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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 13 nights in comfortable hotels
Meals
  • 9 Dinners
  • 14 Breakfasts

14 Days£1580GBP

Overview

Trip Code: PC3

Trip highlights


  • Enjoying a quieter pilgrimage route, following in the footsteps of Celtic, Roman and Christian wayfarers
  • Experiencing culinary delights, including the local port varieties in Porto
  • Discovering fascinating and historical towns including Porto, Barcelos, Tui, Pontevedra and Santiago
  • Walking to the fabled church of Santiago de Compostela

Considered the most spiritually connected pilgrimage route, following the path St James' body took to its resting place at the site of Santiago de Compostela, this quiet inland stage offers a wealth of history. From the lively city of Porto, set on the banks of the Douro River and famous for its port wine production, the journey north travels through small hamlets, past eucalyptus and pine woods, over ancient bridges and through larger market towns dating back to Roman times. Throughout the journey there are ample reminders of past pilgrims and the route offers many insights into the religious significance of the Camino. Visually stunning in parts, there are many advantages in walking the Portugués route with the ascent to the highest point on the trail at Alto da Portela Grande (405m) rewarded with sweeping views of the Lima Valley below. Crossing the Spanish border and walking the last 100km through Galicia to the holy city of Santiago ensures you qualify for the Compostela certificate upon your arrival at the cathedral.

Countries:

Portugal, Spain

Starting Point:

Porto

Finishing Point:

Santiago de Compostela


Set on the banks of the Douro River, Porto’s historical centre was declared a World Heritage site in 1996 and in the 12th Century it was in Porto that the country took its name and became an independent nation. Its maritime legacies and importance as a new world trading port have shaped it into the proud city it has become, with its 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 Porto.

Meals:  B

This morning a private transfer will take you from your Porto hotel to the small town of Vilar do Pinheiro, where 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.

Meals:  B,D

The trail today takes you through lush valleys and towns such as Sao Pedro de Rates with 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 the octagonal shaped Baroque church. Every Thursday the Campo da Feira, or market square, becomes one of Portugal's most atmospheric marketplaces. If you are thinking of a rest day this is the place to have it. Overnight Barcelos.

Meals:  B,D

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 Balugaes.

Meals:  B,D

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 prison tower (now a library) and the main square, Largo de Camoes. The medieval bridge spanning the river has Roman foundations but was rebuilt in 1368. Many festivals 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 Ponte de Lima.

Meals:  B,D

This is the first day on the trail where much of the route will be unpaved. Leaving by the Ponte de Lima, 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 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 to Pecene, where you will stay overnight.

Meals:  B,D

This stage is characterized by hilly terrain that gradually leads to Valença, before the border crossing into Spain. The trail is along quiet country roads and unpaved trails for the most part. Before crossing the border it is worth taking a look at the historic walled town of Valença. Later you'll reach Tui. This evening take a walk along the Paseo de Calvo Sotelo, which usually has a lively atmosphere. Overnight Tui. Option to upgrade to the parador for the two nights in Tui - supplement applies, must be requested when initially booking the trip.

Meals:  B

Continue today on 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 4pm. Overnight in Tui.

Meals:  B

A morning transfer (8.30am, included) will take you back to O Porriño 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,D

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,D

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 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,D

Enjoy a beautiful walk through the Bermana river valley. The path then 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,D

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. Own dinner arrangements.

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

  • 13 breakfasts and 9 dinners. Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by a chicken, red meat, fish or pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes.
  • 13 nights in comfortable hotels on a twinshare basis with private facilities (upgrade to 4 star hotel/parador in Tui and Santiago, upgrade hotel option at Caldas de Rei - supplement applies. Upgrades must be requested at time of booking)
  • Digital information pack with route notes, maps & GPX
  • Luggage Transfer, 1 piece maximum 20kg, supplement applies for excess
  • Transfers from Porto to Vilar do Pinheiro, and O Porriño to Tui and back to O Porriño
  • Pilgrim's passport
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Porto and from Santiago de Compostela
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Guide – this is a self guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Entrance fees not listed as included
  • Transfers not listed as included
  • Transfers by taxi or public transport if you need to skip a stage
  • Excess luggage
  • Hotel taxes if applicable - payable directly to the hotel
  • Optional accommodation upgrade in Caldas de Reis
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

moderate

3

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, occassionally 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 from 1 Mar to 15 Nov

Notes

Note:
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. Parador upgrade rates are on a request basis.

Priceper person from

£1580GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Optional upgrade Caldas de Rei - twinshare pp supplement (B&B)GBP£30
  • Optional upgrade Caldas de Rei - single supplement (B&B)GBP£44
  • Fisterra Day Trip ex Santiago - departs daily from 14 April to 31 OctoberGBP£45
  • excess luggage (per piece, max 20kg in weight)GBP£170
  • Single SupplementGBP£530
  • Solo Traveller SupplementGBP£680
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

Videos

Caminhos de Santiago | Ways of St. James

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