The route I walked on the Camino Portugués Central is highlighted in red and the cities I stayed in are underlined on the map below.
Below is the list of my Camino stages with the length of each as per my tracking app (AllTrails App) and the Brierley guidebook respectively. This is just to show that the number of kilometers you actually cover may differ from what guidebooks tell you!
Day 0: Pre-Camino Logistics: Getting from Lisbon to Camino Starting Point
Camino Eve: First night Bom Caminho: A Ponte de Lima Jazz Serenade
Day 1: Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes (21 km, 18.1 km)
Day 2: Rubieas to Valença (17 km, 19.3 km)
Day 3: Redondela to Pontevedra (22.5 km, 19.7 km)
Night 3: Pontevedra: A Peregrina Paradise (9 km)
Day 4: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (22 km, 21.6 km)
Day 5: Caldas de Reis to Padrón (18.7 km, 18.1 km)
Day 6: Padrón to Santiago (27.4 km, 24.9 km)
Night 6: Friday night in Santiago – Pilgrim mass and getting my Compostela
Day 7: Santiago Highlights: Hospedería San Martín Pinario, A Pilgrim’s Paradise
Day 7: Santiago Highlights: Free Walking Tour and Secretos de Galicia
Day 7: Santiago Highlights: Pilgrim Lunch at the Parador
Day 8: Santiago Highlights: Plaza del Obradoiro
Day 9: Santiago Highlights: The Cathedral, from Roof to Crypt
Porto Memories (from my Pre-Camino Tour of Portugal)
Six Bridges Cruise and Porto at Night
J. K. Rowling Hangouts, Majestic Café and Livrario Lello
São Bento Railway Station
Porto Walking Tour
Stock Exchange Palace
Ferreira Port Cellars Tour and Tasting
Coastal Stroll along the Atlantic
As much as I would have loved to walk the Camino from Porto, like most people I met, I only had one week to get to Santiago. Pilgrims with limited time usually start in Tui, on the Spanish side of the border, which qualifies for the 100 km minimum one needs to cover to get a Compostela certificate. However, after talking with some Bay Area pilgrims who walked the Camino from Lisbon, I decided to start in Ponte de Lima so that I could walk two days in Portugal before crossing the border. I’m really glad I made that decision because it was a beautiful place to start! I gave myself the flexibility to skip a stage if I needed to, and I played this ace card on the third day, when a rain storm hit in Valença. I heard that the walk leaving Tui has little to be desired, as with any big city on the Camino. I also saw warnings posted in albergues about route detours around O Porriño. I didn’t want to navigate through this mayhem in the rain so I looked for an alternative way to go farther north along the route. I caught a train from Valença to Redondela and picked up the route from there. Skipping this stage also allowed me to arrive in Santiago on Friday, in time for the pilgrim mass at the cathedral.
I had some beautiful walks, met wonderful people, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The only downside of the Camino was that it was over too fast! But that’s okay because, like most pilgrims, I plan to return again.
Before my Camino, I had the opportunity to take a tour of Portugal with my mom, so we saw a lot of the beautiful country before we parted ways in Lisbon. See Pre-Camino Tour of Portugal.