Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax.
There are a number of routes to Santiago de Compostela that pilgrims have followed for centuries. Some are less famous than others and the Portuguese Atlantic Way, while not the best known, is renowned for its beauty and tranquillity and becoming increasingly popular.
The Portuguese Coastal Way or Caminho da Costa is a stunning, easy to moderate, alternative route to Santiago de Compostela.
Santiago_Compostela – the legend of St. James and the value of the “pilgrimage”
Some of the towns and villages are home to magnificent Baroque and Romanesque churches and these, together with the monuments and crosses along the way, help to tell the story of this less-trodden route, all the while preparing us for our final destination of Santiago de Compostela – where, on arrival, we will appreciate why so many have followed these routes over the many centuries before us.
Legend has it that St. James travelled to Spain to spread the Good News and then returned to Jerusalem where he was martyred. His followers then carried his body to the coast, where a ship was miraculously waiting to carry the remains to northwestern Spain. The exact location of the tomb was lost in history. Through a vision, hundreds of years later, a Spanish hermit was able to point the way to the Roman era tomb and a church was built on the spot. The town itself grew up around the church.
Map Coastal Santiago’s Way
Our walking tour starts in the colourful city of Porto in Portugal and will take us to charming seaside towns and villages in Northern Portugal and Galicia. The route passes through Viana do Castelo, Caminha, Baiona, Pontevedra, Caldas Dos Reis and Padron, to end in the Square of Obradoiro and the colossal baroque cathedral where the remains of the apostle Santiago lie.
The Portuguese Atlantic Way is approximately 241km. We will be cherry picking the best sections for your enjoyment.
Some people use this week as an introduction to the Caminho. If you are inspired by your holiday and wish to come back at a later date to make the entire pilgrimage these walks will be a joy to repeat.
Most walks will have an opt-out available for those not wishing to do the full distance or prefer to spend more time sightseeing.
Day 1 – Arrival in Porto
Arrival to Porto airport and transfer to the Hotel. If time permits, an introductory walk will be offered.
Day 2 – Porto & Matosinhos
Porto is superbly sited along the Douro River Valley in Northern Portugal with wonderful views all around. It’s a lively city, one of the most ancient cities in Europe with a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant night life. It is also famous throughout the world for its Port wines.
We start our journey towards Santiago de Compostela, in the square near the Cathedral of Porto, where the north Portuguese way begins.
From here we follow the Caminho to the sea along the margins of the River Douro turning north to walk along the Atlantic coast towards the fishing port of Matosinhos.
Distance: 13km/8mi; Ascent/descent: flat
Day 3 – Estrada & Viana do Castelo
Giving ourselves some variety today we walk slightly inland for the sheer pleasure and satisfaction of enjoying all the nature around us. We walk along some lovely wooded tracks, through traditional farmland and quaint villages and the beautiful crossing of the river Neiva.
We cross into Viana do Castelo on the dramatic Eiffel bridge spanning the lovely estuary of the Rio Lima.
Viana do Castelo, located on the north bank of the Lima estuary, is famous for its handicrafts and traditional costumes.
The old town is charming, lined with little shops, cafés, grand manor houses and more modest traditional ones.
Distance: 10km/6.2mi; Ascent/descent: 206m/-212m
Day 4 – Carreço & Moledo
From Viana do Castelo we go north to start our walk in Carreço and stroll along one of the most attractive parts of the Caminho. The route winds its way through pretty villages set along the edge of the narrow strip of coastal fields below the slopes of the Serra de Santa Luzia. We then meet the coast again at Vila Praia de Ancora after which we hug the rocky shore line all the way into Moledo.
Distance: 14km/10.5mi; Ascent/descent: 207m/-249m
Day 5 – Moledo, Caminha & A Guarda
Today we walk from Moledo into Caminha and then to A Guarda, crossing into Spain.
Bathed by the tranquil waters of the Rio Minho on the border with Galicia, Moledo and Caminha are the main coastal towns. Here, the green rural landscape and the vast pine forests cling on the slopes of granite mountains. The river estuary is good for boating and the beaches are popular in the summer.
A Guarda is known as the “Capital of lobster” because of its quality seafood, and beautiful coastal beaches, estuary and landscapes.
Our last center, Pontevedra, was Galicia’s biggest city and an important port in the 16th century. Today it is an inviting, small, riverside city that combines history, culture and style.
Distance: 10km/6.2mi; Ascent/descent: +-300m
Day 6 – Caldas de Reis & Padron
Caldas de Reis is famous for its hot springs. According to historical archives, the first inhabitants of Caldas Dos Reis were a pre-Roman community that lived from the hot springs of this territory and since the Middle Ages, has been part of the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. Apart from its rich cultural heritage, Caldas de Reis is also known for its “empanadas” of lamprey and the traditional Spanish bread.
We leave Caldas de Reis along some captivating stretches of the Camino, along two beautiful river valleys. After crossing the Ulla River we arrive at Padron. According to legend, this is the place where the boat carrying the body of the Apostle Santiago arrived from Jerusalem.
Distance: 12km/7.4mi; Ascent/descent: 192m/-165m
Day 7 – Santiago de Compostela
The day will be entirely dedicated to visiting Santiago de Compostela. It does not matter whether or not we believe in the legend of St. James and the value of the “pilgrimage”, Santiago is one of Spain’s finest cities.
The cathedral of Santiago dominates the golden granite square with its Baroque towers, covered everywhere with ornamentation. The city is surrounded by the hilly, lush terrain of Galicia.
The city is known for its delicious seafood, fine local wines, and its easygoing ambience.
Day 8 – Departure
Transfer to Porto airport.
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