Camino with a Difference Tour HC 2017

Saturday 27 May – Sunday 11 June (14 days/15 nights)
Northern Portugal and Galicia, Spain
Total maximum walking distance 150km. Options to walk less & non-walking days
2,730 Euros p/p twin share, 270 Euros single supplement

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The anciant homes of one of Galicias Celtic civilizations

The ancient homes of one of Galicia’s Celtic civilizations

Our journey commences in the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Oporto. Our path through Portugal takes us along the coastal pilgrim path called the Camino Monacal via colourful fishing villages and towns.  Crossing into Spain we visit the ancient Celtic settlement of Santa Trega and the historic fortress town of Baiona.  Passing through the magnificent harbor city of Vigo we travel onward through coastal villages to lively Pontevedra.  Here we join other pilgrims along the Camino Portugues to walk the final stretch to Santiago de Compostela.

Day 0: Arrive in Porto (Saturday 27 May) (No long distance walking)
No planned tour activities.
Accommodation: Oporto.

Day 1: (Sunday 28 May) (No long distance walking)
Participants meet in the afternoon in the attractive medieval city of Oporto recognised as one of the most important cultural centres in Europe. It once played a significant role leading maritime discovery voyages to the ‘New World’. After discussing tour logistics we have our Pilgrim Passports stamped at the Cathedral then wind our way down to the river for a relaxing one-hour cruise.  Tonight we enjoy a group dinner overlooking the atmospheric port wine botegas that line the riverfront.
Accommodation: Oporto. Meals: B, D.

Day 2: Povoa de Varzim to Esposende (Monday 29 May) (Max. walk 22km)
After breakfast we take the metro to the popular seaside town of Póvoa de Varzim with its sandy beachfront. This settlement dates back over 4,000 years. The town was an important ship-building centre during the Age of Discovery as well as a significant fishing port.  Commencing our Camino we cross the Coastal Nature Park called Parque Natural do Litoral Norte. Our destination is the fishing village of Esposende situated on the estuary of the Rio Cavado.
Accommodation: Esposende. Meals: B.

Day 3: Esposende to Viana do Castelo (Tuesday 30 May) (Max. walk 24km)
Our journey today takes us through several traditional fishing villages to the historic town of Viana do Castelo that for centuries played an important role in maritime exploration and trade. Legend has it that the Romans who arrived in 1 B.C. believed it to be paradise! There’s time to wander its medieval boulevards and narrow winding lanes resplendent with many ornate palaces of bygone days.  Some might take the restored funicular up Monte de Santa Luzia for a magnificent view along the coast.  Other attractions include the neo-Byzantine Templo do Sagrado Coração de Jesus and a stroll through the ruins of a 4th C. fortified Celtic village called Cidade Velha.
Accommodation: Viana do Castelo. Meals: B.

Day 4: Viana do Castelo to Vila Praia de Ancora (Wed. 31 May) (Max. walk 18km)
Leaving Viana do Castelo we continue northwards beside the picturesque and sometimes turbulent Atlantic Ocean.  Our pathway is relatively easy going with many scenic attractions.  Walking at a relaxed pace gives us a unique opportunity to observe the daily life of those who live in the rural areas and villages through which we pass.
Accommodation: Vila Praia de Ancora. Meals: B.

Day 5: Vila Praia de Ancora to Oia (Thursday 1 June) (Max. walk approx. 24km)
This morning we reach the border town of Caminha beside the estuary of the Rio Minho. Crossing the river by ferry-boat we arrive in the Spanish province of Galicia.  First stop is the attractive fishing village of A Guarda with its colourful seafront houses.  A visit to the highly sited ancient Celtic settlement of Santa Tregra is a must! This impressive castro is an archaeological gem with breathtaking views along the Atlantic coastline.
Accommodation: A rural guesthouse a few kms from Oia. Meals: B.

Day 6: Oia to Baiona (Friday 2 June) (Max. walk 24km)
Continuing beside the Rías Baixas we reach the historic village of Oia with its seafront 12th C. Mosteiro de Santa Maria.  Here we can explore the pretty laneways with their traditional stone houses.  Our coastal path provides stunning views of the Ocean and the Cies Islands.  Late afternoon we reach the popular seaside town of Baiona with its 11th C. fortress, the Fortaleza de Monterral.  In 1493 the Pinta, a ship in Columbus small fleet, anchored here and the ‘discovery of the Americas’ was announced.
Accommodation: Baiona. Meals: B.

Day 7 Baiona to Vigo (Saturday 3 June) (Max. walk 28km)
This morning we cross the river Miñor via an historic stone bridge.  We arrive in Nigrán with its spectacular long, sandy beach called Praia América.  A gentle climb on a forest path takes us up Mt San Roman to enjoy more spectacular views. Following the river Lagares we reach Vigo with its attractive medieval centre.  Today this former Roman settlement boasts one of the largest commercial ports in Europe.  Its deep harbor was the site of the Battle of Vigo Bay (1702) an event that inspired Jules Verne to write ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’.  Tonight we share a group meal.  Those who enjoy seafood will not be disappointed!
Accommodation: Vigo. Meals: B. D.

Day 8 Vigo to Redondela (Sunday 4 June) (No long distance walking)
This morning is free to relax and enjoy the sights of Vigo.  There’s ample opportunity to sample its culinary delights, including a wide variety of seafood.  In the afternoon we transfer to the attractive town of Redondela beside the Vigo estuary.  Over the centuries, this former port is now situated inland due to to tidal deposits and land reclamation.  Some may choose to visit the 15th C. church, the Iglesia de Santiago with its emblematic statue of St James and fine rose window circled with Camino motifs and shells.
Accommodation: Redondela. Meals: B.

Day 9: Redondela – Pontevedra (Monday 5 June) (Max. walk: 18.5km)
Today we resume our journey along the Camino trail.  Leaving the coast we head eastward to join pilgrims whose path has taken them along the inland route of the Camino Portugues.  We travel beside the coastal inlet of the Ria de Pontevedra.  Some wonderful photo opportunities await us as we descend into the seaside town of Arcade.  In the afternoon we reach the lively small city of Pontevedra with it most attractive historic quarter. A visit to the scallop shelled church, the Santuario da Peregrina (18th C.) is a must.  The cheerful bars and cafes in the central plaza are inviting – a pleasant place to stop for a coffee or to share tapas and a glass of vino.
Accommodation: Pontevedra. Meals: B.

Day 10: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (Tuesday 6 June) (Max. walk: 22km)
After breakfast we follow the Camino across Ponte do Burgo beside the remains of an original Roman bridge to the village of San Caetano.  The pathway meanders via the peaceful hamlets and streams finally reaching the small town of Caldas de Reis (which translated means ‘Hot waters of the Kings’) situated between the Rios Umia and Bermana.  This historic spa town with its thermal springs and botanic gardens was once occupied by the Celts.  Here we can to enjoy a well-deserved spa, foot or back massage or simply to relax by the river and partake in a selection of local tapas and sangria.
Accommodation: Caldas de Reis.  Meals: B.

Day 11: Caldas de Reis to Padron (Wednesday 7 June) (Max. walk: 18km)
This morning we follow the Camino via woodlands and country roads beside the Valga river to San Miguel.  We travel onward beside the banks of the Rio Sar enjoying the ever-changing rural landscape to the delightful town of Padron where legend has it that St James the Apostle commenced his ministry.  Here we can sample the spicy Pementos de Padron that are so highly prized in this region, hoping to avoid choosing the rare one that is extremely hot!  Before heading to dinner we have our photo taken beside a bronze statue of a pilgrim heading to Santiago, now only 25km away.
Accommodation: Padron.  Meals: B.

Day 12: Padron to Finisterre (Thursday 8 June) (5kms)
Before entering this historic city we divert from the Camino Portugues to spend some time walking on the Camino Finisterre.  It was here, at what was formerly known as ‘the end of the earth’, that the relics of St James were brought first for burial.  The rugged surrounding peninsula shelters many protected species of birds and distinctive vegetation.  We visit the famous lighthouse in Finisterre beside the often-turbulent Atlantic Ocean, then walk down hill to the harbour before returning to our hotel.  Fantastic photo opportunities await those who want to record their visit to this spectacular site.  There is plenty of time to relax, take a short seaside stroll, have a swim or observe daily life in this pretty fishing town.
Accommodation: Finisterre.  Meals: B.

Day 13: Finisterre to Muxia (Friday 9 June) (Max. walk: 14kms)
For many today’s walk will be a highlight of their Camino experience! We take forest paths and farming tracks to the attractive village of Lires.  This is a largely undiscovered route with the azure blue waters often visible in the background.  After an exhilarating, scenic walk we transfer to the lively fishing port of Muxia with its weathered headland on which a 12th century Romanesque church is situated.  We are further rewarded with a chance to observe women engaged in the ancient craft of lace making.
Accommodation: Finisterre.  Meals: B.

Day 14: Finisterre to Santiago de Compostela (Sat. 10 June) (Max. walk: 18kms)
In the morning we transfer to Ponte Maceira, reputed to be the best-preserved hamlet in all Galicia.  Before commencing our final stretch along the Camino we cross the magnificent medieval bridge over the river Tambre.  Much of our journey today takes us through shady pine and eucalyptus forests and there is a spring in our step as we approach our final destination.  At long last we see the spires of the magnificent 11th Cathedral and enter the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Santiago de Compostela.  Before visiting the Cathedral we toast our arrival with a celebratory glass of vino! A group dinner complements this wonderful day.
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela. Meals: B.D.

Day 15: Santiago de Compostela (Sunday 11 June) (No distance walking)
Now at our journey’s end we can relax, experience and enjoy just being in this ancient pilgrimage site.  Some may choose to attend the mid-day Pilgrim Mass in the hope of witnessing the giant swinging Botafumeiro that sprays incense on the congregation.  Legend has it that this was originally used to fumigate sweaty pilgrims and rid them of disease!  There’s plenty of time to explore the colourful streets, visit other historic places of interest and simply to mingle with travellers from many different parts of the world.
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela. Meals: B.  Tour ends.

What costs are covered?

  • Services of two Australian tour guides
  • Accommodation in comfortable hotels and guesthouses with private ensuites
  • Continental breakfast daily
  • Up to 10kms daily taxi transfers where required
  • Transport of 1 medium sized piece of luggage eg. 210 deep, 640 high and 380 wide
  • Three (3) group dinners (Days 1, 7 and 14)
  • Tips and Gratuities throughout except at meals not included in the itinerary.

What is not included in the cost?

  • International air flights and taxes
  • Visas (not required for Australian passport holders)
  • Airport transfers, taxes and excess baggage
  • Meals other than those specified in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses eg. laundry, telephone calls
  • Excess personal taxi (more than 10kms per day) and luggage transfers (more than 1 medium sized piece of luggage).
  • Travel Insurance: Unlimited medical, additional and evacuation insurance is compulsory.

Please Note: Walking distances are the maximum number of kilometres planned on any given day.  Each day shorter walking options will be offered.  On average shorter distances will be between 8-14 kms.  Some days those keen to walk longer distances may be supported by a guide.  Participants also have the option not to walk at all on some days.  In such cases transport will be arranged to the next accommodation.


For all bookings and further information contact:

Diane McDonald
(Mobile) +61 (0) 404 417 485