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The Caminha to Valença stage of the Portuguese Camino

The walking route from Caminha to Valença offers a perfect opportunity to combine the Coastal and the Central Routes of the Camino de Santiago from Porto. You get to walk along the coast in the first half of the Portuguese Camino between Porto and Caminha and visit historical towns in the second half of the walk from Valença to Santiago de Compostela.

The Caminha to Valença of the Portuguese Camino is a beautiful route. These are two of our favorite towns on the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. Walking it I enjoyed the scenery. I never felt that it was just a connecting trail that I had to walk to get from the Coastal to the Central Route.

The old town of Vila Nova de Cerveira in Portugal
The historical center of Vila Nova de Cerveira is one of the highlights of the Caminha to Valença stage

Caminha to Valença route overview

  • Distance – 29 km/18 mi
  • Time – 6-7 hours
  • Ascent – 474 m
  • Descent – 405 m
  • Walking surface – 4 km/2,4 mi footpath/gravel road, 1,5 km/1 mi road, 23,5 km/14,6 mi asphalt/cobblestones
  • Route marking – yellow arrow and Camino signs

Caminha to Valença stage GPX file

You can download a GPX file for the stage and use it on your device to make your walk easier.

Switching from the Coastal to the Central Portuguese Camino in Caminha

There are two places on the Coastal Route where pilgrims can switch to the Central Route; from Vila do Conde to Rates and from Caminha to Valença. Technically you can switch pretty much anywhere but these two places have marked trails that connect the Coastal and the Central Route of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago.

In my opinion, if you switch from the Coastal Route in Caminha and walk to Valença/Tui you get the best of both; the beautiful seaside scenery of the Coastal Route and the historical towns of the Central Route. From Caminha the Coastal Route doesn’t go along the coast as much as it does in the first part from Porto.

You can combine all routes of the Portuguese Camino in different ways. For example, walk out of Porto following the Litoral Way, then continue along the coast on the Coastal Route to Caminha, and from there walk to Valença to continue on the Central Route to Santiago with an option of adding the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino to your itinerary.

A cobblestone street in the old town of Caminha, Portugal
One of the streets in the historical center of Caminha on the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino

Where is Caminha?

Caminha is a small coastal town in the extreme north of Portugal on the south bank of the Minho River at the border with Spain. The town is located on the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino.

How long is the walk from Caminha to Valença 

The route from Caminha to Valença is 29 km/18 mi. This distance is from the bridge in Caminha to the public albergues in Valença. It’s quite a long walk that can be split into two stages: Caminha to Vila Nova de Cerveira, 15 km/9,3 mi, and Vila Nova de Cerveira to Valença, 14 km/8,6 mi. As an option on the second day instead of stopping in Valença, you can continue to Tui, another 2 km, or even further on. 

How difficult is the walk?

It’s a challenging route due to the long distance of almost 30 km/18 mi and several ascents and descents. If you have time it might be a good idea to split the day into two shorter stages.

Caminha to Valença route elevation profile
The elevation profile of the Caminha to Valença stage of the Portuguese Camino

Where does the Caminha to Valença route start?

The connecting route to Valença starts at the exit of Caminha past the roundabout. It goes straight over the bridge (Ponte Rodaviária de Caminha). You’ll see a yellow arrow on the left side of the bridge from there on there will be arrows and signs marking the Camino route. The route somewhat follows the river course but it doesn’t go near the river.

The Coastal Route goes left from the roundabout to the pier from where pilgrims take a boat to A Guarda, a small Spanish town on the other side of the Minho River. 

Is the Caminha to Valença route marked?

Yes, the connecting Camino route is marked with yellow arrows all the way. There are occasional wooden poles with a shell and arrow along the route. In Vila Nova de Cerveira there are metal signs on the ground that mark the route. I can’t recall once that I struggled to find the route. I haven’t used any apps, guidebooks, or GPS navigation. It was pretty easy to find the way. You do have to pay attention to the signs especially a couple of times when you walk on the road as they are sometimes on the opposite side.

An oficial Camino sign in the forest on the Caminha to Valença stage
A wooden Camino sign in the forest indicating the route from Caminha to Valença

The highlights of the walk

  • The historical center of Caminha
  • Many beautiful traditional Portuguese churches and chapels. I think I saw more than 10 of them on the way from Caminha to Valença every town or village along the route has one.
  • The beautiful forest walk between 7 km – and 9 km.
  • The historical center of Vila Nova de Cerveira
  • Valença Fortress and Old Town

Which route from Caminha to Valença to follow?

I’ve walked the official route from Caminha which is marked with yellow shells and arrows. It’s a very nice trail that goes through the forest, and past small towns and villages from Camhina to Vila Nova de Cerveira.  

I’ve read that another route between Caminha and Vila Nova de Cerveira is not well-marked and is mostly used by cyclists. I’ve seen that Brirley’s guidebook suggests that route as the standard one for walking. Some pilgrims were walking along the railway I guess those people followed the guidebook. I haven’t walked that route but from what I’ve seen it goes somehow between the railway and the road from Caminha to Vila Nova de Cerveira. From what I’ve seen and read I don’t think it’s a better alternative to the official Camino route.

After Vila Nova de Cerveira I believe there is only one route to Valença.  

Caminha to Valença route map

A route map of the Camino trail from Caminha to Vila Nova de Cerveira
A map of the first half of the route from Caminha to Vila Nova de Cerveira
A route map of the trail from Vila Nova de Cerveira to Valença
A map of the second half of the Camino route from Vila Nova de Cerveira to Valença

The route description of the Caminha to Valença stage of the Portuguese Camino

The connecting route to Valença goes out of Caminha following the Minho Rive past the pier and across the bridge. After crossing the bridge you walk on a sidewalk for about 100 m then into the forest, across the railways, and through the town back to the road.

2 km – 2,5 km – walking on the road. There are wide shoulders on both sides of the road which are used by locals. 

2,5 km – you reach a neighborhood with a bar.

3 km – a private albergue São Bento near a small chapel, further on there are a pharmacy and a small shop. After you cross a bridge and continue walking on the left side of the railway for a short while.

São Bento chapel, a typical Portuguese church with white walls and red roof
São Bento chapel is one of the many chapels on the way from Caminha to Valença

4,8 km – 5 km – walking on the road. Don’t miss the sign on the right side of the road indicating the turn-off from the road.

5,2 km – 5,5 km – walking on a footpath through the forest

6,5 km – a grocery store

7,5 km – 9 km – walking on a footpath through the forest. 

9,3 km – once you’re out of the forest you get to a small village with an albergue. There is a sign pointing towards the albergue.

Between 9 km and 15 km, you walk through small quiet towns, villages, and neighborhoods till you reach Vila Nova da Cerveira.

A beautiful palace building in the countryside on the Camino route
A beautiful building on the Camhina to Valença stage.

11 km – hotel Boega

Between 13,5 km and 14 km, there are 3 or 4 small hotels/guesthouses catering for pilgrims

14 km – a small cafe

14,5 km – 15,7 km – the Camino goes through Vila Nova de Cerveira. There are many restaurants, cafes, and hotels in the town. A supermarket Minipreco is right on the Camino route next to Sandes and Baguetes bakery. The town is a great place to stay for a night if you want to split the long stage from Caminha to Valença.

The historical center of Vila Nova de Cerveira is charming with many restaurants and souvenir shops. If you want to stop for lunch or coffee I recommend one of the places on the main square (Praça da Liberdade).

Matriz Church in the historical center of Vila Nova de Cerveira
Igreja Matriz and Jardim do Auditorio Municipal in Vila Nova de Cerveira

Look for a perfect place to stay in Vila Nova de Cerveira

16 km – hotel Minho Belo

After leaving Vila Nova de Cerveira the Camino goes on a sidewalk along the road for a while then through the forest. The forest walk is on an old cobbled road which was quite tough on my feet as it’s more uneven than a normal cobbled road.

After walking out of the forest the route continues through quiet neighborhoods.

21,5 km – a guesthouse

22 km – 23 km – walking on the road through a quiet industrial area

23,5 km – 24 km – a couple of restaurants

25 km – São Pedro da Torre, a small town with a couple of bars, a shop, and a hotel. 

Once out of the town you walk first along a cycling/running route on the right side of the railway then you cross through the tunnel to the left side and continue on a footpath for about 1 km.

The last kilometer is through the neighborhoods to Valença. The town is sometimes called Valença do Minho. Once in the town, you walk on the sidewalk past Continente. The public albergue of Valença is across the road from Continente. After reaching Valença you’re on the Central Route of the Portuguese Camino.

A walking trail with a Camino sign in the forest near Valença
The forest scenery on the Caminha to Valença stage of the Portuguese Camino

Once in Valença or Tui, you might find that there are a lot more pilgrims on the Central route compared to the Coastal. The Central Route is overall more popular plus, many people start walking the Portuguese Camino from Tui and walk the last 100 km to Santiago which is the required minimum for getting the Compostela Certificate. 

Places to stay in Valença 

There are many places to stay in Valença on different budgets including a public albergue.

Questions or Comments?

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Roland

Monday 30th of October 2023

What are your suggested stops for doing the coastal route from Porto to Caminha and the central route from Valence to Santiago? Thanks!

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 31st of October 2023

Hello Roland. Thank you for the comment. You can find our suggested itinerary for the Coastal Route here https://stingynomads.com/portuguese-coastal-camino-stages/ and for the Central Route here https://stingynomads.com/camino-portugues-stages/ Buen Camino

Rick Beyer

Friday 16th of June 2023

Great resource - thank you ….. Is it risky to do the costal walk from Porto without making overnight arrangements ahead of time?

Stingy Nomads

Saturday 17th of June 2023

Hello Rick. Thank you for the comment. It depends when you want to walk the Portuguese Camino. If during May or September it might be risky as those are the most popular months for walking the Camino. If you don't want to book your accommodation in advance you can plan your walk the way that you stay as much as possible in public albergues those can't be booked. Depending on the month and the size of the albergue it can be full if you arrive too late. The Coastal Route is still less popular than the Central Route I believe it won't be a massive problem to find a bed in public albergues even during summer months. Buen Camino

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