Potuguese Camino: A Daily Blog on Walking the Portuguese Way
The Portuguese Camino is a stunning long-distance trail through some of Europe’s most beautiful countryside. Stretching from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, this 260-km spiritual route follows the same path that pilgrims have walked for over a thousand years.
More officially known as the Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Way or the Camino Portugués (in Spanish), the route typically takes 2 weeks or so to complete. Along the way, pilgrims wander past charming villages and through rustic vineyards until reaching their final destination at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.
Walking the Portuguese Camino has long been a dream of mine. After a cancelled attempt in 2020 (thanks Coronavirus!), I finally got my chance to complete the Camino in autumn 2021. It was an interesting challenge to make a pilgrimage during the pandemic but still doable – and so worth it!
While I walked, I kept a daily journal about my experience. This Portuguese Camino blog includes information on my pilgrimage as well as links to all my journal entries along the way.
What is the Portuguese Camino?
The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James, is a long-distance pilgrim’s route which ends at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
There are actually many different Camino routes, all beginning at various locations and ending at Santiago de Compostela. The most popular route, known as The French Way, traditionally begins at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. This route is 780 kilometers (approximately 500 miles) and primarily travels across northern Spain.
I decided to walk along the Portuguese Way which begins in Portugal and heads north up to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
The trail officially begins in Lisbon but I took the shorter route starting in Porto. The Portuguese Way beginning from Porto is approximately 260 km (150 miles) when traveling along the Central Route.
All Camino paths eventually lead to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This is because, according to tradition, the remains of Saint James are buried at the cathedral there.
Over the centuries, pilgrims have walked the Way of Saint James as a means for spiritual growth – although these days people have all sorts of reasons for walking the Camino.
What differentiates the Camino from other long-distance trails?
- Walkers along the Camino de Santiago are typically called “pilgrims” (or peregrinos).
- The Pilgrim Passport (or “Credencial”) is the official document that denotes walkers along the Camino as pilgrims. Pilgrims receive stamps as they walk at various locations such as accommodations and churches.
- Upon finishing the Camino de Santiago, pilgrims are awarded a Compostela Certificate that officially confirms completion of the pilgrimage. Pilgrims who have walked at least 100 kilometers (or 200 km via bicycle) are eligible for the Certificate. Pilgrims must also have two stamps a day in their Credencial.
- It’s not necessary to bring along a tent or cooking gear when walking the Camino de Santiago. There are many towns along the way where pilgrims can sleep each night. Pilgrims typically sleep in hostels called “albergues” upon showing their Credencial. I will be bringing a light sleeping bag however.
- The scallop shell is the official symbol of the Camino de Santiago and is printed on signs and trail markers to show the way. Many pilgrims also wear shells on their clothing or packs.
- To wish a pilgrim good luck on their journey, you say: “Buen camino!” Or, in Portuguese, say: “Bom Caminho!”
The Portuguese Camino Blog
To begin reading my Camino blog posts in chronological order, start with the first article and click on the Next Article links at the bottom right-hand corner of every page.
>> Getting a Pilgrim Passport (Camino Credencial) at the Porto Cathedral
All Portuguese Camino Posts
The below list includes all posts from my pilgrimage on the Portuguese Camino, starting from the most recent.
Portuguese Camino Postscript: Getting my Compostela Certificate
After my arrival in Santiago de Compostela on October 20th, 2021, I was eager to begin exploring the city. I had spent the last 16 days on a...
Portuguese Camino Day 16: Arrival in Santiago de Compostela
On October 20, 2021, I finally reached the ultimate goal of the Portuguese Camino: the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela. According to tradition,...
Portuguese Camino Day 15: Bed Bugs on the Camino
I snuggled into my bed, enjoying the comfortable mattress and soft sheets. Like most nights on the Portuguese Camino, I had sprung for a private...
Portuguese Camino Day 14: Making New Friends at a Kindergarten
"¡Buenos días!" said a friendly-looking man, waving at me from the other side of a fence. The greeting broke me out of my reverie. I had headphones...
Portuguese Camino Day 13: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
I awoke this morning feeling much better than I did yesterday. I still felt a bit tired, but otherwise much improved. It seems that spending the day...
Portuguese Camino Days 11 & 12: A Sick Day
I awoke to a dingy hotel room with a sore back and a headache. My body felt as if I had gotten hit by a truck. I had slept poorly the previous night...
Portuguese Camino Day 10: Homemade Vino de la Casa
"Una copa de vino blanco de la casa por favor," I said to our server. The woman taking our order was the owner of the both the café and also the...
Portuguese Camino Day 9: The Magnificent Tui Cathedral
Sunlight streamed through the windows of my hotel room and nudged me awake. I groaned. We had stayed up a bit later than I had intended the previous...
Portuguese Camino Day 8: The Halfway Point
The 8th day of my pilgrimage on the Camino Portuguese was a big one for me. I would reach the official halfway point between Porto, Portugal and...
Portuguese Camino Day 7: Climbing Alto Da Portela
On Monday, October 11th, I awoke to a fabulous sunrise. Fluffy clouds reflected shafts of pink and yellow light from the morning sun. I marveled at...
Portuguese Camino Day 6: Welcome to Ponte de Lima
Crowds of shoppers filled the path and eagerly hunted for bargains. The road was lined with stalls selling various odds and ends - from old records...
Portuguese Camino Day 5: An Unexpected Stay at Casas do Rio
I squinted at my phone and looked at the house before me. According to the pilgrim guide Buen Camino, the place was advertised as a pilgrim's...
Portuguese Camino Day 4: São Pedro de Rates to Barcelos
I awoke in a soft comfy feeling refreshed and well-rested. It's been a while since I've gotten to sleep in a room all by myself. I basked in the...
Portuguese Camino Day 3: Hitting my Stride
The third day of my pilgrimage on the Portuguese Camino (Camino Portugués) was a very different experience than the first two. With Porto behind me,...
Portuguese Camino Day 2: My First Pilgrim’s Hostel (Albergue)
On the second day of my pilgrimage, I awoke feeling refreshed and raring to go. I was ready to to give the Portuguese Camino (Camino Portugués)...
Portuguese Camino Day 1: A Rocky Start
On Monday, October 4, I officially started walking the Portuguese Camino (Camino Portugués). After so many delays, it was a relief to finally begin...
Getting a Pilgrim Passport (Camino Credencial) at the Porto Cathedral
A few days before I started walking the Portuguese Camino (Camino Portugués), I arrived in Porto. Before I could begin my pilgrimage, I needed to...
Preparing for the Portuguese Camino
This section includes blog posts about my preparations to walk the Camino
- Announcing My Upcoming Walk of the Portuguese Camino – Again! – September 7, 2021
I’ve updated my plans for walking the Portuguese Camino and am now planning to begin my pilgrimage in late September 2021.
- Announcing Unicorn’s Upcoming Walk of the Portuguese Camino – March 10, 2020
In my initial announcement post, I discuss why I decided to undertake the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Unfortunately, my plans were later cancelled due to the pandemic.
- Oficina de Acogida al Peregrino – Official web site for pilgrims by the Cathedral of Santiago
- The Way – inspirational movie starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez about walking the Camino de Santiago
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I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world. I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.
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