Camino Portugués: Central Way

a.k.a. Caminho Portugués (in Portuguese) and Portuguese Way (in English)

Portugal Camino (Central) Map
Length:388.5 miles
Steps:881,399 steps
Burned:49,946 calories (14.3 lbs)
Hiked:Sept 17 to Oct 27, 2016
Walk Trail!

Many pilgrim paths lead to Santiago de Compostela, but the Portuguese Way is among one of the most popular alternative options for getting away from the increasingly crowded Camino Francés. We've listed two different Portuguese routes on Walking 4 Fun, the other being the coastal route from Porto to Santiago (and beyond).

This route, the central route, begins in Lisbon, the beautiful capital of Portugal and home to several UNESCO sites. The route passes through multitudes of small villages and towns and through farms, forests and the countryside. You'll walk pass ancient forts, cross over medieval bridges and follow in the footsteps of countless thousands of pilgrims who travelered before you on their way to St. James's final resting place in Santiago.

Although a pilgrimage route, the trail is open for people of all faiths and from around the world.

If you've decided to virtually walk the Portuguese Way, you'll likely be trying to decide whether to do the coastal or central route—or both. In fact, I had so much trouble trying to decide which route I wanted to hike, I wound up doing them both! When I flew out to Lisbon, it was my intention to only walk the trail once. It wasn't until a month into my journey that I decided to do them both to make sure I missed nothing!

The coastal route will have more ocean and beach views, while the central route more often has you walking through farms and forests. Amanda joined me for the coastal route so you'll see photos of her much more often on that route, but she did ditch it near the end and stayed on the central route for two stages. So she'll show up on both routes, but she shows up much more often on the coastal route.

The biggest difference between the two is perhaps their starting points. Both trails go through Porto, but the central route begins in Lisbon—over 200 miles (320 km) away from Porto while the coastal begins right there in Porto. The central route ends at the cathedral in Santiago—the traditional end of the pilgrimage—while the coastal route continues on to the 'end of the world' at Fisterra then on to Muxía.

For those planning to do a real-life journey on the Portuguese Way, I'd suggest the coastal route. While the central route has its moments, I think the beaches and oceans on the coastal route are prettier overall, less crowded and very few pilgrims have the time or desire to start way back in Lisbon. Porto is a much more popular starting point and probably a better fit for most people's schedules.

But they're both wonderful trails, and regardless of which one you do, you're not likely to be disappointed!

 Stage NameLength
(miles)
Position
(miles)
1.Lisboa → Alverca do Ribatejo21.40.0 → 21.4
2.Alverca do Ribatejo → Azambuja18.421.4 → 39.8
3.Azambuja → Santarém20.139.8 → 59.9
4.Santarém → Golegã20.359.9 → 80.2
5.Golegã → Tomar18.480.2 → 98.6
6.Tomar → Alvaiázere19.198.6 → 117.7
7.Alvaiázere → Rabaçal20.2117.7 → 137.9
8.Rabaçal → Coimbra18.3137.9 → 156.2
9.Coimbra → Mealhada14.9156.2 → 171.1
10.Mealhada → Águeda15.8171.1 → 186.9
11.Águeda → Albergaria-a-Velha10.7186.9 → 197.6
12.Albergaria-a-Velha → São João18.1197.6 → 215.7
13.São João → Porto21.3215.7 → 237.0
14.Porto → Vilarinho16.7237.0 → 253.8
15.Vilarinho → Barcelos17.6253.8 → 271.3
16.Barcelos → Ponte de Lima20.9271.3 → 292.2
17.Ponte de Lima → Rubiães11.2292.2 → 303.4
18.Rubiães → Tui, Spain12.0303.4 → 315.4
19.Tui → Redondela20.1315.4 → 335.6
20.Redondela → Pontevedra12.2335.6 → 347.8
21.Pontevedra → Caldas de Reis13.4347.8 → 361.2
22.Caldas de Reis → Padrón11.2361.2 → 372.4
23.Padrón → Santiago16.1372.4 → 388.5
Portugal Camino (Central) @3.5 miles
Sunflower!
Portugal Camino (Central) @34.7 miles
Sunflower!
Vineyards!
Portugal Camino (Central) @55.1 miles
Vineyards!
Porta do Sol, Santarém
Portugal Camino (Central) @61.0 miles
Porta do Sol, Santarém
Convento do Cristo, Tomar
Portugal Camino (Central) @97.8 miles
Convento do Cristo, Tomar
Fig trees!
Portugal Camino (Central) @103.1 miles
Fig trees!
Rabaçal, Portugal
Portugal Camino (Central) @137.9 miles
Rabaçal, Portugal
Minion!
Portugal Camino (Central) @145.6 miles
Minion!
Plastic bottle decorations
Portugal Camino (Central) @170.6 miles
Plastic bottle decorations
Águeda, Portugal
Portugal Camino (Central) @186.9 miles
Águeda, Portugal
Marnel River
Portugal Camino (Central) @193.0 miles
Marnel River
Portugal Camino (Central) @207.1 miles
Luís I Bridge, Porto
Portugal Camino (Central) @235.5 miles
Luís I Bridge, Porto
Praça de Lisboa, Porto
Portugal Camino (Central) @239.9 miles
Praça de Lisboa, Porto
Barcelos, Portugal
Portugal Camino (Central) @271.3 miles
Barcelos, Portugal
Ponte de Lima, Portugal
Portugal Camino (Central) @292.2 miles
Ponte de Lima, Portugal
Harvesting sap
Portugal Camino (Central) @298.8 miles
Harvesting sap
Portugal Camino (Central) @306.9 miles
Concello do Porriño
Portugal Camino (Central) @325.6 miles
Concello do Porriño
Ponte Sampaio over the Verdugo River
Portugal Camino (Central) @340.2 miles
Ponte Sampaio over the Verdugo River
Pilgrim mural
Portugal Camino (Central) @357.7 miles
Pilgrim mural
Food games
Portugal Camino (Central) @364.8 miles
Food games
Galicia specialty: octopus!
Portugal Camino (Central) @386.9 miles
Galicia specialty: octopus!
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