Caminho Português da Costa (Coastal Portuguese Way)

Praça da Ribeira
Photo:  Fernando Mendes PedroCC BY-NC-SA - Some Rights Reserved

Route through Vila Nova de Cerveira and Valença - 258 Km

The Coastal Way is characterised by the mixture of a sea and overland component. The use of this pilgrim way is essentially related to the fact that journeys by sea were quicker and less exposed to the perils of overland routes and, as a result, they were popular. These sea routes followed the commercial cabotage routes along the Portuguese Atlantic coast, which many pilgrims, a lot of which foreigners, used to travel from Lisbon to the ports of Aveiro, Porto and Viana do Castelo, from where they continued by land to Santiago de Compostela.

The form of the so-called Coastal Way, in similarity to most of the Jacobean routes, is structured around the point of departure of the pilgrim and the personal choice of route to follow. Of course, pilgrims set off for Compostela from Portugal’s Atlantic coast. On the North, the original route really ran inland through the current municipality of Póvoa, and the village of Amorim, where a parish dedicated to St. James still exists. From there, the route followed on to Barca do Lago (near Esposende) heading to Viana do Castelo.

Stages (*)

  • Porto > Maia - 12 km
  • Maia > Póvoa do Varzim - 15 km
  • Póvoa do Varzim > Esposende - 20 km
  • Esposende > Viana do Castelo - 25km
  • Viana do Castelo > Caminha - 29 km
  • Caminha > Vila Nova de Cerveira - 20 km
  • Vila Nova de Cerveira > Valença/Tui - 15 km (more 4 Km to cross the Valença bridge to Tui)
  • Valença/Tui > Redondela - 34 km
  • Redondela > Pontevedra - 18km
  • Pontevedra > Caldas de Reis - 23Km
  • Caldas de Reis > Pádron - 19 km
  • Pádron > Santiago - 24 km


Alternative route through A Guarda - 253 km

This was a less used route travelled by some pilgrims who used the commercial sea routes into Portugal. Once on Portuguese soil, they followed the coastal routes to Santiago de Compostela. Along this coastal route can still be found some place names, pilgrim shelters and Jacobean iconography that confirm the use of a coastal trail to Santiago de Compostela. The route from Porto ran through Vila do Conde and Esposende. Pilgrims could also embark at Viana do Castelo and Caminha and travel to the Galician border by crossing the River Minho in the direction of A Guarda, from there continuing on to O Rosal, Oia, Baiona, Nigrán and Vigo. Then they headed towards Redondela, joining the Central or Main Portuguese Way.


Stages (**)
  • Porto Matosinhos > Maia – 12 km
  • Maia > Póvoa do Varzim – 15 km
  • Póvoa do Varzim > Esposende – 20 km
  • Esposende > Viana do Castelo – 25km
  • Viana do Castelo > Caminha – 29 km
  • Caminha >A Guarda(Ferry) – 4km
  • A Guarda > Oia – 12 km
  • Oia> Baiona – 18 km
  • Baiona > Redondela – 34 km
  • Redondela >Pontevedra – 18km
  • Pontevedra > Caldas de Rei – 23 Km
  • Caldas de Rei >Padrón – 19 Km
  • Pádron> Santiago de Compostela – 24 Km
The Caminho Português da Costa begins in (13) Praça da Ribeira (pre-14th century), the point at which travellers crossing the Douro River would arrive. From here, go up Rua dos Mercadores, Rua da Bainharia, Rua de Sant’Ana, and Rua de S. Sebastião to reach Morro da Sé. With the Cathedral behind you, go down the Cathedral steps, alongside the (15) Casa da Câmara (old City Hall - 14th-15th centuries, rebuilt in 2000 by the architect Fernando Távora) towards Rua Escura, where the Chapel of N.ª Sr.ª do Ferro used to stand (demolished in 1928). From Rua do Souto, which starts where Rua da Bainharia and Rua dos Pelames meet, crossing Rua Mouzinho da Silveira and Rua das Flores and then going up Rua dos Caldeireiros, the route heads towards Porta and Campo do Olival and Cordoaria (now Campo dos Mártires da Pátria) before continuing along Rua de Cedofeita, Rua do Barão de Forrester, Largo da Ramada Alta and Rua de Nove de Julho. Crossing Rua de Egas Moniz and Rua da Constituição brings you to the square Praça do Exército Libertador, with its (10) Cross of Senhor do Padrão. Follow Rua do Carvalhido and Rua do Monte dos Burgos as far as the ring road- Estrada da Circunvalação. The route carries on along the old Porto/Vila do Conde road, Rua do Seixo, before arriving at the Cross of Padrão da Légua.
  • Pilgrim’s Hostel S. José de Ribamar (Póvoa Varzim)
    Av. Mouzinho Albuquerque, 31 | Tel. +351 919 518 646
    16 beds – 8:00-20:00 –  Donation
  • Camping Orbitur Rio Alto (Estela/Póvoa do Varzim)
    EN 13 - Km 13 - Lugar do Rio Alto - Estela - 4570-275 Póvoa do Varzim | Tel. +351 252 615 699
    Capacity for 1.422 pax - 13 to 22 €
  • Pilgrim’s Hostel S. Miguel (Marinhas/Esposende)
    Avenida S. Sebastião | Tel. +351 253 964 720
    14 beds –15:00-22:00 –  Donation
  • Foz do Cávado Youth Hostel (Fão/Esposende)
    Alameda do Bom Jesus | Tel. +351 253 981 790
    88 beds –08:00–24:00 – 10€/62€
  • Pilgrim’s Hostel São João da Cruz dos Caminhos (Viana do Castelo)
    Rua do Carmo, 1 | Tel. +351 258 822 264|962 254 107 (17:00-20:00)
    73 beds –apr-sep  15:00-20:00–  6€/12,50€
  • Viana do Castelo Youth Hostel
    Rua de Limia | Tel. +351 258 838 458
    70 beds –08:0–24:00 – 11€/75€
  • Camping Orbitur Viana do Castelo (Cabedelo, Viana do Castelo)
    Rua Diogo Álvares - Cabedelo - 4935-161 Darque, Viana do Castelo | Tel. +351 258 322 167
    capacity 470 pax - 14 to 23 €
  • Caminha Pilgrim’s Hostel
    Av. Padre Pinheiro | Tel. +351 914 290 431
    32 beds –13:00–22:00 – 5€
  • Camping Orbitur Caminha
    Camarido Woods - EN 13 - Km 90 - 4910-180 Caminha | Tel. +351258 921 295
    capacity for 438 pax - 12 to 20 €
  • Vila Nova de Cerveira Youth Hostel - Estrada Nacional 13
    Rua Alto das Veigas | Tel. +351 251 796 113
    60 beds –08:00 – 24:00 – 11€/49€
  • Pilgrim’s Hostel S. Teotónio (Valença)
    Av. Bombeiros Voluntários | Tel: +351 918 234 938
    50 beds - 15:00-20:00 - 5€
Local tourist information
  • Maia -T. +351 229 444 732
  • Vila Conde - T. +351 252 248 473
  • Póvoa Varzim - T. +351 252 298 120
  • Esposende - T. +351 253 961 354
  • Viana do Castelo - T. +351 258 098 415
  • Caminha - T. +351 258 921 952
  • Vila Nova de Cerveira - T. +351 251 708 023
  • Valença - T. +351 251 823 329
(*) SAMPAIO, Francisco, 2004 – Santiago Rota do Alto-Minho. Viana do Castelo: Região de Turismo do Alto-Minho, p. 13-14
(**) A Guarda. Camino Portugués de la Costa, s/d. A Guarda: Ayuntamento de A Guarda/Oficina de Turismo. Refer also to A Vila de A Guarda: Available at:


Published 07-04-2014
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