Camino Portugues – Putting some plans together..

For those of you who know me, I have always been averse to organising a Camino in any shape or form. I’ve written about it before. In most of my Caminos, I prefer to pre-book a hostel or a private albergue at my starting point and if I am finishing in Santiago, e-mail the good people at the San Martin Pinario a few months in advance for a bed in their pilgrim section. I’ve been quite happy with listening to my body and putting up with the bed-race, no matter how irritating it has been getting of late. Walking from Lisbon, myself and my Camino buddy, Carsten, had the freedom to walk for as long as we wished and we still “had a room at the inn”. There were some days we arrived at a hostel at 3pm with a selection of beds. But this is the Camino from Lisbon and most pilgrims walk from Tui or even Porto on this route.

The annual figures from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago were released earlier this month and while part of me is not surprised by the increase, I am surprised by how popular the Camino has become since I walked first back in 2011. It is inevitable that the numbers will increase in 2020 and in 2021, the Holy Year in Santiago. The question is how high will the number be. It is worth pointing out that the number below are pilgrims who have collected their compostela in Santiago. There are others who do not value the compostela and feel happy to reach Santiago. So we may be over 350,000?

So to avoid all stress, I’ve decided to use Booking.com to prebook certain accommodation for this Camino. A wise move? I will let you know when I reach Santiago. I have two albergues yet to book as they are closed at the moment. On reaching Santiago, I look forward to spending 2 nights in the San Martin Pinario and meeting friends based in the town.

Having somewhere booked means I don’t have to start as early, I can take my time and I can capture some content with my Osmo. I will still carry my backpack however, I won’t lose sight of my kit! 🙂

Here is a draft itinerary from Porto:

28/09/2020Porto – metro to MatosinhosPovoa do Varzim
29/09/2020Povoa do VarzimEsposende 
30/09/2020Esposende Viana do Castelo
01/10/2020Viana do CasteloA Guarda
02/10/2020A GuardaMougás
03/10/2020Mougás Saiáns
04/10/2020Saiáns Redondela
05/10/2020RedondelaPontevedra
06/10/2020PontevedraCaldas de Reis
07/10/2020Caldas de ReisPicaraña
08/10/2020PicarañaSantiago
09/10/2020Santiago
10/10/2020Bus to PortoFlight to Dublin

Some can walk in 10 days, I am hoping to complete it in 11 days. The only day that concerns me is the one from Viana do Castelo to A Guarda which is 30 kms long, 4 km of which is on a boat from Caminha in Portugal to A Guarda to Spain. I arrive in familiar territory at this point having walked the Coastal Camino with my brother 2 years ago. The distances get shorter once I arrive in Spain with some days less than 20km.

But we are in January. There is much to happen before I fly to Porto and take my first step. The Kerry Camino in May being one.

Looking out to the coast / May 2018