Azambuja – Santarem

29 March 2018


It’s only the 3rd day, but my body is already protesting to walk another 30km today! I remember, after walking the Camino Frances last year, that the first week was the biggest challenge and then, from there it started to get easier … so, only 4 more days to go.

Although today’s stage has no hills and the terrain is as flat as a pancake, it is a long day on our feet and the last 2.5km will be a very steep climb to Santarem. The weather forecast is still sunny for today (but that could change tomorrow).

We left Azambuja shortly after 7:00 and were treated to the most beautiful sunrise among the trees on a quiet road.


A beautiful sight – sunrise outside Azambuja

A muddy walk:

As we turned into a wide farm track, we could see the evidence of heavy rain from a few days ago. We had to choose our steps carefully so as not to end up in the mud.


A muddy farm track about 2km after we left Azambuja

However, it was a lovely walk on quiet country roads with only the occasional car or two passing us. As we walked past an “Aerodromo” (airfield), I looked back and saw the fields behind us in the most beautiful shades of green. At that moment it felt like pure Camino!


P Camino - 7 (Santarem) (Medium)

Different shades of green fields as we continued our walk towards Santarem

About 10km into our walk, we came to the small town of Reguengo. It was interesting to see the high flood barrier on one side of Reguengo with the Tejo River just on the other side. Sometimes we walked on top of the flood barrier where you could see the river and then we came back to the road to see if we could find a café … we seriously needed coffee!


Walking on top of the high flood barrier enabled us to see the Tejo River

Café Campino:

We saw a small café on our left as we walked on top of the flood barrier and carefully walked down to drink that all important coffee. Café Campino also offered sweet pastries and we shared one between us.


Coffee and a sweet pastry at Café Campino

The people in these small towns are very friendly. They may not always speak English (this is Portugal after all) but they always had a big smile and wished us “Bom Caminho”. It is true that it may be very different from the Camino Frances, but the Portuguese Camino did not lack hospitality!


Another tiled house – a trademark of Portugal

The village of Valada was only 2.4 km further where we saw bigger cafés than the one in Reguengo, but we continued our walk as we already had something to eat and drink.


Welcoming sign at Valada

No facilities for the next 16.2km:

In Porto de Muge we stopped to buy water and sweets to take us to Santarem. There are no facilities for the last 16.2 km and you should make sure you have enough snacks and water for this stretch.

On the way to Santarem we occasionally saw the Tejo River. The road also took us past a variety of crops and the wide farm tracks opened up all the way to Santarem.

Tranquility on our way to Santarem

And then, tired from almost 30km of walking and with 2.5km to go, we came to the steepest hill ever! It’s always hard to explain just how steep some of these hills really are, but trust me … it was STEEP!

A steep hill at 2.5km before Santarem


An old Roman road next to the main road on our way to Santarem


A welcome sight – We are now in Santarem

When we arrived in Santarem, we stopped at the very first café to have a beer – that steep climb took all our energy!

Accommodation – Santarem:

Our first proper albergue on the Portuguese Camino:

We decided to spend the night at Santarem Hostel. We got the last 2 bunk beds that were available in the albergue (and probably also in the town). There was a big football tournament in Santarem and with almost every bed occupied in the town, we could probably count ourselves lucky to have found accommodation for the night.


Our first stay in a proper albergue (as we know it) on the Portuguese Camino – bunk beds

There were no washing machines in the hostel and we had to wash our clothes by hand. About half an hour after we hung our clothes on a drying rack, it started to rain. We had to scramble quickly to get all wet clothes inside and hung them around our beds (and crossed our fingers that they would be dry by the next morning).

A great meal:

It was raining very hard when we went out looking for a restaurant. We literally ran to the very first one we saw and our luck was in, it was a typical Portuguese restaurant where the owner could only speak a few words of English, but what a treat! He made us feel so welcome and served us a delicious meal. I wish I could remember the restaurant’s name to recommend it to fellow pilgrims because the food and hospitality of the owner made it an unforgettable evening!

A good combination: Delicious traditional Portuguese soup and the friendliest owner of a restaurant you will ever meet

After a big cup of the creamiest cappuccino I’ve ever tasted, we headed back to our hostel. We spent some time in the communal area reading and watching football on the television before going to bed.

As for tomorrow … another 30km day of walking!

Click here for Day 4 …


5 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 3

  1. 30km.+ every day, you are one fit couple! I love that little restaurant and the restaurateur’s friendliness does not surprise me in the least, I find the Portuguese to be extremely hospitable people. No Pastel de Nata today?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh dear, how sad and very unusual anywhere in Portugal. They are not exactly the kind of thing that would survive well in a Bergen either so you cannot even “load up”.

        Liked by 1 person

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