Portuguese Camino de Santiago – complete guide

Padron, Portuguese Camino de Santiago
Padron, the last stop on the Portuguese Camino before Santiago de Compostela

Portuguese Way is one of the spiritual routes to Santiago de Compostela. Total distance of the Camino from Porto to Santiago depends on the route you choose; the Coastal Route – 280km, the Central Route – 260km. Camino Portugues is the second most popular Camino de Santiago following the French Way, about 19% of all pilgrims or 52 200 people walked this Camino in 2017.

Different routes of Camino Portugues from Porto

I know how it’s when you want to do a hike and you realize there are several routes that start and end at the same places. Which one to choose? – it was our question when we were planning our trip.

There are three different routes from Porto.

  • Caminho Central (Central Route) – 260km from Porto to Santiago, goes inland all the way.
  • Caminho da Costa (Coastal Route) – 280km from Porto to Santiago, follows the coast (except the first day from Porto) till Redondela where joins the Central Way.
  • Senda Litoral (Litoral Trail) – distance is more or less the same as the Coastal Route. From Porto it follows the coast till Vila do Conde, after goes the same way as the Coastal Route with the main difference the Litoral literally sticks to the coast. It merges with the Central Route at Redondela.

Download Camino Portuguese Walking Routes map here!

Map of routes of Portuguese Camino de Santiago
Different routes of Camino Portugues; Coastal Route, Central Route, Senda Litoral, Spiritual Way (from Pontevedra)

Which route to choose?

Central Route. Advantages; 1. it has better infrastructure; more albergues, more towns, more restaurants and shops. 2. If you’re more into history and architecture you’ll enjoy the Central Route there are more old towns and cities on the way. 3. It’s shorter (not sure if everybody will consider it as an advantage), you’ll need less time to complete it. 4. It’s a better option to walk in bad weather conditions e.g. strong wind, heavy rain. 5. For those who are going to use a backpack shuttle service it is cheaper by 1 or 2 Euro per stage to transfer backpacks on the Central Route. Disadvantages; 1. This is the busiest route, 70% of pilgrims on Camino Portuguese walk this route. 2. The area it goes through is more developed and touristy. 

Coastal Route. Advantages; 1. Walking along the coast is always an advantage (at least we think so). 2. Only 30% of all pilgrims take this route. 3. Better chances to see more authentic non-touristy part of Portugal. Disadvantages; 1. If it’s very windy and rainy it’ll be an unpleasant route to walk. 2. Less infrastructure, I mainly refer to albergues though for us it was a problem only once in Vigo where there are no albergues only hotels/hostels. If you decide to walk this route check our complete Coastal Way guide.

Litoral Way. First of all most pilgrims leave Porto following this Route, 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 though industrial areas, they refer to walking out of the city following the Central Camino or Coastal Route not the Litoral. On the first day no need to make a decision which way to choose you can start along the coast and see how much you like it. All the advantages and disadvantages are the same as for the Coastal Route. Only one extra thing this route is not marked very well (except for the first day) but it’s easy to walk you just go along the coast/beach.   

Beach on Senda Litoral, Porto
It’s much nicer to go along the beach following Senda Litoral than to walk through industrial suburbs of Porto

A great option is to combine Coastal route with rural areas and even add to this some mountain scenery. Start in Porto following the Coastal Route and continue on it till Caminha (the end of Portuguese part) from there walk to Tui to get to the Central Camino. Then take Variante Espiritual, an optional route from Pontevedra that goes over the mountains and joins the Central route in Padrón. This way you combine all possible routes of the Camino Portugues and walk through areas with different scenery. Plus you skip the Spanish part of the Coastal route that has lack of albergues, particularly  in A Ramallosa and Vigo.

Starting Portuguese Camino in Lisbon

You can start the Camino from Lisbon then total distance of the walk is 616km. We started walking in Lisbon towards Porto through Fatima. The main difficulty we faced there is lack of infrastructure for pilgrims, sometimes it was difficult to find accommodation, once in Caxarias, we were offered to sleep in a church storage on the floor because all rooms in the town were occupied. I must say the walk from Lisbon is beautiful but if you prefer to have a comfortable and easy walk we’d suggest to start in Porto. If you feel like walking more rather do one of the other Caminos e.g. Camino Primitivo, Camino Ingles or Finisterre. If you like challenge and go off the beaten track than start the Camino in Lisbon. 

Best walking months

If you want to skip crowds and have good weather May and September will be your best options. If you rather want to walk alone go off season April, October are fine, you can be lucky with the weather and there will be very few people. Winter months are not the best it gets cold and rainy, some albergues are closed. June is the beginning of high season for this Camino but it’s still not too busy yet and already nice and warm. July and August are the most popular and the hottest months, it’s important to start walking early to skip the heat of the day.

Accommodation on the Camino

  • Hostels for pilgrims on Caminos de Santiago are called “albergues”.
  • Albergue is a kind of hostel, don’t expect any luxury, the only difference only pilgrims are allowed to stay here.
  • To prove you’re a pilgrim you need to show your Credential, you get a stamp at every albergue you stay.
  • There two types of albergues; municipal, run by the government, cheaper, can’t be booked ahead, price between 5-6 Euro pp. Private albergues – belong to a person or company, more expensive, between 10-12 Euro pp, usually with better facilities, can be booked in advance over the phone or online booking services.
  • Each albergue has dormitories with bunk beds, shared bathroom/toilet, kitchen, some have washing machine and wi-fi.  
  • Municipal albergues accept only cash.
  • Bed bugs problem – after completing two Caminos we didn’t have bedbugs once. It’s an advantage of walking the Camino in the beginning of the season, most albergues do “big cleaning” before the season starts. We saw some pilgrims using bedbug spray we’ve never tried it but looks like it works.
  • Some people asking if it’s worth to carry a tent with I’d say “No“. You can stay in albergues for 5-6 Euro most campsites will charge you the same or even more for camping (wild camping is illegal in Spain), plus you have to carry so much extra luggage; a tent, mattress, cooking stuff etc.
Albergue de Peregrinos in Padrón, Spain
Albergue de Peregrinos in Padrón, Spain. A typical albergue in the Camino Portugues

Need to know about the Portuguese Way

  • For this Camino we used Camino Portugues by John Brierley guide book, it contains all the necessary information and maps, small, light and easy to use. 
  • Every pilgrim needs a Credential – a small book with your name that gets stamped at every albergue you stay. Credential is a pilgrim’s ID. You can buy it from the official Credential distribution office in your country or in Se Cathedral in Porto. 
  • There is an hour difference between Portuguese (GMT+1) and Spanish time (GMT+2), Spain is one hour ahead. When you cross to Spain don’t forget to change time. 
  • Both countries use the same power outlets – Europlug. You might need an adapter
  • Tap water in Portugal is very good, locals are proud of the water quality. In Spain in the beginning we bought bottled water but later were told that tap water is fine here as well. Though sometimes you could taste strong chlorine, try first if it’s not good than buy bottled water.
  • We were surprised how many people in Portugal speak good English compare to Spain but there is always somebody who can translate or explain.
  • In Spain many supermarkets and shop are closed on Sundays, public holidays and in the afternoon.
  • In both countries you can buy medicine with prescription in English from your doctor back home even if it’s just an email, not the original.
  • Buy local SIM card, both Portugal and Spain have similar packages from Vodafone valid for 30 days; Portugal – 3Gb data, 300 minutes local phone calls, plus SMS – 15 Euro. Spain – 2Gb data, 200 minutes local phone calls, SMS – 15 Euro (when we ran out of data we still could use it for FB and Twitter). Both worked great, we used it a lot for uploading photos and video, Whats-app etc. and it was more than enough. Plus it’s very handy if you want to phone and book an albergue.
  • The route marking is very good, it’s always easy to follow, there are yellow arrows every 100m or so.
  • 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 backpack delivery service. There are several companies that can pick up your backpack at one albergue and drive it to the next place.
  • Bring a small bag/backpack to carry valuables (money, passport) with when leaving an albergue, usually there are no lockers.

Health tips

  • Walking the Camino is a physical challenge don’t push yourself trying to follow guide book or somebody’s itinerary, take your time, move your pace.
  • If you feel very tired or unwell take a day off or at least walk shorter distance you want to arrive in Santiago healthy. We heard some stories of people pushing themselves for the whole Camino and once they reached Santiago they got terribly sick so take care of yourself.
  • Many pilgrims on the Camino have problem with their feet, mainly blisters.

To prevent blisters;

  1. pack 2 0r 3 pairs of merino wool socks, they are the best for hiking.
  2. during the walk every time your feet get wet from sweating take off a wet pair and put on dry socks. You can hang wet socks from your backpack to let them dry meanwhile.
  3. you know your feet and where you usually get blisters, plaster these areas before you get one.

Social life on the Camino

You meet people all the time there are many pilgrims who walk alone some of them don’t really want company but many will be happy to find somebody to walk with. Albergues have a very social vibe especially in the evening, people cook and eat together, make friends, give tips, show photos etc. There are people from all over the world; Europe, Americas, Asia, Africa you’ll be able to find somebody who speaks your language, belongs to the same age group or have similar interests. If you can’t find a walking buddy go and walk the Camino alone you’ll see how many great people you’ll meet on the way.

Portuguese Camino cost

Portugal is a bit cheaper than Spain but in general prices in both countries are similar. Accommodation and shopping will cost more or less the same. Public transport, especially trains are cheaper in Portugal, e.g. a train ride (normal train, economy class) from Lisbon to Porto, 310km, will cost you from 25 Euro. In Spain for the same distance you pay from 30 Euro. Eating out is cheaper in Portugal, a set menu in a local restaurant will cost you from 8 Euro when in Spain it is from 10 Euro up. Our main disappointment when we crossed to Spain was coffee, in Portugal you pay 0,60 Euro for Americano, in Spain it’s double, between 1-1,20 Euro. Probably the only thing is more expensive in Portuguese part is backpack transfer service, 2 Euro more per stage than in Spain.

Average for both countries if you stay in albergues and buy food in supermarkets your budget will be between 15-20 Euro 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 between 25-30 Euro daily pp. If you prefer to stay in hotels rather than albergues add to it 10-15 Euro pp.

Portugal

  • Accommodation – municipal albergues – 5-6 Euro per person, private albergues – 10-12 Euro pp. Hotels from 15 Euro pp.
  • Eating out – Menu do Dia, a set lunch that includes starter, main dish with sides, drink and coffee or dessert – from 7 Euro pp.
  • Food shopping – 6-8 Euro pp per day
  • A cup of coffee (Americano) – 0,60 Euro
  • A beer in a bar – 1 Euro.
  • Laundry – washing 2 Euro per load.
  • Backpack delivery service (optional) – 6-7 Euro per backpack per stage.

Spain

  • Accommodation – municipal albergues – 5-6 Euro per person, private albergues – 10-12 Euro pp. Hotels from 20 Euro pp
  • Eating out – Menu del Dia; starter, main dish, drink (usually house wine), coffee or dessert – 10 Euro.
  • Food shopping – 6-8 Euro pp per day
  • A cup of coffee (Americano) – 1-1,2 Euro
  • A beer in a bar – 1-1,2 Euro
  • Laundry – washing – 3 Euro per load, drying – 1,5-3 Euro per load.
  • Backpack delivery service (optional) – from 5 Euro depending on a stage and route you take.
Porto from Se Cathedral
View of Porto from Se Cathedral, first day of Camino Portugues

Camino Portugues packing list

Let’s start from the most important for any hike item – shoes. Good hiking shoes will serve you for years even if you hike as much as we do. For the Portuguese Camino it’s important to have boots with good soles most of the time you walk on asphalt or cobble stones in thick souls shoes your feet might start hurting. After years of hiking and wearing different shoes Merrells are still my favorite, they are very comfortable, light and really waterproof (if it says so).

Socksmerino wool socks are the best socks for hiking many people told it to us but we figured it out from our own experience through pain and blisters. These socks are great; don’t absorb smell, dry quick, protect your feet and last long. Pack two or three pairs for the Camino and you feet will be fine.

Backpack – don’t pack too much, make your backpack light it’s not fun to walk everyday for weeks with a heavy backpack. For the Camino you don’t even need that much clothes, toiletries, phone and one or two more things, 50L backpack must be enough to fit all these. If you have a bigger backpack we wouldn’t suggest to buy a smaller one just for the Camino, don’t pack your 60-70L backpack full and it’ll work good as well.

Rain jacket – if you hike in summer there is a chance that it won’t rain at all but if you decide to walk the Coastal Route rain jacket might be handy for strong wind. As an option you can take a rain poncho it’s small, light and will protect you and your backpack from any rain. I like ponchos with sleeves that come with a backpack pocket if your backpack no need to worry about your stuff getting wet.

Sleeping bag – there were very few albergues in the route where there were no blankets but it’s just nicer to climb into your own sleeping bag. A summer sleeping bag for comfort +11°C/50°F will be enough no need to pack a warm heavy bag, unless you decide to walk in winter months.

Water bottle – definitely prefer it over a camel pack, fits nice in a side pocket, easy to take out and refill, even if it leaks it wan’t make anything inside your backpack wet. I really like silicone water bottles when it’s empty you can basically put it in your pocket.

Headlamp – very handy item to have on the Camino in case you decide to read late or want to leave very early morning when it’s still dark or need to find something in your backpack when lights are off a headlamp will be very useful here.

Quick dry towel – they are great, dry quick, very small and light, easy to wash and usually come in different colors, I have a couple of camping towels at home all different sizes and colors. You’ll definitely need it none of the albergues we stayed had towels, not even to rent.

Want to get something special for the Camino? Buy a Camino de Santiago T-shirt there are so many different options!

Download our complete Camino Portuguese packing list.

Books to read on the Camino

What can be better than after a long day of walking climb in bed and read your favorite book!? We’d definitely recommend to pack one you’ll definitely have time for reading. Here are our top picks books for the Camino Portugues; 1. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho; 2. Journey to the Alcarria; Travels though the Spanish countryside by Camilo Jose Cela (he was born in Padrón, one of the towns on the Portuguese Camino); 3. Ordinary MagicPromises I Kept to My Mother Through Life, Illness, and a Very Long Walk on the Camino de Santiago by Cameron Powell. 

Portuguese Camino stages, Central Route. From Porto to Santiago de Compostela

Our main tip for the Camino don’t underestimate it, you might be a fit person but walking long hours in heat with a heavy backpack is different from running or training in the gym. Start slower, don’t walk long distances in the beginning and you’ll be fine. Plus when you walk too fast or too far you don’t have enough time to stop, take photos, enjoy a cup of coffee with a beautiful view.

Download and print our complete day by day itinerary Portuguese Way Central Route stages.

Porto, the start of the walk

Porto is an amazing city I’d definitely recommend to stay 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 bout ride along the Douro River and enjoy the local cuisine. Porto is one of my favorite European cities since the first time I came here.  

Albergues in Porto

There are several albergues/hostels in the city including one municipal albergue N.S. do Rosario de Vilar 7,5 Euro pp. We stayed at private Albergue de Peregrinos do Porto, for donations, a nice, clean and very social place close to the metro station. Facilities; hot water shower, wi-fi, kitchen, washing machine. Located quite far from the cathedral, to get there you have to use the metro.

Accommodation in Porto

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 walking distance from the center. 

If you’d like to stay in the very heart of Porto, just a few meters away from Se Cathedral and have more privacy than any hotel can offer have a look at RVA Cathedral apartments. Modern one and two bedroom apartments with all you need for a relaxing stay in the city. Flats are impeccably clean, with good facilities; AC, wi-fi, fully equipped kitchen, flat-screen TV, big comfortable bed etc. Price for one bedroom flat – 184 Euro for 2 nights (minimum stay). These apartments are very popular and often fully booked.

A great option for middle budget is Maria Muralha Historic House, small but cozy and neat rooms right in the city center, 300m from Sao Bento Train station, 500 from Se Cathedral. All rooms have AC, satellite TV, wi-fi, private bathroom, free toiletries, fully equipped kitchen for guests’ use, very helpful and friendly owners. Price double budget room – 70 Euro per night.

If you’re looking for cheaper options in the center check out Best Guest Porto Hostel, it has great reviews, perfect central location, comfortable shared room, kitchen, shared bathrooms – everything is very clean and modern. As a bonus buffet breakfast is included in the price. Price dormitory bed from 18 Euro, double room with private bathroom – 58 Euro.

Porto, Camino Portugues, Central Way
Porto, the starting point Portuguese Camino de Santiago

Day 1. Se Cathedral, Porto – Labruge, 23km

Se Cahedral – Foz do Douro – Matosinhos – Lavra – Labruge.

As I mentioned before most people who start walking from Porto regardless 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 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 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 is much better that asphalt or cobblestones. There are many restaurants and cafés on the way where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch with a sea view.

Labruge

We’d suggest to stop here, and not to make your first day too long like a guide book suggest 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, for donation. Albergue Santiago Labruge – 3 rooms, 24 beds, kitchen, cold water shower, wi-fi.
  • Private albergue  – no
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
Senda Litoral, Camino de Santiago
Senda Litoral following the coast, Camino de Santiago

Day 2. Labruge – Rates, 23km

Labruge – Vila Chã – Vila do Conde – Villa d’Arcos – Rates

First part of the day 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 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 impressive aqueduct de Santa Clara it’s on the way to Arcos.

Rates

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

  • Municipal albergue – yes, for donation. Albergue de Peregrinos – 30 beds, hot water shower, kitchen.
  • Private albergue  – no
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – no
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

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Day 3. Rates – Barcelos, 16km/Tamel, 25km

Rates – Pedra Furada – Pereira – Bacelinos – 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 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 – 14th century bridge, Tower of Barcelos, church of Senhor da Cruz, church Matriz de Barcelos. The city is well-known for its pottery it’s the home of  famous Galo de Barcelos (Rooster or Barcelos) or Portuguese Rooster – one of the most popular symbols of Portugal.

  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue  – yes, only 26 beds, donation. Albergue de Barcelos – 3 rooms, kitchen (stove, microwave, fridge), hot shower, wi-fi.
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Tamel (San Pedro de Fins)

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

Hourse, countryside scenery on the Camino
The Camino is not all about the towns, we really enjoyed beautiful countryside scenery of Northern Portugal

Day 4. Barcelos/Tamel – Ponte de Lima, 34km/25km

If you start in Barcelos it’ll be a long walking day though there are some places to stay before Ponte de Lima e.g. Facha, 23km but not many and no albergues mostly hotels, from 15 Euro.

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 to the town, Old Chain Tower, Matriz church, Botanical garden Paço do Marques, church of Santo Antonio da Torre Velha. There are many accommodation options in the town.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 5 Euro. Casa do Arnado – 60 beds, kitchen, wi-fi, opens late between 4-5pm.
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
The Old Roman bridge, Ponte de Lima
The Old Roman bridge, Ponte de Lima

Day 5. Ponte de Lima – Rubiães, 20km

A nice and short day of walking mostly through the forest with a long up-hill walk that starts at 10km, from 100m to 400m over 4km, make sure to have enough water with. 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 infrastructure for pilgrims.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 5 Euro. Escola – 34 beds, hot shower, kitchen, wi-fi, opens at 1.30pm.
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – no
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Pharmacy – no

Day 6. Rubiães – Valença/Tui, 20km

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 time, Spain is 1 hour ahead of Portugal. There is no official border crossing, both countries are members of EU.

Valença

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

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 5 Euro. Sao Teotonio – 84 beds, 4 rooms, hot shower, kitchen, opens at 1.30pm.
  • Private albergue  – no
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Tui

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 6 Euro. Albergue de Peregrinos – 36 beds, hot shower, opens at 1pm.
  • Private albergue  – yes, many
  • Hotel, guest house – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
Cobble stone streets, Portugal
Every town in the area has these narrow cobblestone streets

Day 7. Valença/Tui – Porriño, 19km

A short and easy walking 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 to follow it, it goes left about 300m after a stone Camino sign that marks 106km to Santiago. The old route goes through Poligono Industrial (Industrial zone), 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

An small industrial town with a nice historical center.

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 6 Euro. Albergue de Peregrinos – 50 beds, hot shower, kitchen, opens at 1pm.
  • Private albergue  – no
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Day 8. Porriño – Redondela, 17km

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, 6 Euro. Casa de Torre – 44 beds, hot shower, kitchen, washing and drying machine, opens at 1pm.
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
Flowers, spring, Portugal
Nice bonus of walking the Camino in spring

Day 9. Redondela – Pontevedra, 20km

Redondela – Cesantes – Arcade – Pontevedra.

Some uphill but it is over a long distance so the incline is not very steep climb. There are several bars on the way where you can refill 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 Redondela on the right side of the road there will be sign 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, 6 Euro. La Virgen Peregrina – 56 beds, hot shower, kitchen, washing and drying machine, opens at 1pm.
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
Pontevedra cathedral, Spain
Beautiful and unusual cathedral of Pontevedra.

Day 10. Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis, 23km

After Redondela the Camino splits again you can follow the main route to Caldas de Reis or take Variante Espiritual (Spiritual Way) and go over the mountains to Armenteira. Check for more details and stages for Spiritual Route. Both routes join again at Padrón.

Caldas de Reis

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

  • Municipal albergue – yes, 6 Euro. Posada Dona Urraca – 5o beds, hot shower, wi-fi, opens at 1pm.
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
A beautiful town on the Central Way of Camino Portugues
I’ve never seen so many charming small town before we walked Portuguese Camino de Santiago

Day 11. Caldas de Reis – Padrón, 20km

A nice and easy walk past a couple of smallish towns with several bars on the way. Some people prefer to walk further 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 not a big place, 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, 6 Euro. Albergue de Peregrinos – 46 beds, hot shower, wi-fi, opens at 1pm.
  • Private albergue  – yes
  • Hotel, pension – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Restaurant, café – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

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Day 12. Padrón to Santiago de Compostela, 25km

Some people from our albergue started walking that day at 5am to be able to attend the Pilgrim’s Mass in the cathedral at 12am. The first part of the day it’s flat mostly through the forest, 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 de Santiago de Compostela.

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

Santiago de Compostela, cathedral
Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela, the end of Camino de Santiago

Accommodation in Santiago de Compostela

Now it’s time to relax after a couple of tough walking weeks and spoil yourself staying in a nice place, you deserved it after sleeping in dozens albergues with shared everything! There are many options in Santiago the most difficult is to choose the right one for you. And better book it in advance in season it’s a real problem to find a good place without booking. We experienced it moving every night to a different hotel because the previous one was fully booked.

Staying close to the center is always the best option, Casas Reais Boutique located just 400m from the cathedral. It’s not a big hotel rather a guest house where every guest gets personal approach, the rooms here are spacious, minimalist design, with all you need for a comfort stay; AC, extra large beds, wi-fi, flat screen TV, bath, mini bar etc. Breakfast is included in the price. What about staying in a deluxe room with a SPA bath?! Finally you can relax and enjoy having some privacy. Price double room from 80 Euro, deluxe room 127 Euro.

Looking for a middle price accommodation in the center we’d suggest Hostal Mapoula PR, a cozy and nice hotel 5min. walk from the cathedral. All rooms have AC, flat screen TV, private bathroom, wi-fi, satellite channels, mini bar, heating etc. Double room from 70 Euro.

For a family or a group of friends to rent an apartment can be a good option and there are many apartments for rent near the historical center. Pelamois House apartment can accommodate 6 people (adults). The place is spacious, clean and modern with 3 double bedrooms, big lounge area, fully equipped kitchen, AC, flat screen TV, wi-fi, terrace and more. Only 10min. walk from the Cathedral. Price 140 Euro for 4 people, 140 for six (if you’re 2 or 3 persons you pay less).

Casas Reais Boutique hotel, Santiago de Compostela
Room in Casas Reais Boutique hotel, Santiago de Compostela, photo credit; booking.com

Getting Compostela in Santiago

Every pilgrim that walked more than 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 pray 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 US, 10 from Australia etc.

To get 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 number of pilgrims.
  • pay 5 Euro.

Botafumeiro ceremony in the Cathedral de Santiago

Unfortunately it takes place only on special religion occasions, here is the complete list of the celebrations. Apparently Botafumeiro is an expensive ceremony and the cathedral can’t afford to do it every day or even once a week. But it’s possible to arrange it for 400 Euro. It doesn’t matter how many people pay for it you alone 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 expensive. You have to book it beforehand for a specific day when you’re planning to be in Santiago. I’ve seen it 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.

Portuguese Camino final thoughts

It was our first Camino de Santiago though we’d done many hikes before the Camino is a completely different experience. It was our longest uninterrupted hike and we didn’t know what to expect. The great thing about any Camino is that anybody can do it no matter how fit or unfit you’re just choose you pace and daily distance and you’ll be able to reach Santiago, it might take you one or three weeks but who cares! People walk the Camino with different intentions and reasons; for some it’s a pilgrimage with religious background, some want to have some time to think, some people like us just like hiking, for others it’s a great and budget way to see a country and hundreds of other reasons. Regarding our Camino choice; first of all we didn’t want to walk a very crowded way so not the French Way; second, we started in mid May which is a good time for walking in this region it was already warm but not too hot. Third, the Portuguese route goes through the parts of Spain and Portugal that we haven’t been to. We did like this walk and it inspired us to do more Caminos de Santiago in the nearest future. Buen Camino!

Related posts

Camino Portuguese and Camino de Fatima from Lisbon

Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago

Camino Portugues Coastal Route. 

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5 Comments

  • Swedish pilgrim that is leaving tomorrow for the Senda Litoral on Camino Potogues. Found your blog and really like the information. Will use your daily stages a guide. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hello, Caroline! Thank you very much for your comment! We’re happy that you found our blog helpful. Enjoy the walk!
      Buen Camino!

    • Hello, Helena! Thank you for the comment! We’re glad you enjoyed our post! Hopefully it will help you in planning.
      Buen Camino!

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