Notes on the Portuguese Camino

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If you have any questions that I haven’t covered here, please feel free to comment 🙂


  • Portuguese Camino Packing list

  • Total distance recorded: 670.4km or 416mi. All distances recorded with a Garmin 62s GPS

  • Is a GPS necessary? No, but I like to record my distance and make daily tracks. I did refer to it and google maps on my phone daily from Lisbon to Tomar where there was a definite lack of arrows and it was hard to find or follow the way.

  • Phone Coverage – I bought a Portuguese Sim card from Vodafone at Lisbon airport for 25 euros and this gave me 1GB of data, unlimited texts and I can’t remember how many minutes of calls, but I never used it all. When you cross over into Spain you can use the data (on roaming until it runs out), or pick up a Spanish sim card in Spain.

  • Do I recommend this walk? Yes. The “toughest” days were from Lisbon to Tomar because of the lack of arrows and amount of road/highway walking but I know from my conversation with the lady from Via Lusitana they are trying to improve the arrows and move the camino off the roads where possible. (2017 – they’ve done a great job of limiting the highway walking and the arrows are much much better, there are also more accommodation options to walk shorter distances).

  • Did I enjoy it? The first week of walking from Lisbon there was a heatwave with temperatures (in the shade) of 38 degrees. Because of this I started leaving early in the morning (around 4am / 4:30am) to try to arrive in each destination by midday so as not to be walking through the afternoon sun. This was a tough week because of the heat and also because of the distances between albergues / pensions / hostels. It was also a lonely week as I didn’t meet any other pilgrims for the first 8 days and during this time I was often the only person staying in the accommodation. I have to admit, the first week felt like an endurance test, but once the heat subsided and I met a few pilgrims, I started to enjoy myself a lot more. The towns the Camino walks through are simply stunning, ancient and really do make this Camino a very special walk.

  • Shoes or boots? I’m generally a fan of shoes over boots anyway, but especially on this walk with the amount of road walking and only the occasional rocky terrain, I think boots would be overkill. Keep in mind this is personal preference.

  • Do you need to speak Portuguese? I don’t ashamedly and I was able to get by, in fact, most of the people I met spoke terrific English. Now obviously, if I did speak Portuguese it could be argued that I would have had a much more enriched experience and I don’t disagree with this, but if you don’t speak Portuguese and don’t have time to learn, please don’t let this put you off from going.

  • Is June a good time to start? Yes, even though there was a heatwave in the high 30s during my first week, once this subsided daily highs were around 25 degrees but got cooler the further north I went. I had only about 2 days of wet weather during this time.

  • Via Lusitana is the Pilgrim Association set up for the Portuguese Camino and they have a 24hr helpline (which I called from Tomar), their number is (+351) 915 595 213


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10 responses to “Notes on the Portuguese Camino

  1. Hi Kat. I’ve enjoyed reading about your camino Portuguese. I was a month or so ahead of you. From Lisbon to Porto we seem to have walked an identical camino, staying in the same albergues, albeit I split a couple of the longer stages and took a couple more days to reach Porto. We have many similar photos and the same methodical way of presenting our blogs. Although my camino remains very fresh in my mind and I don’t need any reminders, I enjoyed retracing my footsteps through your words and pictures. Thanks, Maggie


    • Hi Maggie, I’m new to the blogging world so please forgive me for not having had a chance yet to comment on your blog, BUT, your blog was such a source of inspiration for me during my camino! It was funny, when I was in Tomar I met an Irish lady who had planned to walk from Lisbon but due to the heatwave had changed her plans to start walking from Porto instead… anyway, we were talking about the walk and how I hadn’t met anyone and she asked me if I knew about your blog. I said yes and that I had read half of it before I came away and was going to read the remainder once I made it to Porto – she then mentioned something about you and Elly going separate ways and it was like a spoiler – I had no idea and so I had to jump online and read the remainder of your blog!
      I love how positive you were each day and how descriptive your posts were. Here is the thank you, thank you, thank you I never had a chance to say during my camino!
      Where will your next walk be?
      Buen Camino,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Kat, sorry for the delay in responding, have been visiting family for ten days. Thank you for your kind words. I am glad my blog was useful, as yours will be to others. Very funny about the pilgrim in Tomar. Elly and I have been in touch a couple of times since completing the camino. It is incredible that you can spend practically 24 hours a day for 20 days with someone previously unknown, in almost complete harmony. It was a great experience, and then I really enjoyed the second section walking on my own from Porto.

        It has given me the courage and desire to walk the camino Mozarabe from Málaga next year where I don’t expect to see anyone until I reach Merida on the VdlP, although I didn’t expect to meet many pilgrims between Lisbon and Porto and there were many more than I thought would be the case.

        I shall look forward to reading about your future travels.
        Best wishes to you


  2. I know there are a lot of roads and highways between Lisbon and Porto. Is there a lot from porto to Santiago as well? I am planning a 2 week walk of the Camino next summer and am trying to find the route with the least amount of busy roads.
    Thanks for any help or advice.


    • Hi Nicole, I do remember walking on quite a few roads on this stretch too (Porto to Santiago), they were smaller roads but still busy. The Camino Primitivo can he walked in just under 2 weeks and doesn’t really walk on any roads – it’s a beautiful camino through the mountains of Asturias and Galicia…


  3. Hi, Kat, you are my idol! I am going to walk behind your footsteps. CP in April/May, 2016, and Shigoku in November, 2016- hopefully.
    I can get my camino questions answered in other forums, but unfortunately info on the temple tour is not widely available. I am concerned about the cost of lodging for 40 days or more in Shigoku without getting a second mortgage.

    Can’t wait to start my CP next month!


  4. Hi Kat.
    I have been reading Your blog for two years and I have liked it very much. If it is helpful, I dont know, but it is lovely to read your attitude how you take the steps to come. Of course the packing lists and waymarks etc are interesting, but personally I do not want to be too much prepared to anything to come. So no quide books, no GPS etc for me. As I say “I believe in yellow signs” 😊.
    Having good experiences from caminos of French, Primitive and Portuguese Coastal I now believe in helpful people too. And that forces me to take contact to the locals which is the best of everything.
    Anyway, Buen Caminos.



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