Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compestella, Spain
Total estimated length: 278 kilometers/173 miles,
with 4121 meters (1.30%) of cumulative gap climbs


Camino Costera de Santiago de Compostela, which translates as “The Coastal Way to Santiago de Compostela,” is one of the routes within a network of pilgrims’ ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried.  It is also known as Camino Portugues, or The Portuges Way.

My pilgrimage on this route will begin in the city of Porto, located along the Douro River estuary on the coast of northern Portugal.  It will then follow along the Douro River, progress north crossing the country’s five main rivers—the Ave, Cávado, Neiva, Lima and Minho—before entering Spain and passing through Padron on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

I’ll arrive in Porto a day in advance to make sure I have enough time to explore the historic and picturesque city.  Classified as World Heritage and Capital of Culture and Tourism, I think it would be wrong not to.  It is currently the second largest metropolitan area in Portugal.  But Porto’s settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire.

While there, I first want to visit some of the churches, beginning with The Porto Cathedral.  The stern-looking facade lacks decoration and is rather architecturally heterogeneous, but clearly exhibits its original 12th-century defensive role, as can be attested to by its buttresses, arrow loops and crenelations.

In contrast to the relative simplicity of the Porto Cathedral, I also want to see: the intricate gilded moldings and carvings on the vaults and walls of the Church of Santa Clara; the tilework on the side facade of the Igreja do Carmo, and; the clock on the tower of the Clérigos Church.

Before leaving Porto I also plan on visiting the narrow streets of the riverside area known as Cais da Ribeira, and the wide open plaza known as Praça da Liberdade, as well as take in the Foz do Douro Lighthouse, the Luís I Bridge, and the Casa da Música.

Day 1:  Porto to Vila do Conde
(Distance: 28 kilometers/17 miles)

I will begin my pilgrimage in Porto at St James’ Anglican Church Porto, an International English-speaking Christian community in the Anglican Tradition.  

Heading north, I’ll stop at Igreja Nova do Carvalhido (The Parish Church of Carvalhido), an architecturally-modern church that stands in stark contrast to the more traditional churches and cathedrals of the city. 

While there, quick visits should be in order to the Convent of Santa Clara and the Rate Monastery, as well as the Igreja Matriz de Vila do Conde, a Catholic church classified as a Portugal National Monument.

Forte de São João Baptista – sturdy 17th-century fortress, embedded in a platform of rock right on the beach.

This fortification was active for 200 years, not least due to its strategic location, defending the shipyards in the Ave River from attacks by pirates and privateers.

In the 1980s, after the fort had been abandoned for decades, the decision was made to transform it into a boutique hotel with just eight suites.

The Cividade de Terroso was a sizeable Bronze Age settlement, ringed by three defensive walls defending scores of homes for hundreds of people.

The oldest parts of these ruins are almost 3,000 years old.

But there are also thrilling traces of Roman settlement from the 2nd century BC when the streets were paved with stones still in place and grooved to allow rainwater or sewage to flow.

Day 2:  Vila do Conde to Esposende
(Distance: 22 kilometers/14 miles)

The way to Esposende, a city from the Middle Ages, is lined with seaside landscapes and a variety of small fishing villages, where I will look to experience ancient traditions linked to the exploration as well taste the famous coastal gastronomy.  So perhaps I’ll stop for lunch in Vila do Conde, which is the approximate halfway point for today’s ride.

I hope to arrive in Esposende early enough to take in some of the sites.  Although I will have my own bike with me, you can rent a bike for free if you hand over your ID at the city’s tourist office.  Regardless of which bike I am riding, some of the sites I want to see in Esposende include:  the terraces of the Santuário da Senhora da Guia that host a chapel, gardens, a fountain, a monumental cross and statues of people important to the area;  the windmills of Parque Natural do Litoral Norte, and; the  Forte de São João Baptista de Esposende and adjacent lighthouse.


Home pt
bike shops:

Day 3: Esposende – Caminha
(Distance:  45 kilometers/27 miles)

We’re reaching to Viana do Castelo, another sea docking city also holding a huge importance during the Discoveries. During the XIV-XVth Centuries it was in this precise city that the ships were developed to be departed to Brasil, India, Africa and other Portuguese colonies.

Still, in the district of Viana do Castelo, our destination will be Caminha. This city finds the delta of the river Minho, being part of the incredible landscape. Caminha is also very well-known for its natural and green heritage, like the sightseeing areas, waterfalls, beaches and the camping park.

Day 4: Caminha – Baiona
(Distance:  33 kilometers/20 miles)


Castro de Santa Trega

Lighthouse of Cabo Silleiro,

unfurling along a small peninsula to the west of the town are the walls of the 16th-century Castillo de Monterreal.

Since the 60s the castle’s inner buildings have housed an upmarket Parador hotel.

Baiona was the first port in Europe to receive the news of the discovery of America.

Day 5: Baiona – Redondela
(Distance:  34 kilometers/21 miles)


Day 6: Redondela – Caldas dos Reis
(Distance:  39 kilometers/24 miles)


Day 7: Caldas dos Reis to Padron
(Distance:  17 kilometers/11 miles)


Day 8:  Padron to Santiago de Compostela
(Distance:  23 kilometers/14 miles)



Day A:  Santiago de Compostela to Vilaserio
(Distance:  36 kilometers/22 miles)


Day B:  Vilaserio to Muxia
(Distance:  47 kilometers/29 miles)


Day C:  Muxia to Fisterra
(Distance:  29 kilometers/18 miles)