The Camino Portugues is the second most popular pilgrimage routes known collectively as The Way of St James, the others are the Camino Norte and Camino Frances. The Portuguese Way or Camino Portugués starts in Lisbon, Portugal and stretches across the Western Coast of Spain, finishing in Santiago de Compostela.
About the Camino Portugues route
The Portuguese way became more popular since the 12th century, after the Portuguese independence lead by King Alfonso I. Pilgrims who started their way in Portugal walked to the North not only motivated by spiritual reasons. It is a route full of history that brought cultural and commercial exchanges between Galicia and Portugal. There were monarchs, nobles, and clerics that walked to Santiago to show their devotion and faith to St. James. There are documentary evidence of these pilgrimages such as the Elizabeth of Portugal’s pilgrimage, who after walking through Camino to Santiago in the 14 century gave her empress Holy Roma Empire crown to Santiago’s altar; after her death she was buried in Coímbra with some pilgrim staff as she wanted.
You will find the most stunning coastal scenery along the Portuguese way. The path crosses breathtaking towns and cities of North Portugal, like Lisbon, Coimbra, Oporto, Barcelos, Ponte de Lima and Valença do Minho. From the South to the North going through many different sceneries. There lots of routes that are from the Romanesque Ages such as the route built in the 1 century AD to link Braga and Astorga.
Total distance: 620kms
This walk from the French border to Santiago de Compostela on the main routes of the Camino Frances takes about a month. Speed hikers can make it in as little as two weeks (about the time bicyclists usually require), but that requires walking 40 km or more each day.
While most of the route is fairly gentle with only a few long ascents, some days can be challenging. Over the past 20 years a great deal of effort has gone into improving the walkers' route, and most of the route is now well marked, reasonably well surfaced, and separated from the increasingly heavy traffic on Spanish highways. If one begins in France, the route passes over two major mountain chains and several smaller ones. There is a joke that the Camino never meets a mountain it doesn't cross. While that is not really true, there are many ascents and descents, and some of the latter can be quite steep.
One needs to be in reasonably good condition and to have good hiking boots. If you wish to camp, you need to carry clothing and a sleeping bag in a comfortable backpack. But you can stay in hostels (called albergues or refugios) for low cost. Unless one plans to camp in the most crowded months of the summer season, it is unnecessary to carry camping and cooking gear.
Get to the starting points
The Portuguese capital is the place chosen by many pilgrims to start their way to St. James.
Most people get there by highway AP-9 or A-1. You can also get there through A-2, A-8, A-10, A-33, A-12, A-37, A-5 or A-16. The best way of getting there is through the E-1. If you are coming from Madrid you should use the A-45 and then A-5 and EX-1 to Extremadura. Once you get there you should take EX-108 and A-23 in Castelo Blanco, where we should go through the N-239 up to the A-23. Finally, we should get out in the A-1 and then take the second exit of the E-1.
It is located on the border between Galicia and Portugal. This is why lots of pilgrims decide to start there. There are 107 kilometers (67 miles) to Santiago de Compostela, so you can get Compostela once you arrive at Santiago. The main way of getting to Tui is using the A-55 and the A-52. Then you can use AP-9, it crosses most part of Galicia. You can also use public transport. The name of the stop is Tui and get there coming from Porto and Vigo. You can also get there from Pontevedra, O Porriño, A Guarda, Vigo, Santiago and many different places in Portugal.
This section is an attempt to encourage sharing practical information about travelling the Camino. Peregrinos (Spanish for "pilgrim" in English or "pelerin" in French) as they are called in Spain should feel free to use the information in this section and contribute to it. Albergues, restaurants and other accomodations all change with time, and this information should be updated accordingly.
Once on the Camino, the pilgrim has three duties: to sleep, to eat, and to walk. Those duties are made less onerous by paying attention to the quality of the path, a large number of bars, restaurants, and cafes, and the albergues.
Alternatively it is possible to walk the Camino using a number of different travel companies that take all the organisational work out (including organising your luggage transfer for you) leaving you free to enjoy the Camino in style.
The Camino Francés is divided into 25 stages and 620km in length. The most important cities in this way are:
Albergaria a-Velha, Portugal
Caldas de Reis, Spain
Points of Interest
The Castle of San Jorge rises on the highest hill of Lisbon, granting to the visitor a spectacular view of the city.
This Gothic monastery is an emblematic monument of Coimbra because of its complex history as well as the romantic character of its ruins.
This magical corner of the city of Porto served as the stage in the filming of the Harry Potter films.
This impressive fortress-like cathedral has its origins in the 13th century, proof of the importance of the town of Tui in the Middle Ages.