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DOURO VALLEY & PORTUGUESE COASTAL CAMINO

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Fares
  • Accommodation

A journey overview

  • Lisbon
  • Tomar
  • Porto
  • Guimarães
  • Viana Do Castelo
  • Redondela
  • Pontevedra
  • Caldas de Reis
  • Santiago de Compostela

19 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 13 Apr 2020
  • 1 Jun 2020
  • 31 Aug 2020

As the Way of Saint James emerged across Europe, all paths led to Spain’s patron saint’s final resting place, Santiago de Compostela. Today, we achieve our Compostela certificates, after walking along the most scenic sections of the Caminos, on a journey for just 18 guests.

Map

An ideal prelude to our pilgrimage, Lisbon’s terracotta rooftops and terraced hilltops invite us to bask in its mellow glow. Ushered into the Pousada de Lisboa, we enjoy welcome drinks over bite-sized petsicos, with the haunting strains of a Fado singer lingering long after heads touch pillows.

We learn of Lisbon’s leading role in world exploration and find testaments to occupations by Romans, Visigoths and Moors. From the coastal town of Cascais, we launch into an evening of tapas aboard our private sail boat. Breaking in our walking boots, we venture inland via the Pegoes Aqueduct to Tomar, whose castle still watches over the town. As evening falls, we arrive in the medieval university town of Coimbra, dining at Quinta das Lagrimas.

Sprawled along Portugal’s Douro River, Porto holds its own on the edge of the Atlantic. Narrow laneways lead to the São Bento railway station, while the Gothic and Baroque grandeur of Igreja de São Francisco church captivates. Wine-tastings punctuate a brief train ride to Ferrão, before a river cruise brings us to the pretty hillside village of Pinhão, perched high above the Douro, deep in the heart of Port country.

Bound for the coast, we thread our way along the Douro River in preparation for the Camino da Costa. We traverse this section of the Camino via boardwalks which snake along the shore. Scallop shells mark our path, and trees, walls and fences are emblazoned with yellow arrows in order to keep us on track. In Pedra Furada, the Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães is our base for two nights, a spectacular hideaway in 12th-century monastic surrounds.

We adjourn to Quinta da Avaleda for a cheese and wine tasting before exploring Guimarães, regarded as Portugal’s birthplace. Setting out on foot from Marinhas for the city of Viana do Castelo, we relish walking a path less trodden, until the skyline of Viana do Castelo shifts into view. We behold this ancient city’s blend of architectural styles from Manueline to Art Deco and modern-day. Here, we reside at the Pousada de Viana do Castela.

Crossing the Minho River, we arrive in the town of Caminha. Surrounded by sandy beaches, we linger here, reminded of the time only by the town’s clock tower. Crossing into Spain, we soon reach Vigo, sheltered by the Cíes Islands. Here, we may opt to explore the Cíes Islands, a significant birdlife haven, or join a wine-tasting tour and introduction to Galicia’s aromatic varietals.

Just north of Vigo, we turn our attention to Redondela, a pretty Galician town, where we ready ourselves for the final leg of our Camino way. We join the inland Camino, heading north to Pontevedra, in the heart of the Rías Baixas region. Historic towns and villages line our route, strung together by country lanes and forest trails. Once home to the Counts of Maceda, our accommodation is perfectly placed near the city’s Old Town.

We walk through pine and eucalyptus scented forests, before coming to the historic spa town of Caldas de Reis. We then turn off the Camino, to explore the town of Cambados. A gentle climb leads us across the river Umia towards the monastic complex Santa Maria de Carracedo. Dense forest and lush farmland flank our path via a string of hamlets and villages and we reside at the elegant A Quinta da Auga, within sight of Santiago de Compostela.

We begin our final day of walking the Camino. Grey stone walls edge our cobbled way into the city of Santiago de Compostela, before we reach the city’s cathedral. Here, we witness the age-old spectacle of the Botafumeiro, a giant thurible, swung from the cathedral’s heights to dispense a swirl of incense. Afterwards, we explore the city’s historic district, taking a closer look at the monasteries, monuments and museums that favour this city.

Brochure