TOMAR (Portugal)

In December 2022, we started sharing a series on our blog with cities we encountered on the Portuguese Camino. We walked this Camino in March/April 2018. We are now continuing these posts. In case you forgot, here is the first big city we started walking from:

  • Lisbon was beautiful, old charm and very hilly! We started our 620km walk from here – a walk that took us 26 days to complete. You can read about our first big city on the Portuguese Camino here.

The cities on the Portuguese Camino are not as big as those on the Camino Frances in Spain. But that doesn’t mean it was any less attractive. We are again going to show some photos of the smaller towns/villages on our way.

Our first big city after Lisbon was Tomar. It took us 5 days and 167km to walk from Lisbon to Tomar. This meant that we walked a distance of more than 30km every day. Here are some of the highlights from those first five days:

Day 1: Verdelha de Baixo (32.7km):

It took us a long time to leave Lisbon behind. After about 8km we reached the Expo ’98 Maritime Park (Parque das Nacoes). Here we saw the amazing Vasco da Gama Bridge. This bridge, with a total length of 17km, was the longest bridge in Europe when it was opened in 1998.

Vasco da Gama Bridge

Beautiful tiled building in Vila Franca de Xira

(You can read about the hiking of Day 1 here)

Day 2: Azambuja (32.4km)

The biggest surprise on this day was the amazing murals we saw on a river path at Alhandra. Here are pictures of just two of them, but I think there must have been about 8 or 9 of these very creative murals.

Mural of a pilgrim

A dog on a leash

(You can read about the hiking of Day 2 here)

Day 3: Santarem (33.2km)

This was a day of walking through beautiful green farm fields. We also saw our first ancient Roman road.

Early mornings on the Camino are the best

Lovely shades of green on our walk

(You can read about the hiking of Day 3 here)

Day 4: Golega (34.4km)

We started walking in sunshine and ended the day in heavy rain showers! We walked through our fair share of mud, but also enjoyed beautiful scenery.

Here I’m trying to dry out in the village of Vale da Figueira

We saw lovely cork trees and a lot of mud

Threatening clouds and a green field

(You can read about the hiking of Day 4 here)

Day 5: Tomar (32.1km)

I woke up with a swollen and painful ankle and at one point considered taking the train instead of walking. But I pushed on, which I was very happy about, because we walked through beautiful forests.

A 16th century Parish church in Atalaia

Steep hill in a woodland

Bench with lovely tiled background

(You can read about the hiking of Day 5 here)


When we arrived in Tomar, we went straight to our accommodation, Hostel 2300 Thomar. Our room overlooked a cobbled street with lots of bars. I promise, I don’t know how we manage to choose our accommodation so well every time!

The view from our balcony and that very first beer after a long walk

Tomar was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction and one of Portugal’s historical jewels. It was constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the 4th Grand Master of the Knights Templar of Portugal in the late 12th century. (Wikepedia)

Republic Square (Praça da República) with the statue of Gualdim Pais

Restaurants along Republic Square

Fascinating door

We stayed a second day in Tomar to rest … and well, also because of my inexplicably swollen ankle/foot.

(You can read about our rest day in Tomar here)

A significant difference between left and right

As mentioned, Tomar is an ancient city with so much history and our rest day was actually ideal to explore this city. There is the castle, a medieval synagogue and some lovely churches to see.

But in the end, we just enjoyed a super nice lunch in one of the back streets and then crossed the Nabao River over the old bridge Ponte Velha to walk around the park and gardens.

Our view while enjoying lunch

Sunday lunch

Crossing the Nabao River over the old bridge Ponte Velha

Views of the city with the castle in the background

The next day we had to make a difficult decision:

  • Would I be able to walk further?
  • Should we end our Camino here?
  • What other alternatives do we have?

We will tell you all about it in our next post about big cities on the Portuguese Camino.

In Tomar


43 thoughts on “PORTUGUESE CAMINO – Big Cities (2)

  1. From experience with urban walking tours, I think camino walks would be the best way to experience a country and culture. You certainly got to see a lot of beautiful scenery many interesting sights up close and at a leisurely pace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right John. I can’t think of a better way to get to know a country than if you walk every day and talk to the locals. One probably sees places that you would never see if you were to travel by bus or car.


    1. Yes, the views on the Portuguese Camino were exceptional … especially between the smaller towns and villages. Haha, yes a Radler after every day’s walk was my highlight (and made me forget all about my swollen foot 😉).

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    1. Yes, that hostel was quite central – how come these hostels are always near a bar/restaurant? We left Tomar in a bus (in pouring rain) but we heard from quite a few pilgrims that walking out of Tomar was not easy. Sometimes the Camino has its challenges, right?

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      1. Oh, the rain 👀! We certainly had our share of that on the Portuguese Camino … but I suppose that’s what one can expect when walking in the spring, right? At least, your Camino is in early summer – so fingers crossed for dry conditions.

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  2. I’ll have to come back to read the section around Lisbon. That sounds interesting and I love that Vasco da Gama bridge. I was in Tomar in 2011 for the Festa dos Tabuleiros and it was so beautiful, and one of my earliest blog posts. I hope to go back this year.

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    1. We loved Lisbon … a bit hilly when you’re on foot, but we knew already in that beautiful city that we were going to have a wonderful Portuguese Camino – the people, the food … oh well, just the overall beauty of the city won our hearts ! We must have taken a 100 photos of the Vasco da Gama bridge – it’s incredible, right? And attending a festival in Tomar would be an absolute delight – it’s a place we’d love to go back to.


  3. Ah Portugal, Corna. Sladja has seen a bit, but I’ve never been. So pretty much all of this was a discovery for me. “Not as big cities” sounds just fine, thank you. This route has so much charm, the towns and villages you passed through full of colour, character, art and history. I’m assuming Villa Franca was a hotel, restaurant, or both? Of course you had your challenges with mud, rain and swollen bits. But is this the evidence of a proper hiking trip I think. And you got some great moody sky shots out of it all. Tomar looks so handsome, and a big yes to those Sunday lunches.

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    1. We definitely wouldn’t mind going back to Portugal again (and again)! The rugged beauty, friendly people … oh and their food just blew us away! Vila Franca de Xira is the town’s name. On this photo, we just entered the town and walked here through their municipal gardens. If I remember correctly, this photo was of their train station. Tomar is definitely worth a visit … I reckon we’ll have to go back! I think you guys will enjoy exploring this beautiful country together.

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    1. Oh yes, my sore ankle was a blow to long distance hiking! But hey, we made a plan 😉. I wholeheartedly agree with you Tricia – Portugal is a beautiful country and we have only the fondest memories of our time there!

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  4. The experience of walking the Portuguese Camino must live with you forever along with the views and people you met along the way. Interestingly, I’ve been invited on a press trip to Reading in Berkshire (southern England) next month and I noticed on the programme that we would be walking a short distance of the English Camino! https://www.visit-reading.com/ideas-and-inspiration/itineraries-and-breaks/pilgrimage

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    1. Every time we look at the photos, it’s like walking the Portuguese Camino again! We have such fond memories of this trip. Oh, I’ve read a bit about the English Camino – it looks very interesting! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it Marion – now you’re going to get a taste of what we experienced on our Caminos 🙂.

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    1. My swollen ankle was truly a mystery – I had no idea what happened (until a few days later) 👀 … I’ll tell you more about this in the next post. But you’re right Linda, Tomar was the perfect place to take a breather.

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  5. Tomar looks lovely with so many 12th century buildings and the black and white floor in Republic Square. I love your picture of the yellow fields under the dark storm clouds. Too bad about your ankle. Do you still have problems with it now? Maggie

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    1. Tomar is definitely a city of great charm – we loved its narrow cobbled pathways and the mosaic tiled square is so typical of this ancient city. Oh yes, that picture of the yellow fields and dark sky is also one of our favourites during the early stages of the Portuguese Camino! I have some discomfort with my ankle every now and then (especially when hiking long distances) and 5 years later it’s still a little thicker than the right ankle – a “good” reminder of our Portuguese Camino 😉.

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  6. Hier aan die einde van die eerste aflewering staan ek klaar verstom oor jou uithouvermoe, Corna! Vyf dae in en jou enkel is duidelik verskriklik seer en natuurlik is mens bekommerd dat jy nog erger skade gaan aanrig. Ek lig my hoed!

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    1. Ek dink nie ‘n mens moet sommer inspring en vir die eerste 5 dae elke dag 30+km stap nie … ek was dalk oor-optimisties! En op ‘n manier kan ek nog blase op my voete hanteer, maar met die geswelde enkel was dit nie so maklik nie. En jy’s reg, in my agterkop het ek besef dat ek dalk lang termyn skade kan aanrig … daarom sal jy in die opvolg post sien dat ek bietjie meer verstand gebruik het 🙂.

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    1. Yes, I don’t know what I liked more on that day of walking – the murals or the tiled buildings! We have come across wildlife on our South African hikes, such as baboons, various antelopes and smaller animals … but (fortunately) never dangerous wildlife. I think on our Caminos in Spain and Portugal we only saw dogs, cats and cows 😁.


    1. You are right Ruth, Portugal indeed has its own charm … we loved the old world feel while walking there. Ah, those murals – it was a surprise to see there along the river. As for my ankle – I think I may have done more damage to keep walking (for a while anyway), but that’s the choices we make, right?

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  7. Corna, ek kan maar net in verstomming bly lees. Jy moet ñ super-fikse mens wees! 30km per dag, ek sou baie graag so iets wou aanpak, maar dalk eerder op 50. Nou se dae dink ek nie my knieë sal kan byhou nie.

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    1. Ek weet nie van super fiks nie 😉. ‘n Mens word eintlik stap fiks terwyl jy op die Camino is (en die feit dat die eerste 7 dae elke dag 30km was, het beteken dat ons nog nie regtig so stap fiks was soos ons moes wees nie). Ek dink hier het mens baie te doen met hoe sterk jy “mentally” is … dinge wat ‘n mens gedink het jy kan nie doen nie, doen jy! Wel, jy ken Fillipense 4:13 🙏🏻.

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