The Portuguese Way is the second most popular camino in terms of numbers of pilgrims. While the whole Camino Portugues has its starting point in the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, most pilgrims start their trip from Portugal’s second largest city, Porto or from the Portuguese-Spanish border town of Tui.
The stretch from Porto to Santiago has frequent pilgrim hostels and bars on the road and is quite busy with pilgrims. The route from Lisbon to Porto has less facilities and the waymarks are not that good but it can be done with more preparation.
The entire Camino Portugues from Lisbon to Santiago is 616 kilometers long but the part that starts in Porto is only 240 kilometers long.
The pilgrimage from Portuguese lands to Santiago de Compostela originates in the Middle Ages. It was used by Queen Isabel of Portugal as well in the early 14th century. The route followed closely the ancient Roman roads of Lusitania but today on many stretches you will have to walk along a modern road.
When to go
The weather in northern Portugal and Galicia are influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and there are many days with heavy rainfalls all year round.
Winter is not a season that is advisable for the Camino Portugues. Besides the weather, some albergues will be closed for the winter and there will be less facilities overall. However if you decide to do the camino in the winter months, you will have an experience all for yourself, especially in the first kilometers.
Spring is a favourite among many as the nature starts to grow back again and the weather is mild. However rain can happen any time of the day throughout the year here so be prepared accordingly.
Summer is the most popular time to walk the Camino Portugues, hence the busiest months will be July and August. It can get crowded, especially in the latest stages of the camino and albergues might be full.
Autumn is a relatively dry season and the temperatures don’t trop too low until November, thus it can be a great time to do the Camino Portugues. It can also be a good time to taste the wine from the region.
1. Will we be the only ones doing it? Is it crowded?
The Portuguese section of the route is not much travelled. When I walked it in May 2006, I encountered only 3 pilgrims between Porto and the Spanish border. Much has changed since then but it is a lot less crowded than the Frances for example.
The Spanish section is much more travelled, and you can usually rely on finding company in the refugios and meeting some other pilgrims during the day. But do not think the Camino Portugues has anything like the number of pilgrims on the Camino Francés – that is one of its joys!
2. Is there plenty of accommodation? How much does it cost?
In Portugal, there are a few refugios (including the new one at San Pedro de Rubiaes) but they are not always in the right place! They cost a few euros. Alternatives are available, often also not in the right place. Some of the quintas have swimming pools and cost 60 euros or so. You need a good guidebook for this section. The Spanish section has good refugios more closely spaced than in Portugal.
3. What is the weather like? Does it rain a lot?
What can one say about the weather? In Portugal, it is often very hot indeed. In Galicia, it is very green, which necessarily means that it rains quite often. The weather does not change regularly and predictably through the year: it can be baking hot in March but cold and wet in May – you need to be prepared for both.
4. How is the Camino marked? Is it as easy to find the way here as on the Camino Frances?
The waymarking with yellow arrows on this route is very good.
5. Where do I find the weather conditions for the route?
weather.com will give you 10-day forecasts, but it is mostly a question of taking it as you find it, and having enough clothes to keep warm and dry even if the weather isn’t.
As you start Camino Portugués you can follow this to find accommodation in Porto!
Plan your camino by booking rooms and hostels online! Use the search below to find accommodation and make a reservation in advance. This is the best way to book the cheapest room available! You can pay when yo arrive at your destination. Cancellation is flexible! Buen Camino!