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Duration
32 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • comfortable hotels
Meals
  • 31 Breakfasts

Price

$3790USD

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Overview

Trip Code: FPC

Trip highlights


  • Enjoying a quieter pilgrimage route, following in the footsteps of Celtic, Roman and Christian wayfarers
  • Experiencing the culinary delights of the different regions you walk through
  • Walking across the Spanish border and in to the famed town of Santiago de Compostela
  • Relaxing at night in comfortable, family run hotels and B&Bs

The Portuguese Road, or Caminho Portugués, is considered by many as the most spiritually connected pilgrimage route. Following the path St James' body took to its resting place at the site of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the quieter Portuguese path offers a wealth of history and delightful landscapes to discover. This route begins in the capital city of Lisbon, situated on the Tagus River, from where you begin your walk out through fertile floodplains and gently undulating terrain, staying in small hotels with local character each evening. Along the walk you will explore the Templar town of Tomar, the Roman ruins of Conimbriga, the World Heritage listed Coimbra, the exciting town of Porto and finally, the famed cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Visually stunning in parts, there are many advantages in walking the Portugués route including the ascent up to the highest point on the trail at Alto da Portela Grande (405m) which rewards you with sweeping views of the Lima Valley below. Crossing the Spanish border and walking through Galicia to the holy city of Santiago is sure to be a memorable highlight of this month long walk.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of the world’s oldest cities: known as Olispio by the Romans, settled by the Visigoths and the Arabs before becoming the base for the “Discoveries’ – Columbus, Magellan and Vasco de Gama all set sail from here. An earthquake in 1755 destroyed many buildings and dramatically brought an end to this powerful empire. The UNESCO-listed monastery in Belem still stands and is definitely worth a visit, as is the Alfama district for ‘fado’ (music) – or simply enjoy a stroll through the streets of this beautiful city. You will find the first waymark of your Portuguese Camino at the Cathedral.

Meals:  Nil

Transfer to Santa Iria de Azoia (at 9am, 20mins) where your walk commences. Initially walking through industrial outskirts and modern suburban developments, the last 4km from Alhandra to Vila Franca is riverside and pleasant. Once a Crusader town, Vila Franca is known today for breeding fighting bulls (its Festa do Colete, ‘running of the bulls’, is held in early July). Nearby is a large wetland reserve, home to vast flocks of migrating fowl. Overnight in Vila Franca de Xira.

Meals:  B

Continue along the river, through flat agricultural land – and a couple of industrial zones – to Azambuja, gateway to the fertile floodplains of the Tagus. Azambuja was home to one of Portugal's most famous female matadors, Ana Maria, and its 'running of the bulls' festival is held in May. Overnight in Azambuja.

Meals:  B

Today’s walk follows farm tracks through ‘the market garden of Portugal’, the rich flood plains of the Tagus. Here you’ll find fruit, vegetables and vineyards. Wander through riverside villages before a short uphill to Santarem. Once an administrative centre of the Romans, the town was settled by the Moors and considered unassailable until its recapture by the Portuguese in 1149. The beautiful main square is surrounded by churches, and don’t miss the ceramic tiled Igeja de Marvila and the view from the Portas do Sol. Overnight in Santarem.

Meals:  B

Today’s walk again follows rural tracks and lanes and passes through villages along the Tagus. If the weather is dry, consider leaving the new path to visit the town of Azinhaga, birthplace of Portugal’s 1998 Nobel Prize winning writer, Jose Saramago. At Golega, the 16th century Parish Church has a beautiful Manueline (Portuguese Gothic) gate and its museum owns a collection of sculptures by Martins Correia. Nearby is the Paul do Boquilobo Nature Reserve, the marsh habitat and breeding ground of several species of water fowl (April to June). Golega’s famous horse fair is held in the first two weeks of November and accommodation is scarce. Overnight in Golega.

Meals:  B

Walk along the Tagus via the abandoned manor Quinta da Cardiga with its Manueline portal and 16th and 17th tiles. From here, the countryside changes from alluvial plains to undulating hills as you head away from the river. Continue through woodlands and several villages then follow the Nabao river to historic Tomar. In the late 12th century, Tomar’s castle was the headquarters of the Portuguese Templars and the town remains an archetype of Templar layout and architecture. Don’t miss the richly embellished Charola or Round Church in the Convent of Christ. Lots to see and a great feel make Tomar an ideal town to have a rest day (must be arranged at the time of booking). Overnight in Tomar.

Meals:  B

Travelling across flat rural plains, woodlands of pine and eucalypt and several hamlets, today’s walk is peaceful despite being mostly on paved roads. Overnight in Alvaiazere.

Meals:  B

More flat rural plains today, with vineyards, olive trees and pines the predominant landscape. There are many little hamlets en route and the mid-way town of Ansiao has a Saturday farmers' market. Cross the 17th bridge leaving Ansiao before heading along forest track through pines and eucalypts, where sap is collected in the traditional method. Continue to the attractive hilltop town of Alvorge. Overnight in Alvorge.

Meals:  B

Today's walk takes you through a variety of landscapes, mostly through farmlands and passing woods. You pass the Roman ruins at Conimbriga where you can stop and discover the many mosiacs before continuing to the town of Condeixa a Nova. Overnight in Condeixa a Nova.

Meals:  B

Today you continue walking along paved roads and through small hamlets. The trail is undulating around the town of Palheira. Along the way, Cruz dos Mourocos has remnants of a Roman aqueduct and the town of Santa Clara has a dramatic and somewhat macabre story: Dona Ines de Castro secretly wed Pedro, son of King Alfonso IV, and was tragically murdered by the King as he feared her Spanish heritage. On his father’s death and subsequent coronation, Pedro exhumed Dona Ines' corpse, crowned it and forced courtiers to pay homage and kiss her decaying hand, in revenge. Cross the Mondego River to Coimbra, a thriving university town with many historic buildings. Overnight in Coimbra.

Meals:  B

Today you have a rest day in Coimbra. You are free to relax or explore the town.

Meals:  B

The trail today is quite flat. It follows river valleys and irrigation channels along a mix of asphalt and Roman roads. Passing through several villages, arrive in Mealhada, once a major Roman crossroads. It is now best known for leitão da bairrada, suckling pig. Pigs from the surrounding Barraida region are acorn fed and considered the best in Portugal. Mealhada is also well known for its wine. Overnight in Mealhada.

Meals:  B

Today the path is gently undulating along the Certima river valley. It is mostly along roads with pockets of vineyards and woodland tracks. You'll pass through the town of Avelas de Caminho with its pretty Manueline featured Quinta de Grimpa. Continue to Agueda after crossing the river and the old bridge Ponte Velha. Overnight in Agueda.

Meals:  B

The path is again quite flat except for a small ascent into Albergaria. Walk along the original Via Romana XVI and across the recently restored bridge Marnel towards Albergaria, founded in 1120 to provide refuge to pilgrims on the Camino. This afternoon you will be transferred back to Agueda for the night. Overnight in Agueda.

Meals:  B

After breakfast, transfer to Albergaria to re-commence your walk. The terrain today is more undulating than in past days, through pine and eucalypt forests and local villages. Oliveira has an old centre, the Matriz de Sao Miguel church and a row of fine houses dating from the 1800s, built by prosperous emigrants returning from Brazil. On the 2nd Sunday in August, festivities honouring Our Lady of La Salette are very popular. Overnight in Oliveira de Azemeis.

Meals:  B

Today’s walking is over rolling hills and through more urban areas including the town of Sao Joao da Madeira. The route is almost entirely on roads today as a result. Follow a section of the original Roman Via XVI via Arrifana to Malaposta. If you’d like to visit the historic town of Santa Maria de Feira, this can be arranged with reception on arrival at your Malaposta hotel (not included). It has an immaculately maintained castle and in early August hosts the Viagem medieval festival, with reenactments, markets and entertainment. Overnight in Malaposta.

Meals:  B

Leaving Malaposta on the original cobbled Roman road, the path leads to Grijo. Its 13th century monastery Mosteiro San Salvador, first consecrated in 1235, has long been an important stop along the Camino. Continue to Porto, on the banks of the Douro River. Its maritime legacies and importance as a New World trading port shaped it into a proud city, with an impressive cathedral and port wine lodges. After checking in to your hotel, take the time to explore the city with its many cultural sites. Overnight in Porto.

Meals:  B

Today you are free to explore Porto and sample the local port wines and cuisine.

Meals:  B

This morning a private transfer will take you from your Porto hotel to the small town of Vilar do Pinheiro. Here you begin an easy walk down, in part through woodland trails, to the rural town of Arcos. The transfer enables you to avoid the urban sprawl of Porto, taking you directly to a rural landscape, however if you want to walk this section we recommend you do it the previous day and take a taxi or bus back to your Porto hotel. The walk today ends in Arcos, where you stay overnight.

Meals:  B

The trail today takes you through lush valleys through towns such as Sao Pedro de Rates and its church of St Peter, and over the Monte Franqueira, before reaching Barcelos. There is an alternative route for a small section, via the ruins of the Castelo de Faria. Arriving in Barcelos you are certainly in for a treat. With its impressive medieval bridge, Barcelos is treasured for its history and legends (eg. the Barcelos cockerel). The feast of the crosses is held on 3 May each year in its octagonal shaped baroque church. Every Thursday the Campo da Feira, or market square, becomes one of Portugal's most atmospheric marketplaces. This is a nice town to add a rest day (must be requested at time of booking). Overnight in Barcelos.

Meals:  B

The route takes you through small villages with pretty gardens and past many baroque chapels en route to the small and quiet town of Balugães, a traditional resting point on the Camino Portuguese. Overnight in Balugaes.

Meals:  B

The route takes you gradually closer to the valley of the Lima River, where the village of Ponte da Lima is located, the oldest in Portugal. The cobble stoned streets are a delight to walk through and there are many points of interest including museums, historic houses, a prision tower (now a library) and the main square, Largo de Camoes. The medieval bridge spanning the Lima River has Roman foundations but was rebuilt in 1368. Many festivals also take place here including Vaca das Cordas in June (the day before Corpus Christi), medieval markets in August, and Feiras Novas on the third weekend in September, a party which goes on for 3 days. Overnight in Ponte de Lima.

Meals:  B

This is the first day on the trail where much of the route will be unpaved. Leaving by the Ponte de Lima you ascend to the Labruja Valley and up to a mountain ridge where you reach the Alto da Portela Grande, the highest point on the trail at 405m. The views sweeping back down to the Lima valley are well worth the effort! Descending trails heading north you soon enter the town of Rubiães by its Roman road, then continue on to Pecene, where you stay overnight.

Meals:  B

This stage is characterized by hilly terrain that gradually leads to Valença before crossing the border into Spain. The trail is along quiet country roads and unpaved trails for the most part. Before crossing into Spain it is worth taking a look at the historic walled town of Valença. Later reaching Tui, the final stop on the trip, you can reflect on your travels as you visit the cathedral, which dates from 1120. This evening take a walk along the Paseo de Calvo Sotelo where a lively atmosphere is usually evident. Overnight in Tui.

Meals:  B

Today you have a day to rest and recuperate from your walk. Or you can take some time to wander through the town and discover some of its hidden gems.

Meals:  B

Most of this first stage is woodland paths that follow the lovely Louro River valley, then along the N550 to the historical centre of O Porriño, a town famous for its pink granite due to its proximity to the granite quarries. Essentially now a sprawling industrial town, O Porriño is located at the intersection of two motorways and the main railway line passes through town, so rather than stay here overnight you return to your Tui hotel with a private transfer (included) at 3pm. Overnight in Tui.

Meals:  B

At 9am transfer back to O Porriño (included) to continue your walk. After a stage following and crossing the N550, ascend through mixed forest to Monte Cornedo and the Chans das Pipas plateau before walking down to the town of Redondela. From here you pass through tiny hamlets along a coastal inlet to reach Arcade. Overnight in Arcade.

Meals:  B

You start the day by walking over the beautiful old bridge at Pontesampaio. From here there’s a short uphill stretch following ancient stone paths before the path descends to the provincial capital of Pontevedra. There are some interesting sites to be explored here including the Santuario da Peregrin chapel and the Convento de San Francisco. The Medieval town centre is a maze of cobbled laneways with tapas bars and cafes. Overnight in Pontevedra.

Meals:  B

Most of this stage is through woodland and countryside along gentle river valleys with virtually no climbing. Closer to Caldas de Reis the route crosses the N550 and follows this road for short sections. Located between the Umia and Bermana rivers, the town of Caldas developed as a result of its thermal waters and continues to be a major health spa. The botanical gardens next to the river are lovely for some respite from the walk. Overnight in Caldas de Reis. Option to upgrade to a comfortable 4 star inn with pool - supplement applies. This must be requested when initially booking the trip.

Meals:  B

This is a beautiful walk, first through the Bermana river valley then the path drops down into the Valga valley. There are two short stages of main road: leaving Caldas and entering Padron. Padron town is lovely, set on the banks of the Sar and Ulla rivers, with some St James relics to be seen at the Igrexa de Santiago (church). Overnight in Padron.

Meals:  B

The final day takes you through pine, oak and eucalyptus wood, before there’s a climb to reach Santiago. Closer to Santiago the route follows some sections of main road. Overnight in Santiago.

Meals:  B

Trip arrangements conclude after breakfast. We can assist with booking an extra night or two if you’d like to stay longer in Santiago - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 31 breakfasts Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices.
  • 31 nights in comfortable hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Luggage transfer (1 bag of 20kg max pp - additional bags and excess weight will attract a surcharge)
  • Information pack including route notes and guidebook per room booked
  • Transfers from Lisbon to Santa Iria de Azoia, between Albergaria and Agueda, from Porto to Vilar do Pinheiro and between Tui & O Porrino
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Lisbon and from Santiago
  • All lunches, dinners and drinks throughout
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided walking trip
  • Transfers unless advised
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • excess baggage charges - please advise us if you will have more than one bag weighing a max of 20kgs as extra charges will apply for additional pieces of luggage. Please do not tie smaller bags onto your main luggage as we only include one bag and they will be charged as an extra bag. Charges will be higher if not paid when final balance for your trip is due.

Accommodation


Grading

moderate  

Daily walks are between 15-26km on well marked trails over diverse terrain –from relatively flat to hilly. The trail takes you along quiet rural roads, occasionally on the verges of roads with traffic. Some of the route is on walking trails away from the road and there are often alternative routes available. Route finding is reasonably straight forward following the yellow arrows and granite pillars (showing distance to Santiago), however you still need to be vigilant as markers from other trails such as the GR11 can be confusing (refer below for further details on self guided adventures). However our notes include hints and pointers to help you navigate the route. The route will inevitably cross main roads close to cities and towns, although the majority is on side roads and walking trails. The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure


Departure dates

Daily

Notes

DN1
Subject to availability over the Xmas and New Year period
DN2
Option to upgrade hotel in Caldas de Reis, and to the Parador in Tui and Santiago de Compostela - supplements apply. Must be requested at time of booking.
DN3
Departures from November to February are likely to experience wetter and colder conditions than at other times. Winter can be a magical time to experience the Camino with fewer people and more local encounters, but the walking day is shorter. In addition, hotel closures are possible which may require a change in overnight towns.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$3790USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Upgrade supplement - Caldas de Rei - twinshare pp HBUSD$41
  • Upgrade supplement - Caldas de Rei - single HBUSD$60
  • Upgrade to Parador in Tui - (3 nts ) - twinshare ppUSD$110
  • Upgrade to Parador in Tui - (3 nts ) - singleUSD$170
  • excess luggage (per piece, max 20kg in weight)USD$190
  • Optional dinner supplement (24 dinners)USD$860
  • Single Room SupplementUSD$1650
  • Single Traveller Surcharge (applies if only 1 person booked on the tour)USD$2330
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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