Portuguese Central Camino: Stage 1
The old and original route to Santiago de Compostela from Porto
For a very long time pilgrims have explored different routes in order to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. The Caminho Central Português is certainly one of the oldest in Europe and it is becoming increasingly famous for outsiders, who wish to set foot on the ancient paths by which pilgrims had been crossing the landscape. Enjoy the gastronomy, the sights and different towns along the way, knowing that the city of Santiago will be waiting for you as well as it has been waiting and will continue to wait for all the pilgrims that decide to take on the adventure of accepting the challenges and spirituality of this crossing.
This hike is divided in two different stages. Stage 1 which goes through Portuguese territory and stage 2 which takes you through Spain to Santiago de Compostela. For a complete experience you might think to book the 2 stages,
- On this route all kind of terrains are to be expected. Route with long and difficult climbs
- Paved streets in rural and urban areas; 35 % of the walk will be in the forest
- The main roads are avoided for the majority of the time and as such every kind of terrain is used during this walk
Day 2: Porto to Vilar do Pinheiro tranfer – Arcos: 18 km
Day 3: Arcos – Barcelos: 15 km
Day 4: Barcelos – Balugães: 16 km
Day 5: Balugães – Ponte de Lima: 18 km
Day 6: Ponte de Lima – Cossourado: 22 km
Day 7: Cossourado – Valença do Minho: 13 km
Day 8: Departure
Welcome to Porto, the city of the thousand histories and one of the oldest city of Europe. Surround by the Douro River, the city was classified as the Unesco World Heritage in 1996, due to that, the façade of the historical buildings cannot be changed, preserving, in this way, the past of a city known for the wine, its bridges and its historic center. In the capital of culture and tourism, join us in a city walking tour and discover part of the heritage this city has to offer. Meet famous and well-known hot spots, such as, the bookstore that influenced J.K Rowling´s Harry Potter, the church and tower of Clérigos, the São Bento train station with the blue and white tiles hiding at each corner, the magnificent Stock Exchange Market and more. Art, heritage and traditions are meant to be found and seen during this short city tour.
Hotel 4*: Trindade Hotel
The beginning of this journey will connect two villages of Vila do Conde city. Starting in Vilar do Pinheiro, a 18km walk awaits. The highest point at 108m and the lowest at 16m, the pathway will be made in national and pavement roads or asphalt roads surrounded by corn fields or florets. Some of the areas that might spark your interest during the day are: church of Santa Maria de Vilar do Pinheiro, a 18th century temple and the bridge of São Miguel dos Arcos, an roman bridge with three-arch built in the XIII century that cross the Ave river. In this region it’s almost mandatory to try the northern gastronomy.
Rural Farm: Quinta São Miguel de Arcos
In this second day the destination is the medieval city of Barcelos, known for the it’s symbol, the rooster of Barcelos. In fact, the legend of the rooster it is well connected to a pilgrim of Santiago de Compostela, so this will be a day to discover what is behind of this city. During the day, the pilgrims, are going to pass by the Ecopista do ramal de Famalicão and discover the Sanctuary of Franqueira, considered a sacred mount to the local people is a cultural, archaeological and religious place surround by an amazing nature. The journey is majorly made in asphalt or pavement roads surround by corn fields or forests, very similar with the day before. In the Cavádo River, the walkers will have the opportunity to cross the medieval bridge of Barcelos, which will open the way to discover the Paço dos Condes an old castle from the XV century now in ruins, classified as cultural heritage in 1910. In the city of Barcelos, embrace the opportunity to visit the historic center surround by gardens and discover the church of Bom Jesus da cruz an baroque church with Italian influence, considered the main church of the city.
Hotel: Art Ótel Barcelos
The 16km of this day will be spent in Barcelos villages where the walkers will have the chance to experiencing both Minho’s typical countryside and the different little churches along the way. Until Balugães, the roads are divided between paved road and dirt roads surrounded by forests and pure ar. A degree of elevation will be noticed in the middle of the way reaching the highest point at 194m. Crossing the Neiva River on the top of the Tábuas Bridge, 30 minutes of walk waits until you reach Balugães. To finishing the day, discover the Minho´s gastronomy with the typical and most known wine of the region the vinho verde. And, also, take your time to visit the Nossa Senhora da Aparecida Santuary, in Balugães. The Sanctuary was built on the top of a rock where, according to the tradition, documented in historical archives, Nossa Senhora would have appeared in 1702.
Rural House: Casa do Rio
Start this day in Balugães, the road will me made majorly in pavements roads in a rural landscape, with the last 3km in stone pavement notice when you arrive to Ponte de Lima. Arriving to Ponte de Lima, take opportunity to walk through the roman bridge and discover the legend behind it and the change to be embrace by the avenue of Plátanos where you are going to see plane trees with more than 200 years old. Also, in this village it´s almost mandatory to try the Sarrabulo rice.
Hotel 4*: Inlima
Start the first day crossing the famous Lima Bridge, the path in the beginning is very smooth with a mix of nature and rural houses, creating amazing landscapes. Continuing the walking, you will notice a little church called Santa Marinha de Arcozelo dated in the XIII century and also a bridge called Arco da Geia built in the roman time. Along the way you can see some yellow arrows related to the camino of Santiago, very famous among the pilgrims. Arriving to the final destination, take some time to visit the São Bento da porta aberta Church and at the end of the day enjoy the local gastronomy with the roasted codfish.
Rural house: Casa da Capela
The second day is the one with less kilometers and it continues the Santiago Camino so prepare to see a lot of pilgrims hiking with you, the road can be a little difficult because it is paved with stones. Along the way you will notice the Matriz fontoura Church built in 1258. In this journey, the last city of Portugal to be embrace is Valença or as known as Valença do Minho. This place represents since the pass an strategic area due to the border that connect the Minho river and Lugo in Spain, famous and qualified as the oldest border of Europe. In a city, remarked by the pass, will be an memorable experience to visit the Fortress of Valença. The Fortress raised between the XVII and XVIII century served to defend the population as an European military fortification surrounded by the green nature. Fulfilling the day, the history and the beautiful landscape, with the gastronomy, the most typical dishes are the lamb and the codfish known in the “Minho” gastronomy.
Hotel 4*: Pousadas de Valença