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 Camino Portugués icon
Why walk the Camino Portugués?
- The Camino Portugués is recommended as an easier walk than the more popular and famous Camino Frances.
- It’s a quieter, less travelled walk than the Camino Frances.
- It can be easily walked in various stages, with the start and finish of each stage easily accessible.
- If you have already walked the Camino Frances, the Camino Portugués allows you collect a whole new set of stamps for your pilgrims’ passport.
- To gain the Camino passport – or “Compestela” – which is proof that you have walked at least 100km of the pilgrimage route. The final stage of the walk is enough to gain your Compestela.
- The full walk can be completed in around a month or you can walk one or two stages over a week or two weeks of a holiday.
- The Camino Portugués visits many great cities, including the superb capital of Lisbon, where it starts, Porto and Coimbra, also in Portugal, and Santiago de Compostela, in north-west Spain, where it finishes.
What are you waiting for? Start your adventure on the Camino Portugués!
8 highlights of the Camino Portugués
- Lisbon is the much-visited capital of Portugal and a place that demands your attention. Add extra days to the start of your holiday so you can fully explore the city built on numerous hills. Travel by tram up cobbled streets, wander the city’s coastline and discover many attractions and sites in almost every corner of this friendly city.
- The landscape is never the same for long and offers a fantastic backdrop of views as you walk the route. You’ll enjoy river and coastal paths, rolling hills, vineyards, farmland and wooded valleys.
- Visit historic settlements, including Barcelos, Ponte de Lima, Valença, Tui, Pontevedra and Padron along the route.
- In Coimbra, enjoy a famous Pastel de Nata, a delicious egg tart pastry, with a strong coffee.
- Immerse yourself in history in the UNESCO city of Porto – and enjoy a glass or two of ruby port.
- See the impressive walled cathedral of Tui.
- Meet the wonderfully warm and friendly people of Portugal.
- Enjoy time in the historic city of Camino de Santiago at the end of the pilgrimage route. This is believed to be where the Biblical apostle St James was buried and you can visit the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, where his remains are said to lie.
The Cathedral de Santiago, supposed resting place of St James
The route of the Camino Portugués
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.
The route heads northward
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.
Lisbon, an old city with charming features
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.
The Palace of the Templars, in Tomar along the Camino Portugues.
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.
The old town of Coimbra.
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.
The international bridge over the Minho river to the Spanish town of Tui.
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.
The spires of the Cathedral de Santiago will bring a smile to your face.
Other ways to walk the Camino Portugués
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@example.com.