Sao Joao – Porto

9 April 2018

0.0km (Bus day)

35.8km (If you walk this stage)

Not walking today:

It was raining, bitterly cold and my feet hurt … so yes, we took the bus 😔.

We were woken up by rain falling hard and continuously against our window! I gave Berto just one look and after 21 years of married life, he knew exactly what “that look” meant: I was determined – no walking today!

UPDATE ON FOOT INJURIES & WEATHER: In addition to the four blisters, I now also had an additional large blister on the bottom of my left foot that made it almost impossible to walk. And in this rain, I just didn’t have the energy or willpower to try to balance my walk between painful blisters, a painful ankle and the pouring rain!

A week ago we booked accommodation in a hostel in Porto because we wanted to explore this beautiful city before continuing our Camino. Hopefully two days of rest in Porto should give my body enough chance to recover for the last leg on our Portuguese Camino!

Berto became the “ultimate partner” and took the bus with me to Porto. (It is of course also possible that by this time he had also had enough of walking in the rain).

Taking the above into account, we cannot give you an overview of the walking route between Sao Joao and Porto. However, we read in our Brierley guide that there was a short section of an old Roman road through woodland (it should be beautiful) but that the rest of the road was pretty much a slog into the city center along hard pavements. Maybe we didn’t miss that much on this stretch, but I always feel miserable when I don’t walk a stage on the Camino.

Get on the bus, we’re going to Porto:

After having a coffee to try to beat the cold, we walked to the bus stop and bought two tickets for €8.50 to Porto. We left Sao Joao in pouring rain and drove into Porto in pouring rain.

Beautiful Porto:

Even though it was gray and raining, our very first glimpse of Porto gave us an idea of ​​just how beautiful this city is. We crossed the Rio Douro (River of Gold) and instantly fell in love with Porto!

Accommodation – Porto:

Oporto Music Hostel

Although we wanted to start exploring Porto right away, our first priority was to find our hostel. We got on the metro for a 15 minute ride to Oporto Music Hostel. It’s a beautiful hostel with very friendly staff. We ended up in a tiny room – there was literally just enough space for a bed and our backpacks. However, it was a HUGE double bed with luxurious linen … far more than any pilgrim could ever wish for!

Exploring Porto in cold weather:

After checking in, we immediately took the metro back to the historic city center. It was very cold. But we really wanted to see this city – even if it meant that we had to put on almost all of our clothes to stay warm.

We walked down to the rio Douro to drink steaming cups of hot coffee as well as to eat something at one of the many restaurants on the banks of the river.

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Berto in front of the statue of Henry the Navigator

The historical center of Porto was declared a World Heritage site in 1996 and in 2001 Porto was chosen as the European City of Culture


Colourful buildings on the bank of rio Douro

The magnificent bridge Ponte de D. Luis I over the rio Douro

We walked across the famous bridge Ponte de D. Luis I to also explore the other side of the river bank.

On the other side of the river with the historical center of Porto in the background

Tasting port … in Porto!

And then it was time to taste the famous port of Porto! The oldest port wine lodges in Portugal can be found here and there are several restaurants offering port tasting sessions. In this cold weather we couldn’t think of anything better to do!

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Port tasting … and they were all good!

Rabelo boats:

We also stopped at the famous rabelo boats on the rio Douro. These boats were used to transport barrels of Port wine from the Douro Valley vineyards to the Port Wine Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia – these days they lie quietly on the river.


Rabelo boats on the rio Douro

Dark clouds appeared in the sky and as we walked back to the historic center, it started to rain again. It was the perfect opportunity to have a late lunch. After a while of searching, we managed to get seats inside a small restaurant.

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Lunch in a pan – chorizo, olives and pickled cauliflower

Miraculously, the sun came out just after we had our lunch and we continued our exploration of the city. It was still freezing cold, but at least it wasn’t raining. We walked to the famous main train station which was inaugurated in 1916. The grand entrance hall is breathtakingly beautiful with over 20,000 tiles reflecting the history of Portugal.

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The main train station was named after the Benedictine monastery, Sao Bento

Magnificent entrance hall with over 20,000 tiles covering the walls

It was getting late and we could sense that more rain was on the way. Although we didn’t walk far today, my feet complained. We took a few more photos as we slowly walked back to the metro.

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Porto’s buildings are beautiful

The plan for tomorrow:

Tomorrow we plan to enjoy a ride on the Hop on Hop off bus to see more of Porto (at least then I won’t have to walk). We bought snacks on the way to our hostel and spent the rest of the evening in the communal hall. We didn’t meet any other pilgrims, but it was nice to have pleasant conversations with the locals.

I can honestly say that Porto is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen and we were looking forward to exploring more of this city tomorrow.

Click here for Day 15 (rest day) …


9 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 14

  1. Like Lisboa, Porto is another place I really want to visit not least because I love port as I said on another post here. I really love the white port but it is very expensive in UK and not easy to get. As well as port I love anything to do with railways and that station really is spectacular.

    How did you feel walking over that bridge, I know you don’t like heights?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we also like a good port (of which there is plenty here in South Africa) … we always make sure we have a few bottles over winter!
      Fortunately, that bridge had a lower section for pedestrians to cross the river – I would not have it on the top one 😳

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly, I feel for you. I was persuaded once to go on the London Eye and it was possibly the most frightening 40 minutes, or whatever it is, of my life – never again.

        I knew RSA has a very distinguished wine culture, although I know nothing about wine, but for some reason I had never even considered that they made port. I am not sure that I have ever even seen any here in UK although I have never particularly looked for it, I must do that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I’m also no wine connoisseur … but we do have great wines here in South Africa. We won’t pass easy on a bottle of Pinotage 😉. And for port, you won’t find better than Boplaas Port (and not far from us – how conveniently!)

        Liked by 1 person

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