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The Portuguese Camino de Santiago – a 2024 guide

The Camino Portuguese is one of the spiritual routes to Santiago de CompostelaThe Camino Portugues is the second most popular Camino de Santiago after the Camino Frances, more than 25% of all pilgrims who arrive in Santiago de Compostela every year walk this Camino route. The total distance of the Camino from Porto to Santiago depends on the route you choose; the Coastal Route is 280 km/173 mi, and the Central Route is 260 km/161 mi. Another option is to start walking from Lisbon then the total distance to Santiago is about 630 km/391 mi.

Bizarre trees on the main street in Padron, the last stage of the Camino Portuguese
Padrón, the last stop on the Portuguese Camino on the way to Santiago de Compostela

You can find the complete list of all our posts dedicated to the Portuguese Camino on our Camino de Santiago resource page.

Table of Contents

The Portuguese Camino (Central Route) downloadable PDFs

To make your Portuguese Camino planning easier we created free downloadable PDF files. The first file contains walking stages of the Central Route of the Portuguese Camino. The second file includes places to stay along the route: public and private albergues, guesthouses, and hotels.

Our YouTube video on walking the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago

The Portuguese Camino routes overview

  • Distance – starting in Porto: 260 km/161 mi (Central Route), 280 km/173 mi (Coastal Route); starting in Lisbon: 630 km/391 mi
  • Number of days – 12-14 days (from Porto), 25-30 days from Lisbon
  • Starting point – Sé Cathedral in Porto, Sé Cathedral in Lisbon
  • Finishing point – Obradoiro Square, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Walking ground – asphalt, cobblestone, wooden boardwalks
  • Average cost – 25-30 Euro pp. per day
  • Accommodation – albergues, hotels, guesthouses
  • Route marking – yellow shells and arrows

Travel insurance for the Portuguese Way of St.James

Walking like any other outdoor activity involves a risk of getting an injury or losing some of the gear. Camino travel insurance can offer you coverage. The Portuguese Camino de Santiago is not a high-altitude wild hike through remote areas but it’s still a physically challenging experience that involves a long walking distance with a heavy backpack. It’s not rare for pilgrims to get injuries from small blister problems to knee or shin splint issues. It makes the walk less stressful when you know you’re covered in case of any unpredictable emergencies.

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

How hard is the Camino Portugues?

The Portuguese Camino is a challenging multi-day walk. It requires preparation and training especially if you’re not an experienced walker/hiker and have never done a long-distance walk before. You walk 20-25 km a day on average with a backpack for 12-14 days. You can imagine that by the end of the Camino, you’ll be quite tired. There are some beautiful towns on the Portuguese Camino, perfect for taking a rest day to explore.

The difficulty level depends on the chosen route and starting point. If you start in Lisbon and walk to Santiago de Compostela it’s a very demanding walk, especially the part from Lisbon to Porto. The distances between towns are greater and there are fewer places to stay along the route.

If you start in Porto and walk the Central Route you can expect some steep ascents and descents that some might find challenging but because there are plenty of places to stay you can split more difficult stages.

The Coastal Route/Litoral Way from Porto in my opinion is the easiest route of the Portuguese Camino. It’s very flat and straightforward but during winter months it can get very windy and cold so it’s not the best route to walk outside the spring/summer months.

If you decide to take the Spiritual Variant (the optional route of the Portuguese Camino from Pontevedra to Pontecesures/Padrón) be prepared for a challenge as the route has a very steep descent with a subsequent steep ascent.

To make your walk easier and more pleasant you can use a backpack transfer service and take rest days every once in a while. Rather enjoy the Camino walk than feel tired and miserable most of the time.

How long does it take to walk the Portuguese Camino de Santiago?

The total distance of the Camino Portugues depends on the chosen route and the starting point.

If you start in Porto and walk the Central Route which is 260 km/161 mi it takes an average of 12 days to complete.

If you walk the Coastal Route from Porto which is 280 km/173 mi it takes 12-14 days to complete.

If you start the Portuguese Camino in Lisbon your total distance will be 630-650 km/391-403 mi (depending on which route from Porto you follow) and it takes 25-30 days to complete the Camino.

Many pilgrims start walking the Portuguese route from Tui and walk the last 100 km to Santiago de Compostela which is the required minimum for getting the Compostela certificate. If you’re limited on time starting in Tui is always an option.

If you’re worried about planning your Camino walk from Tui to Santiago you can book it through a company. They plan your itinerary, book accommodation, and arrange luggage transfers. All you have to do is to walk.

Where does the Portuguese route start?

The three most popular starting points of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago are Lisbon, Porto, and Tui. Lisbon is the official beginning of the Portuguese route but not many people start there. Most pilgrims start their walk in Porto. Many people start walking in Tui and walk the last 100 km to Santiago.

The first time we walked the Portuguese Camino we started in Lisbon. There were some things that we liked and some not that much on the route. Since then we’ve done the route several times starting in different places and taking different routes.

If you start the Camino Portugues in Lisbon the total distance to Santiago de Compostela is 630 km/391 mi vs 260-280 km/161-173 mi from Porto. It’s possible to do a detour and walk through the Sanctuary of Fatima. It adds about 25 km to the total distance. The main difficulty we faced on the Lisbon to Porto part was a lack of infrastructure for pilgrims and greater distances between the towns. Many pilgrims start the Portuguese Camino in Tui and walk the last 100 km to Santiago.

I must say the walk from Lisbon is beautiful but if you prefer to have a more comfortable walk I’d suggest starting in Porto. If you feel like walking more after arriving in Santiago you can do one of the other Camino de Santiago routes e.g. Camino Primitivo, Camino Ingles, or walk to Finisterre. If you like a challenge and prefer to go off the beaten track then starting the Portuguese Camino in Lisbon might be the right thing for you. 

Where to star the Portuguese Camino and which route to walk?
Different route options for the Portuguese Camino de Santiago

The Portuguese Camino; the Coastal vs Centra Route

There are three routes on the Portuguese Camino from Porto: Central, Coastal, and Litoral. The last two are very similar except for the first day out of Porto. The Litoral Way goes along the coast, it’s the best and the most popular option to walk out of the city.

The Central Route – 260 km/161 mi from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. It goes inland all the way.

The Coastal Route – 280 km/173 mi from Porto to Santiago. It follows the coast (except the first day from Porto) till Redondela where it merges with the Central Route.

The Senda Litoral (the Litoral Way) – 280 km/173 mi. From Porto, it follows the coast after Vila do Conde it goes pretty much the same way as the Coastal Route. The main difference the Litoral Way often goes on the beach but sometimes if you get to a river you might have to walk around to get to the nearest bridge or just go around because there is simply no way to continue. Just like the Coastal Route, it merges with the Central Route in Redondela.

You can find detailed information and a comparison of the 3 routes from Porot in our dedicated post. I walked all 3 routes for 3 consecutive days to compare them.

A graph with 3 different routes of the Portuguese Camino and places where they connect
3 routes of the Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago

Which route of the Portuguese Camino from Porto is the best?

Advantages of the Central Route

  • It has a better infrastructure; more albergues, more towns, more restaurants, and shops.
  • If you’re more into history and architecture you’ll enjoy the Central Route there are more old towns and cities on the way.
  • It’s a bit shorter, and you’ll need less time to complete it
  • It’s a better option to walk in bad weather conditions e.g. strong wind, or heavy rain.
  • For those who are going to use a backpack shuttle service, it is a bit cheaper to transfer backpacks on the Central Route

Disadvantages of the Central Route

  • This is the busiest route, 70% of pilgrims on the Camino Portuguese walk the Central Route. 

Advantages of the Coastal Route

  • Walking along the coast is always an advantage (at least for us).
  • Only 30% of all pilgrims take this route.
  • Higher chances to see a more authentic non-touristy part of Portugal.

Disadvantages of the Coastal Route

  • If it’s very windy and rainy it’ll be an unpleasant route to walk.
  • Less infrastructure, I mainly refer to albergues though for us it wasn’t a problem.

If you decide to walk this route check out our detailed post on the Portuguese Camino Coastal Route walking stages.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Litoral Way (Senda Litoral)

First of all, most pilgrims leave Porto following the Litoral Way. It’s the best way to walk out of the city and skip walking along the busy highway leading to the airport. You can read in some guidebooks that it’s better to skip the first stage from Porto because you walk through industrial areas, they refer to walking out of the city following the Central Route or Coastal Route. After walking out of Porto on the Litoral Way you can walk from Vila do Conde to Rates to switch to the Central Route of the Portuguese Camino.

All the advantages and disadvantages are the same as for the Coastal Route.  

Download the Camino Portuguese Walking Routes map

A route map with four different trails from Porto to Santiago de Compostela
Different routes of Camino Portuguese; Coastal Route, Central Route, Senda Litoral, and Spiritual Way (from Pontevedra)

How to combine the Coastal and the Central Route?

A great option is to combine the Coastal Route with rural areas and even add to this mountain scenery. Start in Porto following the Coastal Route and continue on it till Caminha, the end of the Portuguese part of the Camino de Santiago. From Caminha you can walk to Valença to get to the Central Route. Then take the Spiritual Variant (Variante Espiritual), an optional route from Pontevedra that goes over the mountains and joins the Central route in Padrón. This way you combine all routes of the Camino Portugues from Porto and walk through areas with different scenery; coast, fields, forest, and mountains.

The best time of the year to walk the Portuguese Camino

September and May are the most popular months on the Portuguese Camino. Good weather for walking is one of the reasons. It’s warm and sunny but not too hot. It’s not the peak holiday season so flights and hotels are usually cheaper than in the summer but expect to see a lot of pilgrims on the Camino. It’s better to book accommodation and luggage transfer in advance.

If you want to have good weather and fewer people, the second half of April, the end of September, and the first two weeks of October is the best time to walk the Camino.

June is the beginning of the summer season; the weather is good and there are fewer people on the route compared to May and September.

July and August are the hottest months, so it’s important to start walking early to skip the heat of the day.

Winter months are not the best for walking in that part of Portugal and Spain it gets cold and rainy, and some albergues are closed.

What is the accommodation like on the Portuguese Camino?

Albergue is a special hostel for pilgrims with dormitories and shared facilities don’t expect any luxury.

There are two types of albergues on the Portuguese Camino; municipal (public) and private albergues.

Municipal albergues are cheaper (around 10 euros pp.), they can’t be booked in advance, and most of them don’t accept luggage delivery. One requires a Credential (a pilgrim’s passport) to stay there. Usually can be paid in cash only.

Private albergues are more expensive (13-17 euros pp.), but they usually have better facilities, can be booked in advance over the phone or online, and accept luggage delivery. Usually accept both cards and cash.

Most Albergues (private and public) have dormitories with bunk beds, shared bathrooms/toilets, and a kitchen, some have washing machines and wi-fi.  

For more details on accommodation on the Camino, the pros and cons of staying at albergues, tips, etc. check our detailed post Albergues on the Camino de Santiago.

The best guidebook for the Portuguese Way of St.James

For us, Camino de Santiago guidebooks by John Brierley are the best. We used his Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Portugués Lisbon – Porto – Santiago: including Camino Central, Variente Espiritual, Camino da Costa, & Senda Litoral on the Portuguese Camino and it was spot on, very helpful, and up-to-date.

Best apps for the Portuguese route

We don’t use apps for walking the Camino but I know many people do. So we’ve tried different apps for the Portuguese Camino to see how they work. I used for a couple of days Wise Pilgrim and Buen Camino on the different stages and routes of the Portuguese Camino. I haven’t used Camino Ninja (I know many people like it) because it wasn’t available. Maybe next time I’ll use it.

Overall my experience with both apps Buen Camino and Wise Pilgrim was good. They were quite accurate though I didn’t like too much walking attached to my phone to find the route as I find it’s easier to look around and follow the Camino signs which are abundant on the Portuguese Camino. Both apps can be installed on Android and Apple devices.

Luggage delivery service on the Camino Portuguese

If you want to make your walk easier or have some back issues and can’t carry a heavy bag every day you can use a backpack delivery service. Several companies can deliver your backpack or suitcase for every stage between your accommodation. Pilbeo (Central and Coastal Route), Tui Trans (Coastal, Central, and Spiritual Routes) and Correos (Central Route from Tui) do luggage transfer on the Portuguese Camino. You can use it for the entire route or for some stages. One stage costs 7 Euros per backpack.

It’s important to remember that public albergues on the Camino usually don’t allow luggage delivery. These albergues can’t be booked in advance and they won’t keep a bed for you even if your backpack is delivered there. Private albergues and hotels along the route have no problem with luggage delivery.

Red roofs of houses in the historical center of Porto, view from Se Cathedral.
View of Porto from Se Cathedral, the beginning of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago

How much does it cost to walk the Portuguese Camino?

The cost of accommodation and food in Portugal and Spain is similar. Eating out and hotels are a bit cheaper in Portugal than in Spain.

If you stay in albergues and buy food in supermarkets your average Camino cost will be around 25 Euros per person per day. If you stay in albergues and eat in a restaurant at least once a day, go out for a beer, or stop a couple of times for coffee be ready to spend daily 30-35 Euros per person. If you stay in private and go out for meals twice a day be ready to spend 45+ euros per person per day.

Prices in Portugal

  • Accommodation – municipal albergues – 5 or 10 Euro per person, private albergues – 12-14 Euro pp. Hotels from 20 Euros pp. if sharing a double room, 35 euros for a single room.
  • Eating out – Menu do Dia, a set lunch that includes a starter, main dish with sides, drink and coffee or dessert – from 10 Euro pp.
  • Food shopping – 6-8 Euro pp per day
  • A cup of coffee (Americano) – 1 Euro
  • A beer in a bar – 1,5-2 Euro.
  • Laundry – washing 3 Euro per load.
  • Backpack delivery service (optional) – 7 euros per backpack per stage.

Prices in Spain

  • Accommodation – municipal albergues – 8 Euros per person, private albergues – 12-15 Euro pp. Hotels from 20 Euro pp. if sharing a double room, from 35 euros for a single room.
  • Eating out – Menu del Dia; starter, main dish, drink (usually house wine), coffee or dessert – from 10 Euro.
  • Food shopping – 6-8 Euro pp per day
  • A cup of coffee (Americano) – 1,2-1,5 Euro
  • A beer in a bar – 1,5-2 Euro
  • Laundry – washing – 3 Euro per load
  • Backpack delivery service (optional) – 7 Euros per stage

Food on the Camino is a part of the experience even if you’re on a tight budget I’d suggest going out sometimes to try traditional Spanish and Portuguese dishes.

What to pack for the Camino?

Make sure not to pack too much and bring only the necessary stuff. We’ve met many people who had to reconsider their backpack content after the first day on the Camino. You really don’t need much and you always can buy anything you need way there are shops, supermarkets, and pharmacies along the way.

What you will really need for the Camino are a pair of good walking shoes and a comfortable backpack. These two items will make a big difference to your walk.

If you’re planning on using a luggage delivery service then it doesn’t matter you can pack as much as you want.

We have a detailed Camino de Santiago packing list post where you can find our recommendations on what to pack for the Camino for men and women for different seasons.

The Central Route of the Portuguese Camino – walking stages

Porto, the beginning of the Portuguese Way

Porto is an amazing city I’d definitely recommend staying here for a couple of days before or after the Camino. Walk around its narrow cobblestone streets climbing up and down the hills, try famous wine, take a boat ride along the Douro River and enjoy the local cuisine. Porto is one of our favorite European cities.  

Tours and activities in Porto

If you have a couple of extra days in Porto before starting the Camino walk there are many activities and tours you can do here to explore the city and its surroundings.

Places to stay in Porto

There are several albergues/hostels in the city including one municipal albergue N.S. do Rosario de Vilar. We stayed at the private Albergue de Peregrinos do Porto, for donations, a nice, clean, and very social place close to the metro station. 

If you rather prefer to stay your first night in a more comfortable place there are many options in Porto for different budgets, but my advice is to stay within walking distance from the center. 

Day 1. Se Cathedral, Porto – Labruge, 23 km/14,2 mi

Se Cathedral – Foz do Douro – Matosinhos – Lavra – Labruge

As I mentioned before most people who start walking from Porto regardless of which route they walk on the first day follow the Senda Litoral (Litoral Way) to get out of the city. It means on the first day instead of following the Central Route that goes through the industrial area and outskirts of Porto following busy roads you walk along the coast, past beaches and small seaside villages. This way is a bit longer than just following the Central Route from Porto but is much nicer and more beautiful. It will add about 7km to your total distance, no worries our itinerary doesn’t have very long walking days. We really enjoyed this part, it felt more like a beach than a walking holiday.

Some people prefer to take a tram to get from Se Cathedral to Foz do Douro, the beginning of the promenade. We walked from the cathedral we went down to the Douro river and followed it. On the first day most of the time, you walk on wooden boardwalks which are much better than asphalt or cobblestones. There are many restaurants and cafés on the way where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch with a sea view.

The map of the routes out of Porto on the Camino Portugues

Portuguese Camino de Santiago; Senda Litoral, Coastal Route and Central Route from Porto
Different routes of walking out of Porto; Senda Litoral, Coastal Route, and Central Route of the Portuguese Camino

Labruge

We’d suggest stopping here, and not making your first day too long like a guidebook suggests to walk 33km all the way to Vila do Conde. No need to punish yourself and destroy your feet especially if you walk in mid-summer when it’s hot. The town itself is 1km inland from the coast. There is a sign on the trail pointing to the albergue.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 10 Euro
  • Private albergue  – no
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Labruge

Boardwalks along the beach on the way from Porto to Labruge
Senda Litoral is the best way of walking out of Porto on the Portuguese Camino

Day 2. Labruge – Rates, 23 km/14,2 mi

Labruge – Vila Chã – Vila do Conde – Arcos – Rates

The first part of the day is a beautiful walk along the coast till Vila do Conde from where you turn off the Coastal Route and follow a trail that goes inland and joins with the Central Route at Arcos. Walking by the sea on the first day gives you an idea about the Coastal route and if you like it you can stick to it instead of going to the Central Way. Vila do Conde is a very nice and beautiful town with charming narrow cobblestone streets, the Cathedral, and the impressive aqueduct de Santa Clara it’s on the way to Arcos.

Rates

A beautiful medieval town that grew around the monastery with an interesting historical part; Monastery of Rates, the main square, a couple of churches and chapels, and a clock tower.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, donation
  • Private albergue  – no
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – no
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Day 3. Rates – Barcelos, 16 km/10 mi or Rates – Tamel, 25 km/15,5 mi

Rates – Pedra Furada – Pereira – Bacelinhos – Barcelos or Tamel (San Pedro de Fins)

After joining the Central Route you’ll start seeing more pilgrims on the Camino. You can make this day short, stay in Barcelos and do some sightseeing around or walk 9km further to Tamel to make your next walking day to Ponte de Lima shorter. It might sound better to stay in Barcelos but be ready to walk the next day 34km all the way to Ponte de Lima as there are not many accommodation options before.

Barcelos

Barcelos – a beautiful city, originally a Roman settlement that expanded a lot in the 15th century. There are some very interesting sights to see here; Ponte de Barcelos – a 14th-century bridge, the Tower of Barcelos, the church of Senhor da Cruz, church Matriz de Barcelos. The city is well-known for its pottery it’s the home of the famous Galo de Barcelos (Rooster of Barcelos) or Portuguese Rooster – one of the most popular symbols of Portugal.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 500 m before in Barcelinhos
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Barcelos

Tamel (San Pedro de Fins)

Note! there is nothing here except an albergue you have to bring food with you. Albergue Casa da Recoleta, municipal, price 5 Euro pp. Facilities; kitchen, hot shower, wi-fi, 4 dormitories, 41 beds.

Day 4. Barcelos – Ponte de Lima, 34 km/21 mi or Tamel – Ponte de Lima 25 km/15,5 mi

Barcelos/Tamel – Balugães/Cossourado – Vitorino dos Piães – Facha – Ponte de Lima

If you start in Barcelos and go all the way to Ponte de Lima it’ll be a long walking day but you can split it into two and walk to Vitorino dos Piães, 16km, there is a private albergue and a couple of hotels (check below for booking) or Facha, 23km, there are a couple of hotels there.

Ponte de Lima

A nice and relatively small place compare to Barcelos though it has a long history, the oldest town in Portugal by the way, and some interesting sights to see; Ponte Romano (The Roman bridge over the Lima river) that gave the name of the town, Old Chain Tower, Matriz church, Botanical garden Paço do Marques, the church of Santo Antonio da Torre Velha. There are many accommodation options in the town.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Ponte de Lima

Old bridge and a church, Ponte de Lima, Central Route, Portugal
Ponte de Lima is a beautiful small town on the Central Route of the Portuguese Camino

Day 5. Ponte de Lima – Rubiães, 20 km/12,4 mi

A nice and short day of walking mostly through the forest with a long uphill stretch that starts at 10km, from 100m to 400m over 4km, make sure to have enough water with you. There is a café at Revolta before the climb where you can have lunch and fill your water bottle.

Rubiães

A very small cozy town with quite a lot of infrastructure for pilgrims.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – no
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Pharmacy – no

Places to stay in Rubiães

Day 6. Rubiães – Valença/Tui, 20 km/12,4 mi

Rubiães  – Cossourado – Pedreira – Valença – Tui

Today it’s mostly down-hill walking in the first half of the day till the Roman bridge (Ponte Romano) and then quite flat all the way to Valença/Tui there you can decide to stay the night in Portugal (Valença) or to cross the bridge over the Minho river and stay in Spain (Tui). Crossing the river don’t forget to change the time, Spain is 1 hour ahead of Portugal. There is no official border crossing, both countries are members of the EU.

In Valença/Tui you might see more pilgrims than before on the Camino. Many people start walking the Portuguese Camino from here because both towns are just over 100 km from Santiago. The last 100 km is the required walking minimum on the Camino for getting the Compostela.

Valença

Both cities have good infrastructure for pilgrims, many accommodation options, restaurants, etc. There are some interesting sights to see. Valença has a beautiful medieval fortress Fortaleza de Valença, the old town is located behind the walls. Both have cathedrals, churches, chapels, and museums. 

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 8 euros
  • Private albergue  – yes, hostels
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Valença

Tui

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 8 euros
  • Private albergue  – yes, many
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Tui

A pretty cobblestone street of a small town in Portugal
Cobblestone streets, cozy towns, inviting cafés all these you will see a lot on the Portuguese Camino

Day 7. Valença/Tui – Porriño, 17 km/10,5 mi

A short and easy walk with not many places to stop for coffee or lunch, the first place will be after 10km at Orbenlle, it’ll be a short detour as the new alternative trail turns right just before it. We’d recommend following it, it goes left about 300m after a stone Camino sign that marks 106km to Santiago. The old route goes through Poligono Industrial (Industrial area), and the new trail completely skips it and goes through the forest. At about 3km before the town there is one more split, go left following the river the right trail goes along the road.

Porriño

A small industrial town with a nice historical center.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Porriño

Day 8. Porriño – Redondela, 16 km/10 mi

Porriño – Torroso – Redondela

A short day of walking with a hill to climb, Conte Cornedo, about 200m but over more than 5km. After that down to Redondela. There are a couple of bars/restaurants on the way where you can have lunch. At Redondela both Central and Coastal Routes join you might see slightly more pilgrims.

Redondela

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 8 euros
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Redondela

Fields covered in red poppies, Portugal countryside, Camino Portugues
Spring is our favorite time for walking in Portugal.

Day 9. Redondela – Pontevedra, 20 km/12,4 mi

Redondela – Cesantes – Arcade – Pontevedra.

Some uphill but it is over a long distance so the incline is not a very steep climb. There are several bars on the way where you can refill your water and have lunch. This day offers quite a bit of road walking but the roads were not very busy. A couple of kilometers before Pontevedra on the right side of the road there will be a sign for River Trail, follow it, the distance is the same as walking along the road and it’s nicer for walking.

Pontevedra

A very nice town with a beautiful historical center, amazing cathedral, cobblestone streets, churches, many bars, and restaurants. A nice town for chilling and going out.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 8 euros
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Pontevedra

Beautiful Baroque Cathedral of Pontevedra, Spain
The historical canter and the Cathedral of Pontevedra

Day 10. Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis, 23 km/14,2 mi

After Redondela the Camino splits again you can follow the main route to Caldas de Reis or take the Variante Espiritual (Spiritual Way) and go over the mountains to Armenteira. Both routes join again in Pontecesures.

Caldas de Reis

A nice small town with hot springs, churches, and old Roman ruins. If you have a chance we’d suggest visiting one of the balnearios (spa centers) and relaxing in the springs, e.g. El Acuña or el Dávila.

  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Caldas de Reis

Day 11. Caldas de Reis – Padrón, 20 km/12,4

A nice and easy walk past a couple of smallish towns with several bars on the way. Some people prefer to walk further on this day in order to make the last day to Santiago shorter. There are many albergues and hotels on the stretch between Padrón and Santiago it won’t be difficult to find accommodation.

Padrón

Padrón is a small nice town. It played an important role in the history of the Camino de Santiago and the legend of St.James. According to the belief, two of St.James’ disciples arrived in Pardon (then Iria Flavia) with the body of the apostle. From there the remains of the saint were transported overland to the area that later became the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The highlight of the town is the beautiful square in front of the cathedral with trees plated on both sides of it, their branches forming almost a tunnel above the square.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 8 Euro
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Padrón

Day 12. Padrón to Santiago de Compostela, 25 km/15,5 mi

Some people from our albergue started walking that day at 5 am to be able to attend the Pilgrim’s Mass in the cathedral at 12 am. The first part of the day it’s flat mostly through the forest, and the second part has a couple of hills to conquer, but all this is nothing compared to the excitement and happiness you experience approaching the Cathedral. If it’s your first Camino you’ll see how thrilled you’ll be when you put down your backpack at the Obradoiro Square in front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

We’d suggest booking accommodation in advance especially in the months of July and August, the peak season for the Camino.  There are many albergues, hostels, hotels, and apartments in Santiago for any budget.

If you have time after spending a couple of o days in Santiago you can continue walking from to Finisterre. The Camino Finisterre is a beautiful 3-4 day walk that offers spectacular forest and sea scenery. If you don’t have time to walk to Finisterre you can do a day bus tour from Santiago to Finisterre and Muxía. There are many other amazing things to do in Santiago de Compostela.

Places to stay between Padrón and Santiago

Narrow streets of Santiago de Compostela on the way to the Cathedral
On the streets of Santiago de Compostela, approaching the Cathedral, the end of the Camino Portugues

Santiago de Compostela, the end of the Portuguese Camino

Now it’s time to relax after a couple of tough walking weeks and spoil yourself by staying in a nice place, you deserved it after sleeping in dozens of albergues with shared facilities. There are many options in Santiago the most difficult is to choose the right one for you. In the peak season, I’d recommend booking your accommodation in Santiago in advance the best and the most central places might be fully booked.

There is one special place in the city for pilgrims – Hospedaria San Marín Pinário Seminario Mayor, it’s one of our favorite places to stay in Santiago de Compostela. The place has been hosting pilgrims since the 16th century. Nowadays it’s an expensive hotel but they have special budget rooms for pilgrims. These rooms are quite small and modest but they’re private and have an attached bathroom.

The location of the place is amazing, right next to the Cathedral. A single room costs 25 Euro, a double room 35 Euro. You have to book it at least a couple of weeks in advance. You can do it via e-mail. They reply quickly. As an option you can stay in one of the renovated rooms, it’s more expensive but more comfortable, these rooms can be booked online.

Places to stay in Santiago

Tours and activities in Santiago de Compostela

If you have a couple of days before your return flight you can explore Santiago de Compostela and its surroundings, there are many tours and activities in the city.

Getting the Compostela in Santiago

Every pilgrim that walked at least the last 100km to Santiago can get a Compostela – an accreditation of pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Jacob. During the Pilgrim’s Mass, they mention in the prayer the pilgrims that arrived that day in Santiago and registered at the office for their Compostelas according to their country of origin e.g. 50 pilgrims from Spain, 30 pilgrims from the US, 10 from Australia, etc.

To get the Compostela;

  • go with your Credential to the Pilgrim Office in Santiago.
  • wait in the queue, it can take anything between 30min. and 3 hours depending on the number of pilgrims.

At the Pilgrims’ Office you can get the Certificate of Distance as well it’s similar to the Compostela paper but it includes more details; the name of the Camino you walked, when and where you started, and the total distance walked. The Certificate costs 3 Euro. You can buy a Tubo (cardboard tube) to put your Credential and Certificate in to make sure they won’t tear or get dirty.

Botafumeiro ceremony in the Cathedral de Santiago

Unfortunately, it takes place only on special religious occasions. Botafumeiro is an expensive ceremony and the cathedral can’t afford to do it every day or even once a week.

It’s possible to arrange it for 400 Euro. It doesn’t matter how many people pay for it only you or a group of 50 the ceremony will take place during the Pilgrim’s Mass and will be public. So if you’re 10 or more people it’s not that expensive. You have to book it beforehand for a specific day when you’re planning to be in Santiago.

I’ve seen Botafumeiro once and it’s something to experience especially if you just completed your pilgrimage! Important! No photo or video footage is allowed during the Mass even if you pay for Botafumeiro you can’t take photos. To make a booking write to botafumeiro@catedraldesantiago.es.

Camino Portuguese planning resources

Questions or Comments?

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Paul

Saturday 17th of February 2024

Great content!

Dion Konrad Grebe

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

Good day Your 2023 route recommended the Spiritual Route with the BOAT trip. Your 2024 leaves that section out and recommend taking the route over the mountains. Any specific reason? Rgds

Stingy Nomads

Friday 26th of January 2024

Hello Dion. There is a paragraph about the Spiritual Variant in this post as well. I don't recommend taking the mountain route. In the Day 10 paragraph it says that as an option you take walk the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino. There is no detailed description of the route in the post because I wrote a separate post on the Spiritual Variant. You can find it here https://stingynomads.com/spiritual-variant-portuguese-camino/. In fact the Spiritual Variant goes over the mountains and the Central Route goes inland. You can take either one the both are beautiful but I personally prefer the Spiritual Variant. Buen Camino

Michael Hasler

Tuesday 9th of January 2024

Hello I will be hiking the Camino from Porto to Santiago from April 11 to 25 of 2024 by myself. During this time of the year do I need to book accommodations in advance or can I find rooms at my various stops on the day I arrive?

Stingy Nomads

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Hello Michael. Thank you for the comment. April is a popular time for walking the Portuguese Camino but there aren't as many pilgrims as during the peak months I think you'll be find finding rooms as you go. The only thing is that after a long day of walking you usually don't feel like walking around a town looking for accommodation. I'd suggest finding something you like beforehand. Buen Camino

Matthew Tomlinson

Monday 6th of November 2023

Hello

I am planning to complete the coastal route, Porto to Santiago in May 24. Could you please advise me how I could apply for the Pilgrims Credentials? I am in the UK.

I saw the links you kindly supply on your informative Web site, however I just wondered if you could advise the best, fail safe option for myself.

Thank you so much for the information in advance from your site.

Best regards

Matt

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

Hello Matt. Thank you for the comment. You can get your Credential at Se Cathedral in Porto. If you want to get it beforehand you can contact your local Camino association and enquire if you can get it from them. Here is the one of the UK https://www.csj.org.uk/ Buen Camino

Rachel Nicholson

Tuesday 10th of October 2023

Hello I’m interested in the coastal way, i see a lot of website that :organize: and include the accommodations and what not, is that nessassary to go with a company or can you just do all on your own booking by your self ?

Stingy Nomads

Saturday 14th of October 2023

Hello Rachel. You can easily walking the Portuguese Camino without using a company. The route is well-marked, there are plenty of places to stay, etc. There are thousands of people who walk the Camino every year and organize everything themselves. We have a detailed post on the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino where you can find PDF files with walking stages and a list of places to stay along the route https://stingynomads.com/portuguese-coastal-camino-stages/. Buen Camino

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