Also called the Monacal Way due to the presence of many monasteries along its route, this was one of the main routes chosen by those pilgrims coming from Porto, or by those who arrived to the Iberian peninsula by boat from the Portuguese coast.
Although the origin of this alternative way along the Portuguese coast is as old as the traditional Portuguese Way, it was not until 2009 that the Xunta de Galicia recognized it as another official Jacobean route. This started a recovery that has favored an annual and progressive increase of both walkers and bicigrinos.
The Portuguese Way along the Coast offers to its pilgrims unique views of the Atlantic coast, something that the traditional Portuguese way cannot offer because it goes inland. Its route along the Galician Rías Baixas is also a tourist experience in itself, with the advantage that, although busy, it is still not as crowded as the French Way.
By choosing the Portuguese Way along the Coast we will not only choose a route of medieval origin with great historical and religious importance, but we will also do it enjoying the tranquility and beauty of its landscapes at all times.
The Portuguese Way along the Coast begins in Porto and goes on for about 168 miles of distance, divided into 13 stages on foot until it reaches Santiago de Compostela. If we have two weeks we can finish this route completely, enjoying an unforgettable coastal landscape.
The Portuguese Way along the Coast starts in Porto, the second most important city in Portugal after Lisbon. It is a very popular destination throughout Europe, and not just for pilgrims. At this stage we start from the Porto Cathedral and continue along the Douro River. The path continues between flat wooden walks that will allow us to enjoy the Portuguese beaches bathed by the Atlantic, as well as churches, gardens and other landscapes of great beauty.
This stage here begins across a beautiful wooden bridge that will take us to the beach. This will be the landscape that will follow us to Vila do Conde, where we can enjoy the historic center, the San Juan fortress, and its beautiful aqueduct. Then we will continue to Póvoa de Varzim, a place that will offer us many food and leisure options to enjoy the rest of the day.
In the stage that starts at Póvoa de Varzim we will find various types of paths, starting at the Church of San José and continuing along a promenade where we will enjoy beautiful beaches. We will then continue along a dirt road, more wooden walkways, paved sections and even an iron bridge. We will eventually finish in a sandy area until reaching Marinhas, where our day ends.
Ironically, this stage of the Portuguese Coastal Way has hardly any sea views. However, we can consider it one of the most beautiful ones on this route, since we will enjoy an unforgettable path along the Neiva river on stone slabs until we reach Viana do Castelo. After crossing the Eiffel Bridge, we can contemplate the beautiful historic center of this town, or even take the funicular that will take us up to the temple dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Viana will undoubtedly be the perfect icing on the cake to finish the day.
The last stage in Portugal is one of the longest but also flatest, so it will not be of much difficulty. On this stage we enjoy again the views of the coast, besides finding different military fortifications and even windmills along the way. Upon our arrival in Caminha we will find the Miño river marking the border with Spain, which we will have to cross on the next day to say goodbye to the Portuguese country.
From Caminha we will enter Spanish territory by crossing the Miño river by ferry, something quite funny being a pilgrimage route. Galicia will welcome us with Mount Santa Tecla, which we will cross to continue along the coast. In this stage we will find several viewpoints to the sea from which we can enjoy beautiful panoramic views. Besides, we must stop in the municipality of A Guarda and pay a visit to the Monastery of Oia.
The first part of this stage runs along the coast to Cape Silleiro. Then, it continues through the mountains of Baredo until reaching the town of Baiona. The Camino goes on here through its historic center, allowing us to see the most beautiful of this fishing village. In fact, many pilgrims decide to end this stage in Baiona, while others continue to cross the river Miñor by its Romanesque bridge to Ramallosa.
Here we are presented with two options on our route. We can choose to follow the official way with its yellow arrows and enjoy the Saiáns forest park; we will then enter Vigo through the Castrelos park, where we will see the Pazo Quiñones de León. The second option is marked by green arrows, which in this case will take us along the coast to Vigo. If we choose this alternative we can enjoy the Galician coastline and beautiful views of the Cíes Islands.
At this stage the alternative of the Camino por la Costa ends, since from Redondela we will continue along the Central Portuguese Way. But first we have to enjoy on this day the so-called "water route", in addition to the mountains of A Madroa and Trasmañó, and beautiful views of the Vigo estuary. From here we will continue enjoying the views of the Cíes Islands and the Rande Bridge, until reaching the beaches of San Simón. At our entrance to Redondela we will meet new pilgrims who have arrived in the town from the Traditional Portuguese Way.
The stage that goes from Redondela to Pontevedra is relatively short and does not have much difficulty. During our route we will pass through Arcade, a village famous for its oysters. We will then cross the beautiful bridge of Pontesampaio, of medieval origin with ten arches. The stage goes along a section that belongs to an itinerary of the 19th Roman road, created in the 11th century to link Braga and Astorga. We will finally arrive in Pontevedra, where we can enjoy this city and its extensive historical heritage.
After leaving the church of La Peregrina in Pontevedra and crossing the O Burgo bridge over the Lérez river, we will leave this town and continue along a route that runs parallel to the railway line, which we will have to cross at one point. After the forests of Reirís or Lombo da Maceira, we will go through different typical Galician villages until Caldas de Reis, known for its spas and water sources with medicinal properties, such as As Burgas, located in the center of the town.
In this stage we will find a less flat path than in the previous one, but we will continue through forests and villages, until reaching the Romanesque church of San Xulián before Pontecesures. Here we will enter the province of A Coruña after crossing the Ulla river, to continue our way to the town of Padrón, known for its famous green peppers. After this, there is only the last stage of the Portuguese Way to Santiago de Compostela left.
The last stage of the Portuguese Way awaits us. This is an easy route until the town of Teo, where it will continue with several slopes and an important ascent like the one that we will find when arriving in O Milladoiro, a few kilometers from the Galician capital. Throughout this day we will be walking the path that the disciples made with the remains of the Apostle Santiago until Compostela, where they finally gave them rest. The majestic cathedral awaits us in Obradoiro Square as a reward for our long journey, in addition to the impressive historic center of Santiago, where we can celebrate our arrival in any of its many venues and restaurants.
If you are looking for accommodation in the main towns of the Portuguese Way along the Coast, here we show you some options depending on the location, from Porto to Redondela, where this Portuguese Way along the Coast joins the traditional Portuguese Way.
Enjoy the best of the best coastal landscapes and feel the sea breeze from your window.
Póvoa de Varzim
Viana do Castelo
The French Way (Camino Frances) is the most popular one, but there are many other ways you should know.