The Camino Portugués is the second most popular route to Santiago de Compostela. But even as the second most common Way there is not a ton of information available for those interested in making the trip. For that reason, I've compiled a handful of useful tips and suggestions to help you get the most out of your Camino.
Not sure if the Portuguese Way is for you? Check out my overview of the Camino Portugués to get a better sense of what this walk entails, and just how wonderful (and blister-inducing!) it can be!
While not nearly as busy as the Camino Francés, the Portuguese Way does get busy in the summer months. If possible, avoid walking in June and July to escape the most crowded (and hottest) months.
- The section from Lisbon to Porto is not yet able to fully accommodate budget pilgrims. That section only offers more expensive accommodation, generally starting at €25 and up per night. For that reason, I started in Porto. If you are on a budget then I suggest you do the same. Wondering how much the trip will cost? I've got you covered!
Many guidebooks suggest starting in Matosinhos, just outside of Porto . I highly recommend walking from Porto to Matosinhos, and then onward to Vila do Conde. While it will mean a longer day, walking through the city and along the coastline is a nice way to start your trip.
- The first few days in Portugal involve a lot of cobblestone. It will be very hard on your feet so take it slow...otherwise, your feet will end up like Christine's!
Barcelos, Ponte de Lima, and Valença were some of my favourite towns to stop along the way. I highly suggest a stop at each, as they are all cozy towns and fun to explore.
Keep in mind there is a 1 hour time difference between Spain and Portugal – you lose an hour when you enter Spain.
- There are much less shops and restaurants on the Camino Portugués when compared to the Camino Frances (especially for vegans/vegetarians!). Because there are less places to get food, a guidebook can be helpful as it will tell you where you can find grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants along the way.
Camping is a great way to save money on accommodation on the Camino, however wild camping is illegal in Portugal. If you want to camp in Portugal, you can only do so at legitimate campgrounds. A guidebook, like the Brierley guide, will have the campgrounds listed.
- As of 2015, the municipal albergues (pilgrim hostels) in Spain have wifi...but it never works, so don't rely on it.
Most municipal albergues in Spain also have kitchens, but many are lacking cookware, utensils, etc. Always check the albergue first to see what is available!
If you are going to continue past Santiago de Compostela toward Finisterre or Muxía, keep in mind that there are more busses available from Finisterre than from Muxía. This is one of the reasons most pilgrims choose to end in Finisterre: they can get back to Santiago with greater ease.
The Camino Forums are a GREAT resource for all your other questions AND they have an app which can help you find accommodation and meet up with other pilgrims during your travels. I found their forums to be an invaluable resource for both of my hikes.
Have any tips to share? Leave a comment!
For more Camino stories and budget tips check out our Camino Section!