As an alternative to the interior Portuguese Route, there is also the Portuguese Route which leads by the Atlantic coast from Porto to Santiago. Magnificent landscapes, undiscovered places, sandy beaches, less pilgrims than in other caminos are the main appealing. This camino offers new feelings and experiences to those who have already walked Camino Frances or Camino Primitivo and a unique first contact with the Camino de Santiago to those who have not walked any camino yet.
From de city of Porto to Santiago de Compostela, you will discover wonderful Portuguese and Spanish towns and villages as Viana do Castelo, a Garda, Tui, Redondela, Pontevedra… this is a good way to experience one true camino, away from the crowds and near your own spirit, watching stunning coastal views along the way, finding out historical churches, monuments, old crosses and so many other things that will make you wonder.
These are some highlights that can make you decide that Camino Monacal is your camino:
- The Camino monacal begins in Porto, the relaxed and stunning UNESCO World Heritage city home of Port wine.
Porto a vibrant city, the grey color of the granitic building stones and the narrow streets and alley make it a fantastic place to wander. You should never forget to visit the Porto wine Cellars.
- The countryside and coastal scenery.
A wide range of landscapes await on Camino monacal, as pilgrims make their way from Portugal into Galicia: from the banks of the Douro River to green rolling hills and tranquil forests.
In Portugal you will walk throught the Natura Park of Litoral Norte, which is located between the rivers and the sea, the North Coast Natural Park stretches for nearly 18 kilometres between the Cávado River estuary and the village of Apúlia in a line of white sand dunes. Dotted with low vegetation that helps to anchor the sand, these dunes act as a natural barrier against the sea winds that give them their shape and prevent the ocean from encroaching upon the nearby farmland.
The camino will embrace the shore to Caminha, crossing several villages and towns on the way. The Scenery is very beautiful and the camino is not crowded at all. Arriving at Caminha Town, one medieval atmosphere gets into us, and Galicia is just across the Minho river mouth into the Atlantic.
After the ferry cross, the Camino will go via A Guarda, the little port is a good stop to find a restaurant for fresh fish. The costal scenery will continue to accompany us during the day, the terrain is not very rugged and after A Guarda town it is almost flat until Oia. From Oia onward the path runs near cliffs, and leads to cape Sillero where you will start to follow the ancient Vereda Real, old medieval road.
- Historical Towns and Villages on the Way.
Viana do Castelo is a Portuguese town. The old city still plays an important role, and it is an important place in the pilgrimage path for the Atlantic way. Nowadays it is a modern city but has managed to maintain one old town and little shops along its old streets. Well worth of visit to the top of famous Zimborio, there is a cable car to go to the top.
A Guarda , Tui and Baiona are nice historical places. Old Castles and old towns along the way will take the pilgrim into Vigo, one of the biggest cities in Galicia.
Then you will walk into Redondela and Pontevedra and Caldas de Rei, with remains of their medieval history, their narrow cobbled streets invite you to discover some of the most authentic Galician restaurants, bars and buildings. In Padrón you will be able to eat the popular “pulpo a feira” (Galician dish with octopus and paprika). You are almost getting into Santiago.
So, this is part of what you can find walking the coastal Portuguese Camino or Camino Monacal but the best is to experience it yourself and find out the essence of a true Camino.
Buen Camino, amigos!