceful. This is considered as one of the most beautiful stages of the Way. From your right, you will be followed by the majestic silhouette of Nora mountains and its rounded crest. Vineyards, orchards and petit villages - those will be your views to admire throughout the day. In contrast with the tranquil atmosphere, the entrance to the picturesque town of Ponte de Lima will be magnificent. The local gastronomy is one of the main highlights of the stay in Ponte de Lima. Give a try to some traditional recipes and you won’t regret it.
Day 6. Ponte de Lima to Cossourado (22km; 6-7hrs; +600m/-350m)
Get back to the wilderness in your pilgrimage. A little bit longer and demanding trail is expecting you today but your efforts will be compensated with divine views. In the middle of your trek, you will encounter Labruja Mountain. Just before reaching the final point of this stage, you will pass by a small but impressive church in the hamlet of Rubiães. Make sure you leave Ponte De Lima early to avoid the heat in the hottest days. The village of Cossourado does not have any special places of interest so you can just simply relax and recharge your batteries after this tiring trekking.
Day 7. Cossourado to Valença (13km; 3-4hrs; +200m/-400m)
Relief for your tired legs will be today’s walking trek. It is short, pleasant and most of the time downhill. When crossing the Romanesque bridge of River Pedreira you will walk on a level pathway, admiring the tranquility of the surroundings. You may postpone the departure so you can have time to enjoy your breakfast. Even with a late start, you will arrive on time to stroll around the medieval town of Valença and explore the old fortress. Built on the riverbank of River Minho, from the elevation of the Fortress you can even see the green crest of the hills of neighboring Spain.
Day 8. Valença to Porriño (20km; 5-6hrs;+200m/-200m)
Time to cross borders and your walking exploration continues in Spain. Make sure you visit the Gothic cathedral in Tui before leaving from the village onwards on your pathway. You will pass through the verdant Louro Valley. Thanks to its wet zones it is a natural habitat to numerous birds which you will be lucky enough to observe. Besides the superb Gothic building of the Town Hall, the industrial town of Porriño does not attract with something extraordinary. You may enjoy well-deserved rest now in Spain, starting with their typical appetizers tapas.
Day 9. Porriño to Arcade (22km; 6hrs;+450m/-450m)
Today you will enjoy your first glimpses towards the estuary of River Vigo. There would be two major hills to cross, one of each is a bit steep but any effort on this hiking journey would be worthwhile if in the end of each day you are full of joy and in harmony with your inner self. At the village of Redondela the two roads of the classic and coastal Way will merge together and onwards you continue together with other pilgrims coming from the coastline. Thanks to its close location to the Atlantic, Arcade is very proud of its meals prepared with fish and seafood. You must pamper yourself with the locally prepared oysters.
Day 10. Arcade - Pontevedra (13km; 4hrs; +150m/-150m)
A short but undoubtedly pleasant walk with no significant descends or ascends. Walking through the green countryside, you will have time to admire the joyful song of nature around you. In Pontevedra, the capital of the province with the same name, you can explore the historical center. The local government bans the cars in the center and now only birds could be heard and the buzzing of the small cafes and restaurants. You may decide to spend the afternoon lazy, indulge in gastronomy tourism.
Day 11. Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis (22km; 6hrs; +200m/-200m)
Today your self-guided hiking trip will take you to the SPA city of Caldas de Reis. It won’t be a tiring walk despite the length. You will depart from Pontevedra, crossing its ancient streets and soon, leaving the city behind your back, you will be surrounded by patches of woodland. A short stage of the trek will match a busy road but that will help you appreciate more the calmness of the sections without any car noises. A few kilometers before you reach your final destination, you can make a detour and enter a natural park with lots of stone windmills to admire.
Day 12. Caldas de Reis - Padrón (19km; 5-6hrs; +350m/-350m)
You are almost at the end of your independent walking trip of the Portuguese El Camino. Finishing today at Padrón you will get even closer to the legends about the life and the mission of St. James. The city is closely related to his pilgrimage in these lands and you may learn more about it from several notable buildings among which the Church of Santiago and the Convent of Carmen. Today’s walking will offer rural landscapes that should be captured on your cameras.
Day 13. Padrón - Santiago de Compostela (25km; 7hrs; +600m/-350m)
Time to say goodbye to this two-week-long self-guided tour. The last stage of the Way takes you to Santiago de Compostela, the place where all pilgrims are flocking to honor the relics of St. James. You may also visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where the relics are kept. The city offers other attractions that deserve your attention. You can celebrate the achievements of your independent walking in a local restaurant. The route will have one steep ascend but you know that all efforts are always worthwhile at the end of the day!
Day 14. 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
1195 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01/03-30/06; 16/09-31/10)
1290 Euro per person in twin/dbl room (01/07-15/09)
Single room & Solo Traveler supplement
Single room supplement:
Solo traveler supplement:
760 Euro (incl. also single room supplement)
Daily arrivals between 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.
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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