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Camino Portugues: Coastal Way in Style  The Natural Adventure 29

Camino Portugues: Coastal Way in Style

Overview

The Coastal Way (Caminho da Costa) is a quieter but equally impressive alternative route to the traditional central way of the Portuguese Camino. Starting from beautiful Porto, you will follow the rugged Atlantic coastline and the sandy beaches of Northern Portugal and Galicia, taste delicious seafood and wine, and stay in tiny fishing villages. And to add to a more relaxing end of the walking day, we have picked a selection of 4-star hotels on most overnights, and 5-star accommodation in Santiago de Compostela to mark the successful end of your walk.

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in 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 team member will meet you at the hotel to welcome you and provide a detailed briefing and all the documentation you will need.

Day 2: Matosinhos – Vila do Conde | 20 km

In the early morning, you will have a short car transfer to Matosinhos to avoid Porto’s urban sprawl and begin your first walking stage of the Coastal Camino de Santiago. Wooden boardwalks and pavements will lead you along the coastline via a series of wide sandy beaches, nature reserves, and fishing villages to the historic coastal town of Vila do Conde.

  • Walking for the day: 20 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel Santana or similar

Day 3: Vila do Conde – Esposende | 25 km

Cross the residential areas that connect Vila do Conde with the seaside resort town of Povoa de Varzim. Spend a significant portion of the day walking alongside the coast between flower meadows and dunes and across beaches, then head inland towards Esposende via market gardens, forests and villages and over a bridge across the wide Cávado estuary.

  • Walking for the day: 25 km, 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel Suave Mar or similar

Day 4: Esposende – Viana do Castelo | 24 km

After leaving the coast behind, you’ll pass through various villages and some delightful sections of woodland and rivers. Arriving at the Neiva River’s mouth, head inland briefly before returning to the coast and then walking along a forest path to the small port of Cabedelo. The Eiffel bridge into Viana do Castelo, famous for its architecture, offers magnificent views over the Lima estuary and the distant mountain ranges.

  • Walking for the day: 24 km, 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel Melo Alvim or similar

Day 5: Viana do Castelo – Vila Praia de Âncora | 19 km

Today’s journey is mainly inland, with occasional coastal views from several hillside villages. Before leaving Viana do Castelo, take time to climb the funicular to the eucalyptus-clad hill of Monte de Santa Luzia or visit the neo-Byzantine Temple to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for panoramic views. Heading out of the city, cross many beaches via wooden footbridges over the dunes and walk along sea promenades. Enjoy the shade of the eucalyptus forest as you make your way uphill before descending to the secluded beachside resort town of Vila Praia de Âncora.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel Meira or similar

Day 6: Vila Praia de Âncora – Caminha | 10 km

A lovely coastal path connects Âncora with Moledo and then continues to the charming town of Caminha. If there’s time, take a detour through the pine forest beside the beach.

Day 7: Caminha – Oia | 17 km

Take the ferry across the River Minho to the peaceful fishing town of A Guarda in Spain, a great place to taste some fresh seafood. Cross A Guarda and leave it in the direction of the beaches. At the northern end of these, follow a trail that leads between the sea and the C-550 road, reaching “Portecelo”. Pass alongside several beaches and from “Val da Aguieira”, next to the chapel of San Sebastian and a stone cross, and you start approaching Oia, where you can find Santa Maria de Oia monastery, which gives its name to the route “Camino Monacal” (Monastic Way). The stage ends just after the Monastery.

  • Walking for the day: 17 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation: Casa Puertas or similar

Day 8: Oia – Baiona | 18 km

Walk across fields and among scattered houses at the foot of impressive cliffs until reaching the Lighthouse of Cabo Silleiro, then cut across the mountains. A final descent through the countryside brings you into the medieval centre of Baiona, passing by two ancient churches. Baiona was the first port in Europe to receive the news of the discovery of America.

Day 9: Baiona – Vigo | 25 km

Start this stage from the church of “Santa Maria”, and continue parallel to the beautiful town harbour. The route approaches the river Miñor, which you cross over a beautiful stone bridge that brings you to A Ramallosa and Nigran. After crossing As Nogueiras, begin a gentle climb up Mount San Roman and continue to admire the wonderful view of the Cies Islands as you climb to Castro Alto da Medoña. The Camino takes you through Castrelos Park to avoid walking through the city.

Day 10: Vigo – Redondela | 15 km

Walk along Vigo’s main shopping street and out of the city onto a long road that connects a string of peaceful hillside villages with views across the city, estuary and port. Around halfway into the journey, you will exchange houses for trees before the steep descent towards Redondela. Here the routes of the Traditional (Central) Way and the Coastal Way of Camino Portugues merge.

Day 11: Redondela – Pontevedra | 19 km

Leave Redondela along by-ways until you reach Outeiro de Penas, a place with an excellent view over the Ria de Vigo. You will reach Arcade, a place renowned for having the best oysters in Galicia. From Arcade, continue to Pontesampayo, where you will cross a long medieval bridge over the Verdugo River and then enter a cluster of narrow streets that will guide you to one of the most beautiful stretches of the Camino: the very old by-ways which climb up the slope of Canicouva until Cacheiro. After crossing these hills, the track widens again, now dominated by fields, vineyards and orchards, until you reach Pontevedra with its beautiful historic centre.

Day 12: Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis | 22 km

Leave Pontevedra through the 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.

Day 13: Caldas de Reis – Padrón | 19 km

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: Pazo de Lestrove or similar 

Day 14: Padrón – Santiago de Compostela | 25 km

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.

Day 15: 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.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is at 4-star and charming hotels; 3-star hotel in Esposende; 5-star hotel in Santiago de Compostela. They all 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. Some of the accommodations have a swimming pool.

Click to view default hotels

*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.

Meals

Breakfast is included (usually buffet breakfast/coffee and toast/bread/croissant). When no restaurant location is available en route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops or packed lunches can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available at the restaurant of your accommodation or in the towns where you stay overnight.

Difficulty & terrain

This walk is graded moderate and includes daily walks of 12-25 km (19 km per day on average); the terrain is mostly flat (read more about difficulty grades). You will follow a mixture of coastal paths, wooden walkways, dirt tracks and some busier roads close to the bigger towns and cities. The routes are well-marked, and we will provide detailed road notes and maps. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. 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 until the end of October. The best months to visit are April – June and September – October as in the 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice for Portugal and Spain

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended arrival airport for this tour is Porto. The best departure airport is Santiago de Compostela.

By train or bus

From Porto Airport you can use the metro, bus, shuttle or taxi to reach Porto’s centre. You can check the various options here

There is a regular shuttle from Santiago city to Santiago Airport. There are regular buses from Santiago de Compostela back to Porto by ALSA.

Inclusions

Included

  • Arrival meeting with a member of our team
  • 14 nights in private en-suite rooms
  • 14 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 (1 piece up to 15 kg per person)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Local tourist tax & entrance fees (payable on the spot)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Private airport transfers
  • Extra nights

Compostela/Pilgrims Passport

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 your 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!

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