Day Fifteen on the Camino Portugués
~ Sé do Porto to Vila do Conde, 32.67 Km (20.3 Miles) via the Senda Litoral

Our day fifteen on the Camino Portugués began our coastal journey from the Sé do Porto on the Senda Litoral. We used the riverfront and seashore route, or the Senda Litoral entirely for our day fifteen and not the separate and distinct Coastal Route, which eventually joins the Senda Litoral.

We decided that from Porto until Redondela, where the two Coastal Routes join the Central Route, that we would follow the seacoast via the Senda Litoral as much as was practical. We did this simply by keeping the sea to our left for most of the time!

However, there were quite a few places where indeed, it was not practical to follow the shoreline, or I was too tired to go the extra distance, so in those circumstances we used the separate Coastal Route.

The Portuguese Way beyond Porto was like starting the Camino anew, with many new faces, and the totally different terrain of the coast. It would take some adjusting from the solitary first half from Lisbon!

"Our task is to learn that if we can voyage to the ends of the earth and find ourselves in the aborigine who most differs from ourselves, we will have made a fruitful pilgrimage. That is why pilgrimage is necessary in some shape or other. Mere sitting at home and meditating on the divine presence is not enough for our time. We have to come to the end of a long journey and see that the stranger we meet there is no other than ourselves -- which is the same as saying that we find Christ in him." Thomas Merton, From 'Mystics and Zen Masters'



Map and Stats of Day Fifteen on the Camino Portugués

I have no starting albergue/hotel for this leg, as we actually took a taxi from our hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia, a southern suburb, to the starting point at the Sé (cathedral) do Porto. It was to be a long day, and we did not want to add the extra 2 kilometers from our hotel. To book a hotel near the center of Porto, click here.

We did walk the actual distance, however, all the way to the cathedral, as you can see from our day fourteen.  I was keeping to my promise of walking every single step of the way to Sanitago, come hell or high water!

I placed our stopping points and albergues of interest along the way. For a complete list of accomodation, I recommend Christian's Accomodation File. He, I and other pilgrims are dedicated to keeping this as current as possible. Click on the file to download it to your device. 

Interactive Google Map of Day Fifteen on the Camino Portugués

As you can see, the change in elevation for the day is minimal, 130 meters (428 feet) and most of it is the drop from the cathedral to the river, first thing. Then it is just mild upsy downsies, as you would expect when following a waterfront. 

Elevation Profile for Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués, Porto to Via do CondeElevation Profile for Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués, Porto to Via do Conde

The Senda Litoral to Matosinhos ~ The Camino Less Traveled

The Portuguese way from Porto to Matosinhos via the Senda Litoral is most certainly an untraveled route. We saw no other pilgrims. I have no idea why. We found this way to be most beautiful, peaceful and soul-nurturing.

There is something to me, about walking along a waterway and the ocean that is calming and extremely pleasurable. 

Yes, this route is longer than the Camihno da Costa that walks through the northern part of Porto and its suburbs which have been reported to be less than desirable to walk through. Maybe this is why almost everyone takes the Metro to Matosinhos. 

Pilgrims on the Metro ~ you don't know what you are missing! Future pilgrims on the Camino Portugués, keep reading!

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Fifteen on the Camino Portugués via the Senda Litoral

In the early morning light, our taxi dropped us off in front of the Statue of Vimara Peres, the knight on the horse by the Cathedral of Porto. All was still and quiet, a stark contrast to our prior visit at midday. 

The Sé do Porto, Start of the Sendal Litoral, day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésThe Sé do Porto, Start of the Sendal Litoral

Here is a photo of the first yellow arrow across the main entrance to the cathedral, that I took in the bright light of day, the day before. Notice also the blue arrow to Fátima, pointing in the opposite direction.

First Yellow Arrow by Sé do Porto on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésFirst Yellow Arrow by Sé do Porto

Walking down the pictured ramp, above, our new day's adventure began! At the bottom of the ramp, we turned left and walked by the Pelican fountain (Chafariz do Pelicano), pictured in my article on Porto, and turned to the right to walk down a long set of stairs, below left. You can almost see the fountian at the top of the stairs in the photo.

Take Stairs across from the Pelican Fountain in Porto on the Senda Litoral of the Camino PortuguésTake Stairs by the Pelican Fountain
Continue Around and Down Second Set of Stairs on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésContinue Around and Down More Stairs

Continue around and down even more stairs to the Largo (square) do Colégio. A church, the Igreja de Grilos is on your left in this square. Turn to your right to find the Rua de Santana, walk down it for about 50 meters then turn left onto the Rua da Bainharia at yellow arrow. 

Rua da Santana in Porto on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésRua da Santana
Left Here on the Rua da Bainharia on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésLeft Here on the Rua da Bainharia

After the yellow arrow above, we were unable to find any more arrows or waymarks! Our guide book showed a different way than the arrows led us, so it was apparent that all we needed to do was make our way to the waterfront. Easy enough, as all you have to do is walk downhill!

We did follow the signs to the Igreja de Sao Francisco on the Rua de Mouzinho da Silveira, past the Infante Dom Henrique Park with its statue, where we turned right on the Rua do Infante Dom Henrique to walk past San Francisco Church (See map above).

After the church of San Francisco the street bends to the right on the Rua Nova da Alâfndega. This is where we joined the waterfront. 

Joining the Waterfront on the Rua Nova da Alfândega on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués out of PortoJoining the Waterfront on the Rua Nova da Alfândega

It is a good five kilometers (three miles) along the River Douro from when you hit the waterfront to harbor entrance at the Atlantic Ocean.

There are absolutely no signs or arrows designating the Camino along this river route. There is absolutely nothing to worry about as you just continue along the Douro River, keeping it to your left. It is impossible to get lost. 

Alfândega in Portuguese means customs, and sure enough, we encountered this building, below, the Customs area and museum.

Customs Building and Museum on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués, on the Senda LitoralCustoms Building and Museum, Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués

True to Portuguese fashion, a street changes names frequently, and here, by these interesting houses the street becomes the Rua de Monchique.

Walking Along the Rua de Monchique on the Portuguese Way along the Sendal LitoralWalking Along the Rua de Monchique

Just shy of halfway to the Atlantic Ocean is the bridge, the Ponte da Arrábida.

Ponte da Arrábida in Porto on the Portuguese Way along the Sendal LitoralPonte da Arrábida

The reflections of the bridge on the river mirrored my own mood. It was so quiet and undisturbed as we walked along, before most of the city had even begun to move. The sky itself cast a subdued light on this misty and moody morning.

Stunning Bridge Reflection on the Portuguese Way along the Sendal Litoral in PortoStunning Bridge Reflection

I reflected on why no pilgrims choose to walk this most glorious Way! I think someone, somewhere makes the determination that it is best to take the Metro to Matasinhos, and others follow, and the sentiment grows until it becomes the standard way!

 I was very happy to be on this road less traveled. So lovely, so peaceful and so nuturing!

The small boats lined the shoreline along the now Rua do Ouro or "Street of Gold." Indeed!

Street Becomes the Rua do Ouro on the Portuguese Way along the Sendal Litoral in PortoStreet Becomes the Rua do Ouro

The waterfront area has a lovely park here, called the Jardim do Cálem, with this footbridge and displays of old anchors and cannons. An interesting diversion. 

Elle in the Jardim do Cálem on the Portuguese Way along the Sendal Litoral in PortoElle in the Jardim do Cálem
Tree-Lined Rua de Sobreiras, day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralTree-Lined Rua de Sobreiras
Touched by an Angel Along the Way, day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralTouched by an Angel Along the Way

On day fifteen on the Camino Portugués, the Way becomes the Rua do Passeio Alegre with wide open walkways that follow attractive wavy white granite setts. The name of the street essentially means the "Joyful Passageway!" I loved it! I was truly filled with joy as I walked along it. 

Rua do Passeio Alegre - The Joyful Passageway on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralRua do Passeio Alegre ~ The Joyful Passageway
Nearing the Mouth of the Douro River on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralNearing the Mouth of the Harbor

Yet another park, called the Jardim do Passeio Alegre has wonderful palm trees that line the street as you get closer to the mouth of the harbor. The Joyful Passageway continues!

Jardim do Passeio Alegre on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralJardim do Passeio Alegre, Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués

At the mouth of the sea, a fort called the Fortaleza de São João da Foz guards the harbor entrance. 

Fortaleza de São João da Foz on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralFortaleza de São João da Foz

When the riverfront ended, we turned northward to join the seacost at the Praia (beach) do Ourigo along the Rua Cel. Raúl Peres, below.

Praia do Ourigo on the Altantic on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralPraia do Ourigo on the Altantic

Again, you cannot get lost here, as you just keep on walking north, keeping the sea on your left. There are lovely promenades from the town of Foz do Douro (Mouth of the Douro) all the way to Matosinhos. 

In another 2.5 kilometers or so, after meeting the Atlantic Ocean, we came once again to the now familiar Castelo do Queijo, on the left side of this large roundabout with the Equestrian Statue of John VI in the center, pictured below. This castle is on the Hop On Hop Off Tourist bus route out of Porto (click to see photos of it) and we had a lovely visit here the day before. 

Castelo do Queijo and the Equestrian Statue of John VI on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralCastelo do Queijo and the Equestrian Statue of John VI

Staying close to the seacoast, walk to left of the roundabout, past the Castelo on the Via do Castelo do Queijo. The Camino arrives next at another roundabout with a large, red,  saucer-shaped sculpture that looks like a giant fishnet, but is called the She Changes ~ Anémona. You can see the weird-shape in the middle of the photo below:

She Changes ~ Anémona Scupture on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralShe Changes ~ Anémona Scupture

We walked past this roundabout to join the Praia de Matosinhos (Beach of Matosinhos) and came upon the very first yellow arrow since the center of Porto. It was a welcome sight!

First Yellow Arrow Since Porto at the Praia do Matosinhos on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralFirst Yellow Arrow Since Porto at the Praia do Matosinhos

Matosinhos is a large town, and the Camino leaves the waterfront to walk inland a bit, following the Avenida Norton de Matos toward town. Along the Avenida we came to this buidling, the Matosinhos Tourist Office. The office was closed when we arrived, so we walked onward. 

Matosinhos Tourist Office on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralMatosinhos Tourist Office

Continue on the Avenida Norton de Matos, then turn left, after a small park, to walk on the Rua Heróis de França. This street is charming, just by the waterfront, and it is lined with seafood restaurants and a seafood market. I wished we could have stayed to enjoy it. But nothing was happening at 9:00 o'clock in the morning!

The street makes a bend inland and along the Rio Leça becoming the Avenida Eng. Duarte Pacheco. You are now at the dock area, where large ships are seen. I did not find this area ugly either, but very interesting. 

Docks Along the Rio Leça on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralDocks Along the Rio Leça

Below is where we turned right, off the Avenida Pacheco at the famous Matasinhos Metro station, pictured here. The station is the building with the rounded façade.

Approaching the Matosinhos Metro Station on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralApproaching the Matosinhos Metro Station

We entered the Largo José dos Santos Lessa, below, and crossed the tracks to walk by the station. This is where most pilgrims start their Camino Costa. It is standard to begin their walk here, by taking the Metro from Porto to Matasinhos. It is ubiquitious advice that I believe needs to be re-evaluated!

Matosinhos Metro Station and Tracks on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralMatosinhos Metro Station and Tracks

Because the Metro station is where most coastal pilgrimage travelers start, we knew that from this point forward, the face of our own Camino was going to change dramatically. Our solitary walk was coming to a close. 

The pilgrimage traveler needs to walk past the station on the Rua Álvaro Castelões and look for the blue, spiral pedestrian stairway up to the bridge. It is very easy to spot.

Blue, Spiral Stairway Leading to the Rua Congosta do Abade, Across the Rio Leça on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralBlue, Spiral Stairway Leading to the Rua Congosta do Abade, Across the Rio Leça
Pedestrian Way Across the River Leça on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralPedestrian Way Across the River Leça
The Busy Matosinhos Docks of the Rio Leça on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralThe Busy Matosinhos Docks of the Rio Leça

After crossing the bridge, we came to a roundabout, where the Camino turns to the left on the Rua Hintze Ribeiro, to walk through town. 

Rua Hintze Ribeiro in Matosinhos on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralRua Hintze Ribeiro in Matosinhos

At the end of the street through Matosinhos, where the Camino joins the seacoast once again, we spied a café on our left. We stopped for our first coffee break, after walking a total of about 14 kilometers at the Armazen do Caffe (see Google map, above). 

And sure enough, as we were putting down our packs on the outside caffe table, pilgrims starting wandering by. Here are two, in orange, below. 

Turn Right on the Avenida Liberdade on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralTurn Right on the Avenida Liberdade to Follow the Sea
Joining the Seacoast Once Again in Matosinhos, Portugal on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralJoining the Seacoast Once Again, Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués

Walking along the Avenida Liberdade was a joy. A lighthouse up ahead could be see for a long time. 

Promenade Along the Avenida Liberdade on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralPromenade Along the Avenida Liberdade
Farol (Lighthouse) de Leça da Palmeira on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralFarol (Lighthouse) de Leça da Palmeira

After walking by the lighthouse, on walkways that parallel the Avenida Liberdade, we came to the Praia Azul (Blue Beach). Let the boardwalks begin!

Have I stated yet, that I love the seacoast?? For the rest of the day fifteen on the Caminho Portugués da Costa, it is mostly on lovely, feet, legs and hip-forgiving boardwalks!

Entering the Praia Azul Boardwalks on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralEntering the Praia Azul Boardwalks

The first treasure we walked by was this little chapel, below, and the look-out behind it. 

Capela da Boa Nova and Miradouro on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralCapela da Boa Nova and Miradouro

I was happy to be down on the boardwalk level, by the beach, rather than up on the road that goes by the oil refinery, below. I just looked left!

Praia Azul, Next to Oil Refinery on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralPraia Azul, Next to Oil Refinery
Boardwalk of Praia do Aterro on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralBoardwalk of Praia do Aterro, the Next Beach on Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués
Boardwalk Turns Inland Towards Beach Houses on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralBoardwalk Turns Inland Towards Beach Houses
Boardwalks of Praia do Cabo do Mundo on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralBoardwalks of Praia do Cabo do Mundo
Elle on Boardwalk of Praia do Cabo do Mundo on day fifteen of the Portuguese Way on the Senda LitoralElle on Boardwalk of Praia do Cabo do Mundo

After this stretch of boardwalk, above, that walks on the Praia do Cabo do Mundo, the Camino joins the Rua de Almeiriaga Norte, only briefly, then turns left off the street at this juncture, by the Restauranet Marize, below. 

Turn Left Off Rua de Almeiriaga Norte at the Praia do Facho on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralTurn Left Off Rua de Almeiriaga Norte at the Praia do Facho

Back on the boardwalk on the Praia da Memória with the Obelisk Memorial the next landmark ahead. 

Elle on Praia da Memória Boardwark on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralElle on Praia da Memória Boardwark, Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués

This obelisk commemorates July 8th, 1832 when King Pedro and his men disembarked here to march into Porto and lay it under siege, thereby overthrowing the Absolutionist regiment. This monument was completed in 1864.

O Obelisco da Memória on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralO Obelisco da Memória
The Lovely Praia do Marreco on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralThe Lovely Praia do Marreco
Boardwalk Just Beyond Praia da Quebrada on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralBoardwalk Just Beyond Praia da Quebrada
Entering the Praia da Agudela on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralEntering the Praia da Agudela

After walking on the Praia da Agudela boardwalk, the Camino Costa joins the Tv. do Areal street briefly, then leaves it to connect the next boardwalk system on the long, wide Praia das Pedras do Corgo.

Praia das Pedras do Corgo on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralPraia das Pedras do Corgo is Next

After walking across the Praia das Pedras do Corgo, suddenly, a lovely café presented itself, with tables right along the beach, at the Bar Pedras do Corgo. Rich and I looked at one another and said, "heck yeah!" and went in to sit at this table with the best view, below. Our first oficial meal by the ocean! It was almost another 10 kilometers we had walked since our last break. 

Lunch Stop at Bar Pedras do Corgo on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralLunch with a View at the Bar Pedras do Corgo

While having our break, we noticed two pilgrims entering the cafe shortly after us. They noticed us as well and we struck up a conversation. Rob from Austrailia and Steve from England. 

We all set off together to walk the final 12 km or so to Vila do Conde. Here is the three gents, Steve, Rob and Rich which I followed most of the rest of the way. The gents were on more of a mission than I.

We walked to the Praia da Funtão in Lavra, below... 

Boardwalk to Praia da Funtão in Lavra, Portugal on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralBoardwalk to Praia da Funtão in Lavra on Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués

...and through Angeiras and its beaches of the same name, the Praia Angeiras Sul (South) and Praia Angeiras Norte (North).

After a lengthy lunch break, I was always a bit happier. I was so thrilled to be walking more on the "spongy" boardwalk, that my heart was singing out loud! 

In Angeiras, there is a point of interest that the Camino walks right by, right along the boardwalk, the Roman Tanks (Tanques Romanos) for salting their fish. See here for more info. I do not have a photo of it. 

This area has clearly been in the fishing industry for centuries, and just north of the Tanques is a quaint fisherman's beach. From the boardwalk we joined the beachfront road in Angeiras, lined with fishing boats and fisherman's pots right along the streets. A great diversion along the way. 

Fishing Boats and Pots Along the Beachfront Road in Angeiras on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralFishing Boats and Pots Along the Beachfront Road in Angeiras

After the beachfront, we joined the long Avenida da Praia de Angeiras and its boardwalks to walk into the town of Labruge, where we walked on the Rua da Mariginal for a few hundred meters. 

In Praia de Labruge at the end of the Rua da Marginal, where the boardwalk begins again, you will see a restaurant, O Banheiro Labruge, with a sign in front for the Albergue in Labruge, barely 1 km off the Camino. We did not stay here, but carried on. If Labruge is your destination, look out for this sign. If you prefer other accomodation or the albergue is full, click here

Sign for the Albergue São Tiago de Labruge on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralSign for the Albergue São Tiago de Labruge

Leaving Labruge, the boardwalk's next destination is the high point ahead at São Paio. Walking along and chatting with Rob, I learned he was battling a chronic illness, and was walking his Camino, while he still could. He was a brave soul and his spirit was most admirable. It was his first day ever on the Camino.

Rob, the Aussie, Walking the Boardwalk Toward São Paio on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralRob, the Aussie, Walking the Boardwalk Toward São Paio

The boardwalk is fun here as we approached the high point, walking up and around the rocks to the Geological marker of São Paio.

Up the Hill to the Geological Marker of São Paio on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralUp the Hill to the Geological Marker of São Paio

There are three Iron Age engravings on the rocks, here at São Paio. In the photo below, we are reading the placard that describes the history of perhaps a Nordic Viking camp that was here and left the marks. 

Despite searching around a bit we were unable to find the engravings. 

São Paio Geological Marker on Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralSão Paio Geological Marker on Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués

The rocky outcropping created a lovely place for a rest and an apple. 

Rob and Steve Admiring the View of São Paio on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralRob and Steve Admiring the View of São Paio

From the high rocks of São Paio, the small chapel can be seen, below.

Capela of São Paio on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralCapela of São Paio
Stunning Cove by the Capela of São Paio on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralStunning Cove by the Capela of São Paio
Following the Gents on the Boardwalk Along the Praia de São Paio on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralFollowing the Gents on the Boardwalk Along the Praia de São Paio

I also had the opportunity to chat with Steve and hear his story. This was his second Camino and he had walked with Rob's wife on the Francés. The Camino Family that he had formed on the Francés, was his priority and he was committed to assisting Rob along the way. 

Once again on day fifiteen on the Camino Portugués, it joins the road with continuing boadwarks along the coast and the Praia do Moreiró Norte. The beach is wild here, and in about 1/2 km the road ends, but the boardwalk continues, and shortly once again joins the waterfront road on a sidewalk to walk into Vila Chá along the Avenida dos Banhos.

Walking into Vila Chá along the Avenida dos Banhos on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralWalking into Vila Chá along the Avenida dos Banhos

The Avenida dos Banhos becomes the Rua da Praia with this colorful home. 

Colorul House in Vila Chá on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralColorul House in Vila Chá

The Rua da Praia becomes the Rua do Facho as the Camino turns farther inland to walk through town. The Way is well waymarked. 

Through the Narrow Streets of Vila Chá on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralThrough the Narrow Streets of Vila Chá

In the center of town along the Rua do Facho we saw a signpost to the Albergue São Mamede de Vila Chá, another 700 meters up the hill. If you were wondering, it is another 7 kilometers yet to Vila do Conde from here, so assess your energy levels before you continue onward. If the albergue is full or if you dislike albergues, click here to find accomodation.

Don't even ask me what the gents were discussing in this photo. Rich is up to his usual animation, I guess! 

Signpost to the Albergue São Mamede de Vila Chá on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralSignpost to the Albergue São Mamede de Vila Chá

The Senda Litoral walks the pilgrimage traveler through town on the Rua do Facho, missing the long beaches of Praia da Terra Nova and Praia de Laderça, but if you were staying here in Vila Chá for the night you could get out there on them!

We continued walking on the Rua do Facho until it became the Avenida Marginal until it ended and the boardwalk began again. Here it rejoined the beach front at the Praia do Pinhal dos Eléctricos.

Walking on the Praia do Pinhal dos Eléctricos on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralWalking on the Praia do Pinhal dos Eléctricos

After the "Electric" boardwalk, the Camino joins the Rua da Gafa in the town of Gafa only briefly before it heads back on the boardwalk by the Praia da Areia in Areia.

Next it was through the dunes of the Litoral de Vila do Conde e Reserva Ornitológica. You can see Vila do Conde ahead. 

Through the Dunes of the Litoral de Vila do Conde e Reserva Ornitológica on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralThrough the Dunes of the Litoral de Vila do Conde e Reserva Ornitológica

We joined the road briefly, the Rua Dr. Pintp Ferreira, with Praia de Árvore on our left, below. Vila do Conde is getting closer!

Along the Rua Dr. Pinto Ferreira, with the  Praia de Árvore on Our Left on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralAlong the Rua Dr. Pinto Ferreira, with the Praia de Árvore on Our Left

We left the street again to walk on delicious boadwarks toward the final beach of the day, the Praia de Azurara. Vila do Conde is just ahead.

Vila do Conde Just Ahead on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralVila do Conde Just Ahead

The boardwalk turns inland, and almost immediately you see a yellow arrow on a post, on the Rua das Salinas, shown below, directing you right and onto a small side street that crosses a flat plain and into the town of Azurara, just south of Vila do Conde. 

Turn Right off the Boardwalk Toward Azurara on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralTurn Right off the Boardwalk Toward Azurara...
Steve, Rich and Rob on side road in Azurara, Portugal on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda Litoral...And Onto Side Road: Steve, Rich and Rob

In a few hundred meters we came to a T intersection and turned left on the Rua Francisco Gonçalves Monteiro to walk through Azurara. The way is well signed with arrows. Then where the Ave River comes into sight, the side road ends in this stairway, below.

Turn Left at Top of Stairs Onto N13 into Vila do Conde on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralTurn Left at Top of Stairs Onto N13 into Vila do Conde

All of a sudden you are back in "civilization," as you turn left onto the N13 and walk across the bridge into Vila do Conde. The Mosteiro de Santa Clara looms above you as you cross the bridge. 

Steve on the Bridge into Vila do Conde on day fifteen of the Camino Portugués on the Senda LitoralSteve on the Bridge into Vila do Conde

Just beyond the river a few hundred meters is the municipal Albergue de Peregrinos Santa Clara. This is a very nice, modern facility and essentially filled up on our day fifteen on the Portuguese Camino. It was the very first time on our journey that we stayed in an albergue that was full. Welcome to the Porto to SDC version of the Portuguese Way!

Municipal Albergue de Peregrinos Santa Clara in Vila do Conde, Portugal on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésMunicipal Albergue de Peregrinos Santa Clara

For advanced reservations in Vila do Conde and peace of mind, click here. 

After checking in at the albergue, we met for beers with our new friends in the plaza, the Praça de São João in the Café Saura. The Vila do Conde municipal market is here in the plaza as well.

At the end of the plaza, is a lovely fountain with blue azulejo murals that I noticed while sitting in the café. 

Fountain with Murals in the Praça de São João, Vila do Conde, Portugal on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésFountain with Murals in the Praça de São João

Beside the fountain is a set of stairs leading up and to the right, just calling my name to go explore! This stairway leads to the church, the Igreja de São João Baptista and its grand terrace.

The three gents wanted to have their second beer and I wanted to explore the town. I couldn't convince any of them to join me. 

So I went to the church myself and beheld the most beautiful Fátima altar I had seen yet. And as it turns out, it would continue to be my favorite of all. 

Igreja de São João Baptista, Vila do Conde, Portugal on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésIgreja de São João Baptista
Altar to Fátima in the Igreja de São João Baptista, Vila do Conde, Portugal on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésAltar to Fátima

And from the church's terrace, one can behold the Monastery of Santa Clara, built in the 14th century, and the 17th century aquaduct system. How I longed to go see this sight, but after 32 kilometers and no one to go with me, I acquiesced. 

Aqueduct and Monastery of Santa Clara, Vila do Conde, Portugal on day fifteen of the Camino PortuguésAqueduct and Monastery of Santa Clara

The four of us had dinner later, at the Casa Ramon, mere steps from the Albergue. The restaurant was lovely and we had a wonderful meal.

Unfortunately, the stupid line from the movie, "The Way," kept entering my head, "El Ramón!" (the name of the albergue) from the scene where the pilgrims enter a bizarre albergue with a crazy man and no toilets! The crazy man keeps saying, "El Ramón!" as he stamps each and every credential. 

We retired early, with bellies full on a funky double-size lower bunk, happy and content to be on the Sendal Litoral with new friends. 

Reflections on Day Fifteen, Camino Portugués

There are plenty of services, restaurants and cafés on the Senda Litoral of the Camino Portugués on day fifteen. Keep snacks in your pack for convenience, but there will be no need to carry lots of food and water unless you prefer it.

I thought the boardwalk system after Matosinhos on the Senda Litoral was absolutely fantastic. The forgiving boards were so easy on the feet, legs and hips after all that walking on cobblestone for the first 400 kilometers!

Walking along the waterfronts were so alluring for me. There is something about the sea! And the waterways! Maybe I would have been a good Portuguese sailor!

I welcomed new pilgrimage traveler friends on day fifteen on the Portuguese Camino, but it still felt different. There was a different pace and a new kind of bustle with many more pilgrims on the road. Plus the routes we walked were more metropolitan and the seacost boardwalks brought lots of walkers, pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike. I can only imagine what summertime brings to this Camino. 

Walking behind the three gents, I also felt the need to keep their pace. The pace was doable, yet with the lengthy day, I had to breathe deeply and be grateful for the frequent rest stops. 

Rob and Steve's stories were inspiring, and I did try to put myself in their position. It was relatively easy, yet hard in some circumstances. I love to meet new pilgrims, yet this change in pace halfway through our Camino, felt like an intrusion. 

I was jealous when Rich wanted to sit, have a beer and chat with our new friends. I wanted to continue to see all that I could see, even if by myself, as it turned out. My husband has incredible social skills and I would now have to share him with others. 

I needed to adjust. I knew I would, but I also knew that it would take me some time. Interesting, how I felt the exact reverse at the start of the lonely roads out of Lisbon! But I had adjusted to that and I would adjust to this as well. 

Salutation

May your own day fifteen on the Camino Portugués be filled with newness, a change in direction and perception. May you see yourself and Christ in others that you may understand that we are all more alike than we are different!





***Please note that I will be adding articles for each day that we spent on the Camino Portugués, as I write them. All 25 days! So check back frequently, or subscribe to my feed, to make sure you don't miss any! (To subscribe to my feed, go to the left Navbar, find "Recent Articles," and click on the little orange box on the top right hand corner)


And the Journey Continues:




› Day Fifteen on the Camino Portugués









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