Overview for Camino Portugues: Central Way
Starting in beautiful Porto, you will follow the ancient pilgrim trails to Santiago de Compostela for a unique experience you’ll treasure forever. The central Camino Portugués route is relatively flat and easy to navigate and it is a great alternative to the French Camino. Spend unforgettable two weeks walking through stunning Portuguese and Galician countryside and villages and exploring fascinating historical towns and cities between the UNESCO World Heritage cities of Porto and Santiago de Compostela.
Itinerary for Camino Portugues: Central WayGo to top of page
Day 1: Arrive Porto
Arrive in Porto and make sure you have set aside time to explore this beautiful city (extra nights can be booked on request). A member of our team will meet you at the hotel to welcome you and provide a detailed briefing and all the documentation you will need.
- Accommodation: Hotel Moov Porto Centro or similar
Day 2: Vilar do Pinheiro – Arcos
In the early morning, you will have a short car transfer to Vilar do Pinheiro to avoid the urban sprawl of Porto and begin your first walking stage of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. Notice the progressive transition from urban to rural areas as you walk this first stage. You will go through Vilarinho and cross the medieval bridge over the Ave before reaching the village of Arcos where the walk ends.
- Walking for the day: 17 km, 4 hours
- Accommodation: Quinta de Sao Miguel or similar
Day 3: Arcos – Barcelos
Start walking from Arcos towards the ancient village of Rates and its imposing Romanesque church. Pass the villages of Courel and Pedra Furada then follow rural roads winding through eucalyptus and pine woods until you reach the market town of Barcelos.
- Walking for the day: 20 km, 4-5 hours
- Accommodation: Hotel Bagoeira or similar
Day 4: Barcelos – Balugães
Set off from Barcelos along minor roads which will take you to a more rural area. Walk through the small villages of Tamel and Aboim towards the River Neiva. End the day in the village of Balugães.
- Walking for the day: 15 km, 4 hours
- Accommodation: Quinta da Cancela or similar
Day 5: Balugães – Ponte de Lima
This is a day of rural roads and magnificent countryside until your entrance into the picturesque medieval town of Ponte de Lima. Time your walk so that you have ample opportunity to enjoy the historical centre and gardens or just sit by the river for a while. Choose from a range of restaurants in Ponte de Lima where you can try traditional dishes like polvo à lagareiro (baked octopus) or bacalhau assado com broa (baked cod with cornbread) and some fine Loureiro white wine.
- Walking for the day: 18 km, 4 hours
- Accommodation: Mercearia da Vila or similar
Day 6: Ponte de Lima – Cossourado
Leave the medieval town of Ponte de Lima and return to the rural world. In the middle of this stage you will reach Labruja mountain. The two kilometres uphill are the most demanding of the whole Portuguese Way of St James but the views are well worth the effort. Once you are over the hill, it’s an easy walk down the Coura valley to complete this stage.
- Walking for the day: 22 km, 5-6 hours
- Accommodation: Casa da Capela or similar
Day 7: Cossourado – Valença/Tui
This day starts by leaving the valley of the River Coura and climbing gently to São Bento da Porta Aberta. Continue to Fontoura through fields and brushwood until you reach the fortress town of Valença (or cross the river to enter the Spanish town of Tui). Dine at one of Tui’s many restaurants.
- Walking for the day: 14-16 km, 4-5 hours
- Accommodation: Hotel Lara or similar
Day 8: Valença/Tui – O Porriño
Before you leave Tui, spend some time visiting its famous Gothic cathedral. From Tui, you’ll follow the Louro valley, walk along a forest track and across a stone slab bridge into a wetland area where you should spot plenty of bird life. Reach the city of O Porriño with its magnificent Gothic town hall building.
- Walking for the day: 19 km, 4-5 hours
- Accommodation: Hostal Expo or similar
Day 9: O Porriño – Arcade
Leave O Porriño and make your way through the forest of Chan das Pipas. A short, steep climb up the Road of the Knights is rewarded with amazing seascapes. You will reach Redondela, where the central route and the coastal route merge. Finish this stage in the coastal town of Arcade, a small town renowned for its oysters.
- Walking for the day: 22 km, 5-6 hours
- Accommodation: Hotel Duarte or similar
Day 10: Arcade – Pontevedra
This stage is one of the shortest and most beautiful of the Camino Portugues. Climb the ancient stone paths of the Verea Vella da Canicouva and explore the 13th century church. When you arrive at Pontevedra, don’t miss the historical city centre and its numerous tapas bars.
- Walking for the day: 13 km, 3-4 hours
- Accommodation: Hotel Avenida or similar
Day 11: Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis
Leave Pontevedra through pleasant countryside. This stage to Caldas de Reis is fairly long but not demanding and you will have the opportunity to rest your tired feet in Caldas de Reis’ thermal springs.
- Walking for the day: 22 km, 5-6 hours
- Accommodation: Balneario Acuna or similar
Day 12: Caldas de Reis – Padrón
Today’s route leaves Caldas de Reis and takes you on a soft climb to the charming woodlands of Valga. You’ll see many churches and stone crosses on the way to Padrón and take in the Bermana and Valga river valleys. Padrón is the place where St James remains were brought to following his martyrdom in Jerusalem.
- Walking for the day: 19 km, 4-5 hours
- Accommodation: Casa Antiga do Monte or similar
Day 13: Padrón – Santiago de Compostela
Your final stage! You will walk mostly through rural settings but there are still pleasant sections through oak, pine and eucalyptus woodland. Enter the ancient city of Santiago de Compostela and relish the end of your journey at the Cathedral.
- Walking for the day: 25 km, 5-6 hours
- Accommodation: Hotel Lux Santiago or similar
Day 14: Departure
Arrange extra nights in Santiago or enjoy breakfast then make your way to Santiago Airport. If you have time, explore the old city of Santiago de Compostela before you leave.
Hotels for Camino Portugues: Central WayGo to top of page
Accommodation is mainly on a bed and breakfast basis using nice, mainly 3-star hotels. All of them have private en-suite rooms and offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. Please note that many rooms with en-suite/private facilities have a shower rather than a bath, usually because of limited space.
Sample hotels* : Hotel Moov Porto Centro, Quinta de Sao Miguel, Hotel Bagoeira, Quinta da Cancela, Mercearia da Vila, Casa da Capela, Hotel Lara, Hostal Expo, Hotel Duarte, Hotel Avenida, Balneario Acuna, Casa Antiga do Monte, Hotel Lux Santiago
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included (usually buffet breakfast / coffee and toast/bread/croissant). When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.
Travel for Camino Portugues: Central WayGo to top of page
You are best to fly in and out of Porto. On the return, you can also fly out of Santiago de Compostela.
Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.
Transfers to/from Airports
Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip, however private transfers can be arranged at an additional cost, including a transfer back to Porto after you finish your holiday.
All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 15 kg per person). When arriving at hotels, sometimes your luggage will have been taken to your room awaiting your arrival. However don’t be surprised if in some places your luggage is waiting for you at the reception desk. Please politely ask someone from the staff if you need assistance to bring it to your room.
A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.
Trip Info for Camino Portugues: Central WayGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Moderate
This walk is graded moderate and includes daily walks of 12-22 km (19 km per day on average); the terrain is mostly flat (read more about difficulty grades). You will follow a mixture of dirt roads, woodland paths, minor roads (1/3 of the route) and some busier roads close to the bigger towns and cities.
The routes are well waymarked, and in general, the itinerary is very easy to follow. Please take care however at intersections where there may be a choice of several different alternative routes. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available from mid-March till early November. Best months to visit are April – June and September – October as in summer months it may become too hot. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
You can obtain one at the start of your walk in the pilgrim’s office or the local church in town. You need to get the passport stamped in churches, restaurants or hotels along the way. At the end of the walk in Santiago de Compostela, you can obtain your Compostela Certificate (only if you have walked the last 100 km finishing in Santiago).
Important: Due to the large influx of pilgrims during summer, and to avoid long waiting times, the Pilgrim Office in Santiago has installed a numbered ticket system for issuing pilgrim certificates (the Compostela). This new system allows pilgrims to collect their ticket and, using a QR Code, to check the status of the queue and estimated waiting time to obtain the Compostela. However, the number of tickets per day is limited so on days with high numbers of pilgrims arriving, there is a possibility that not all pilgrims will be able to collect their certificate on the day of arrival and will have to return for it on the following morning.
Therefore, if obtaining a pilgrim certificate is important to you, and if you plan to undertake the Camino between April 15th and October 15th, we recommend that you arrange the return travel in such a way that you will be in Santiago de Compostela during the morning after your arrival. Better still, we encourage you to book a second night in Santiago so that you can collect the certificate without rush and enjoy the charms of the city!
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 15 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.
- Good hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
Included for Camino Portugues: Central WayGo to top of page
- Arrival meeting with a member of our team
- 13 nights in hotels in private en-suite rooms (mostly 3-star)
- 13 breakfasts
- Pilgrim Kit: Credencial (passport) and Vieira (shell)
- Roadbook explaining the highlights of the Camino de Santiago
- Detailed journey documentation and practical information
- Short car transfer on Day 2 to the start of the walk to avoid the urban maze of Porto
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 15 kg per person)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements
- Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; as costs are not shared, there is a solo traveller supplement to the standard price.
To see the price of the holiday for your desired dates, including the cost of different options and supplements, please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above.
Other Trip-Related Costs
- Entrance fees for attractions and museums
- Flights and airport transfers
- Travel insurance
- Lunches and dinners
- Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme
Extensions and Optional Extras
- Extra nights along the trail bookable upon request
- Airport transfers