Bike Tour in the Portuguese Camino - By the Coast, from Porto
The coastal variation of the Portuguese Camino will take you from Porto to Santiago de Compostela on a bike tour by the medieval and romanic cities of the north of Portugal and Galiza. Always accompanied by the ocean, this is a less demanding ride than the Central Camino but an equally rewarding one as you'll visit the coastal medieval towns and villages of Vila do Conde, Póvoa do Varzim, Viana do Castelo and Vigo, just before you join the central route in Redondela to continue the route to Santiago.
/ Cycling the camino is an epic journey turned bike tour, a pilgrimage that started in the 9th Century with the discovery, in Galiza, of the remains of St. James. In 1325, the Portuguese queen Isabel made a pilgrimage to Santiago following a route very similar to the one that today is marked with yellow arrows, crossing the then recently built Barcelos bridge; Now it’s your time to trail the Way of St James.
/ Start cycling the Camino in the city of Porto, settled in the 4th century during the roman occupation, visit its UNESCO world heritage sites and its unique traditions, architecture, port wines and cellars. Riding the Way of St James, you'll feel like a citizen of the world, where several languages are spoken as one, passing through amazing medieval villages like Ponte de Lima, Barcelos and Valença, with typical traces from the northern Portuguese architecture and art.
/ The portuguese way of St James is made of trails and dirt tracks, ancient roman roads, municipal roads and even alongside modern roads. It’s of an enormous diversity and there’s always a surprise on every bend.
/ Immerse in the scenario of Minho and Galicia, while cycling the Camino, the roads and trails of the woodland areas, small villages and “pueblos” that still seem to be in the Middle Ages. Enjoy this regions’ gastronomy, rich in variety and flavor, a true feast for your senses. Taste the Port and Green wines, so typical of the Minho region and stay in some of the best hotels in the Way of St James.
/ Arrive in Santiago de Compostela, designated UNESCO world heritage site and admire the shrine of Saint James at the end of your pilgrimage.
Type of Terrain: Rolling/mixed/mountain, with some roman stone pavement, macadam trails and ocean side views. Cycling the coastal path, you'll experience the historical coastline of Minho, riding by Vila do Conde, Viana do Castelo and Caminha, and the cross over to Galicia, exploring it's small villages and pueblos, medieval cities like Baiona or Vigo, up to Santiago de Compostela.
Mountain stages: Mountainous area from to Baiona to Pontevedra, surrounding Vigo.
Hilly stages: Most of the Way of St James is a constant up and down, a characteristic of crossing the Minho and Galicia.
Pick up from the airport and transfer to the Ipanema Park Hotel or riverside Pestana World Heritage hotel (included in the "premium" option), located in the Ribeira, the city’s iconic living postcard. You have a free afternoon to visit the beautiful and cozy city of Porto, rich with history and monuments like the Clérigos Tower and the D. Luis Bridge. The old quarters of Baixa with its local shops, restaurants and pastry shops, Ribeira a quarter by the river Douro, facing the wine cellars of the Port wine, full with the city’s traditions and historical connection to the wine and the wine country of the Douro. Shopping areas such as Santa Catarina and Aliados Avenue. Not to miss are the great restaurants around town with some of the tastiest food in the country.
After breakfast, you’ll start your adventure through the city of Porto cycling from your hotel, descending Sé Velha and Mouzinho da Silveira street, to Porto’s riverside, riding the cycle paths alongside the Douro river, untill you get to Leça da Palmeira. From here on, you’ll start following the yellow arrow’s by Portugal’s coastline, towards the north. From Leça da Palmeira, the Camino will be a mix of cycle paths, paved roads and walkways all the way until you reach the historical city of “Vila do Conde” and the beach resort plus fishermen’s town of “Póvoa do Varzim” – both of which are good options for lunch. After “Póvoa do Varzim”, keep riding through the small fishermen’s villages until you reach Fão, where you’ll turn left, towards the ocean once more and the pinetree forested area of Ofir, staying for the night in Axis Ofir hotel or Hotel Parque do Rio ( included in the "premium" option)
After breakfast at the hotel, start your day riding north, crossing the river to Esposende and alongside the Cávado river – then through the quaint villages of the north of Portugal. At km15 you’ll start climbing and entering a more technical trail until you cross a very narrow bridge across the Neiva river – another climb will follow until you reach Viana do Castelo, across the river, where you will be able to see te “Santa Luzia” church on top of the nearby mountain range. The historical city center is a good option to stop for lunch and visit. After Viana, keep riding north and inland, through the mountain range – some urban single tracks and ancient paved roads will follow, until you reach “Vila Praia de Âncora”, from where you’ll ride the Ecopista, by the shoreline, until you reach your hotel, “Portas do Sol”, just outside Caminha or Caminha "Design & Wine Hotel" (included in the "premium" option)
Leave Caminha by ferry boat (there’s one every hour, except on Monday), towards “A Guarda”, entering Spain. This day offers no big climbs, just ups and downs until you reach Bayona, a beautiful coastal town. Meanwhile, enjoy the medieval villages across the galician coastline, tasting wonderful tapas and seafood along the way. Stop in Bayona for lunch to admire this beautiful city and rest at the local "Parador", located by the Marina of this piscatory city. This is a short but sweet ride, to prepare you for your next day, which is the toughest ride of the wek, so take your time to relax in Baiona!
This might just be the toughest day of your Camino! After breakfast, resume your ride towards Vigo which is 25km away, tackling a short, but steep climb to reach Saigráns and to experience one of the most beautiful views in the region: Vigo’s “Ria”, where the sea water mixes with the river, and you’ll be able to see the “bateas” where mussels are produced (a local delicacy) and the Ciés islands in the background – a natural park in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. You will then descend into the busy city of Vigo and then back up, towards a mountain range that overlooks the Ria de Vigo – 12km of macadam trails overlooking the Ria, followed by a descent towards Redondela – from Redondela, the “central camino” and the “coastal camino” become one! Another climb near Cessantes and then a descent to cross the Verdugo river over the romanic bridge of “Ponte Sampaio”. One final push after and then, from km28 on, it’s a long descent until you reach Pontevedra and its beautiful Parador right in the middle of it’s historical center. Take your time to explore Pontevedra’s center on a walk at nightime by the Galician plazas of Ourense and Ferraria, where you’ll find the city’s Basilica and Chapel.
After breakfast you’ll continue your pilgrimage feeling you’re already getting close to Santiago. You’ll notice another change in the landscape since you’ll be abandoning the coast and returning to inland Galicia, with its lush green woods and forested areas. Your hotel of the day is located in Padrón a village known for being the cradle of Galicia and for its Green Peppers, the Padrón Peppers. Take some time to visit the village, climb to the Santiaguiño do Monte lookout point, visit the botanical gardens or Toxa waterfall and taste the food, If you’re adventurous and it’s in season try the Lamprea. Check in at our Hotel Pazo de Lestrove.
After breakfast you’ll begin the last stage of your Way of St. James. This will be a small test to your will and tenacity as the route starts going uphill almost from the start. You’ll go through small villages and churches with clear signs that the end of the Way is near. When you arrive visit the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, end point of your pilgrimage. Compostela is a millennial city with places and monuments that deserve a visit, such as its plazas in the central area of the old town, the narrow streets and traditional markets. Check-in at your hotel, Virxe de La cerca or the epic Parador de Santiago (included in the "premium" option), and then dedicate the rest of your afternoon to visit the pilgrims office and discover this medieval city's traditions, culture and heritage.
Hotel – Virxe de La Cerca or Parador de Santiago de Compostela (included in the "premium" option)
Breakfast at your hotel, followed by check-out. At scheduled time, transfer from Santiago de Compostela back to Porto airport.