European pilgrimage walking holidays are popular, which means they can be busy at the height of the season. There are, however, routes that are less travelled, such as the Camino Portugués (or Portuguese Camino).
No less inspiring than other busier pilgrimage routes, the Camino Portugués, leaves the vibrant capital city of Lisbon to head north to reach Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.
It offers a quieter experience and allows time for reflection and a chance to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Portugal and Spain and its many historic settlements and attractions.
The full Camino Portugués is 611km (380 miles) and takes around 33 days to walk. If you have the opportunity to take a month to walk the full route from Lisbon north to Santiago you will not be disappointed. Being on the trail for the whole route offers a superb and immersive experience.
Stage 1 – Lisbon to Santarém
This first stage of the Camino Portugués takes around four days to walk and is relatively flat and easy going apart from the short climb to the Gothic city of Santarém at the end.
You’ll leave the capital city behind to walk into the beautiful countryside known as the Garden of Portugal and a route along the peaceful Tejo River.
Stage 2 – Santarém to Coimbra
This stage takes around six days to walk and starts off with a relatively flat trail before reaching a landscape of rolling hills. You mostly follow old Roman roads and farm tracks through olive groves and the serras (hills).
As well as Santarém, walkers can visit the Templar city of Tomar and the beautiful university town of Coimbra.
Stage 3 – Coimbra to Porto
Another six days of walking brings you to the northern capital of Porto. During this stage you’ll walk through vineyards, valleys and woodlands journeying ever closer to the Atlantic coast before swinging round into the fabulous UNESCO city of Porto.
Stage 4 – Porto to Tui
Another six-day stage the pilgrimage route sees walkers crossing the border from Portugal into Spain. You’ll traverse the Minho River on a high bridge.
The landscapes on this stage include the more built up edges of sprawling Porto, rolling green hills and stretches of tranquil coastline.
Walkers can visit many historic towns featuring impressive old buildings and attractions.
Stage 5 – Tui to Santiago de Compostela
The final six-day section is 100km, which is the minimum required to get your Compostela certificate in Santiago. It takes you through the friendly region of Galicia in northern Spain on country roads and woodland paths via valleys, along gentle rivers and by the coast.
If you have less time or would prefer to walk a particular section of this superb pilgrimage route see the many options for different stages of the Camino Portugues.
Or for anything else: the camino passport, options for accommodations along the way, food & wine recommendations, travel tips and motivational mantras contact the Macs Adventure team on [email protected].