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Not long ago, only a few people would make the 1,000-year-old pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. But the quiet years are over. Now more than 200,000 people a year spend anywhere from a week to several months along one of many routes leading to Santiago.
The Portuguese Way, or Caminho Português in Portuguese, is a fantastic route for those looking for a more rural experience than the one offered by the increasingly crowded Camino Francés, or French route. We will gather in Porto, the colourful city along the Douro that is home to port wine. For the next 10 days we walk to Santiago along a mix of coastal, forest and open countryside trails, passing terraced vineyards and sleepy villages along the way. Weather permitting, we will enjoy gourmet picnic lunches featuring local produce. At the end of each day, we will be driven to restored manor homes and 3- and 4-star hotels that offer the best in hospitality, comfort, and location. After a shower and a rest, we gather before dinner over wine and cheese to discuss pilgrimage-related literature from many traditions. We arrive in Santiago de Compostela, where pilgrims from around the world congregate on Saint John’s Eve, a traditional midsummer celebration in honour of San Juan. After a morning in Santiago culminating in the stirring Pilgrim Mass at the cathedral, we drive to Finisterre, the “end of the world,” with its own Camino traditions. This is a perfect way to finish the Caminho Português.
We will walk a little more than 160 kilometres or 100 miles total, covering between 9 and 25 kms (6 and 15 miles) a day. This trip is for those who are physically fit and accustomed to long-distance walking. We do have a van available for those who choose not to walk the full distance each day. We can advise prospective travellers on a training plan.
For more information, see our detailed itinerary. Take your soul for a stroll on the road less travelled.
“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much …”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Image credits: Portuguese camino, Turismo en Portugal on Wikimedia Commons.