The Camino Portugués, or Portuguese Way, is the route to Santiago traditionally chosen by pilgrims coming from Portugal, mainly from Lisbon and Porto. Those two magnificent cities still remain two of the main starting points for modern-day pilgrims on the Camino Portugues although you can start your journey at any point along the way.
It takes just over a month to walk the full Camino Portugues from Lisbon for instance but you can walk as much or as little as you like. Just bear in mind you will need to walk at least the last 100kms from Tui or cycle at least the last 200kms in order to get your Compostela pilgrim certificate in Santiago.
This route is a great option for pilgrims looking for a more rural Camino de Santiago experience; it is the second most popular trail among pilgrims but nowhere near as busy as the Camino Frances.
The trail takes walkers along old roads, across medieval bridges, lush forests, sleepy villages, vibrant towns and historical cities as it heads North towards Santiago de Compostela. The small roads along the Camino Portugues also make it one the best Camino routes for cycling.
The history and heritage of the Camino is very much present along the way and you will encounter many churches, chapels, way crosses and shrines, where the image of Saint James often offers comfort pilgrims on their journey.
Lisbon is the starting point of the Camino Portugues, over 600kms from Santiago de Compostela. Portugal’s chic and buzzing capital on the shores of the Atlantic is home to several impressive UNESCO sites and its fascinating history makes it a must-visit.
Heading North towards Santarem, the first stage of the Camino route quickly leaves the city landscape behind for the quiet farmland of the area known as ‘the Garden of Portugal’. Pilgrims travel along the Tejo river valley along a trail that is also the Caminho de Fatima. The town of Santarem, sitting on a hillside over the Tejo Valley, was one of the last Moorish bastions in Portugal.
From Santarem, the Caminho Portugues continues along the Tejo River, heading inland towards Coimbra, which was once the capital of Portugal and is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities dating back to the 13th century.
This stretch of the Camino passes by beautiful little villages, farmland, forests and olive groves in the heart of Portugal.
From Coimbra, the Camino then heads back towards the Atlantic coast with Porto as a destination. This section of the trail will take you across vineyards, valleys, woodlands and a stretch of Roman road to finish in the centre of stunning Porto, where you will marvel at its UNESCO World Heritage city centre, stroll along the Riveira (riverfront) and taste some of the local delicacies, with a drop of the city’s famous port wine.
From Porto, the classic Camino Portugues takes in a variety of landscapes in the green countryside of northern Portugal. In this section you will also walk by many lovely little villages with magnificent chapels and churches, as well as Roman bridges.
As you reach the Miño River you will cross the picturesque International Bridge that connects the towns of Valenca do Minho in Portugal and historic Tui, in Galicia.
Many Camino pilgrims choose to start their journey from Tui, as it marks the last 100kms to Santiago de Compostela. Make sure you explore its pretty historic centre and visit the fortress-cathedral before continuing your walk.
This last section of the Camino Portugues takes pilgrims across many wooded areas, small villages and sleepy hamlets dotted with vegetable patches, crops and vineyards. You will be walking in the Rías Baixas region, home of Albariño white wine and some of the best seafood in the country. As you reach the coast in Arcade, make sure you try its famous local oysters.
The old town in Pontevedra is an absolute delight so we recommend you take the time to explore its pretty cobbled streets and lively plazas. Before you reach Santiago you will also be stopping in Padrón, known for the peppers of the same name but also home town of Galicia’s most illustrious poet: Rosalía de Castro.
Whether you are walking the full route from Lisbon or a shorter stretch, along the Camino Portugues you will enjoy fantastic food, a mossaic of beautiful landscapes, as well as fascinating culture, monuments and heritage.
For more information about the Camino Portugues or to book your Camino trip, contact our travel specialists.