Pilgrimaging with the permanent company of the ocean is a privilege of those who make the Portuguese Coastal Path through Littoral Trail. Being a modern variation of the better known Central Way, it starts in Porto and takes only 12 days to complete. However, like all millennial trails, this one is full of twists and turns. Come learn more about this stunning crossing in this article!
What is the Portuguese Coastal Way via the Littoral Trail?
Care to be taken on the Portuguese Coast Path
Also, despite the investments in recent years, the Coastal Way has fewer infrastructure, when compared to the Central one. In the lower months, such as in May, September or October this may not be a problem, as there is space for all the pilgrims. However, during Summer there is the possibility of feeling the millennial trail a little “crowded”.
If this is the case, the best thing to do is to plan well for all the stages and book your hostel reservations as soon as possible. You can use our website to get to know the best places.
For now, continue on in this article for a description of each of the 12 days it takes you to make the Atlantic journey.
Steps to do the Portuguese Way of the Coast through the Littoral Trail
The first stage along the coast begins in Porto and ends in the small fishing village of Vila Chã. From the Sé of the undefeated city you slide down to the banks of the Douro River and from there you follow its blue that will be the preferred guide for this crossing that you are about to begin.
The path is flat and, of all the days, it is the simplest, so you can start the journey without too much difficulty. You should pay attention to the proximity to the sea and reinforce the use of sunscreen.
This is the shortest stage of this journey and for a good reason. In the next few days the hikes will be long, so you need to rest your feet when you have the opportunity. What’s more, you will pass through Vila do Conde, one of the most picturesque villages in Portugal.
The route here is mostly by footbridges. The wind is the most complicated attribute for those who take this route. Slide down until you reach Póvoa and enjoy the night to rest and walk around this city.
In the Póvoa do Varzim – Marinhas’ stage you walk sewn to the sea leaving Póvoa de Varzim and so you will walk most of the way. Again, you have to pay close attention to the wind and the proximity to the sea, since it facilitates lesion by sunburn.
You also have in this stage iconic moments of the The Coastal Way – Litoral Trail such as the photogenic windmills of Apúlia that deserve a moment to be observed.
The Marinhas – Viana do Castelo stage takes you away from the sea, towards the sacred mountains of the millennial route. Although not difficult, some climbs after the Church of Santiago in Castelo de Neiva may make your muscles complain a bit at the end of the day, but nothing out of the ordinary.
When you feel like the walk by the sea is missing\, just look around. From the top, you see a glimpse of the wonderful Atlantic Ocean that calls to all pilgrims at this stage of the route. However, make the most of this journey into the deep green of nature. There are pilgrim secrets in every building.
On arrival in Viana do Castelo, go over the bridge and head towards the city. If you want to rest for a day, there are monuments to enjoy such as the Interpretive Center of the Portuguese Way of the Coast or, if you still have the strength, climb the 659 steps of the Santa Luzia staircase and visit the Brotherhood of the same name.
This is one of the longest stages of the next few days and, until you reach Vila Praia de Âncora, it’s always uphill. From this hill you will see small Portuguese villages with a unique and irresistible charm for those in love with this planted seaside corner.
Arrival in Vila Praia de Ancora is achieved through a descent, bringing you closer to the sea once again. Here, after a few kilometers, you’ll experience one of the most beautiful moments of the entire journey. Following a visit to the Chapel of Santo Isidoro, you’ll continue walking right alongside the ocean, close to the pebbles of times past, observing the majestic mountains you’ll soon be crossing. “Caminha” is a little-known secret for walkers, as it has everything you need for a restful night. It’s safe to say, “caminha” (bed) for the walkers.
The Caminha – Porto Mougás stage is a stunning adventure from beginning to end. It couldn’t start in a more different way, since you have to take a boat to Galicia. For the more distracted, just ask the people at the hostels, or where you are staying, to tell you the number or even book the boat (which takes up to 4 people).
After that, you enter Spain. If up to this point the trip had been made on the basis of pure improvisation, choosing the most desirable route on a daily basis, from here on it ends up being more certain and straight.
Despite the beauty of the cities and nature combined with the sea, you have long periods by the roads, which can make you feel unsafe while walking.
The Porto de Mougás – Saians stage is an undiscovered adventure. Starting in the small village, you tread a little busy road until you reach a dirtroad climb. Here the adventure for the day progresses.
From here it will be uphill all the way, where you see one of the most breathtaking views on the course so far, and you continue through Baiona. This fishing town, a place where many people stay, is a great place to rest and see the local village.
From here you can choose which route to take. Whether you go to see the sea, leaning against the beaches, or head inland. Saians is an excellent option to end the day, as the people in this neighborhood are dynamic and regularly host events in which all pilgrims are welcome.
The Saians – Redondela stage is the last stage before the unification of the way with the Portuguese Central Way. Despite being long and strenuous, you are captivated by beautiful cities and monuments.
Vigo, even though it is the largest city in Galicia, makes you comfortable in this region, especially for pilgrims who miss the atmosphere of the metropolis. However, it is not for everyone.
Leaving the port city is a return to the origins of the road, with many green areas in the mix and the wonderful neighborhood of Teis, with an emotional connection directly from the heart of the mountain.
The arrival at Redondela takes place in what for many is one of the most beautiful landscapes on the way.
The stage from Redondela to Pontevedra, following the long walk of the previous day, is a refreshing stroll showcasing the best that the route has to offer. Right as you leave the village, trails guide you through small villages and Galician woods. The landscape remains serene until you reach Arcade, a passage area for many walkers who are amazed by the impressive Sampaio Bridge. This location, where every corner tells the story of Galicia and Santiago, is one of those hidden treasures right in front of your feet, forgotten between two of the main cities on the route. However, if you’re tired or simply looking to snack on something, it’s worth noting that this is said to be where you can enjoy the best oysters in all of Iberia. For seafood enthusiasts, that’s quite a treat.
From here on, the Path thickens. Entering a forest path, you go up until you reach 147 meters of altitude. What you gain in natural beauty, you lose in calories.
In Pontevedra you come to one of the most iconic cities on the Portuguese route. Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know the various monuments here and the thousand-year-old churches set up in a car-free city center.
The stage from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis is a pleasant journey without major difficulties. After bidding farewell at the Burgo Bridge, the crossing becomes straightforward, with no significant inclines and an excellent array of churches and other religious monuments.
Vineyards surround the houses and accompany you along the path, which, due to its unassuming nature, allows you the time and desire to savor each step. Before rejoining the N-550 road, you’ll come across an area with waterfalls. It’s a small detour that’s worth the time.
Soon after, you’ll arrive in Caldas de Reis. You’ll be greeted by a tranquil village and a town center that invites you to rest and contemplate the journey you’ve undertaken thus far.
The Caldas de Reis – Padrón stage is, for many, one of the most beautiful of the whole Way to Santiago. In these last moments of pilgrimage, it is common to see more and more people on the routes, more accommodations and, mainly, more commerce on the roads that take us to the Galician capital.
With a small climb along the route, this journey does not present any major difficulties. Even local people walk these routes, as exercise for the whole family.
The next thing you know, we are in the middle of the Spanish forest, with ancient Roman roads, to get into the spirit of the first pilgrims. As a culmination, Padrón looks like a replica of a city from the ancient empire of Caesar Augustus, with its brown tones and architecture unlike the rest of the region. It is time to sit down and order the peppers that inherit the city’s name – Padrón.
The stage from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela marks a return to urban paths designed with cars in mind. After the Roman city, you begin to make your way through the last forest you’ll encounter. The remaining route retraces the road that has accompanied you throughout your journey: the N-550.
The crossing takes place in a space of social transformation, between villages and modern cities like O Milladoiro.
Arriving at the long-awaited capital is a whirlwind of emotions and feelings, always accompanied by pilgrims, visitors, and residents of the Galician capital. Following a straight line, we are greeted by the Chapel, Obradoiro Square, and for the end of our adventure.
It’s time to reap the rewards of the journey, rest, and start planning the next one.
So you can do the Portuguese Way of the Coast through Littoral Trail in 12 days
Crossing the coast, whether the Littoral Trail or the traditional one, is of immense beauty and a lingering pleasure in every step. Now we want to know your experience! Have you ever done this path? Are you thinking of doing it? Tell us all about it!