Monday 28 May – 10 June (13 days/14 nights)
Northern Portugal and Galicia, Spain
Total maximum walking distance 220km. Options to walk less & non-walking days
3,100 Euros p/p twin share, 350 Euros single supplement
100 Euros discount applies on balance if full payment is received by 15 March 2018
Our journey commences in the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Oporto. Our path through Portugal takes us along the coastal pilgrim path known as the Camino Monacal via colourful fishing villages and towns. Crossing into Spain we visit 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 (Monday 28 May) (No long distance walking)
No tour activities. Accommodation is included in the tour price.
Day 1: (Tuesday 29 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 (Wed 30 May) (Max. walk 11 or 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 (Thursday 31 May) (Max. walk 15 or 22km)
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 (Friday 1 June) (Max. walk 20km)
Leaving Viana do Castelo we continue northwards along a boardwalk 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. Dinner by the waterfront at a typical Portuguese restaurant is particularly attractive.
Accommodation: Vila Praia de Ancora. Meals: B.
Day 5: Vila Praia de Ancora to Oia (Saturday 2 June) (Max. walk approx. 18km)
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. Following our visit to this historical site we transfer to our hotel in the small village of Oia with its seafront 12th C. Mosteiro de Santa Maria. There’s plenty of time to explore the pretty lanes with their traditional stone houses before dinner.
Accommodation: Oia. Meals: B.
Day 6: Oia to Baiona (Sunday 3 June) (Max. walk approx. 20km)
Our path today continues through market gardens and fields beside the Rías Baixas. As we climb the path turns inland and weaves through several attractive villages. This is one of the more challenging hills* on this trail, but our efforts are rewarded with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cies Islands. The wild flowers are abundant! In the 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. *Those who choose not to make this climb will be assisted to bypass it.
Accommodation: Baiona. Meals: B.
Day 7: Baiona to Vigo (Monday 4 June) (Max. walk 24km)
This morning we cross the river Miño via an historic stone bridge. We arrive in Nigrán with its long, sandy beach called Praia América. A gentle climb on a forest path leads us to more stunning views. Following the Rio 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 like seafood will not be disappointed!
Accommodation: Vigo. Meals: B. D.
Day 8: Vigo to Redondela (Tuesday 5 June) (No long distance walking)
Now mid way through our journey there’s time to relax and enjoy the local sights. We take a ferry to the Cies islands, an amazing national marine-terrestrial park named by the Romans as the islands of the gods. In the late afternoon we transfer to the attractive town of Redondela beside the Vigo estuary. Today this former port is situated away from the coast due to tidal deposits and land reclamation. For more than a millennia countless Pilgrims have visited the 15th C. church, the Iglesia de Santiago with its emblematic statue of St James and fine rose window with Camino motifs and shells.
Accommodation: Redondela. Meals: B.
Day 9: Redondela – Pontevedra (Wednesday 6 June) (Max. walk: 20km)
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. 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.) to have our Pilgrim Passports stamped, 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 (Thursday 7 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 (Friday 8 June) (Max. walk: 19km)
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 Santiago de Compostela (Saturday 9 June) (Max. walk: 26kms).
As we reach the final stage of our journey to the UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Santiago de Compostela there is an option to walk the entire remaining distance or just part of it (thereby avoiding some steep stretches near the city). It’s best to make an early start leaving plenty of time to visit the 11th C Cathedral, explore the colourful medieval streets and mingle with travellers from many different parts of the world. A group dinner complements this wonderful day.
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela. Meals: B.D.
Day 13: Santiago de Compostela (Sunday 10 June) (No distance walking)
Now at our journey’s end we can relax, experience and enjoy just being in this ancient pilgrimage site. A highlight for many is 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! This final day also provides an opportunity to stop and reflect upon our own personal discoveries and achievements before heading off on our separate ways.
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela. Meals: B. Tour ends.
What costs are covered?
- Services of an Australian and a Spanish speaking tour guide
- Accommodation in comfortable hotels and guesthouses with private ensuites
- Continental breakfast daily
- Personal transfers of up to 15 kms per (walking) day, 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 12)
- Tips at group meals 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
- Tips and Gratuities throughout except at group meals
- Personal expenses eg. laundry, telephone calls, excess personal transfers on the Camino
- 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 10-15 kms. Participants also have the option not to walk at all on some days. In such cases transport will be arranged to the next accommodation.
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