A wooden boardwalk towards the sea surrounded by the beach
Camino de Santiago Portugal

The Portuguese Camino Coastal Route – a detailed guide & walking stages

Coastal Route (Caminho da Costa) of the Portuguese Camino is a beautiful alternative walk to the Central Route. Its total distance of the route is 280 km, it starts in Porto and follows the coast till Redondela where it joins with the main route. About 30% of pilgrims who complete the Portuguese Camino walk the Coastal Way. The Portuguese Way is getting more and more popular, many pilgrims choose this route as an alternative to the French Camino.

The Portuguese Camino was our first Camino de Santiago walk. We enjoyed it so much that two days after completing the route we took a bus from Santiago to Oviedo and started walking the Camino Primitivo.

The Coastal Portuguese Camino route overview

  • Total distance – 280 km
  • Number of days required – 11-13 days
  • Starting point – Porto, Portugal
  • Finishing point – Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Average cost – 25-30 Euro per person per day
  • Accommodation – albergues, hotels, guesthouses
  • Route marking – yellow shells and arrows

The Coastal Route vs the Central Route on the Camino Portuguese

The obvious one the Coastal goes along the sea but it doesn’t mean it literally sticks to the coast all the time, it meanders between the coast, towns, and fields.

There are fewer people here than on the Central Route.

It’s a bit longer280km  to Santiago compared to 260km on the Central Way.

There is a little bit less infrastructure for pilgrims on the Coastal Route. Honestly on the Portuguese side, we didn’t have any problem finding albergues but in Spain, in one or two places (Vigo is one of them) there were no albergues, only hotels. As the route becomes more popular new albergues open every year.

The Coastal Route has less up and downhill walking, it’s basically flat all the way.

A bit less walking on or along busy roads compared to the Central Way.

In hot summer months, the Coastal Way is a great option you have constant sea breeze. On rainy and windy this route can become a nightmare. We walked this route in May and didn’t have any rain.

We have a detailed post on the Camino Portuguese and the Camino de Fatima – Walking the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon. If you enjoy walking along the coast you might like the Northern Camino de Santiago, the route follows the Northern Coast of Spain and offers breathtaking scenery.

How to combine the Coastal Route with the Central Route?

Most pilgrims walk out of Porto following the same route the Senda Litoral that goes along the coast (there is a route map in the itinerary section), it’s the best way to start the Camino. The Coastal Route and the Central route are not that great for walking out of the city; both go next to busy roads, past some industrial areas, and the airport. From Vila do Conde (the second day) the Coastal Route and the Litoral Way are pretty much the same.

There are several places along the Coastal Route where pilgrims can switch to the Central Route.

  1. Vila do Conde – about 33 km from Porto (the second day for most pilgrims). There is a route from Vila do Conde to Arcos, that connects the Coastal Way with the Central Route. It’s the same route pilgrims who walk out of Porto following the Senda Litoral would take to get to the Central Route.
  2. Caminha – about 107 km from Porto (the fifth day for most pilgrims). The Coastal Route continues across the Minho River (a short ferry ride) to Spain when the connection route goes along the river to Tui where it joins with the Central Route.
  3. Redondela – about 180 km from Porto (the end of the first week on the Camino for most people), both routes merge there. From Redondela there is only one route of the Portuguese Camino to Santiago de Compostela.

There is another split on the Portuguese Camino after Redondela. From Pontevedra, there are two routes: the Spiritual Way and the Portuguese Camino. The split is just outside Pontevedra. The Spiritual Way goes to the coast towards Portonovo, the Portuguese Camino continues inland. Both routes merge again in Padrón. It takes 2 days to get to Padrón on the Portuguese Camino and 3 days if you follow the Spiritual Way. In the itinerary section on this post, you can find more details on the Spiritual Way.

Accommodation on the Coastal Camino

Like on any other Camino de Santiago route the Coastal Way has public and private albergues, hotels, guesthouses, and a couple of campsites along the route.

Albergues are hostels for pilgrims they usually have dormitory rooms with bunk beds and shared ablution facilities. Albergues can be public (run by a local municipality) and private.

Comparing public (municipal) and private albergues

FeaturesPublic alberguesPrivate albergues
Only for pilgrimsyesno
Need a credential to stayyesno
Can be booked aheadnoyes
Can stay as long as you wantno, only 1 nightyes
Price5-6 Euro10-12 Euro
Accept backpack deliverynoyes
Public vs private albergues on the Coastal Route

Public albergues is the cheapest accommodation option on the Camino. There are municipal albergues almost at the end of every stage on the Coastal Route of the Camino Portugues.

There are no public albergues in

  • Praia da Estela
  • Carreço
  • Ramallosa
  • Vigo

Campsites on the Coastal Route can be found in

  • Labuge
  • Praia da Estela
  • A Guarda
  • Ramallosa
  • Vigo
  • Vilanova de Arousa
Our YouTube video about public and private albergues on the Camino de Santiago

The cost of walking the Coastal Way of St.James

The Portuguese Camino can be done on a different budget from 20 Euro per person per day to 40+ Euro depending on how much you want or can spend and how much comfort you need. The average cost of walking the Coastal Route is 25-30 Euro per person per day. We have a detailed post on the cost of the Camino de Santiago where you can find a lot of information for planning your estimated Camino budget.

Walking the Camino Portugues with 20, 30 and 40+ Euro per person, per day

20 Euro30 Euro40+ Euro
Accommodation
Public albergues,
5-6 Euro
Private albergues,
10-12 Euro
Private room,
20-30 Euro
Food
Making your own food, 10 EuroEating Menu del Día,
10-12 Euro
Eating out twice a day,
20-25 Euro
Backpack delivery (optional)
5 Euro5 Euro5 Euro
Extra (entrance fees, coffee, etc.)
5 Euro5 Euro5 Euro
Comparing what you can get on the Camino with a different budgets

Tips for walking the Coastal Portuguese Camino

My main tip after walking 7 Camino de Santiago routes is walk the Camino the way it suits you the best. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish it, how far you walk every day, where you stay (albergues, hotels, camping, etc.), if you carry your backpack or use a luggage transfer service. Remember, it’s your Camino and you can walk it any way you want.

If you decide to walk in the peak season (European summer months) and don’t want to stress out about finding available accommodation along the way, book your beds or rooms in advance.

Don’t start with walking long distances (unless you’re used to it) you might get terrible blisters and aches after the first couple of days. Rather take it easy in the beginning and increase your daily distances as you go.

You can start walking the Camino from any place along the route. If you don’t have enough time to walk from Porto you can start in Tui as many pilgrims do. Tui is just over 100 km from Santiago which is the required walking distance for getting the Compostela. The last 100 km on the Portuguese Camino from Tui is the second popular route after the last 100 km on the Camino Frances from Sarria.

For staying in public (municipal) albergues on the Coastal Route you’ll need a Credential, a pilgrim’s passport with your name where you collect stamps from albergues and hotels you stay along the route. You don’t need it to stay in private albergues and hotels on the Camino but you’ll need it if you want to get the Compostela. You can get the Credential at your local Camino Office (in your country), at Sé Cathedral in Porto, or at many albergues along the route.

After completing the Coastal Portuguese Camino you can get the Compostela. It’s a certificate that you get for free at the Pilgrim’s Reception Office in Santiago for completing at least the last 100 km (200 km if cycling) on any Camino route. Make sure to collect 2 stamps per day for the last 100 km, it’s a new requirement of the Pilgrim’s Office for issuing the Compostela. You get one stem at every place you stay, the second stamp you can get along the way at a bar or a restaurant, many places along the Camino have stamps.

What to pack for the Coastal Portuguese Camino

It’s important to remember not to overload your backpack, make sure to bring only the necessary stuff. We’ve seen many first-time pilgrims with heavily loaded backpacks leaving a lot of things in albergues after the first day on the Camino. If you’re planning on using a backpack delivery service (see the next paragraph) then you can bring pack as much as you wish.

The items we always pack for the Camino

For more details on what to pack for the Camino for men and women for different seasons read our post The packing list for the Camino de Santiago.

Books and guidebooks for the Coastal Route

Helpful apps for the Portuguese Camino Coastal Route

  • Portuguese Way Premium. Cost US$4, available for Android and Apple.
  • Camino Assist Pilgrim Santiago. Free download, available for Android and Apple.
  • Buen Camino de Santiago. Free download, available for Android and Apple.
  • Wisely + Camino Portugues; a Wise Pilgrim guide. Cost US$6, available for Android and Apple. We haven’t used it but I saw many unhappy users complaining about the app, I’d recommend reading the reviews before buying it.

Luggage transfer on the Coastal Way of the Camino Portugues

As an option, if you don’t want to walk for 2 weeks carrying your backpack you can use one of the luggage transfer services on the Camino. Tuitrans offers luggage delivery on the Coastal Route. Correos delivers backpacks from A Guarda (the first Spanish city on the Coastal Route) on.

It works very easy a car picks up your backpack at your hotel or albergue in the morning and drives it to your next accommodation place. The service costs 5-6 Euro per backpack per stage. If you decide to use the delivery service keep in mind that you’ll have to stay in private albergues or hotels. Public albergues don’t accept backpack delivery.

If you have some extra luggage that you won’t need on the Camino you can send it directly to Santiago de Compostela using one of the backpack shuttle companies.

Travel insurance for the Camino

Walking like any other outdoor activity involves a risk of getting an injury or losing some of the gear. It’s always recommended to have travel insurance when you go away. The Portuguese Camino de Santiago is not a high altitude hike through remote areas but it’s still a physically challenging experience. Light traumas like blisters, knee pain, shin splint, etc. are quite common. Make sure you will be able to get medical assistance any time you need it. Note! If you have a European Health Insurance Card you don’t need any extra medical insurance for Portugal or Spain.

Another reason to have insurance is gear loss, trip cancellation, or flight delay. Having travel insurance makes the walk less stressful when you know you’re covered in case of any unpredictable emergencies. Let your insurance company worry about you and your belongings while you enjoy walking the Camino. 

Porto, the beginning of the Coastal Route

Porto is an amazing place to reserve a couple of days before or after the Camino to explore the city. Get lost in the maze of crazy narrow cobblestone streets of Porto, follow them climbing up and down, making unreal U-turns that lead to a quirky dead end. There are so many hidden gems in this city that you can spend weeks wandering around and every day finding new places.

Tours & activities in Porto

If you have extra time to stay in Porto before you start walking the Camino there are several tour options that will help you to explore and discover this amazing city;

Places to stay in Porto

There are many albergues in the city including one municipal albergue N.S. do Rosario de Vilar for 7,5 Euro and one private albergue Albergue de Peregrinos do Porto for donation (though the guidebook says 10 Euro). We stayed in the second one, it’s nice, clean and very social but quite far from the historical center and Sé Cathedral. To get to the trail you’ll have to take the metro first, the metro station is just around the corner. The municipal albergue is located about the same distance from the cathedral.

If you rather stay in the center there are several nice options from hostels to nice and even luxury hotels. It all depends on your budget.

Historical buildings in the center of Porto
The historical center of Porto, the beginning of the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino

The Portuguese Camino Coastal Route walking stages

Downloadable PDF file Portuguese Camino Coastal Route stages

Day 1. Porto – Labruge, 23,5km

Porto – Matosinhos – Lavra – Labruge.

We started at Sé Cathedral, in the morning walked down to Rio Douro and followed the river all the way out of the city following Senda Litoral. Basically all day you walk along the coastline passing small towns and villages. There are many restaurants and coffee shops on the way where you can stop for coffee or lunch.

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

As an option you can walk to Vila da Cha, it’s 3 km further, there is a municipal albergue for donation as well.

Highlights

  • The historical center of Porto
  • Beach walk

Labruge

A small coastal town stretched more inland than along the coast

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue Santiago Labruge, municipal

It’s located inland, 900m from the beach, there is a sign pointing the direction. The place is very nice and neat. Our guide book says there are only 8 beds, in fact, there are 24, they recently opened two more rooms upstairs with 12 beds each. Price – donation.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – no, we couldn’t get it hot, the hostess wasn’t there, maybe we just didn’t know where to switch the geyser.
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Kitchen with stove, fridge, pots, plates, etc – yes
  • Washing machine – no, there is a basin for washing
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Location – 4 out of 5, 900m away from the Camino, close to a restaurant, shop, and ATM.
  • Comfort level – 4 out of 5, if there was a hot water shower it would be 5.

More places to stay in Labruge*

*Many people asked us about alternative (to albergues) accommodation options (private rooms with facilities) so we decided to add accommodations on the route that can be booked online.

One of the many beach walking wooden paths on the Coastal Route in Portugal
Beautiful beach scenery in the beginning of the Coastal Portuguese Camino

Day 2. Labruge – Praia da Estela (Orbitur), 25,6km

Labruge – Vila Chã – Vila do Conde – Póvoa de Varzim – Aguçadoura – Praia de Estela.

Most of the day you walk along the coast on wooden planks sometimes the route goes through small towns. There are plenty of places to stop for coffee or lunch along the way.

Highlights

  • Vila Cha, a small fisherman village.
  • The historical center of Vila do Conde, beautiful narrow cobblestone streets, churches, old houses.
  • Beach walk.

Praia da Estela

It’s basically just a big campsite with many cabins, a restaurant and a small shop at reception.

  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotels – yes, +/- 1 km from the campsite
  • Campsite – yes
  • ATM – no
  • Shop – yes
  • Restaurant – yes. They have a special pilgrim dinner menu for 10 euro; starter, main, drinks, dessert.
  • Pharmacy – no

Parque de Campismo Orbitur Rio Alto, private  

There is no albergue here, we stayed in a cabin with a shared bathroom. Cabins are nice but there is no kitchen here, you can buy basic stuff in a small shop or eat in a local restaurant where you can get hot water for tea or noodles. Price – cabin with shared bathroom – 20 Euro for two people; 16 Euro for one.

Note! This place can be booked online but it’s more expensive to book a double cabin. They offer only deluxe cabins with an attached bathroom and a kitchen. These cabins are more spacious and comfortable though. There are caravans for 5 and 6 peoples as well.

Facilities (a budget cabin without bathroom)

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes, only in the reception area
  • Kitchen – no
  • Washing machine – no
  • Washing lines – no
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Extra – every cabin has a fridge and a small dining area
  • Location – 4 out of 5, not far from the way.
  • Comfort level – 4 out of 5

More places to stay near Playa da Estela*

*find your place before you start walking to make sure you won’t miss the turn or walk past it. The hotels are spread through the area.

The historical center of Vila do Conde, Portugal
The center of Vila do Conde, one of the stop on the second day of the Coastal Camino Portuguese

Day 3. Praia da Estela – Castelo do Neiva, 24,4km

Praia Estela – Apúlia – Fão – Esposende – Marinhas – Belinho – Ponte – Castelo do Neiva.

It was a nice mix of walking through the towns, along the coast, and a little on the forest path.

Highlights

  • Confeteria (pastry) Marbella in Esposende, great place with some delicious cakes and pastry.
  • Cafe/bar O Lampao in Belinho, an awesome place with hundreds scarfs, mugs and key chains hanging from the ceiling and walls.
  • A small waterfall at the river cross just before Castelo do Neiva

Castelo do Neiva

A small town a little bit away from the sea with a new albergue, a restaurant, and a shop.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – no
  • ATM – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – no

Albergue Dom Nausti, municipal

A new albergue, right on the Camino, very nice, clean, and neat. The owners are very friendly and helpful, speak some English. A local restaurant just 200m away. Capacity – 20 people. Price 5 Euro per person including bedding.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – no, might get it in the future.
  • Kitchen with stove, fridge, pots, plates etc – yes
  • Washing machine – no
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Extra – coffee and chocolate vending machine.
  • Location – 5 out of 5
  • Comfort level – 5 out of 5

More places to stay in Castelo do Neiva

Day 4. Castelo do Neiva – Carreço, 19km

Castelo do Neiva – Chafé – Viana do Castelo – Areosa – Carreço.

A nice and relaxed day of walking through endless towns and villages with plenty of restaurants and pastries to stop for breakfast, lunch or coffee. If you decide to walk up to Santuario Santa Luzia in Viana do Castelo add to the day distance 3km. 

Highlights

  • Old high stone walls covered in moss and ivy, we loved it.
  • Santuário de Santa Luzia de Viana do Castelo, it sits on the top of the mountain, quite a steep and long uphill, the view from the top is awesome. This walk is optional, the route doesn’t go up to the top.

Carreço

A typical small town with an albergue, a couple of pensions, a restaurant, and a small shop.

  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – no
  • ATM – no
  • Shop – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue Casa do Sardao, private

For the whole day walking past old houses with thick fortress-like walls we were wondering how it’s to live inside one of these houses. At the end of the day, we got a chance to experience it ourselves.

The Albergue is a modernized house of the 16th century with thick stone walls, built forever. The place is just awesome, an old house with great modern facilities, super cozy. The owner can drive guests to a supermarket as it’s quite far to walk. The staff here speaks good English, everybody is very friendly and helpful. Beds are very comfortable with real bedding (not disposable one), soft mattresses, light, and warm blankets. In the season I’d suggest booking a bed in advance the place is very popular. Capacity – 22 people.

Facilities

It basically has everything you need and even more, we loved this place and stayed here for two nights.

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Kitchen with stove, fridge, pots, plates – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 2 euro per load
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Extra – fireplace, TV, lounge area, beer, wine, coffee for sale. You can order dinner here.
  • Location – 5 out of 5, right on the way
  • Comfort level – 5 out of 5, very comfortable beds, great facilities, very clean.

More places to stay in Carreço

A beautiful white color church on the top of the hill in Viana do Castelo, Portuguese Coastal Route
Santuario de Santa Luzia, Viana do Casetlo on the Portuguese Camino Coastal route

Day 5. Carreço, Portugal – A Guarda, Spain, 22,7km

Carreço – Vila Praia de Âncora – Caminha – ferry to A Guarda.

Nice walk with slight up and down hills through the forest, towns, along the coast.

Ferry from Caminha to A Guarda (pier)

Timetable depends on tides, sometimes first ferry leaves at 8 am sometimes at 2 pm, there are 4 or six ferries daily. The ride takes 5 minutes, 1,5 Euro pp. If there are no ferries or you don’t want to wait you can take a small boat, 5 Euro pp. Boats don’t go if the wind is too strong. Once crossed to Spain don’t forget to change the time, +1 hour.

Alternative! From Caminha instead of continuing on the Coastal Route and taking a ferry, you can walk along the river towards Valença/Tui and from there continue on the Central Route.

  • Day 5. Carreço – Caminha, 20km
  • Day 6. Caminha, Portugal – Valença, Portugal/Tui, Spain, 30km.

Highlights

  • 6th-century convent Sao Joao de Cabanas, 30min. walk Carreço
  • The historical center of Caminho; the castle, narrow cobblestone streets.
  • Castillo (castle) de Santa Cruz in A Guarda

A Guarda

Quite a big town with a nice castle in the middle, from the castle you have a nice view of the area. No entrance fee.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes, a hostel
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – yes, Santa Tecla, close to the ferry pier, before the town
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue Peregrinos, municipal

A nice albergue with a great host, good facilities, clean and comfortable. It can accommodate 40 people. Price 5 Euro pp. including bedding. Close to the castle, supermarkets, restaurants.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes.
  • Kitchen with stove, fridge, pots, plates – yes
  • Washing machine – no
  • Washing line – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Location – 5 out of 5, right on the way
  • Comfort level – 4 out of 5

More places to stay in A Guarda

A charming street of Caminha, a town on the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino
A charming town of Caminha, the last Portuguese town on the Coastal Camino

Day 6. A Guarda – A Ramallosa, 33km

A Guarda – Oia – Viladesuso – Mougas – Baiona – A Ramallosa.

A long walking day most of the time following the coastline past small towns, on the second half the trail goes uphill through the beautiful forest from where you have amazing views of the coast and a lighthouse.

Highlights

  • Old Town of Baiona; churches, cobblestone streets, many street cafés.

Baiona/Ramallosa

Two towns that are merged into one, it’s difficult to say when you walk from Bayona to Ramallosa. Both places are nice, with many cafes and restaurants, a couple of beaches and beautiful sea-views.

  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue Pazo Pias, private

It’s more of a hotel than albergue the rooms for pilgrims are located in the old monastery, the rooms are ex cellars, don’t expect too much. It’s very basic though the rooms are private; double and single with shared bathrooms. Capacity 40 people. Price 15 Euro pp. They have deluxe double rooms that can be booked online. These rooms are more comfortable but more expensive.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Kitchen – no, only a microwave, few cups, and plates
  • Washing machine – no
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Location – 5 out of 5, right on the way
  • Comfort level – 4 out of 5, rooms are quite small and very basic

More places to stay in Baiona/Ramallosa

A coastal town on the Portuguese Coastal route in Spain
One of the beach towns on the Coastal Route in Spain

Day 7. A Ramallosa – Vigo, 21,5km

Short day, some up and down hills, a little bit of walking through the outskirts of Vigo.

There are no albergues in Vigo you have an option skipping Vigo completely and staying in an albergue in Freixo, 5 Euro or staying in a hotel/hostel in Vigo. Freixo is a little detour about 3km in total, there is nothing there only albergue. You can bring your own food or phone them beforehand and ask to make lunch or dinner for you.

Highlights

  • The Castle in Vigo
  • The Promenade and the Historical center of Vigo

Vigo

Vigo is a big city with a nice historical center, many seafood restaurants, and bars. If you have time you can stay for two nights here to explore the city, its beaches and maybe visit the Cies Islands, small islands not far from the shore with beautiful sandy beaches, and several forest trails.

  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes, a couple of hostels
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – yes, at Playa de Samil, 5 km from the city center
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Hotel Compostela

It’s a nice place close to the city center. Rooms are clean and neat with a private bathroom, AC, and TV. There is a bar and a restaurant downstairs. It was great for the change to stay in a private room with an attached bathroom and have a good rest. If we had more time we’d have stayed here for two nights. In the season I’d strongly recommend booking your room in advance, Vigo is a popular tourist destination.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes.
  • Kitchen – no
  • Washing machine – no
  • Washing lines – no
  • Towels – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Location – 5 out of 5
  • Comfort level – 5 out of 5, not a very luxury place but quite comfortable and clean

More places to stay in Vigo

Day 8. Vigo – Redondela, 16,3km

The Camino Central and the Coastal route join in Redondela, don’t be surprised to see many people around. Though the distance is very short this day you can add to it a couple of extra km to get out of Vigo back to the trail. 

Highlights

  • Beautiful panoramic views on bridge Ponte de Rande, the sea and the Cíes islands. 
  • Small waterfall in the forest.

Redondela

A nice town with many coffee shops and many bars and restaurants with outside tables, a great place to chat with other pilgrims, chill and drink a beer. There are several albergues in the town, one municipal and a couple of private as well as hotels and pensions.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – no
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue Casa da Torre, municipal

A big old tower with thick walls turned into an albergue, quite cozy, neat, clean and spacious. Thanks to these thick walls in summer it’s always nice and cool inside. Capacity 44 people. Price 6 Euro pp including disposable bedding.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – no
  • Kitchen with cooking plates, microwave – yes, no pots, cups, plates, utensils.
  • Washing machine – yes, price between 1,5-3 Euro per load, depending on weight.
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – no
  • Extras – drying machine, 1,5 Euro per load.
  • Location – 5 out of 5
  • Comfort level – 4 out of 5, the kitchen was quite a disappointment, we couldn’t even make tea there was no kettle or even cup to boil water in.

More places to stay in Redondela

A view of Vigo, the bridge and the sea from the Camino route
The view of the Rande Bridge and the bay of Vigo from the Coastal Portuguese Camino

Day 9. Redondela – Pontevedra, 21km

Redondela – Cesantes – Arcade – Balteiro – Pontevedra.

Note! According to the new rules for the last 100 km to Santiago de Compostela you need two stamps per day (you can get a second stamp in bars and restaurants on the way) in order to get the Compostela. 

Easy walk with small uphills, through the forest, along the road, and through small towns. A couple of kilometers before Pontevedra take the river trail instead of following the road, it’s not longer but more picturesque.

Highlights

  • The historical center of Pontevedra

Pontevedra

It’s a nice city with many supermarkets, a beautiful cathedral, a nice Old Town, many restaurants and bars.  

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – no
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue La Virgen Peregrina, municipal

Great place, with all you need, spacious, clean and well organized, it has a nice garden great for chilling on the grass. Opens at 1 pm. Capacity 60 people. Price 6 Euro pp. including bedding.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Kitchen with stove, microwave, cutlery, pots, cups etc. – yes, one of the best kitchens on this Camino.
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro per load
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – no
  • Extras – big dining area with many tables and chairs, cool drink and snack vending machine.
  • Location – 4 out of 5, right on the trail but about 1km from the city center.
  • Comfort level – 5 out of 5

Places to stay in Pontevedra

Day 10. Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis, 23km

A nice and easy walking day through the forest, small town and villages. At 3,6km there is a sign where the route splits here starts an optional Variante Espiritual Route that joins the main Camino 3 day later in Padrón. Check below the Spiritual way stages.

Highlights

  • A beautiful waterfall in Parque Natural Ría Barosa, between Portela and Briallos, it’s a small detour but the waterfall is worth of visit.
  • Hot springs of Caldas de Reis.

Caldas de Reis

A nice town with hot springs, old churches, and some Roman ruins. If you have time you can relax in hot springs in one of the balnearios (spas). There are several albergues in Caldas de Reis from all that we’ve read we can recommend not to stay at Posada Doña Urraca, people say it’s quite dirty. We didn’t stop here as we took the Spiritual Route from Pontevedra.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – no
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Caldas de Reis

Day 11. Caldas de Reis – Padrón, 20km

A pleasant short day of walking with a slight hill that starts 3km after Caldas. There are many bars and restaurants on the way. If you want you can walk a bit further this day to make the last day shorter, there are many albergues and hostels all the way to Santiago. For more information on Padrón go to Day 12 of Spiritual Route.

Highlights

  • The Historical Center of Padrón.
  • Pimientos de Padrón, a typical local dish a nice snack to have with beer or wine.

Pardón

Beautiful town with a stunning pedestrian street, cathedral, and churches. There are several restaurants and cafes nearby, some open very early in the morning for pilgrims. 

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – no
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue de Peregrinos de Padrón, municipal 

Big, clean, well-organized albergue with a lot of space, one big dormitory with many bunk beds. Opens at 1 pm. Capacity 46 people. Price 6 Euro pp. including bedding. Located right at the cathedral, close to the restaurants and shops.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Kitchen with, microwave, stove, cutlery, pots, cups – yes
  • Washing machine – no, washing basin only
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – no
  • Extras – dining area.
  • Location – 5 out of 5
  • Comfort level – 5 out of 5

More places to stay in Padrón

The Spiritual Way (the alternative route). Days 10-12

The Spiritual Way goes back to the coast, the name ‘spiritual’ refers to the origin of the route that is believed to follow the way the rest of the apostle St. James was transferred to Santiago in 44AD. The route starts in Pontevedra and finished in Padron. The total distance of the route (from Pontevedra to Padrón) is 73 km. It consists of 3 stages; 2 walking stages (Pontevedra to Armenteira and Armenteira to Vilanova de Arousa) and 1 boat ride (Vilanova de Arousa to Iria Flavia, close to Padron). This marine route is considered to be the origin of all the Caminos de Santiago. 

Spiritual Way and Central Route, the Portuguese Camino de Santiago
Two route options on the Camino Portugues from Pontevedra to Padron; the Central Route and the Spiritual Way.

Day 10. Pontevedra – Armenteira, 22km

Pontevedra – Campañó – Combarro – Armenteira.

We decided to walk the alternative route Variante Espiritual it takes you through vineyards, small towns, and villages and back to the coast. And it was another chance to go away from busy Central Route. The trail splits at 3,7km from Pontevedra, there will be a big sign “Variante Espiritual” pointing left toward Combarro, you won’t miss it. From Combarro the route climbs all the way to the top of the mountains to Armenteira, 400m up.

Our guidebook predicted a long steep uphill for the day, in fact, it wasn’t very steep on the gravel road to the top of the mountain and then a little bit down to the village. Make sure you carry enough water before starting the uphill walk, you can ask to fill your bottles in one of the cafés in Combarro.

Highlights

  • Centre of Combarro, a cozy little town with nice coffee shops and bakeries by the sea.
  • Beautiful view on the area on the way up
  • Monastery of Armenteira

Armenteira

Armenteira is a small village built around the monastery, it’s the main attraction and the reason people from nearby towns come here on weekends. There are two restaurants but no shops, not even a small one. If you don’t want to eat in a restaurant buy food in Pontevedra, just remember there are no cooking plates in the hostel.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – no
  • ATM – no
  • Shop – no
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – no

Albergue de Armenteira, municipal

A brand new albergue with good facilities, clean and comfortable. Opens at 1 pm. Capacity 33 people. Price 6 Euro pp.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Kitchen with microwave, cutlery, pots, cups, etc. – yes, no cooking stove
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 euro for washing
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Extras – dining area, each bed has a personal light, snack vending machine.
  • Location – 5 out of 5
  • Comfort level – 5 out of 5

More places to stay in Armenteira

Day 11. Armenteira – Vilanova de Arousa, 23km

Armenteira – Barrantes – Ribadumia – Pontearnelas – Villanueva de Arousa.

In the beginning, you follow La Ruta de la Piedra y del Agua (The Route of Stone and Water), there are not many traditional marks (yellow arrows) for the Camino de Santiago but they go the same way for about 2 hours. In the beginning, the trail goes through the forest, along the small river,  with some randomly placed rock sculptures this part was very beautiful. Then it turns into the fields and vineyards, a little bit through villages and towns.

Highlights

  • Ruta de la Piedra y del Agua; beautiful forest walk
  • Countryside scenery, vineyards

Vilanova de Arousa

Quite a big sea town with a couple of interesting churches.

  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – yes
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Albergue de Arousa, municipal 

It’s located in a sports complex which wasn’t too great as people played basketball till after 11 pm and we could hear everything. Opens at 1 pm. Price 6 Euro pp including bedding. Capacity – it has about 20 beds if there is not enough space for pilgrims they put mattresses on the floor in the spare room. It looks like even if there are many people there will be space for everybody. You can buy a boat ticket here, it costs the same as at the pier.

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Kitchen with microwave, stove, cutlery, pots, cups etc. – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 euro per load
  • Washing lines – yes
  • Towels – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Extras – dining area, snacks vending machine.
  • Location – 5 out of 5
  • Comfort level – 4 out of 5.

More places to stay in Villanueva de Arousa

Beautiful sunrise from the beach on the Spiritual Way
The sunrise from the beach on the Spiritual Way of the Portuguese Camino

Day 12. Vilanova de Arousa – Padrón by boat, 28km

From here most people if not everybody take a boat, the boat follows the original way the body of St. James was transported to Santiago. Boat coasts 19 Euro pp., the ride takes 1 hour. It usually leaves in the morning from the pier, 5min. walk from the albergue, depending on tides sometimes it departs at 7 am, sometimes at 10 am. Depending on the number of pilgrims there might be one or two boats. The boat goes past 17 crosses that are placed on small rocky islands along the river the boat route is called Traslatio Xacobeo. Apparently, the boat ride is very beautiful. From where the boat arrives it’s about 2km more to Padrón. 

We decided to walk to Padrón to check out the route and we sincerely recommend you to take a boat, most of the time we walked along the road, only at the end, we had some nice forest walk. We did see some of the crosses on the way but not from close-by. If you follow the arrows the walking distance is about 36km, if you want to cut it you must walk along the highway all the way to Padrón. Conclusion – don’t walk.

Some people are worried that it’s cheating to take a boat instead of walking but it’s not.  You walk the same two days as people on the Central route just instead of adding a long walking day you have a pleasant boat ride. Plus it gives you the possibility to progress a little bit further towards Santiago on that day. Getting off the boat you can walk 10 km or so there are many albergues on the way. On the last day, you have only 15 km to walk to Santiago.

Highlights

  • Via de los Cruzes – 17 rock crosses along the river
  • The historical center of Padrón
A stone cross on the big rock in the middle of the river on the Spiritual route of the Camino Portuguese
One of the 17 crosses on the Spiritual Route of the Camino Portuguese. You’ll see all of them if you take a boat to Padron

Day 12/Day 13. Padrón – Santiago de Compostela, 25km

Padrón – Iria Flavia – A Esclavitude – Picaraña – Milladoiro – Santiago de Compostela.

A very exciting day some people from our albergue started very early. There were quite a few food places in the town opened by 6.30am you can have breakfast on the way. The trail most of the time goes through the forest and small towns. There are many albergues and hotels for pilgrims on the way between Padrón and Santiago as well as cafés and restaurants. The last couple of kilometers to the cathedral through the city I  don’t remember well we were very excited.

Santiago de Compostela, the end of the Coastal Portuguese Camino

Arriving in Santiago de Compostela is an absolutely thrilling experience, you see pilgrims from different Caminos coming here; walking or cycling, taking off their backpacks and sitting around Plaza del Obradoiro  (the Obradoiro square) in front of the cathedral, everybody is very excited, hugging, shaking hands, crying, smiling. You see here people you met somewhere on the way, it’s an amazing feeling to be part of this pilgrims’ crowd! You made it, now it’s time to chill, relax and celebrate of course, luckily there are hundreds of bars and restaurants around! And don’t forget to get your Compostela at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago. 

If you want to know more about the cathedral and its history you can join Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and Museum Guided Tour.

If after completing the Portuguese Camino you feel strong after completing the Coastal Route you can continue walking from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre/Muxía. It’s a beautiful 3-4-day Camino to “the end of the world”. As an option, you can do a day tour from Santiago and visit both capes Finisterre and Muxía.

Tours and activities in Santiago de Compostela

A narrow street with red-roof houses in the center of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
A narrow cobbled street in the historical center of Santiago de Compostela, the end of the Coastal Camino route

Places to stay in Santiago de Compostela

We’d suggest booking accommodation in Santiago in advance especially in summer as the best places might be fully booked. We didn’t book anything and couldn’t find a budget place to stay for two nights, the next day we had to move to a different albergue. 

I believe by the time you are finished with the Camino you might not feel like staying in albergues anymore, which is understandable, we all need some privacy. There are hundreds of hotels and pensions in Santiago for different budgets.

Portuguese Coastal Camino planning resources

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