Our day fourteen on the Camino Portugués was a very, very long day, filled with enchanting walks on Roman roads, an antique Monastery in Grijó and azulejo-tiled churches.
We were both excited and sad for this day. While we wanted to place the milestone of 400 kilometers under our belt, and while we looked forward to the city of Porto, we were sad that the face of the Camino would change afterward.
We walked day fourteen in two sections. The first from São João de Madeira to Vila Nova de Gaia, a southern suburb of Porto. We walked the last two kilometers into the center of Porto the following day. The reason for this is that we had hotel points saved up from the Holiday Inn, that we used in Vila Nova de Gaia, a southern suburb of Porto. It was such a treat to stay here, midway in our pilgrimage! However, I present the article as if we had walked the entire way in one day.
If you desire to have advance reservations in Porto, click here. It may not be a bad idea in high season or on the weekends.
"Blessed are you pilgrim, when you don't have words to give thanks for everything that surprises you at every twist and turn of the way." ~ From the Beatitudes of the Pilgrim, slide show in the Pilgrim's Office Chapel in Santiago
Here is my usual Google map of the day's route, uploaded from my GPS files. The map below is totally interactive, as you would expect from any Google map. I placed albergues, hotels, grocery stores and cafés on the map. There are plenty of services along this route, so you shouldn't have any difficulty finding anything.
Early in the day there is some climbing, then mostly downhill for the rest of the day. Even if the day is long, it is easy, elevation-wise.
It is known that if you walk to the River Douro, no matter which way you turn, it is uphill in every direction! You can see the drop to the river, and the walk back up, on the right side in this map!
Arising early, we made ourselves breakfast in the fantastic kitchen at the Central Suites in São João de Madeira. They even had coffee and a Keurig machine available for guests in the kitchen, that we didn't have to buy. Cooking here enabled us to get the early start we wanted.
We had a long way to go on day fourteen of the Portuguese Camino, so we wanted to get an 0-dark-30 start! I was pumped for the day, knowing that I could do the distance needed. It made it easier for me, to know that the next day would be a tourist day.
The waymarks are easy to follow out of the city and I have no photos due to the darkness and ugliness of the industrial area when we left our hotel at 06:30. You will encounter cafés that open early in the city, if you need breakfast. Keep your eyes open for them.
As we climbed up and out of São João, at the top of a hill, the sun greeted us with a clarity of purpose! It was uplifting and fitting for our long, yet wonderful day to come.
Farther along the Rua Dr. Antonio Gomes Rebelo we encountered this lovely church, the Igreja de Arrifana, framed in the brightening sky. We paused for a moment to admire it's blue tiles and its silhouhette in the morning light. A nice wonder for our Camino.
At the top of the first hill, we turned left here, continuing to walk through the northern suburbs of São João de Madeira.
Another left turn onto the Rua Banda de Música, which becomes the Rua Outeiro, and the view to the east, below, continued to surprise and thrill us. Was that the Atlantic Ocean we were seeing??
Keeping straight on, the road becomes the Rua Ramalhal, here. The surprise for me in this photo was the drama of the pink flowering tree. I had no idea what it was, but it was eye-grabbing! I appreciated it so much.
The Camino took a bend to the east, and the twist in the road presented the tidy gardens of this home as we entered the town of Escapães.
Several right turns that bend through town, then the Camino walks you onto the Rua Dr. Domingos da Silva Coelho. It is along this street that a very colorful wall appeared to us, at about 3.9 kilometers into the day, quite dramatically on our left side (See photo below). It looked like a kindergarten, and indeed it turned out to be so, when we read the sign announcing it was the Jardím de Infáncia de Sto. António (literal translation "Infant's Garden of St Anthony").
As we stopped to look at the place, which fortunately we were curious enough to do so, we discovered that it is also an albergue!
If you look closely at the photo below you can see it says, "Casa de Árvore, Albergue de Peregrinos." Since this place is listed in absolutely none of the guides, I have included its contact information for you: Phone: +351-964-319-123, Email: email@example.com, Address: Rua Dr. Domingoes da Silva Coelho, #177, Escapães, Portugal.
You can extend your day thirteen, 3.9 kilometers to this place from the center of São João de Madeira, if you want to shorten the extremely long day fourteen to Porto.
After walking through Escapães, we came upon the busy IC2 and one must turn left onto it. We were delighted and surprised to see many Fátima pilgrims with their bright yellow/green vests, walking from Porto, where a lot of them begin their pilgrimage to Fátima. It was just so odd to see so many pilgrims walking in the opposite direction!
The IC2 is wide and with a more than adequate sidewalk to keep pilgrims safe during this 2.5 kilometer stretch. Unfortunately, their beloved granite setts (cobblestone) make up the sidewalk!
Look for open cafés on the IC2 section, there are several if you need a break.
From the loftiest heights for the day, along this stretch, this charming view presented itself to us. I was absolutely sure I was now seeing the Atlantic Ocean off in the distance to the west.
Remember, that about one kilometer after this shrine is the Hotel Feira Pedra Bela, if you had plans to stay here, as I suggested as an alternative to lengthen your day thirteen. The hotel is behind the restaurant, the Pedra Bela, that is right along the IC2 on your right, (not pictured).
After 2.5 long kilometers, we finally came to this spot, where the Camino turns to the right off the IC2. This turn may be easy to miss.
The Rua Estrada Romana is a street name that should be intriguing to everyone, as it means the "Roman Road Street." Yes, this is where we will soon encounter the old Roman Road to Porto!
We first walked through this quaint portion of the road through the town of Airas.
And then, suddenly ahead, the original Roman Road appeared at about 7.7 kilometers into the day fourteen on the Portuguese Camino.
It was so nice that the planners of the Camino took we pilgrimage travelers down this old path!
At the end of the Roman road, we crossed the street below, the N223 at this lovely azulejo-tiled building.
After crossing the N223, the Roman road is a modern, paved road for a short way, then once again becomes this antique road, below.
And then the old Roman Road ends, and the Camino takes a bend to the right to walk on the Rua Areiro into the town of Ferradal.
A garden at this home, below, with its lush, hanging wisteria caught me by surprise, as we rounded the bend. Just gorgeous and I breathed in the spring air and the beautiful blooms.
Continuing straight on and down the hill through town, the road becomes the Estrada Real Ferradal.
The Portuguese Camino walks through the town of Vendas Novas next, on day fourteen, and the road becomes the Rua Vendas Novas, then changes to Rua Estrada Romana again!
After about three more kilometers straight on down the Roman road, and 12 kilometers into the day, the sudden appearance of this pastry shop in Regato was one of the best wonders of my day! I gave thanks for a lovely place to take our break!
I don't know why this particular pastry shop tickled me so, but it did! I distinctly remember posing for this photo and feeling sheer joy at all the delights. However, I had my usual pastel de nata, and of course, café con leite!
Just past the pastry shop, this Albergue sign for Grijó appeared. Someone had a sense of humor when they posted 8700 meters instead of 8.7 kilometers to the next albergue! Zoom in on the yellow arrow in the photo to see it! We got a hearty laugh out of the sign, another fun Camino surprise. However, by our calculations, the albergue in Grijó is only 6500 meters from this point!
After the town of Lourosa, the Camino intersects with the IC2 and turns right onto it once again for a brief distance and soon veers right onto the Rua Central da Vergada. Vergada is the next town.
The town of Vergada is easy on the eyes...
...and also has a café, below, in addition to a grocery store.
Bending to the left and meeting the IC2 at this intersection, the Camino goes straight on and crosses the busy street.
We meandered left and right, following the signs until reaching the next town of Goda.
After walking through Goda, the Camino bends to the north, walks under the highway, the A41, on the Avenida Alminhos, then bends right on this quiet street, below.
About ½ kilometer after crossing under the A41, and soon after the photo above, if you look for the Av. São Cristóvão and turn left, in about 400 meters you will encounter the Motel Emção, another alternative to shorten your day.
Next a right turn and within a half kilometer or so, we walked through the small town of Chamusca, and its lovely chapel in the center. We paused to admire the Capela de Santa Rita before continuing on.
The day was getting much hotter by now, at 11:00 and most of the scenery was not too thrilling since the Roman Road!
Forward onto the Rua Ermo from the town center, we walked under the second highway, the A1 on this lovely road, as we approached Grijó in Padrão.
Another 1/2 kilometer or so, we reaching the intersection here, in the background, where we turned left on the Rua Cardosl Pinto, with its high walls, containing the grounds of the monastery ahead, to walk into Grijó proper.
It is important to note this street with its high walls, if you are planning on staying at the albergue in Grijó after 18.5 kilometers total. After you see the high walls, the albergue is a mere 100 meters to your left. Remember if you do not stay here, it is another 15 or so kilometers to Porto!
We walked on another several hundred meters to see the most famous site in Grijó, the Monastery of St. Salvador, below.
The long walk to the monastery with gardens at each perimeter was shady and very inviting. We stopped on a bench, had our picnic lunch here, took off our shoes and socks and propped our feet up. I was so grateful for this, as my feet were starting to burn on the hot pavement.
The silence here was a perfectly refreshing place to take our second break at almost 20 kilometers into our day fourteen. Almost 2/3rds of the way done.
We poked around the monastery, but unfortunately, the buildings were all closed. I would have loved to have a look inside at this historic place, built in 1640, that has fallen out of use. If you wish to see more information on the monastery, click here.
There are open restrooms just to the left of the church, if you need this comfort as well!
As we left the Mosteiro, just outside the gate is this cemetery, in the photo below. A group of Fátima pilgrims were resting on the steps, and of course, my ever-social husband sat down with them to have a chat.
It turns out that lots of Fátima pilgrims were setting off from Porto on this Saturday, as part of a large group. They were planning on celebrating the 100th anniversary of the sightings there. They were a jovial bunch, and I just had to snap a photo.
Heading back on the Camino, we came to this intersection in town, and turned right at the small chapel. We saw plenty of open cafés here in Grijó if needed, as well as food stores. You are at 19.5 kilometers total at the small chapel.
This way on the Rua da Guarda kept us out of the center of town, and on a quiet road that circumnavigated the Monastery grounds, again delineated by the high walls.
Just a bit more than 1/2 kilometer, we left the Rua da Guarda and turned left onto the street below...
...wound through the countryside to eventually walk into the next town of Casal after approx. two more kilometers and 22.5 total for the day. It was a very warm afternoon, with not much shade on the open road, so we took it where we could.
Onward we walked, coming to the next town of Perosinho in another 1/2 kilometer (23.5 km for the day)...
...turning left here at this signposted intersection. I grabbed a coke here at one of several open cafés here, but we essentially kept rolling.
After waking through Perosinho, we headed onto a path that led us into a forest and onto the second section of the old Roman Road, below. This was a steady uphill climb in this section, but the fun of being on the Calzada Romana took out the sting.
These old Roman roads enchanted me so! I was so grateful to get a chance to walk a portion of my pilgrimage on these roads through time. It always sparks my imagination to envision past travelers and to wonder if actual pilgrims to Santiago walked in my very steps!
I was very grateful also, that these antique portions of road were in the countryside instead of through a city or town. It made it feel all that much more authentic to me.
The Roman Road continues, below, but the paved stones are now gone. The uphill climb continues!
It was amazing to me that we were so close to a major highway, and buildings when we walked along this antique Roman Road section, immediately south of Porto. Occasionally we could catch a glimpse of civilization, on our right shoulder, as in the photo. below.
We climbed, finally, to the "Alto" or the top of the second highest elevation for the day, here in this photo, below. It was a nice climb in the heat of the day!
And then the path turns into a goat track along the way, and descends quite steeply, but only for a short distance!
Very abruptly, the path comes to a cobblestone road, and leads the pilgrimage traveler to this street, in the suburb of Canelas. The city is just ahead! It is almost all downhill from here to the River Douro.
The road brought us to the outskirts of town and this welcoming archway. You have now completed about 27.3 kilometers at this archway.
Then on to the Rua Rechousa to walk over the busy A29 and through the suburb of the same name.
The Rua Rechousa becomes the "High Street of Towers:"
You can see several towers in this photo, farther along the street in the photo below. At the intersection ahead, stay to the right and walk under the IC2 (A1). This underpass is at about 29 kilometers into the day.
After the underpass, the street is now named the Rua Fonte dos Arrependidos and you are now entering the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. Walk up the long hill in front of you for 1.3 kilometers. Along this long climb you will pass by many shops and cafes.
Halfway along this 1.3 km climbing section, the street changes its name to the Rua de Soares dos Reis. Stay on this street until you join the main north/south artery into downtown Porto, the Avenida da República at a large traffic circle with a nice gateway sculpture and the Santo Ovidio Metro station. Turn right, or northward. Porto is a straight shot from here.
At the Santo Ovidio metro station, 30.3 km into the day, it is still over three kilometers and about a 45 minute walk to the Porto cathedral!
We continued down the hill along the Avenida da República, toward Porto.
We left the Avenida about one kilometer later and walked westward to the Holiday Inn. I was so happy to be finished after a longer than 32 km day! If you feel the same when you arrive, there are many places to stay in Vila Nova de Gaia to finish your own day fourteen on the Portuguese Camino.
The following photos were taken the next day, when we were fresh and without backpacks, to walk the final two kilometers to the Cathedral and spend a sight-seeing day in Porto.
Just before the River Douro, there is a turn off, below, if you wanted to see the monastery, called the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. We actually included a visit here during our early morning walk, and I highly recommend it!
The views over the river and of Porto are spectacular from the Monastery terrace, but I did not include any photos here. See my article on Porto to view them.
Below the monastery terrace on the right, we caught one of our first glimpses of the Cathedral of Porto ahead.
There is this look-out area, below, where you can take in the views. I snapped so many photos! Here are a few:
Then, you walk on this bridge, the Ponte Luis I:
The few remaining rampart walls of the city can be viewed from the bridge, called the Muralha Fernandina, and were built in the 11th and 12 centuries, according to a placard nearby.
After crossing the bridge, a pedestrian ramp takes you up to the cathedral, on the promontory on a high hill. Here is the cathedral, walking past the street leading to it, to view it on the north side:
The mounted effigy of Vimara Peres, the first ruler of Portugal in the 9th century, greets you!
The northern portico of the Sé de Porto is lined with lovely murals. Here I am, posing like a turista for the photo!
Walking around to the west side, the glory that is the cathedral comes into focus! It almost felt like arriving in Santiago!
We had finally arrived in the center of Porto after 14 long days walking from Lisbon. We were almost 400 kilometers into our journey of almost 700! Only 300 left to go!
If you are looking for accommodations in Porto, there are so very many of them. Click here to begin your search. We have stayed in the lovely Chateau Flores, and definitely recommend it. I did include on the map above, some economical hostels that are worth looking into. The Albergue de Peregrinos de Porto is another 2.25 kilometers off-Camino and to the north of town and you can see its location as well.
We knew that this day fourteen, our last day before Porto was special, as the flavor of the journey was about to change. We were thrilled to be walking into the exciting and vibrant city of Porto, yet we were sad, knowing that the many more pilgrims who start from Porto would drastically change the face of our Camino.
We had appreciated day fourteen more than most, as our energy was high to meet the length of the day. We marveled at the wonders along the way, and if our eyes stayed open, there were so many moments to take in the marvels that indeed, words could never adequately express.
May your own day fourteen on the Camino Portugués be filled with wonders at every turn, that you have no words to describe! May your eyes be open to seeing all these wonders with new eyes, and may your heart be filled with gratitude for all that is before you!
**Looking for reservations in Porto? Click here to make sure you get the best place, close to the Camino and the town center!
Skip to Central Route Below, for Final Days 22-25 to Santiago
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