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Portuguese Camino Day 3: Hitting my Stride

Last updated Nov 6, 2021 | Published on Oct 8, 2021

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, I spent the day walking through farmland along narrow country lanes (for the most part). I crossed graceful bridges, strolled along forest paths, passed vineyards, and dodged the occasional tractor.

It was also a much shorter day than the previous one had been. I decided to give my foot a break by splitting the next 27-km (16.7-mile) stage into two segments.

São Pedro de Rates seemed like a good halfway point and as it has several cafes and guesthouses to choose from. This meant I only had to walk 14 km (8.7 miles) for the day.

So I wasn’t in any hurry. I went slow, took lots of breaks, and really enjoyed my day. Which is kind of the point of walking the Camino in the first place.

Walking on a rare forested trail along the Camino Portugués near Vilarinho. Wooded areas are more common further north.

Breakfast at the Albergue

The day started with breakfast at the Albergue de Peregrinos do Mosteiro de Vairão. It was a simple meal of toast and cheese and meats but was quite nice.

At the table we had pilgrims from around the world: Spain, Portugal, Siberia, Holland, France and Switzerland. And me of course, although I haven’t met any other pilgrims from the United States yet.

Our host Fernando spoke only Spanish but he was funny and goofy and we all managed to communicate. He gave me a Camino pin in the shape of a yellow arrow for my backpack when I left.

Pilgrim breakfast

Fernando and me

Cemetery attached to the church.

Walking to Vilarinho

As I left the albergue, I continued along the Camino Central detour route. I would end up following this alternate route for most of the day to come.

Soon the path diverged from the road into the forest on a dirt trail. It’s the first time I got to walk on a soft surface that wasn’t asphalt or cobblestones since starting the Camino.

From there, it was onto the charming village of Vilarinho – which is a common stop for pilgrims.

Forest path

Vilarinho Chapel

Crossing the Ponte D. Zameiro Bridge

Shortly after leaving Vilarinho, the path follows the banks of the Ava River before crossing at a picturesque pedestrian bridge.

View from the Ponte D. Zameiro Bridge

Another pilgrim crosses the Ponte D. Zameiro Bridge

Detour through Farmland

For the rest of the morning, I continued along the Central Route Detour. This path travels along gravel paths in the countryside past numerous farms.

As I walked, I could tell my location by the smell. The farmers must have been fertilizing the fields with manure, because the odor was quite strong. It’s an aroma I’m familiar as I grew up in a rural area near similar kinds of farms.

Natalia Ilina relaxes in the shade.

Country lane passing between two farms

Farm machinery parked on the roadside

Lunch at Kibueno Caffe

When I arrived in São Mamede, I passed a cafe only to find it full of pilgrims from the albergue. So I stopped and we all had some sandwiches.

Just before reaching the cafe, I passed a little station set up for pilgrims at house along the path. There was a bench along with a cute shell-shaped drinking fountain and loads of fresh fruit. It was lovely.

Hello fellow pilgrims!

The pilgrim station with shell-shaped water fountain


After lunch, I crossed another cute bridge. This one is called the Ponte de São Miguel dos Arcos. It was located just outside the small village of Arcos which has lovely church.

Actually all of the villages have beautiful churches. This one was no exception.

View from the Ponte de São Miguel dos Arcos.

Igreja de Arcos

Welcome to São Pedro de Rates

I arrived at my final destination for the day, São Pedro de Rates, around 3:30 pm. The historic old part of town is 5 minutes from the Camino and worth the walk.

I wandered towards the Igreja Românica de São Pedro de Rates (Romanic church) to get some photos. As I stood there, a man dashed out of the adjoining museum and asked if I wanted a stamp.

Um – yes please!!

He was so delighted to stamp my Credencial that he insisted on a photo (which unfortunately I don’t have as they took it with his camera).

I checked into the Casa da Vila guest house down the street and was thrilled to have my own room with ensuite bathroom at a reasonable price.

Igreja Românica de São Pedro de Rates

Historic downtown of São Pedro de Rates

Eating a Franceshina for dinner at Macedo’s Bar

This little guy was very friendly while I ate.

Sore Foot Update

My foot is still sore but feeling a bit better. I still can’t walk very fast, especially on the cobblestones, but maybe that’s a good thing.

In other foot news, my blister sprouted another blister which is exciting.

Blister plus blister

Portuguese Camino Stats

Date: Thursday, October 7
Starting Location: Albergue de Peregrinos do Mosteiro de Vairão
Ending Location: Casa da Vila at São Pedro de Rates
Camino Distance Walked: 8.7 miles/ 14 km
Distance to Santiago: 125 miles/ 201.2 km

AllTrails Map Recording

Click here to view my map recording for today:

Portuguese Camino Day 3 on AllTrails

Note: the distance in this recording doesn’t match my Camino distance because it includes some off-route walking.

Stamps Collected Today

São Pedro de Rates stamp

Casa da Vila Guest House stamp

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For more information about my pilgrimage along the Camino Portugués, visit my Portuguese Camino web page.

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

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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