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The Portuguese Camino Coastal Route – a 2024 guide

The Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino is a beautiful alternative walk to the Central Route. The total distance of the route is 280 km. It starts in Porto and follows the coast till Redondela in Spain where it merges with the Central Route. About 30% of pilgrims who complete the Portuguese Camino walk the Coastal Way. The Portuguese Camino is getting more and more popular, and many pilgrims choose this route as an alternative to the Camino Frances.

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

A wooden boardwalk towards the sea surrounded by the beach
The scenery on the way out of Porto following the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino

Table of Contents

The walking stages of the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino (downloadable PDFs)

To make your planning easier we created downloadable PDF files for the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino. One file contains walking stages from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. One contains places to stay (municipal and private albergues, hotels, and guesthouses) along the route.

Our Youtube video of Alya walking the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino

The Coastal Portuguese Camino route overview

  • Total distance – 280 km/174 mi
  • Number of days required – 12-14 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

Travel insurance for the Coastal Route

Walking like any other outdoor activity involves a risk of getting an injury or losing some of the gear. The Portuguese Coastal Camino 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. Read more about Camino travel insurance or get an instant personalized quote from two companies right here. And decide which one works best for you.

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

How long is the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino?

The total distance of the Coastal Route from Porto to Santiago (Porto – Vigo – Redondela – Santiago) is 280 km/173 mi. It takes 12-14 days on average to complete the Camino.

What is the difference between the Coastal Route and the Central Route?

The Coastal Route of the Camino Portugues 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 longer280 km/174 mi to Santiago compared to 260 km/161 mi 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 there were no albergues, only hotels. As the route becomes more popular new albergues open every year.

The Coastal Portuguese Camino 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 because you have a constant sea breeze. On rainy and windy days this route can become a nightmare.

We have a detailed post on the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon and the Camino de Fatima in case you decide to start your Camino from there.

Walking out of Porto; the Litoral vs the Coastal Route

If you want to walk the Coastal Camino you can walk out of Porto following the Litoral Way of the Coastal Route. Both routes start from Se Cathedral. The main difference is that the Litoral Way follows the coast from the very beginning when the Coastal Route goes inland for the first day till Vila do Conde. Both routes join in Vila do Conde and from there continue following the coast.

I’ve walked both routes and prefer walking out of Porto following the Litoral Way. It’s a lot more scenic than the scenery on the first day of the Coastal Route. We have a detailed post on the 3 different routes of the Portuguese Camino from Porto.

The distance on the Litoral Way to Vila do Conde is a bit longer than on the Coastal Route – 33 km/20,5 mi vs 29 km/18 mi. I’d suggest on the first day stop in Vila Cha which is 26 km from the Cathedral.

A map of 3 walking routes of the Portuguese Camino from Porto
A map of the 3 routes of the Portuguese Camino from Porto. The Litoral Way (blue) is along the coast, and the Coastal Route (green) is inland till Vila do Conde

How to combine the Coastal and the Central Route?

Most pilgrims who walk the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino walk out of Porto following the Senda Litoral or Litoral Way. The trail goes along the Douro River first and then along the coast (there is a route map in the itinerary section). In my opinion, it’s the best way to start the Coastal Camino. The Coastal Route is not that great for walking out of the city; it goes next to busy roads, past some industrial areas, and the airport. From Vila do Conde (the second stage) the Coastal Route and the Litoral Way are pretty much the same.

There are several places along the Coastal Route of the Camino Portugues 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 Rates, that connects the Coastal Way with the Central Route.
  2. Caminha – about 107 km from Porto (the fifth day for most pilgrims). The connecting route from Caminha goes along the Minho River to Valença where it merges 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 main route of 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 Pontecesures. It takes 2 days to get to Padrón on the main Portuguese Camino and 3 days if you follow the Spiritual Way. In the itinerary section of this post, you can find more details on the Spiritual Way.

If you enjoy walking along the coast you might like the Camino del Norte, the route along the Northern Coast of Spain with breathtaking scenery.

What is the accommodation like on the Coastal Camino?

Like 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
Price8-10 Euro12-15 Euro
Accept backpack deliverynoyes
Public vs private albergues on the Coastal Route

Public albergues are the cheapest accommodation option on the Camino de Santiago. To stay in public albergues you’ll need a Credential.

It’s possible to camp on the Coastal Route but not everywhere. The campsites on the Coastal Portuguese Camino can be found in

  • Labruge
  • A Guarda
  • Ramallosa
  • Vigo
  • Vilanova de Arousa

How much does it cost to walk the Coastal Way?

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 25, 35, and 45+ Euro per person, per day

25 Euro35 Euro45+ Euro
Accommodation
Public albergues,
8-10 Euro
Private albergues,
12-15 Euro
Private room,
from 30 Euro
Food
Cooking,
8 Euro
Eating Menu del Día,
10-12 Euro
Eating out twice a day,
20-25 Euro
Backpack delivery (optional)
7 Euro7 Euro7 Euro
Extra (entrance fees, coffee, laundry, etc.)
8 Euro8 Euro8 Euro
Comparing what you can get on the Camino with different budgets

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. The two most important items to bring with you are good walking shoes and a comfortable backpack.

If you’re planning on using a backpack delivery service (see the next paragraph) then you can pack as much as you wish.

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

Disclosure: Stingy Nomads take part in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you buy something recommended in this post, we may get an affiliate commission — but it never affects your price or what we pick.

The best guidebook for the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino

In my opinion, Camino de Santiago guidebooks by John Brierley are the best. We used his A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Portugués Lisbon – Porto – Santiago: including Camino Central, Variente Espiritual, Camino da Costa, & Senda Litoral on the Coastal Route and it was very helpful.

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. The cost is 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 and Pilbeo offer luggage delivery on the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino. Correos delivers backpacks from A Guarda (the first Spanish town on the Coastal Route).

It works very easily a car picks up your backpack at your hotel or albergue in the morning and drops it off at your next accommodation place by lunchtime. The service costs 7 Euros 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 usually 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 companies.

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 something new.

Tours & Activities in Porto

If you have extra time to stay in Porto before you start walking the Camino you can do a tour or a guided walk to discover this beautiful city.

Places to stay in Porto

There are many albergues in the city including one municipal albergue N.S. do Rosario de Vilar and one private albergue Albergue de Peregrinos do Porto.

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

Day 1. Porto – Labruge, 23,5 km/14,6 mi

Porto – Matosinhos – Lavra – Labruge.

We started in the morning from Sé Cathedral we walked down to the Rio Douro and followed the river all the way out of the city following the Senda Litoral (the Litoral Way). 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, and there is a municipal albergue 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

Places to stay in Labruge

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 – Aguçadoura, 21 km/13 mi

Labruge – Vila Chã – Vila do Conde – Póvoa de Varzim – Aguçadoura

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.

From Vila do Conde you can switch to the Central Route of the Portuguese Camino and walk to Rates following the river or the aqueduct route.

Highlights

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

Aguçadoura

It’s a nice small coastal town close to the beach.

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

Places to stay in Aguçadoura

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

Day 3. Aguçadoura – Castelo do Neiva, 26 km/16 mi

AguçadouraPraia 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, is a great place with some delicious cakes and pastries.
  • Cafe/bar O Lampao in Belinho, is an awesome place with hundreds of 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

Places to stay in Castelo do Neiva

Day 4. Castelo do Neiva – Carreço, 19 km/11,8 mi

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, sits on the top of the mountain, quite 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

The Albergue is a modernized house of the 16th century with thick stone walls, built forever. The place is just amazing. It’s one of our favorite albergues. Beds are very comfortable with real bedding (not disposable ones), soft mattresses, light, and warm blankets. In the season I’d suggest booking a bed in advance the place is very popular.

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, 22,7 km/14 mi

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

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

Crossing from Caminha to A Guarda in 2023

To cross from Caminha to A Guarda pilgrims can use a boat. There are several departures scheduled throughout the day depending on tides. You can book your ticket and find out departure times online. The price is 6 euros per person, 8 euros per person with a bicycle.

There used to be a ferry from Caminha to A Guarda but it hasn’t been operating since 2021.

Alternative! From Caminha instead of continuing on the Coastal Route and taking a ferry, you can walk from Caminha to Valença/Tui and walk the last 100 km from Tui to Santiago on the Central Route following the itinerary:

  • Day 5. Carreço – Caminha, 20km
  • Day 6. Caminha, Portugal – Valença, Portugal, 29km.
Our YouTube video of Alya walking the connecting route from Caminha to Valença.

Highlights

  • 6th-century convent Sao Joao de Cabanas, 30min. walk Carreço
  • The historical center of Caminho with the castle and 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

Places to stay in A Guarda

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

Day 6. A Guarda – Baiona, 29,5 km/18,3 mi

A Guarda – Oia – Viladesuso – Mougas – Baiona

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

A beautiful coastal town with many restaurants, shops, hotels, a couple of beaches, etc.

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

Places to stay in Baiona

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

Day 7. Baiona – Vigo, 25 km/15,5 mi

A beautiful walking day with some up-and-down hills, and a little bit of walking through the outskirts of Vigo.

I’d recommend stopping in Vigo, it is a beautiful place. There are hotels and hostels in the city where you can stay on a budget.

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, and 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 – yes
  • Private albergue – yes, hostels
  • Hotels – yes
  • Campsite – yes, at Playa de Samil, 5 km from the city center
  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Restaurant – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Places to stay in Vigo

Day 8. Vigo – Redondela, 16,3 km/10 mi

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 of 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

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, 21 km/13 mi

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 you can take a river trail instead of following the road, the distance is the same but the river route is more picturesque.

Highlights

  • The historical center of Pontevedra

Pontevedra

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

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

Places to stay in Pontevedra

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

A nice and easy walking day through the forest, small towns, and villages. At 3,6km there is a sign where the route splits here starting an optional Variante Espiritual Route that joins the main Camino 3 days later in Padrón. for more information check our detailed post on the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino.

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 – no
  • 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, 20 km/12,4 mi

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, is a typical local dish and 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

Places to stay in Padrón

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

The Spiritual Way is an important part of the history of the Camino de Santiago. The name ‘spiritual’ refers to the origin of the route that is believed to follow the way the remains of Apostle St. James were transferred to Santiago. The route starts in Pontevedra and finishes in Padron. The total distance of the route (from Pontevedra to Padrón) is 73 km/45,3 mi. 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, 22 km/13,6 mi

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 the 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 of 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 and 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

Places to stay in Armenteira

Day 11. Armenteira – Vilanova de Arousa, 23 km/14,2 mi

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

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, 31 km/19,2 mi (28 km/17,3 mi by boat and 3 km/1,8 mi walking)

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. The boat costs 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. 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 take a boat, most of the time we walked along the road, and only at the end, we had a 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 toward 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, 25 km/15,5 mi

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 open by 6.30 am 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. 

There are many great things to do in Santiago de Compostela. 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 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 advance in the peak season the best places to stay in Santiago might be fully booked. We didn’t book anything and couldn’t find a budget-friendly 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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Nancy Zimmerman

Wednesday 3rd of April 2024

Hi and thanks for such a detailed description of the different Caminos in Portugal. We are going to be walking in September and will be ending up by taking the Spiritual Route. We are not spring chickens - but we will be walking about 10 miles a day. I noticed that the last leg of the Spiritual Camino is almost 15 miles and I am hoping that it isn't too much for me. Do you know if there are Ubers or Bolts that we could call to get us to Vilanova de Arousa if I can't make the 15 miles? Thanks, Nancy

Stingy Nomads

Friday 5th of April 2024

Hello Nancy. Thank you for the comment. We often use Uber in Spain and Portugal you should be able to get one to Vila Nova de Arousa. Otherwise you can ask at one of the cafes or bars along the route to call a taxi for you. Buen Camino

Marie-Louise

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

Hi there and thansk for the great info. I'll be walking from about May 10 to the end of May - are there any places to swim along the way?

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 26th of March 2024

Hello Marie-Louise. Thank you for the comment. There are several beaches along the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino suitable for swimming but the water is quite cold even in summer. On a warm day you can go for a quick dip swimming in May will be quite cold. Buen Camino

Christiana

Monday 4th of March 2024

I can’t thank you enough for this information, so helpful! My only question is, if I want to stay in hostels and auburges, do I need to book my travel ahead of time, or will I be okay to book as I go? I want to have the freedom to stop where I want and not be tied to a schedule, but I also don’t want to show up and have everything already booked up.

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 5th of March 2024

Hello Christiana. Thank you for the comment. If you're planning to stay in public (municipal) albergues those can't be booked in advance; it's first come first serve principle. Private albergues can be booked in advance online. Availability depends the month if you walk in May or September which are the most popular months for the Portuguese Camino it might be a good idea in small towns with limited options to book a bed a couple of days in advance especially if there is no public albergue. We usually book private rooms in advance because there are not that many options. We never had a problem of finding a bed in public albergues but we walked quite fast and arrive first. Buen Camino

Brigida

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Thanks for a great and helpful article! I’m in the big research stage of planning a potential trip late April to early May 2024.

A couple questions: 1. From the US, where is it best to fly in and out of? Should I try to fly into Lisbon or Porto? Should I try to fly out of Madrid?

2. How is cell reception on the Coastal route? I am a woman traveling alone, so while I don’t plan to be using my phone a lot, having it work in an emergency would be comforting for me as well as my family back home. I would be using my international plan from T Mobile.

3. My hope is to have a tentative plan for where I will stay each night, but few reservations in order to allow flexibility in my walking each day. I like the idea of being able to stop when I feel like it or keep going if I want. If I plan to hike in late April/early May on the coastal, should I be able to find a place to sleep each night without reservations? (I do plan to have nights reserved in Santiago for the end and Porto for the beginning, but hoping to “freestyle it” the rest of the way.)

Thanks for the advice!

Eric Gerstner

Saturday 20th of January 2024

My wife and I are planning to walk the Coastal Route in early May this year. How should we best prepare for temps and precipitation?

Stingy Nomads

Wednesday 24th of January 2024

Hello Eric. The weather in May especially in the second half of it is usually good without many rainfalls. I'd suggest packing a rain poncho and having a rain cover for your backpack just in case. Other than that just pack your normal hiking clothes and shoes. It should be enough for walking the Coastal Route in May. Buen Camino

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