PORTUGUESE CAMINO – Big Cities (5)

TUI (Spain)

Today’s post is not so much about a big city on the Portuguese Camino, but much more about the scenic coastal walk from Porto to Tui in Spain. Although Tui is our next big city, there is a very good reason why we can’t show you much of this city … all will be revealed towards the end of this post.

As always, here’s a reminder of the big cities we’ve covered so far on our Portuguese Camino:

  • Lisbon – what a wonderful start to our Portuguese Camino back in 2018. The buildings, food and even the hilly streets – we loved it! You can read about our first big city on the Portuguese Camino here.
  • Tomar was our first real medieval city we came across. We enjoyed a rest day here and had a delicious meal on a cold Sunday afternoon. You can read about our second big city here.
  • Coimbra is home to one of the oldest universities in the world and the oldest in all of Portugal. Although we didn’t visit the university, we did see quite a few beautiful old churches. You can read about our third big city here.
  • Porto is definitely a strong contender as one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. We spent two days here – on a bus and in a boat – and would not hesitate to visit this lovely city again. You can read about our fourth big city here and here.

We apologise in advance – you’re going to see a lot of pictures now. The coastal route from Porto to Tui is truly spectacular. Sometimes we exchanged the lovely sea views for a walk through the beautiful forests.

Did we have rain? Oh yes! Did we get lost? Oh yes – so much so, that we walked a total distance of 44.3km in a single day (when crossing the border)!

To get to our next big city, we had to cross the border and walk over the International bridge between Valenca (in Portugal) to reach Tui (in Spain). It took us 5 days to reach Tui and we covered a distance of 163km (101 miles).

Here are some of the highlights of probably the best five days of our Portuguese Camino:

Day 16: Vila do Conde (33.8km):

Our first day on the coastal route from Porto started on a day without walking in the rain! The rain only started when we walked into Vila do Conde where we wanted to spend the night. That’s probably why this was such a nice day on the Camino!

Out of Porto and on our way to the next town, Matosinhos

Camino signs and a church – familiar views on the Camino

The boardwalk along the sea was an absolute pleasure to walk on

We never tire of those lovely ocean views

Traditional stone fisherman’s houses (“Casas do Mar de Angeiras”)

Wooden bridge over the Onda River between Lavra and Labruge

Our favourite part of this day’s walk – ocean and boardwalk

It was a long day on our feet, but we were so glad we could walk a whole day without getting wet. However, as we walked into Vila do Conde, a light drizzle welcomed us … an indication of what to expect the next day!

Igreja e Mosteiro de Santa Clara (Monastery founded in 1318 in Vila do Condo

(You can read about the hiking of Day 16 here)

Day 17: Esposende (24.2km)

Our old friend, the rain, was back! Sometimes we had to seek shelter in a café and other times we just put on the hoodies of our rain jackets and carried on. But, through the rain, we still appreciated the beautiful surroundings around us.

Replica of wooden ship built in 16th century in Vila do Conde

I made time to pose with an unnamed woman on a bench

By the time we reached Povoa de Varzim, we experienced torrential rain. But even in the rain, one could not miss the beautiful azulejos tile paintings (“Paineis de Azulejos”) that stand along the beach wall of Praia do Leixao.

Beach wall of azulejos tile paintings

Closer look at the azulejos

Back in our rain jackets

Camino shells and a windmill

Boardwalk vs Cobbled walkway – I know which one I prefer

(You can read about the hiking of Day 17 here)

Day 18: Viana do Castelo (25.6km)

We are not superstitious, but hoped that this day – Friday the 13th – would not bring bad luck (especially regarding the weather). And indeed, we had no rain all day. We decided to exchange the beautiful sea views for hiking through the forests on this day.

Leaving Esposende early morning

A hiking day in the forests

The terrain was quite challenging at times

We had to cross this stone bridge over the Nieva River

In Igreja we heard the beautiful sound of church bells. The Santiago de Castelo do Neiva is the oldest consecration to the apostle yet found outside of Spain. We walked into the church where we signed the register and received a small packet of cookies to enjoy along the way.

Santiago de Castelo do Neiva in Igreja

Muddy pathways in a forest

The Lima River estuary and Viana do Castelo beyond

Scenes in Viana do Castelo

Monte Santa Luzia seen from the square in Viana do Castelo

(You can read about the hiking of Day 18 here)

Day 19: Caminha (35.1km)

To reach Camina, our last overnight stay in Portugal, we had to walk 26km from Viana do Castelo. But we lost the yellow arrows a few times and ended up walking more than 35km. But there was good news: It didn’t rain – yeah!!

Early morning and we were back at the sea

Stone windmill along the beach of Viana do Castelo

Breakfast with a view

To try and get back on track, we went for a walk on the beach

Back on the welcome boardwalk and we could see Spain

Famous bunk beds in our albergue in Camina

The ladies’ bathroom was interesting

Other good news was that the albergue, Albergue Peregrinos de Caminha, celebrated their 6th birthday and all pilgrims were welcomed with a piece of cake.

Birthday cake – Happy days

(You can read about the hiking of Day 19 here)

Day 20: Tui, Spain (44.3km)

It was a challenging day! We lost our way (for the second day in a row) and walked an extra 15km. And it rained, but thankfully only for an hour or so … always something to be thankful for. But it was also an exciting day because we crossed the border between Portugal and Spain.

Early morning after we left Camina

The wrong way, but beautiful scenes

Back on the right track, we continued our walk along the Minho River

Ancient stone bridge, Ponte medieval da Veiga da Mira

We reached Valenca, our last town in Portugal, in the late afternoon. The atmospheric old citadel sits high above the Minho River, with most of it dates back to the 17th century. We wished we had more time to spend here, but after more than 40km we had to walk another 3.5km to our overnight town of Tui.

Walking into Valenca

Citadel in Valenca

Citadel in Valenca

After walking in Portugal for almost three weeks, we finally reached the border to enter Spain. We crossed the International bridge and boom! just like that we were in Spain!

International bridge

Goodbye Portugal

Crossing the bridge

If you stand in the middle, I suppose you’re in two countries at the same time

Hello Spain

The Portuguese Camino continue in Tui, Spain

With 44.5km on the clock for the day there were only two things we wanted to do. Drink a beer and find a bed … in that order!

THE best beer ever

(You can read about the hiking of Day 20 here)

We had a great time in Portugal, yes even despite all the rain and after we got lost on the road a few times. In our next post, the last one of this series, we take you with us again to the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela.

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45 thoughts on “PORTUGUESE CAMINO – Big Cities (5)

    1. Dit is ver – jy is nie verkeerd nie 🙂. Maar wanneer ‘n mens dit stap en net dag vir dag neem, kom jy nie agter hoe ver jy stap nie … dis eers wanneer jy by die einde kom, dat jy half verstom is oor hoe ver jy nou eintlik gestap het.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. While I often rant about modern technology, I have to remind myself of what it affords us, such as the ability to follow your incredible walks and to see your wonderful photographs. I enjoy them so much. 44+ km in one day?OMG! How many pairs of shoes have you guys worn out?! I was looking through my old passport wallet last night and was amused to find a few band-aids (plasters) in it. I always got blisters but nothing on your scale! Walking by the ocean must have been wonderful.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoy our overview of the Portuguese Camino – we certainly do 🙂. That 44km was definitely not planned – if you look at the photo where I am standing on the ancient bridge with my arms folded, you will probably see on my face that I am not impressed at all! Walking along the sea is one of my favourite routes – many pilgrims find it boring, but for me it’s just incredibly beautiful (and hearing the waves is definitely therapeutic). Shoes? Only one pair the entire route – can you believe it? But my sandals were done after the Camino – Berto still walks in the same boots (after walking more than 1,500km in them)!

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      1. Salomon boots work very well for Berto, but they are too heavy for my feet. Hiking sandals and I are best friends – we imported Bedrock Sandals from the US and I love hiking in them!

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    1. Hmm, I have to admit … that 44km was definitely 10km too far! When I look back now, I can’t believe we did it – but you will know very well: When you are in the moment, you sometimes do things that you later think were absolutely crazy!

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  2. Congratulations for making it across Portugal and to Spain! Every time I read one of your posts, I am amazed by your tenacity. You guys are living a dream that most of us can only, well…dream about. Love hearing about your adventures and seeing your photos.

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    1. It was quite a milestone for us to cross the border from one country to another (not driving, but walking 😄). I think we all have a little adventure in us, don’t we? I’m so glad you “walked” together and enjoyed the photos – it was just so incredibly beautiful that one have to share it!

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    1. Thank you very much Sarah. You’re right, Portugal is a beautiful country – I’m glad we got to explore it on foot. If you look closely at that photo of me standing on the bridge, you can actually see my disgruntled facial expression (well, my folded arms speaks volume 😉) … that was after 44km of walking!

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  3. Wow, you managed to complete 44 kilometres in one day? That amazing! Just by looking at your beautiful photos, I can see that there are many reasons to put Camino Portuguese on a wish list especially as the route covers three UNESCO World Heritage cities, Lisbon, Porto and Santiago. Not to mention other incredible historic places, magnificent and varied scenery, food and wine, I suppose I could go on and on… Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Ha, I don’t think I would just walk 44km out of free will … it was more forced 😉. You’re right, we were privileged to walk through the UNESCO World Heritage cities – one as beautiful as the other! Thanks Aiva for popping in, have a great week.

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  4. The views of the coastline look lovely. And how nice to finally see some blue skies and sunshine after dealing with so much rain. Sounds like a nice mix of enjoying nature and small towns. Despite some gloomy weather, as you said, at least your surroundings were beautiful.

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    1. Oh Linda, I can’t tell you how welcome that blue sky and sunshine was! It was definitely a good idea to alternate the coastal route with a day or two in the forests – best of both worlds, I presume 🙂.

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    1. Thank you Han 🙂. Yes, the sunshine was very welcome – it’s more the type of hiking weather I like (and am used to)! It was a LONG day – luckily it was by a river and I love walking by water … but then again, not necessarily 44km in one go!

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  5. Absolutely beautiful and scenic coastal walk from Porto to Tui in Spain but it must’ve been exhausting! I’m happy that I could come along though on this walk by just reading your post, thank you for sharing Corna🌸💕

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    1. Oh, that coastal walk was such a beautiful part of the Portuguese Camino! I wouldn’t mind walking this stage again (and then maybe trying not to get lost again 😉). Thanks for coming along – we appreciate it! 💞

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