Portuguese Way

27 Stages | 620km

The Portuguese Way of St. James is the second busiest route of the Way of St. James.

From Lisbon, it draws a line from south to north that passes through important Portuguese cities and towns, such as Santarém, Coímbra, Oporto, Barcelos, Ponte de Lima and Valença do Miño, until it crosses the international bridge over the Miño River and enters Galicia through the town of Tui. Already in Galician lands, the route runs through the entire province of Pontevedra until it reaches the city of the Apostle.

Our journeys of the Portuguese Way of Saint James

Portuguese Way Information

Why choose the Portuguese Way?

This is one of the most historic and most travelled routes. A perfect itinerary for any pilgrim, as it has one of the smoothest routes of all the Jacobean routes.

A Camino designed to enjoy, learn about the different Portuguese and Galician cultures, and immerse yourself in exciting natural and rural landscapes. You will enjoy admiring the ancient forests and millenary crossroads, following in the footsteps of other pilgrims who, like you, have walked this route since the Middle Ages.

What to see on the Portuguese Way?

Where to start the Portuguese Way?

The Portuguese Way has its starting point in the Portuguese capital. From here to Santiago de Compostela there are approximately 600 kilometres. If you want to do the whole route, you will need at least one month to complete the 27 stages.

It will undoubtedly be a spectacular adventure in which you will immerse yourself in the culture and history of Portugal until you reach the land of Galicia, two sister lands that share many similarities.

Porto is the city par excellence to start the Portuguese Way. From this point, the presence of the Camino becomes more evident as we find better signposting and a variety of services offered to pilgrims.

From Oporto to Santiago de Compostela you have 240 kilometres ahead of you, which you can comfortably cover in 12 stages.

If you have little time to do the Portuguese Way, Tui is the perfect place to start. From this point you only have to travel 120 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela, perfect for a one-week holiday. The Galician section of this route has everything you need to enjoy an extraordinary experience: the best gastronomy of the estuaries, designation of origin wines, beautiful landscapes of vineyards and fields and a wealth of history and monuments.

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Stages of the Portuguese Way of Santiago

History of the Portuguese Route

The Portuguese Way began to develop in the Middle Ages, taking advantage of the river, sea and land routes traced by the Romans and Muslims. Its origin may be, according to some historians, in a political path of reconquest and expansion of the kingdom of León. But the truth is that when Portugal emerged as an independent kingdom of Castile and Leon there were already two consolidated routes linking the cities of Coimbra and Santiago, one by land and the other by sea.

The river and maritime routes were the most used, since they allowed to move faster. But sometimes these routes could not be used due to big storms, so land routes began to take hold. Undoubtedly, the great event that consolidated the overland itinerary of the Portuguese route was the pilgrimage of Isabel of Portugal, known as Rainha Santa, in the 14th century. In her will, the queen earmarked a large sum for the maintenance and development of pilgrims’ hospitals in the Kingdom of Portugal, which meant a great improvement in the pilgrimage routes and their infrastructures.

Another aspect that helped to consolidate the Portuguese Way of St. James was the presence of the Order of the Knights of St. James in Portugal. This order defended the border of Extremadura and offered protection to the pilgrims, making the Camino much safer.

The pilgrims who made this journey were mostly Portuguese, but there were also a large number of European pilgrims from different nations.

Finally, we can speak of a period of decline of the Portuguese itinerary and a subsequent resurgence. This new boom took place at the end of the 20th century, practically parallel to that of the French Way. Thanks to the efforts of public institutions and associations of pilgrims from Galicia and northern Portugal began to signalize, recovering the route known as the Central Way. Soon after, other itineraries were added, such as the Portuguese Way along the Coast and the Inland Way, as well as other alternative routes. The success of this revitalization was such that the Portuguese route has become the second most frequented itinerary of the Camino de Santiago, after the French Way.

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