Beach view on the Camino Portugues coastal route

Camino Portuguese Coastal Route: Guide, Stages, and Map

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The Camino Portugués, or Portuguese Camino, is one of the most popular routes on the Camino de Santiago. From Porto, you can choose between walking the Camino Portugués coastal route or central route.

The coastal route brings you along the beautiful coasts of Portugal and Spain, and it’s one of the best parts of the Camino Portugués. You’ll visit many seaside towns and cities, cool down with the ocean breeze, and relax on beaches. The coastal route eventually merges with the central route in Redondela. From there, all pilgrims follow one path to reach Santiago de Compostela.

Overview of the Camino Portugués coastal route

  • Distance: 268 km or 167 miles
  • Number of days to complete: 12 to 14 days
  • Starting point: Porto, Portugal
  • End point: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Terrain: Coastline, beaches, boardwalks, roads
  • Accommodation: Public and private albergues, hostels, guesthouses, and hotels

How long is the coastal route?

The Camino Portugués coastal route is 268 km or 167 miles long, and it takes 12 to 14 days to complete. If you decide to take the Senda Litoral variant or the unofficial parts that strictly follow the coast, your total distance will be more.

When is the best time of year to walk the coastal route?

The best time to walk the coastal route is during the spring, summer, and fall (from mid-April to October). You want to avoid the winter, as you’ll battle rain and strong winds.

The spring and fall will be the most pleasant times to do the coastal route. There’s less chance of rain and comfortable temperatures. Make sure you pack layers though, so you’re prepared for all types of weather.

The peak of summer, July and August, can be really hot. Sections of the coastal route that run next to the coast usually have no shade, so I recommend getting an early start. There will also be more pilgrims on the Camino, although the coastal route doesn’t get as busy as the central route.

The Senda Litoral variant

Before you start planning your route, it’s important to know about the Senda Litoral variant. The Senda Litoral sticks to the coast, while the coastal route brings you inland in multiple spots. As a result, the Senda Litoral is longer and you can go long stretches without any cafés, bars, or restaurants to fuel up. However, the two routes merge throughout. So regardless of which one you take, you’ll stay in the same towns.

When choosing between the coastal route and the Senda Litoral variant, I recommend making your decision based on how much of the coast you want to see and how much distance you’d like to walk.

Stages

Day 1: Porto to Vila do Conde (28.57 km)

DistanceTown
6.52 kmPadrão da Légua
1.35 kmCustóias
2.58 kmCarvalhas
2.13 kmPedras Rubras
2.14 kmVila Nova da Telha
2.37 kmAveleda
1.98 kmLabruge
2.21 kmModivas – Vila Chã
2.04 kmMindelo
2.40 kmAreia (Árvore)
1.45 kmAzurara
1.40 kmVila do Conde

Heading out of Porto early in the morning was a special moment. The streets were quiet, empty of tourists, and the city was just starting to wake up. As the sun finally came up, I stopped at Molete Bread & Breakfast, one of the best Portuguese bakeries I visited on the Camino Portugués. Although the place was packed with locals (always a good sign), the lady who served us was a delight.

The bakery was the highlight of my walk this day because after that, the rest of the way to Vila do Conde was pretty boring. You’ll pass by Porto’s airport and a large outlet shopping, VC Fashion Outlet | Modivas. The outlets are the first place outside of the suburbs of Porto where it’d be good to make a stop. You can pop into any of the stores for air conditioning, pick up food at the Continente supermarket, or get lunch at one of the restaurants in the outlet mall.

As I got closer to Vila do Conde, there were options to take a rest and grab a bite to eat. I had lunch at Snack-Bar O Mundo in Areia, which was a much-needed rest and left me with just under 3 km to go until Vila do Conde.

Day 1 Senda Litoral variant (33.26 km)

You can also take the Senda Litoral to get out of Porto. It’s significantly longer but much more scenic and nicer to walk. You’ll enjoy boardwalks and coastal views while skipping all the concrete and roads that make up the coastal route on the first stage.

DistanceTown
4.97 kmFoz do Douro
5.03 kmMatosinhos
2.36 kmLeça da Palmeira
3.67 kmPerafita (Aldeia Nova)
3.13 kmPraia de Angeiras (Lavra)
4.20 kmLabruge
2.18 kmVila Chã
2.13 kmMindelo
2.38 kmAreia (Árvore)
0.84 kmAzurara
2.37 kmVila do Conde

Where to stay in Vila do Conde

  • Albergue de Peregrinos Santa Clara (public albergue) – I stayed here for €10 and the facilities were quite nice. There’s a nice rooftop to hang out on, a small kitchen, and a large dining area. There’s only a few showers, so you might have to wait your turn. Also, outlets aren’t conveniently placed by every bed. The albergue takes pilgrims on a first-come, first-serve basis, so I recommend arriving before or as soon as they open to secure a bed. If all beds are full, they have extra mattresses they’ll pull out for pilgrims.
  • HI Vila do Conde – Pousada de Juventude (hostel)

Day 2: Vila do Conde to Esposende (23.60 km)

DistanceTown
3.37 kmPóvoa de Varzim
3.33 kmA Ver o-Mar
3.72 kmAguçadoura
3.78 kmEstela
2.94 kmApúlia
3.83 kmFão
2.64 kmEsposende

Whether you decided to take the coastal route or the Senda Litoral variant on the first day, day two is a short and sweet route that gives your legs a bit of a break.

The walk between Vila do Conde and Esposende is really enjoyable. For the most part, you’ll stick to the coast and walk on wooden boardwalks. There are a few opportunities to get drinks or food.

With such a short walk and a reserved bed waiting for me in Esposende, I was in no rush this day and had a nice break on the beach in the afternoon before carrying on.

Where to stay in Esposende

Signpost on the Camino Portugues coastal route

Day 3: Esposende to Viana do Castelo (25.27 km)

DistanceTown
4.36 kmMarinhas
2.47 kmMar
1.28 kmBelinho
2.26 kmAntas
1.48 kmCastelo do Neiva
4.28 kmSão Romão de Neiva
1.46 kmChafé
2.42 kmVila Nova de Anha
2.53 kmDarque
2.73 kmViana do Castelo

The walk from Esposende to Viana do Castelo has a few climbs, but it’s one of the more memorable parts of the coastal route. You’ll come across the Igreja de Santiago de Castelo de Neiva, where you can get a stamp, use the bathroom, and stop to rest. I loved seeing all the little Camino symbols and statues in and around the cathedral.

You’ll also walk through a lovely forest and cross the Rio Nieva. After exiting the forest, I stumbled upon a pilgrim’s dream – a rest stop that had been put together by a local. The makeshift seating area had coolers with cold drinks, snacks, fresh fruit, and coffee. There was music playing and a notebook where you could leave a message.

Where to stay in Viana do Castelo

Day 4: Viana do Castelo to Caminha (27.29 km)

DistanceTown
5.01 kmAreosa
3.61 kmCarreço
3.99 kmAfife
3.31 kmÃncora
2.69 kmVila Praia de Ãncora
4.86 kmMoledo
3.82 kmCaminha

The walk out of Viana do Castelo is beautiful. You’ve got the sunrise, beach views, and Monte de Santa Luzia rising from the middle of the town.

Your route today sticks to the coast entirely. This is one of the best stretches on the coastal route. However, there may be fewer cafés and restaurants open depending on the time of year you go. Once I got out of Viana do Castelo, nothing was open until I reached Vila Praia de Ãncora. Because of that, I recommend getting breakfast in Viana do Castelo and packing lots of snacks.

Where to stay in Caminha

Day 5: Caminha to Viladesuso (21.10 km)

DistanceTown
1.30 kmCamposancos
3.09 kmA Guarda
6.76 kmPortecelo
6.29 kmOia
3.66 kmO Serrallo (Viladesuso)

Instead of walking, you’ll be taking a small speedboat today to cross the Minho river, which forms part of the border between Portugal and Spain. The boat ride is a fun and unique experience that other Camino routes don’t offer.

Aside from a change of transportation, this day also marks your entry into Spain! If this is your first Camino, it’s interesting to see how the landscape, architecture, and food changes. And don’t forget you’ll need to switch over from Portuguese to Spanish.

Xacobeo Transfer and Taxi Boat Peregrinos both operate boat rides for €6, and it’s best to book your ride in advance. Note that depending on the tides, your boat may set sail later than scheduled.

Where to stay in Viladesuso

Day 6: Villadesuso to Baiona (14.90 km)

DistanceTown
2.80 kmO Porto (Mougás)
1.75 kmPedra Rubia
2.59 kmAs Mariñas
3.40 kmO Cabreiro
0.96 kmO Sinal
1.84 kmPercibilleira
1.56 kmBaiona

Enjoy the very short walking day! It’s filled with breathtaking views as you continue along the coast and climb two significant hills.

With less distance to cover, hopefully you’ll still have energy left to walk around the coastal town of Baiona. There are a few small beaches, like Praia da Ribeira and Praia da Barbeira, and historical sights. Baiona is best known as the place where Christopher Columbus’s La Pinta moored in 1493. There’s not only a replica of the ship, but the town also celebrates the event every March 1 with a medieval festival.

Where to stay in Baiona

Day 7: Baiona to Vigo (26.28 km)

DistanceTown
3.19 kmSabarís
1.45 kmA Ramallosa
3.80 kmNigrán
3.92 kmPriegue
0.90 kmSaiáns
2.86 kmOia
1.35 kmCoruxo
8.81 kmVigo

To get to Vigo, you can either take the official route, which takes you inland, or simply follow the coast. To follow the more coastal but unofficial route, turn left after crossing the bridge in A Ramallosa and continue by keeping the water on your left. Although it’s not well-marked, the unofficial route is more peaceful and quiet.

Vigo is a large city that’s become a fishing, industrial, and tourism center of Galicia. The city is wonderful place to walk around. And if you decide to climb its hills, you’ll get sweeping views of all the red and orange-roofed buildings contrasted against the blue inlet.

Where to stay in Vigo

Day 8: Vigo to Redondela (16.39 km)

DistanceTown
5.15 kmSenda da Auga (Teis)
1.69 kmSenda da Auga (Chapela)
3.54 kmSenda da Auga (Trasmañó)
3.67 kmCedeira
2.34 kmRedondela

Vigo is the starting point of the last 100 km to Santiago de Compostela. It’s the least distance you need to walk in order to get your certificate of completion. Because of this, you’ll notice there are more pilgrims from here on out.

Also, don’t forget that you’ll need to start collecting two stamps each day for the last 100 km to get the pilgrim’s certificate.

Where to stay in Redondela

Medieval town across the bridge Ponte Medieval de Pontesampaio

Day 9: Redondela to Pontevedra (19.64 km)

DistanceTown
1.58 kmZacande
1.39 kmCesantes
1.22 kmSoutoxusto
2.75 kmArcade
1.19 kmPontesampaio
2.10 kmCacheiro
1.65 kmBergunde
1.11 kmAlcouce
1.72 kmGanderón Santa Marta
0.34 kmO Pobo
1.41 kmO Lusquinos
0.69 kmO Marco
2.49 kmPontevedra

Redondela is where the coastal and central routes combine into one. If you’ve been enjoying the peace and quiet of the coastal route, you’ll need to adjust to walking with more pilgrims and busier albergues now. Going forward, I advise you to book a bed one day in advance or to arrive early to your accommodation, especially if you’re walking during the busy summer season.

The walk to Pontevedra brings you across the medieval bridge Ponte Medieval de Pontesampaio and through shaded trails.

Pontevedra is one of my favorite cities I discovered on the Portuguese Camino. It’s car-free old town has kept all its historic charm and architecture, while adding modern shops and restaurants.

Where to stay in Pontevedra

Day 10: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (21.04 km)

DistanceTown
0.95 kmO Burgo
2.14 kmPontecabras
1.34 kmAlba
1.39 kmO Castrado-Leborei
2.87 kmSan Amaro
1.13 kmA Cancela
1.50 kmSan Antoñino (Barro)
3.65 kmA Seca
1.90 kmBriallos
2.47 kmTivo
1.70 kmCaldas de Reis

From Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis, you’ll walk through beautiful forests, farms, and vineyards. This is also the point where you can veer off to take the Variante Espiritual, or spiritual variant of the Camino Portugués. The turnoff is about 3 km after Pontevedra. There’s a large, clear sign, so you can’t miss it.

Caldas de Reis is known for its thermal springs. If you’re feeling motivated after getting into town, visiting one of the springs would be a fantastic way to relax and relieve your tired muscles.

Where to stay in Caldas de Reis

Day 11: Caldas de Reis to Padrón (19.20 km)

DistanceTown
1.83 kmA Lavandeira
3.66 kmCarracedo (Cruceiro)
0.43 kmO Campo
0.62 kmCortiñas
0.22 kmGorgullón
1.34 kmCasalderrique
0.77 kmCernadas
1.38 kmAldea de O Pino (Lugar de Magariños)
2.30 kmSan Miguel de Valga
2.58 kmCondide
0.98 kmPontecesures
3.09 kmPadrón

Padrón is known for its padrón peppers, one of the best foods you have to try on the Camino Portugués. Aside from its peppers, Padrón is a small, quaint town with historical significance. The remains of Saint James the Great were brought to Padrón from Jerusalem.

I actually didn’t stay in Padrón. Instead, I carried on until Ameneiro, which is just before Raíces. While this brought my total distance on this day up to 33 km, it meant I only needed to walk 11 km the next day. By only having a short distance to walk into Santiago de Compostela, I’d get there early before most pilgrims and have enough energy left to play tourist for the rest of the day.

However, I did stop in Padrón for breakfast and found the absolute best breakfast I had on the entire Camino. Dulcinea Repostería Artesanal was one of my proudest finds. It’s a bakery that serves an American breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. If you’ve been missing a hearty, complete breakfast like this, you’ve got to make a stop here.

Where to stay in Padrón

Day 12: Padrón to Santiago de Compostela (24.48 km)

DistanceTown
1.05 kmIria Flavia
1.82 kmCambelas
0.57 kmRomarís
0.94 kmTarrío
0.85 kmVilar
0.90 kmA Escravitude
0.34 kmCruces
1.61 kmAngueira de Suso
0.63 kmO Areal
0.42 kmA Picaraña
1.24 kmO Faramello
0.93 kmRúa de Francos
1.09 kmOsebe
0.65 kmRiotinto
0.33 kmLugar de Pedreira
1.19 kmRaíces
2.68 kmO Milladoiro
1.22 kmPorto de Conxo
1.10 kmA Rocha Vella
4.92 kmSantiago de Compostela

Congratulations, it’s your last day on the Camino! Reaching Santiago de Compostela is a celebratory but bittersweet moment.

I recommend getting a very early start this day. The later you arrive in Santiago, the more crowded it’ll be. For the best photos in front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, you’ll need to arrive in the morning, when the plaza in front of the cathedral is still fairly empty. The other advantage of reaching Santiago early is you won’t have to wait in line for your Compostela (the certificate of completion). Lines can be up to a few hours long during peak season.

Where to stay in Santiago de Compostela

Accommodations in Santiago de Compostela book up fast with pilgrims and tourists. I recommend booking a place at least a week in advance if you can.

Private albergues and hostels

Hotels and guesthouses

Additional resources for the Camino Portugués

Camino Portuguese Guide to the Coastal Route