The Porto – Póvoa de Varzim stage is long. Starting at the historic Sé, part of the route is right inside the undefeated city. This urban trail is perfect for those who want to experience the contrast between the bustling metropolis and the inner peace of those who follow in the footsteps of Santiago.
However, as in a baptism, it is the water that brings the profound change. The appearance of the Leça River at the border of our eyes changes the landscape until we reach our destination for the day. In this way, it is the sea that guides us, and if you manage to do the 30 kilometers in the on the first stage (don’t worry, because there are places to rest if you want to finish earlier, in Labruge or Vila Chã, for example), you will be welcomed as if you had come home, in the pilgrims’ hostel, São José de Ribamar.
All the routes in Porto leave from the Cathedral, as if it were a tradition. From here you have to go into the city for a few kilometers. These first steps can be counter-intuitive, but the experience gets closer to nature with every step.
This small infrastructure has been in this location since the 13th century. This is the first moment we feel the difference between the previous settlement and the journey we are about to embark on.
The day’s stage is of great length. Therefore, you should rest when possible. This way, in this place other people have rested before you. Had they been old pilgrims or even fighters in the Portuguese civil war that pitted two brothers and two different ideas of statehood against each other.
This wonderful town on the Portuguese coast shares similarities with a small village where everyone knows each other. To arrive here is to stop for a moment to look at the sea and be dazzled by the small details of this town. It also has several hostels in case your legs start to weigh you down, like the “Eça now”. A calm and safe haven. We are welcomed by the majestic Santa Clara Convent, an imperial and future hotel to enjoy in Vila do Conde.
Right after Vila do Conde there is Póvoa de Varzim. You are welcomed by a new architecture, with a different pulse of life from the rest of the way here. The municipal hostel, São José de Ribamar, is owned by one of the friendliest hospitable people on the whole journey. A unique character.
Probably, no! The yellow arrows are well marked on the ground. If you happen to be in doubt, just look around and see in which direction the other walkers are going. Another idea is to ask someone how to get to the Church of Carvalhido.
Incidents tend to be minimal, and many people do the path alone. However, safety can be subjective. Many walkers make the path, so if you’re concerned, you can always ask for help.
This is the most urban stage of the Portuguese route. Upon entering Vairão, the difference in natural landscape is noticeable.