Camino with a Difference Tour CPF 2018

Sunday 13 May – Saturday 26 May (13 days/14 nights)
Northern Portugal, Galicia & Finisterre
Total maximum walking distance 180km. Options to walk less and non-walking days
3,100 Euros p/p twin share, 300 Euros single supplement


Walking the Camino: Through Farmland

We commence our journey in the World Heritage listed city of Oporto and finish in Santiago de Compostela. Our path in Portugal takes us along the Camino Portugues via forest tracks, vineyards and picturesque valleys to charming towns such as Barcelos and Ponte de Lima and peaceful hamlets along the Rio Douro. Crossing into Spain we visit the fortified medieval border town of Tui before setting off to the attractive coastal city of Pontevedra and onwards to Santiago. After visiting this ancient pilgrim destination we travel to Finisterre (formerly known as ‘the end of the earth’) and other old-world Galician villages beside the picturesque and wind-swept Atlantic coast.  Tour ends in Santiago.

Day 0: Participants arrive in Oporto (Sunday 13 May) 

No tour activities.  Accommodation is included in the tour price.

Day 1: Tour commences in Oporto (Monday 14 May)  (No long distance walking)
After breakfast and discussing tour logistics we explore 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’.  We visit the old city on foot and take a rattling tram-ride along cobbled streets to avoid a steep climb.  After having our Pilgrim Passports stamped at the Cathedral we wind our way down to the river for a relaxing one-hour cruise. This is followed by a group dinner overlooking the atmospheric port wine botegas that line the riverfront. Meals: D. Accommodation: Oporto.

Day 2: Oporto to Sao Pedro de Rates (Tuesday 15 May) (Max. walk: 12 km)
This morning we transfer to the small village of Vilarinho with its pleasant shaded square where we commence our Camino journey.  Crossing the first of many medieval bridges that we will encounter on our journey, we walk via county lanes and hamlets to the tiny Arcos with its attractive church with its blue tiled façade.  Our destination is the small town of Sao Pedro de Rates where there is time to visit the parish church built on the 11th C remains of ancient pilgrim temples of the pre-Roman era. We stay the night in neighbouring Vila do Conde, a seaside town with narrow cobbled alleyways and a well preserved fishing quarter and museum of hand made lace.  Meals: B. Accommodation: Vila do Conde.

Walking the Camino: World Heritage listed Oporto, on the Camino Portugues.

Day 3: Sao Pedro de Rates to Barcelos (Wednesday 16 May) (Max. walk: 8km or 18 km)
After transferring back to Sao Pedro de Rates we walk via sheltered woodland paths and vineyards to Pedra Furada with its welcoming café.  Here we can ‘put our feet up’ and enjoy some of the local delicacies prepared by the friendly proprietor, Antonio and his staff.  In the afternoon we walk on through eucalyptus forests to the charming small town of Barcelos, the origins of which date from Roman times. It is better known today as the home of the legendary cockerel that has become a national symbol and as host to one of the liveliest markets in Portugal. After settling into our hotel there is time to wander the delightful streets and visit the alfresco archaeological museum.  Meals: B. Accommodation: Barcelos.

Day 4: Barcelos to Ponte de Lima (Thursday 17 May) (Max. walk: 13 or 23 km)
After visiting the famous weekly market our Camino takes us through the Neiva and Lima valleys to Ponte de Lima. This is one of the most beautiful stages of the Camino with 50% on forest tracks and via vineyards. Ponte de Lima is a picturesque medieval town with narrow cobbled streets and a historic bridge with 24 arches, four of which are of original Roman construction. Arriving on foot along the shady tree-lined path beside the river Minho is most memorable. Before dinner there is time to explore the ancient streetscapes and sample local produce sold by friendly shop vendors. Meals: B. Accommodation: Ponte de Lima.

Day 5: Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes (Friday 18 May) (Max. walk: 12km)
This morning there is a choice to spend some free time in Ponte de Lima, take a stroll beside the river or walk the second half of yesterday’s Camino pathway if this has not been completed.  Some may choose to walk via natural pathways through the Labruja Valley to the small village of Revolta with its welcoming café and rest stop. Tonight we share a group dinner.  Meals: B.D. Accommodation: Ponte de Lima or Rubias.

Walking the Camino: Church bells chime in peaceful Ponte de Lima

Day 6: Rubiaes to Tui (Saturday 19 May) (Max. walk: 19km)
Today our Camino starts in the small hamlet of Rubias with an easy climb to Alto San Bento da Porta Aberta with its breathtaking views over the Minho valley. The next stretch is mostly downhill via natural pathways and quiet country roads, through forests of eucalyptus, oak and pine trees. As we cross the border into Spain the river is renamed ‘Mino’ and we readjust our watches one hour. Before crossing the bridge into Tui those with a sweet tooth may choose to visit neighbouring Valenca to purchase another Portuguese custard tart!  Meals: B. Accommodation: Tui.

Day 7: Tui to Pontedevedra (Sunday 20 May) (No long distance walking)
Today we take a break from long distance walking. After a slow breakfast, we travel by minibus to A Guarda situated on the Coastal Camino route.  High above this pretty harbour town we visit the remains of an Iron Age Celtic settlement. We then follow the Atlantic coastline to tiny Oia to visit the magnificently situated Cistercian monastery before arriving in the historic seaside town of Baiona. It was here that news of the discovery of the Americas first reached Europe when one Columbus’ ships, the Pinta, docked here for repair. There is time to explore the spectacular seaside fortress before lunching on local delicacies including a most amazing spread of seafood.  Late afternoon we transfer to the attractive small city of Pontedevedra.  There is time to explore the historic quarter, including a visit to the scallop shelled church, the Santuario da Peregrina (18th C.).  The cheerful bars and cafes in the central plaza are a pleasant place to share tapas and a glass of vino.  Meals: B. L. Accommodation: Pontevedra.

The Spanish town of Tui

Day 8: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (Monday 21 May) (Max. walk: 23km)
After breakfast we follow the Camino across the Ponte do Burgo beside the remains of an original Roman bridge to the village of San Caetano. The pathway meanders via the peaceful hamlets of San Amaro, Barro and Rotonda to Tivo. Further on, we reach the small town of Caldas de Reis 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 there is an opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved foot or back massage or simply to relax by the river and partake in a selection of local tapas and sangria. Meals: B. Accommodation: Caldas de Reis.

Day 9: Caldas de Reis to Padron (Tuesday 22 May) (Max. walk: 18km)
This morning we follow the Camino via woodlands and country roads beside the Rio Valga to San Miguel de Valga. We travel on 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 in the first century A.D.  Here we can sample the spicy green ‘Pementos de Padron’ and take group photos beside a bronze statue of a pilgrim heading to Santiago, now only 25km away.  Meals: B. Accommodation: Padron.

Day 10: Padron to Finisterre (Wednesday 23 May) (Max. walk: 5kms)
But before entering the historic city of Santiago de Compostela 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 Finisterre lighthouse 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.

Walking the Camino: At the Sancturario de la Barca in Muxia

Day 11: Finisterre to Muxia (Thursday 24 May) (Max. walk: 14kms or 28km)
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.  Meals: B. Accommodation: Finisterre.

Day 12: Finisterre to Santiago de Compostela (Friday 25 May) (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 Rio 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. Meals: B. D Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela.

Day 13: Santiago de Compostela (Saturday 26 May) (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.  Meals: B.  Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela. Tour ends.

Walking the Camino: First glimpse of Santiago Cathedral from the Finisterre Way

What costs are covered?

  • Services of an Australian and a Spanish speaking tour guide
  • Accommodation in 3 star hotels including continental breakfast daily
  • Personal transfers of up to 10 kms per (walking) day, where required
  • Daily transport of one medium sized piece of luggage*
  • Bus transfer from Padron to Finisterre (Day 10)
  • Three (3) group dinners (Days 0, 5, 12) and one (1) group lunch (Day 7).

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
  • Tips and Gratuities throughout except at group meals
  • Personal expenses eg. laundry, telephone calls, excess personal transfers along the Camino
  • Travel Insurance: Unlimited medical, additional and evacuation insurance is compulsory.

Please Note: Distances included in this itinerary are the approximate maximum number of kilometres that can be walked in any given day.  Each day shorter walking options will be offered.  On average these shorter distances will be between 10 -14 kms.   Participants also have the option not to walk at all.  In such cases transport will be arranged to the next hotel.

This itinerary should be read in conjunction with the Travel Enriched Pty. Ltd. Booking Conditions.   For all bookings and further information contact:

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