Since I published my account of walking the Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain, I’ve had several people reach out with questions about my journey. Specifically, they asked if I could share my itinerary.
Other questions lingered over details: Where did I stay? What did I pack? How far did I walk each day?
I’m thrilled to hear from so many people who want to do this pilgrimage, so I’m making all the information from my Google planning doc and budget public here.
These were the accommodations available to me in June 2022 — I hope this information is helpful in planning your own walk of St. James.
Before the Camino: Two days in Porto
I arrived in Porto and checked into the Wine Hostel, where I had a private room with a private bath. I loved the walkable location of this property (and they give you a welcome glass of port upon arrival). I used these days to recover from jet lag and experience Porto, from its Port Houses to the wondrous tiles in the train station. Total cost for 2 days: 125€ /$128 plus a 4€ tax (the second fee paid in cash on arrival)
Two splurges from touring the city:
- A tour of Calem Cellars (17€ with premium tasting) For this price, you'll get a great tour educating you on how Port is made and the differences between the types produced. After the tour, you'll head to a tasting room to experience it firsthand.
- Entry to the famed bookstore Livraria Lello (17,90€ for entry and a souvenir book). I love a good bookstore visit and thus reserved my spot to peek inside its neo-Gothic and Art Deco interior of Instagram fame. But those viral posts have drawn crowds, so make your reservation in advance to skip the line. (A note here: Even with the regulated entry, I personally found the store too crowded to enjoy my visit. However, I thought it was lovely they were selling copies of The Little Prince in Ukrainian to raise money for those displaced by the war and do treasure the books I bought here as souvenirs.)
My itinerary on the Camino
I tried to keep my mileage on the Camino to around 10-12 miles/16-20 kilometers a day. Some days were longer, some were shorter.
A quick note on the figures here. I'm using the mileage as recorded on my Apple Watch — then converted to kilometers. For expenses, my currencies varied between Euro and USD since some of these places I booked through apps. I've tried to be as accurate as possible but please keep in mind that — as the saying goes — your mileage and costs could vary.
However, I hope this at least gives you an idea of what I walked and spent to help you plan your own pilgrimage.
Day 1 Porto to Labruge along the coast (14 miles/22 kilometers)
I had heard the walk out of Porto on the central route was a slog along busy roads, so I chose to follow the river from the Sé Cathedral and walk along the coast to Vila de Conde.
Where I stayed: Albergue São Tiago de Labruge (20€) It’s basically the town albergue (hostel) with lots of beds in open rooms/mixed dorm setting. No breakfast included. I did not have a reservation here, just walked in upon arrival because everything else was full in town. I used my sleeping bag here as I found it more comfortable than the bedding provided.
Day 2: Rates (14.23 miles/22.9 kilometers)
On this day, I crossed over from the Coastal route to the Central route.
Where I stayed: Casa Anabela (35€). I had a private room, shared bath and breakfast along with bottled water and port wine. I booked this the day prior to arriving via email.
Note: Across the street from the guest house, I was able to get a pilgrim’s meal (which typically includes soup, main course and wine) for 11€. I chose a main course of chicken/rice/salad, but you'll find a variety of choices. I found the meals hearty and a great deal.
Day 3: Barcelos (8.91 miles/14.3 kilometers)
Must stop along the way: Michelin recommended restaurant Pedra Furada. Open for lunch from 12:00 to 15:00. It was €11 for the lunchtime pilgrim’s meal of soup, main of salad/chicken/rice and a drink. The meal was delicious and made me wish I could be there to experience their dinner menu. The owner, Antonio, used to also have an albergue here but it is currently being used to help house Ukrainian refugees.
Where I stayed: Casa da Ana Boutique Guest House (69€/$70.35). I booked this place in advance. I almost cried when I arrived and realized I’d have to walk upstairs to get to the room. But, the room was wonderful, had a rain shower (!) and included breakfast. Also, they own the pub below (where they also have breakfast in the morning) which also has tables on the small square. Great location and the chef in the pub (after we’d been sitting there quite a while) asked if we wanted to try some authentic Portuguese food –then just started bringing us plates. It was marvelous.
Note: If you’re looking for a rest day early in the trek, this is a great spot.
Day 4: Facha (11.9 miles/19.1 kilometers)
Where I stayed: Casa De Fernanda (20€). If you do research on the best hostels on the Portuguese Way, Casa Fernanda will pop up over and over again. Fernanda runs an albergue along a section of the Camino where there are few other options, but you wouldn’t want to pass it by anyway.
I hobbled in and she immediately brought an ice pack. Not long after, she whipped up appetizers of Padrón peppers and cod fritters, served along with wine allowing all her guests to relax while talking to other travelers in the garden.
Dinner was held in the evening with plenty of wine, port and singing followed by breakfast the next morning. She charges €20 (to be dropped in the box in her kitchen by the window) but I think once you experience her generous hospitality, you’ll understand why I urge you to drop in more voluntarily. I don’t know where she gets the energy, but Fernanda greets every visitor like they’re a long-lost friend finally visiting her home in Portugal.
Make a reservation well in advance by calling her landline +351 914 589 521 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Day 5: Ponte de Lima (8.13 miles/13 kilometers)
Where I stayed: Old Village Hostel (25€/$25.49). I booked this in advance. I had a private room and a shared bath plus breakfast here. This place was really nice but I wish I had stayed closer to the center of the city, which is stunning and was having a monthly outdoor market the day I was leaving.
Note: I wish I had planned a rest day here as it would have given me a chance to rest/regroup after 4 days of walking.
Day 6: Rubiães (11.9 miles/19.1 kilometers)
Don’t let the low distance on this day fool you. This is a hard, uphill hike. But, you get to see Cruz dos Franceses where people have left prayers and memorials to loved ones on the way to Rubiães. It's really touching to see after the slog uphill.
Where I stayed: Pensão Repouso de Peregrino guest house (25 €). I booked this by email the day before. I had a private room/bath and a balcony plus breakfast and a shuttle to a restaurant for dinner. No WiFi available in the room. You'll have to go to the garden or the main house for that.
Another option: A lot of people stayed at O Ninho Albergue (15 euro) but I booked late and couldn't get in.
Day 7: Cross into Spain to Tui (12.45 miles/20 kilometers)
Where I stayed: Parador de Tui (155.57€/$159.13). The Paradores are a collection of 4-star hotels run by the Spanish Government in old manors, castles and monasteries. There are two of these splendid historic places along the Portuguese way, the first being in Tui. This was my splurge to celebrate crossing into Spain. I did book the reservation in advance, something I highly recommend because I tried to extend the reservation another night, but they were already full.
You can also stay in nearby Valença, the fort just before the border. A few people I met along the way were taking a rest day here, spending one night in Valença before moving over to Tui for the second day. (I regret not doing this to see more of both towns and also let my feet rest.)
Note: As you’re leaving Tui, stop by Convento das Clarisas Encerradas: This convent of cloistered nuns does not speak to the outside world, but they make almond cookies and bread to sell them through a rotary screen. The cookies cost 8€.
Day 8: O Porriño (11.76 miles/18.9 kilometers)
Where I stayed: Senda Sur (hostel/mixed dorm) (13€ /$13.25). This hostel has curtains to close off your bunk from the outside world and have a little privacy, but if you have a group, you can also get a little room of bunks with its own key card entry. You'll need to pay extra for breakfast here but know there are lots of little bakeries nearby. I reserved this a couple of days in advance.
Day 9: Redondola (11 miles/17.7 kilometers)
A Conserveira (12€/$12.25). Hostel with a great location in town near lots of restaurants. It's a clean and nice hostel. Beds are mostly in clusters of four, with a curtain to provide privacy for the pod but not individual bunks. Lots of restaurants nearby. I reserved this a couple of days in advance.
Days 10-11: Pontevedra (12.91 miles/20.77 kilometers)
Pontevedra will feel like a large, bustling town after a couple of days staying in small towns. Lots of great options to dine and shop. If you are looking for a rest day toward the end of the pilgrimage, this is your spot.
Where I stayed: Parador de Pontevedra (2 nights for €253.88/$259.70). No pool here but a beautiful garden to relax and have a glass of wine. I reserved this room several weeks in advance.
What I did on my rest day: Museo de Pontevedra is free to visit and has lots of great Galician and Spanish art as well as archeological exhibits. I also went to the Pilgrim's Mass in Santuario da Virxe Peregrina which has a Mass in the evening which conveniently ends before restaurants open around 8 pm.
Day 12: Caldas de Reis (12.72 miles/20.47 kilometers)
Caldas de Reis is on a river and boasts natural hot springs. It's a small town, but there are a couple of lovely restaurants along the river where you can pass an afternoon after you arrive.
Where I stayed: Albergue Albor (€19.55/$20) This hostel is run by a wonderful woman named Yolanda who is an artist with the wax stamp she awards her guests on their credentials. (You must stay there to get the stamp.) The fee includes breakfast. I reserved in advance and was glad I did as it booked up.
Note: If you don't want to stay in a hostel here, the four-star Hotel Pousada Real is across the street and has a pool.
Day 13: Padron (11.5 miles/18.5 kilometers)
By this day, the heat wave had hit Spain. I was getting up early in the morning to get to my next destination quickly
Where I stayed: Cruces de Iria ($15). This hostel is just as you are leaving Padrón, just outside the city which cuts down on your mileage for the final day. The owner does a history lesson about the town. I reserved this spot a day in advance.
Note if you're willing to walk a bit more: Herbon Albergue is a monastery where you can stay that also does dinner and a Mass. A great option for contemplation before arriving in Santiago but there are no reservations. It opens at 4 pm (16:00) with Mass at 8 pm (20:00).
Day 14: Santiago de Compostela (14.83 miles/23.86 kilometers)
This last day has a lot of mileage, but I was so excited to get to the end, it passed by so quickly.
Where I stayed: At the end of the Camino, I treated myself to Hotel Palacio del Carmen, a former convent turned Marriott Autograph collection. (For two days: €398/$408 total).
When you arrive, you’ll need to go to the Pilgrim’s Office to get your Compostela. There’s a pilgrim’s mass at noon (12:00) and 7 pm (19:00) at the Cathedral. The Botafumeiro, the large, swinging censer the Cathedral is famous for, only swings on special occasions or if someone has arranged a donation in advance (it takes 8 men to help swing it).
How I celebrated: My splurge dinner was at the Michelin-star Casa Marcelo. It was a wonderful experience and I do not regret the €95 I dropped here. You'll need to make a reservation in advance. (I really enjoyed sitting at the bar area where I could enjoy watching the food prep.)
Note: There’s another spot here that sells pastries. Visit Monasterio e Iglesia de San Pelayo for cloistered nun treats.
My expenses on the Camino Portuguese
For my 17-night trip, for lodging, I spent approximately €1209/$1236. Here’s the breakdown of the range for each lodging type:
- Albergue/Hostels: 6 nights (12-20 Euros)
- Private room/shared bath: 2 nights (25-35 euro)
- Guest house private room/private bath: 3 nights (25-64 euro)
- Hotels: 6 nights (69-170 euro)
Food expenses came in around €420/$429 (inclusive of my posh celebratory meal) and my added other expenses (from new socks to ibuprofen, sunscreen and laundry) were about €80.
Altogether, I’d say I spent about €1700/$1738 or about €100/$102 a day plus my airfare. I’m a travel writer so I wanted to see the range of accommodations on the way but also have some comfortable rest days so my selections (and budget) represent that.
You could definitely do this on a smaller budget (think hostels all the way and buying food at the grocery store to prepare) or eliminate the hostel stays in favor of more comfortable, private accommodations with a larger budget. I met pilgrims on both ends of the budget spectrum along the way.
What did I bring?
There’s a Tiktok out there from a guy on the Camino Frances who jokes that we pack our fears when we prepare for the Camino. Probably pretty accurate, but what gear you decide to take is a very personal choice. What I brought, you might think is unnecessary – but I used everything I packed but one item (more on that in a bit). Everything weighed in at 18 pounds/8 kilograms.
I sent a large suitcase on to my hotel in Santiago de Compostela via Tuitrans ($70 USD) and carried a Deuter Futura Vario 45+10 liter bag that weighed about 18 pounds. The backpack was truly the MVP of this trip – but it’s entirely due to advice I received that I’m going to pass on to you here.
Go get fitted for the right backpack
I went to REI in the United States. The sales rep had me try on several different brands and packed it down with weight similar to what I’d carry on the Camino. She adjusted the settings for my back and showed me how to adjust the straps each time I put them on. She then had me walk around the store and up the stairs so I could see what was working and what didn’t.
So bottom line, though I swoon for my Deuter, it’s because it’s the exact right fit for me. The weight of the pack, of course, made me a bit slower but I never had any back issues on the Camino. A fellow traveler actually remarked how I never complained about my back compared to everyone else. You’re shelling out good money for a backpack, so go get fitted.
Same with your shoes. This is the mistake I made – I bought some shoes I love but I tore through the insoles so quick on the cobblestone. I was able to grab some new insoles at a Farmacía, but it would have been awesome to have better insoles before the start (and save me some knee pain!)
Other than that–it’s up to you. But I'd recommend being creative on what you might be able to bring that might serve dual purposes. I also organized everything using repurposed cosmetic bags I had collected over the years -- though you could do the same with Ziplocks.
Clothes: I brought the equivalent of three outfits: One long shirt, one t-shirt, one tank top, one pair each of pants/leggings,/shorts, one hoodie, one raincoat. I had one pair of pajama shorts and a cotton tank dress that could be worn to dinner or as pajamas. I did two socks/underwear/sports bras and on this point, I wish I would have packed three of each. (I did end up buying more socks on the way.) I brought a swimsuit as well (which, embarrassingly enough, helped in a pinch when I was doing laundry).
Toiletries: These consisted of soap sheets, toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, chapstick, a CC cream, sample sizes of concealer/mascara/lipstick and an eye shadow crayon. I used shampoo/conditioner in the hotels where I stayed. Contact lenses/glasses. Medicines included my daily routine along with Tylenol, Mucinex/cold medicine/bandaids.
Others: Hotel-sized sewing kit, a massage ball, journal, sketchbook, travel watercolors, pen, an heirloom prayer book from my great aunt/rosary bracelet, sleeping bag/sleeping bag liner, phone, chargers, travel-sized Tide laundry soap packets to wash clothes in the sink.
The only thing I packed that I did not use – but had no choice but to bring. My 3 lb work computer that I needed to use on the other side of the Camino. (I traveled through Spain and then checked into the LP Dublin office after the trek.) Tuitrans would not transport electronic devices like computers and my company would frown upon it even if I did have them transport it. This was the only item I obviously didn’t use but unfortunately, I had no other choice but to haul it.
If I did it again…
I would have my bag transported between each destination so I could lighten my pack but also have more possible changes of clothes and footwear.
I would have consistently picked places that had bedding so I would have to carry a sleeping bag.
Speaking of footwear, I’d make sure I had cushy shoe inserts before I started the trek.
I’d also add many more rest days, especially around Ponte de Lima and Valença. Both are beautiful places I wish I had had more time (and energy) to enjoy.