FROM OPORTO TO A GUARDA (113KM)
If you decide to take the Portuguese Way along the coast, you should know that the Jacobean itinerary begins precisely from Oporto. In this modality we propose you to make the first stages of this Portuguese Way from Oporto to A Guarda, covering the northern stretch of the Portuguese coast. We assure you that on this route you will find one of the most charming sections of the Portuguese Way, which leaves no one indifferent. You will make your way through lush forests and spectacular landscapes, which will make way for some of the most important villages in northern Portugal. As an added value, you will walk along the Atlantic coast during the entire route and the sea breeze will accompany your steps.
Arrival in Oporto
Oporto is the second most populated city in Portugal. This beautiful and bohemian city is home to a large number of heritage sites and cultural legacies from Portuguese history. We recommend that you arrive in the city in the morning, leave your accommodation and go out. You can start your visit at Avenida dos Aliados, the heart of the city, a landmark for the Portuguese people and a place for many cultural events. Drop by Praça da Liberdade and walk to the famous and beautiful Librería Lello e Irmão. Afterwards and immediately next door, it is a must to visit the Clergy Tower. The town of Oporto is, in short, a magnificent start to the Portuguese Way.
To have a snack we recommend you try the famous “francesiñas” and for dessert, a cream cake. After lunch you can go down for a walk to the Ribeira, passing by the São Bento station and the Cathedral. Porto is a wonderful city to get lost among the streets of its monumental area… cobblestones, tiles, colors, wine, culture and tradition meet among its narrow streets.
Oporto – Matosinhos – Póvoa de Varzim
With this stage you start your Camino, having a distance of 30 km totally close to the coast. The route begins at the cathedral of Oporto, to go down to the banks of the Douro and continue along the river walk to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean, in the place of A Foz. From here, you will follow the route through wooden walkways that alternate with well paved bicycle paths, crossing the towns of Matosinhos, Leça de Palmeira, Lavra and Angeiras. On your way, you will find several forts, chapels and churches of great beauty, as well as endless beaches and several parks. You will pass by the Castro de Sampaio, the ruins of a small Iron Age village, and continue along the beach, passing by a natural reserve, leaving behind churches, aqueducts and convents, until you reach Póvoa de Varzim.
Póvoa de Varzim is a perfect stop to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach in its large sandy areas. One of the iconic places of this town is its aqueduct, declared a National Monument. Of great cultural interest are also the Fortress of Our Lady of the Conception, the Church of Mercy and the Chapel of Santiago. But without a doubt, you can’t miss a walk through the traditional Barrio dos Pescadores, along Paseo Alegre and Rúa da Junqueira, appreciating the beautiful tiles of Manueline architecture and enjoying the rich local gastronomy: fresh fish; and for the more carnivorous, the famous picaña
Póvoa de Varzim – Esposende
At this stage the natural ecosystems will be the main protagonists. You will cross the Litoral Norte Natural Park, a protected natural area that consists of diverse habitats: majestic beaches of fine white sand with imposing dunes, vegetated dunes, interesting tree formations, wetlands and estuaries, an important fauna and traditional crops located very close to the coast line because they are fertilized with the “sargassum” seaweed. After crossing the iron bridge over the river Cávado you will reach the end of your stage: Esposende.
Located at the mouth of the Cádavo River, the most representative feature of Esposende is its privileged natural coastal environment. On a cultural level, this town has two important museums: the Maritime Museum and the Municipal Museum. As for its heritage, you can visit several religious sanctuaries, the Castro de São Lourenço, the Church of Mercy, or the Fort of São João Baptista, among others. Finally, gastronomically we recommend you to try the star dish of the area, “Polve de Esposende”, a stew of octopus, potato and cabbage.
Esposende – Viana do Castelo
From Esposende, the route continues through the Litoral Norte Natural Park, crossing mountain ranges, beaches and dunes. After visiting the church of San Bartolomé do Mar, you will arrive at the mouth of the Neiva River, entering the municipality of Viana do Castelo. During the last stretch, you will walk a few kilometers away from the coast and return to Rodanho Beach, entering a forest trail. Finally, you will cross the river by the Eiffel Bridge, thus entering the beautiful city of Viana do Castelo, which has one of the most beautiful and best preserved historical centers in Portugal.
A place with seafaring roots, Viana do Castelo will be the perfect place to enjoy a good cod, a food very associated with Portuguese gastronomy. If you stroll through its historical center, you will reach the Praça da República, where you can see the Misericórdia building and the chafariz (fountain), built in the 16th century; also in this square, you can visit the Casa Consistorial. As for religious buildings, you should visit the cathedral, of Romanesque style, and the Church of the Agony.
Also known as the city of the gold filigree, this city also offers you diverse cultural plans like visits to the Museum of the Suit, the Museum of the Chocolate, the Museum of Art and Archaeology, or the Ship Gil Eanes.
Viana do Castelo – Vila Praia de Áncora
During this stage the level of difficulty will decrease, as it is a shorter stretch and flatter terrain. You will leave from Viana do Castelo Cathedral and can choose whether to continue the route along the coast or go inland. We recommend you to continue your journey along the coastal section, where you will pass by many beaches, promenades and coastal paths. This route is a quiet walk, in which you can enjoy the views and meet heritage elements such as the windmills of Montedor. As you complete the journey, you will leave behind towns such as Areosa, Carreço and Afife, until you reach Vila Praia de Âncora.
Being already very close to Galicia, Vila Praia de Âncora is a place of fishing tradition, belonging to Caminha. The most remarkable thing is its enormous and wild beach, where you can walk until you reach the Lagarteira Fort, an old military fortress with a starred plant. Another icon of the town, you will find it in the center: the dolmen of Barrosa, a good example of the megalithic of the peninsular northwest.
Vila Praia de Ancora – A guarda
On this day you begin the last stage of this Way. You will start from the beach of Vila Praia de Âncora and pass by the beach of Moledo, until you reach the town of Caminha. From Caminha you will have to take a ferry to cross the Miño river, and arrive at Camposancos (A Guarda), thus crossing the natural border between Portugal and Galicia. From this point, you will have to ascend the Santa Tecla Mountain, to continue later by the way located parallel to the coast. A short distance away you will have reached your destination and the end of the stage, A Guarda.
A Guarda is a small village located in a privileged natural environment, the majestic estuary formed by the Miño River at its mouth. A must see is the panoramic view of the estuary, where the river meets the sea, from the highest point of Monte de Santa Tegra. Perhaps precisely, the Mount of Santa Tegra is the most recommended place to visit, for its views and its well-preserved Celtic forts. Once in the center of the village, you can walk around the port and taste some of the local gastronomy, specialized mainly in fish and seafood.
In A Guarda you finish this stretch of the Portuguese Way along the coast from Oporto, which could well be the beginning of many. On this last day you will wake up with one more road in your lives, but not a road of miles, but of experiences, emotions and new friendships.
We encourage you to continue the Way from A Guarda to Santiago de Compostela! Thus completing the Portuguese Way along the coast initiated from Oporto.
** After leaving the accommodation, our services will be concluded.
THIS TRIP INCLUDES
- 7 days/6 nights in the chosen accommodation
- Backpack transfer service (1 package – máx. 20 kg.)
- Credencial (Pilgrim’s passport)
- Telephone assistance service 24/7
- Travel assistance insurance
- Single room supplement: 125 €/pax
- Breakfast: 45 €/pax
- Half Board: 140 €/pax
- Extra night in Oporto: 95€ double / 70€ ind.
- 395 € pax double room
Guesthouses and Hotels
We have selected for you the best accommodations available on this route. We combine the rest in small and cozy pensions with superior quality hotels to ensure you the best experience in your Camino de Santiago. Our personal recommendation for the Portuguese Way from Porto to A Guarda.