Planning the Portuguese

I am flying into Lisbon, Portugal, on 30 April 2014 and will be setting off on the camino Portuguese on either the 1st or 2nd of May.

imageI am travelling alone and don’t expect to see many other pilgrims on this route, until I reach Porto where the majority of people start their pilgrimage on the camino Portuguese.

According to the John Brierly guidebook the distance from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela in Spain is 615 km (as opposed to 800 km for the camino Frances starting in St Jean Pied de Port in France and crossing Spain from east to west).

I shall be writing a daily post of my challenges and achievements on this lesser walked route. You can read my daily posts here

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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41 Responses to Planning the Portuguese

  1. Thaya McKee says:

    I am also walking a part of the Portugese Camino later this month. I’d like to take the coastal route up as far as possible from Oporto but I’ve seen so little information about this Way, I’m wondering if it’sfeasible? Any comments?

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  2. Keith says:

    Good luck with this walk Maggie. Really looking forward to your updates. Cheers Keith

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    • Prosper Egan says:

      I don’t know where this goes. i am so frustrated with these sights that want to sit my self down in frustration, cry and never come back. One more time I am planning to take the Camino Protuguese in October of next year. I want to leave from Porto, to Fatima to Camino de Santiago. How many miles, how many days? Or should just get a travel to set the route for me.

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      • magwood says:

        Fatima is south of Porto, whilst Santiago de Compostela is north. There are many options you could consider. Maybe start your walk in Santarem and walk to Fatima, then take public transport to Porto. Why not take a look at the camino forums for a huge amount of information. You can find a link on my ‘Resources‘ page.

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  3. I too will be walking the Camino Portugal in May 2015. My greatest concern is having stretches of 30 k or more in one day. This will be a fabulous resource for me, Maggie! Buen Camino!!

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    • magwood says:

      There are ways to break up some of the sections. I will post about this in detail after I have finished and have time. Thanks for your interest. Enjoy your planning – this is a fabulous time to walk.

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  4. William Porter says:

    I.interested in your trip as my family and I plan to walk it April of 2015 – 🙂 Good Journey!

    William

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  5. Marilyn says:

    Hi We are thinking of walking the Portuguese route next year but have a few doubts. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of doing the French route a couple of years ago. Have heard that this one is quieter with less places to stay and fewer pilgrims. Also our language skills are near enough zilch. Thanks for compiling your blog. It is always good to hear the experiences of others.
    Marilyn

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Marilyn. It really depends where you start. From Lisbon to Porto there are less accommodation choices, and it may cost you a little more to stay in hostels than the cost of albergues on the French route. But there are many options for splitting the long stages, and overall, the cost wasn’t greatly different. It helps if you are walking with someone else, and then you can share the cost of a private room. I was surprised at how many pilgrims I saw between Lisbon and Porto, more than I was expecting, but still very few compared to the next stage.
      From Porto there is much more choice of accommodation and many more pilgrims.
      Many Portuguese speak English and French. They are very helpful people and I am sure it won’t be a problem that you don’t speak the language. As long as you have a few useful phrases noted down you should be ok.
      I loved the walk. Very different from the Frances, even at the same time of year. I found the agriculture very interesting and the architecture fascinating.

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  6. andrea says:

    I walked the Frances in April-May and am thinking about the Portugues for autumn 2014 or 2015. After seeing the post about roads and cobbles, I’m a little worried, as my feet ached bady on the Frances. I had regular trail shoes. Do you think thicker soles or inserts would help with the hard and cobbled road syndrome?

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Andrea. I am new to hiking – Frances last year was my first experience. I have only walked in mid height boots, but have no desire to change. I like the ankle support and I definitely want as much padding as possible between me and the ground. Having recently entered my sixties, I think that the natural padding on the balls of my feet has moved to places where I don’t need it!

      I would definitely advise buying replacement insoles with lots of padding, but not those with ridges of padding, as I am sure these caused blisters. Look out for my forthcoming post on assessment of gear for an explanation.

      The cobbles are very hard on the feet, especially at the end of a long day. 😥

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  7. We are so excited to go from Lisbon to Santiago this August 2014. We walked The French route last year. We are wondering about weather, costs, trails, and food. It is so exciting and we are walking here about every other day about 5 -6 miles. Taking a lot less this year. Really looking forward to all. Love hearing everyone’s comments.

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Cheryl and Jim, thanks for your comment. It was really hot in May, make sure you have plenty of sun protection! Accommodation costs are higher in Portugal than on the Frances route as there are not so many albergues. But if you are sharing a room it helps a lot with the costs. Be sure to protect your feet well with good soles and insoles – there is a lot of walking on hard surfaces. Food is great and excellent value. There are many options for cutting the stages into shorter distances. If you can’t find any information, drop me a line.
      Bom caminho!

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      • Lou Chamberlin says:

        Hi Magwood. i’ve just found your blog and am reading it with interest. I’m walking from Porto to Santiago starting on 6 June. i’m interested in your comment that there is plenty of accommodation to enable shorter stages than the 27-30km days that are suggested in the guides. I’ve just sent an email to the one I was hoping to stay at it Vilar do Pinheiro and the email bounced. then i discovered that the albergue in Rates closed permanently in Feb 2012. Is there a fairly detailed and up-to-date list available? do you have any suggestions? Anything would be appreciated. ! had left this research to the last minute due to pressure of work – ill-advisedly. It was so easy when I walked from Le Puy to Santiago a couple of years ago. Cheers

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      • magwood says:

        I would suggest two main resources. First and foremost the Via Lusitana website which keeps an up to date list of accommodation. Find the link on the resource page of my blog, whereby out will also find links to two Camino forum sites that are s mine of useful information.

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  8. zohar says:

    Hi Mag,
    I’m 77, planning to walk the CP on April 2015 from Valenca or Tuy, and if I’ll feel good- to continue to Finistere. My question is shall I find places to stay if I walk only half stages, no more than 10-12 k’m aday? I meen hotels B@B and so.(no albergoes, I’m over aged for albergoes)
    Your blog is one of the best I saw.
    Zohar

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    • magwood says:

      Hello Zohar. Thanks for visiting my blog. Unfortunately I dumped the pages of my guide book as I completed each stage, so,now I don’t have the information to help you. Of course I regret this now and wish I had at least kept the map pages.

      But even if there is no accommodation at the point where you want to stop for the day, you can arrange for a taxi to take you on, or back, to a hotel and drop you back the next day. I think this system can work really well. You could always pose your question on one of the camino forums and I am sure you I’ll get some very helpful responses – try https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/camino-portugues.13/

      I am full of admiration that you are walking at 77. I only hope I have the stamina to do the same when I am your age.

      Bom caminho
      .

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      • zohar says:

        Thanks Mag, I wish you to keep walking at my age and over. Walking makes me feel young. Can you recommend your guide book? do I need a guide book?
        Zohar

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      • magwood says:

        I would suggest the John Brierly map book. And check out the ‘camino resources’ page on my blog for a link to the CSJ guide by Laurie Reynolds.
        I will be very happy if I am still walking at 77, I admire you greatly.

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      • zohar says:

        Hi Mag,
        Thanks.
        Congratulations for your new grandchild!
        It seems that Brierley became THE BIBLE of all pilgrims:)
        =
        I’m looking eagerly forward until April to walk at least a part of the Camino.
        Thinking I can walk about 200 k’m, at a pace of 10-12 km/day, useing hotels (not dormitories) , considering 2 options: 1. from OPORTO to SJDC, 240 km
        or, from VALENCA to SJDC, and than to continue to FINISTERE. 200 km
        what you would recomend?
        Thanks, Zohar

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      • magwood says:

        Hi Zohar
        That’s a difficult one! Where do you arrive in Portugal. If arriving into Lisbon it would be lovely to take the train and stop of at some of the fabulous cities on the way to Porto. I loved Santarém, Coimbra and Tomar in particular and of course Porto is a beautiful city. If you have time I would try to spend a few days discovering some of these places.

        I think I would opt to walk from Porto to Santiago. If you start in Tui you won’t get to meet the wonderful Portuguese people who make this camino so special. If starting from Porto, I would think about the coastal route to avoid a lot of unpleasant road walking on the first day.

        Do let me know what you decide.

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      • zohar says:

        Thank you Mag. I think I’ll make a lottery:)
        Mean while I wake up my old bones, walking some hours some times a week.

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  9. Lilly says:

    Dear Zohar, i am going to walk from Lisboa to Porto this may and, like you, i find some distances to long. What i am going to do is take some parts by train. You can find the scheduels here. Sorry for my englisch; l am dutch. Have a nice day! Kind regards, Lilian

    https://www.cp.pt/sites/passageiros/pt/consultar-horarios

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    • magwood says:

      Thanks for your input Lilly and Bom Caminho!

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      • zohar says:

        Hi Lily
        Bone Camino!
        My plan is to start going from Valenca on 8 Apr, at a pace of 10 km+_ aday, useing taxies to get on to hotels, and the next day to continue from the spot I stoped. It should take me about 12 days, I’m 77 and feel I have to do something “real”, instead of “counting /watching all the old girls go by”.
        in my place where I live the youngest is 82(:

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      • Lilly says:

        Hi zohar.
        Thanks for your reaction! Bom Caminho and have a very good time!

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      • zohar says:

        maggie,
        enjoy life- any how you shall not get off them – alive!

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  10. Diane Graybill says:

    I’m interested in walking Lisboa to Santiago next Sept. 2016 for my 70th birthday. Purchased Brierly’s book as a place to start. Just discovered your site…now what?

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    • magwood says:

      Check out the resources page of my blog for some useful links and join a Camino forum or Facebook planning group if you are not already a member of one or more of these. Give yourself a day or two in Lisbon to explore – it’s a fabulous city. I will be happy to respond to any specific questions you may have. Enjoy the planning stage – it’s all part of the great Camino experience.
      Bom Caminho!

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  11. Matt Wright says:

    Hi Maggie,
    Love the blog – I’m only a few days through but it’s extremely readable! I particularly like the way you take time to observe and engage with your surroundings, oh and the photos are beautiful. With that in mind, could I ask you what software you use to upload & arrange them? We walked the Camino Frances last year and are walking the Portuguese this Mar/Apr. We kept a daily blog last time on the Frances but I don’t think we were anything like as efficient or accomplished as yourself!

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    • magwood says:

      Thanks Matt for your kind words. My camera has a wifi function so I can upload photos directly to my ipad at the end of each day. Then I use a app called ‘photogrid’ to arrange them, which is much quicker than uploading individual photos to the blog.
      Buen Camino!

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  12. Mike says:

    We will be starting from Oporto (my 5th Camino and Kathie’s first)in late May and need to know where we can get a Credencial before we start – I assume there will either be a Pilgrims Office in Oporto or we can get one from the Cathedral – does anyone have any information?

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Mike. There is an information office alongside the Cathedral and I expect you can pick up your credential in either of these places. Check out the website http://www.vialusitana.org – I’m sure the information will be found there, together with lots of useful facts and figures, lists of albergues, stage distances, and 24 hour emergency phone number.
      Bom Caminho!

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  13. Geraldine says:

    HI Mags, do you have an email address I can contact you on?

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  14. Emory says:

    Where did you obtain a pilgrim passport credential for the Camino Portuguese??

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    • magwood says:

      I started in Lisbon and picked up my credencial at the Cathedral I think. There is also a church called Nossa Señora Dos Matires where I believe you could also obtain one. If you are starting in Porto, you could get your credencial from the Tourist Information office which is by the Cathedral, or at the Cathedral itself.
      Bom Caminho!

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  15. Philip says:

    Dear Mag,

    I followed you and your blog to Ribadeo earlier this year but could not get my head round Wikiloc so carried along the traditional route… one day I will do your loop round to Ferrol (though I have walked the Inglés).

    I plan to walk from Lisbon to SdC in April or September. I just wonder if you had considered the coastal route, and if not, why not? Your input would be most welcome. I plan to walk in one go rather than split it…

    Regards – Philip

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    • magwood says:

      Hello Philip, thanks for your message. The coast from Ribadeo to Ferrol is definitely worth the effort – although a bit of a budget buster for accommodation.

      If I was walking the CP now I would definitely consider the coastal route. I have certainly developed a stronger spirit of adventure over the last couple of years. When I walked the CP it was the first time I had travelled alone (albeit that I arranged to meet with Eli and walked with her from Lisbon to Porto) and the very act of walking the camino was a big push outside my comfort zone. I did consider the coastal route from Porto, but in the event it was filthy weather and I thought it would be easier to walk inland. That first day out of Porto was horrible and I would highly recommend taking the coastal route instead.

      The CP from Lisbon has gained in popularity over the last couple of years and I believe there are some new albergues open which will make planning easier. Have you looked at the Vialusitana website and the new CSJ guide?

      If you walk the coast from Lisbon I would love to hear how you get on.
      Bom Caminho!

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