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Itinerary – April 2014

Here is the itinerary for the Portuguese Camino Tour in April, 2014.
Things might change a bit – the Universe is always in flux! – but this is essentially what we’ll be doing for two weeks in April!

DAY 1 – April 7th. (Monday)
PORTO / MATOSINHOS
HOTEL PORTO MAR – http://www.hotelportomar.net/index.php?q=en/node/29
We’ll all meet up at the Porto Mar – I’ll run through the tour with you all as a group some time in the afternoon, and then we’ll go out for dinner. Nearby are the best seafood restaurants in Porto! If you like grilled sardines, this would have to be one of the best places in the world to eat them straight off the fishing boats!

Sardines 6

DAY 2 – April 8th (Tuesday)
MATOSINHOS to VILA DO CONDE – 22kms
HOTEL BRAZAO –
We head off early and walk along the coast to the beautiful little town of Vila do Conde. The Hotel Brazao is in the centre of town, and very close to the town’s magnificent church. It’s a short walk down the hill to where we’ll have dinner that night, in a gorgeous local restaurant by the inlet, right beside the town’s huge ancient monastery. The restaurant specializes in grilled meats and seafoods.

VdC Monastery

Cookind ribs ext

DAY THREE – April 9th  (Wednesday)
VILA DO CONDE to BARCELOS – 18kms
HOTEL BAGOEIRA – http://www.bagoeira.com/en/index.php
The Camino takes us through Arcos, where we’ll stop for morning tea at Catarina’s folks wonderful hotel, Vila d’Arcos.From there it’s a short walk to an ancient Roman church, and then we’ll walk through to Barcelos – a beautiful entrance to the town over an ancient bridge. Barcelos will be jumping because we get in on the Wednesday afternoon, and everyone will be preparing for the big markets the following day. The Barcelos Thursday markets are regarded as the biggest in Portugal, and people travel from hundreds of kms for market day. Barcelos has a beautiful and very old church, and gardens full of flowers near to the market square. Barcelos is also world famous for its chickens. France has Bresse, Portugal has Barcelos. We’ll have dinner in the best Portuguese grilled chicken restaurant in town – a place only the locals know!

Vila d'Arcos ext

Arcos roman church copy

bridge into barcelos

At bbq int

DAY FOUR – April 10th. (Thursday)
BARCELOS to BOM JESUS (BRAGA) – 24kms
HOTEL DO ELEVADOR & HOTEL DO LAGO – http://www.hoteisbomjesus.pt
Today you have the choice of spending the morning at the Barcelos markets, in which case we’ll then transport you in the afternoon to the hotel at Bom Jesus, outside of Braga on a mountain looking down on the city. Or else you can walk the 24kms. Bom Jesus is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Portugal – a magnificent church on a mountain top. But what makes it so special is the pathway leading to the churcha series of switchbacks with stone buildings at each level signifying the various Stations of the Cross. It is truly magnificent, and worth the deviation off the Camino.

Bom Jesus front

Bom Jesus church

DAY FIVE – APRIL 11TH  (Friday)
BOM JESUS (BARCELOS) to PONTE DE LIMA – 31kms
HOTEL MERCEARIA DA VILA – http://www.merceariadavila.p
For those that want to pick up the Camino, we can bus you back to Barcelos, and from there to Ponte de Lima is about 31kms. It’s the longest stage of the tour. For the less pure, we can bus you to the nearest point on the Camino, further north from Barcelos, and you can walk from there. The walk will be worth it – Ponte de Lima is my favourite town on the Portuguese Way. It’s famous for its long Roman bridge leading out of town, however the whole town is simply beautiful – with ancient buildings and a long wooded promenade down by the river. The Hotel Mercearia da Vila is the nicest in town, however they only have five rooms – so they are finding us similar styled accommodation nearby. We’ll have breakfast there the next morning (before heading out over the Roman bridge) and dinner at a beautiful local place a few hundred yards away.

Ponte de Lima bridge.sm

PdL church.int

PdL church

PdL square

DAY SIX – April 12th  (Saturday)
PONTE DE LIMA to RUBIAES – 18kms
CASA DA OLIVIERINHA – http://www.casadaoliveirinha.com/en/
A shorter walk today after the long haul yesterday. Rubiaes is a small remote village and there aren’t many options for three star accommodation. There’s a pilgrim albergue, but it’s dormitory styled sleeping. There’s a beautiful rural casa (B&B) nearby – Casa da Olivierinha, but it only has three rooms, which I’ve booked. However Fernando, the owner of the Casa, has found additional rooms for us at nearby Casas, so the group will be split, but we’re having a home cooked meal at Casa Olivierinha that night, which should be wonderful!

pastries

DAY 7 – April 13th  (Sunday)
RUBIAES to TUI  (20kms)
PENSION CABALOFURADO – http://www.cabalofurado.com/index.php/en/
Today we cross the border from Portugal into Spain! We walk through Valenca, on the Portuguese side, then cross a river into Tui, on the Spanish side of the border. Both ancient towns are heavily fortified from hundreds of years past conflicts – Valenca has a great old town overlooking the river, and Tui has a magnificent Cathedral.

Walking away, Valenca

Crossing into Portugal over river

Tui Cathedral

Tui Church door

DAY EIGHT – April 14th  (Monday)
TUI to O PORRINO – 16kms
HOTEL PARQUE – http://www.hotelparqueporrino.com
Another short walk today into O Porrino, and the Hotel Parque. We’re also now well and truly into Spain, and thus Spanish food!

Spanish mixed grill

Hotel Parque

DAY NINE – April 15th  (Tuesday)
O’PORRINO to ARCADE – 22kms
HOTEL ISAPE – http://www.hotel-isape.com
The Hotel Isape has a terrific restaurant specializing in seafood.

paella

Isape Rest

DAY 10 – April 16th  (Wednesday)
ARCADE TO PONTEVEDRA – 11kms
HOTEL RIAS BAJAS – http://www.hotelriasbajas.com
Again, a short day, only 11kms – but there’s plenty to do in Pontevedra if we get in early. It’s a large town, and our beautiful hotel is in the old quarter. You could easily spend hours strolling around, and again there is a beautiful church not far from the hotel – celebrating the Camino pilgrims.

Confession box

Pontevedra church

DAY 11 – April 17th  (Thursday)
PONTEVEDRA to CALDAS DE REIS – 24kms
HOTEL BALNERIO ACUNA – http://www.balnearioacuna.com
Caldas de Reis is an ancient Roman spa town, and we’re staying in one of the town’s oldest hotels, built around spa waters. You can rest your weary pilgrim body in one of the hotel’s spa baths!

CdR Spa hotel

DAY 12 – April 18th  (Good Friday)
CALDAS DE REIS to PADRON – 18kms
HOTEL SCALA – http://www.hscala.com/index_en.php
We’re getting close to Santiago now – the last day before our walk into the city. We’re moving out of the rural landscapes into slightly more urban areas. You can feel the pull of the Holy city from here…

yellow arrow on stone wall copy

DAY 13 – April 19th  (Easter Saturday)
PADRON to SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – 24kms
HOTEL LITERARIO SAN BIEITO – http://www.hotelsanbieito.com  https://www.facebook.com/HotelBoutiqueLiterarioSanBieito
Today we walk into Santiago. It’s Easter Saturday, nearing the end of the week of Semana Santa celebrations, and no doubt the city will be full of activity. Today we can get our Compostelas from the Pilgrim’s office – the official document that shows that we’ve walked the Portuguese Camino. You’ll probably want to visit the Cathedral too.

Our hotel is a new three star hotel in the old town – a beautifully renovated building a short walk from the Cathedral. A buffet breakfast will be provided. 

SdC Cathedral int

DAY 14 – April 20th  (Easter Sunday)
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
HOTEL LITERARIO SAN BIEITO –  http://www.hotelsanbieito.com  https://www.facebook.com/HotelBoutiqueLiterarioSanBieito
Our 2nd day in Santiago, Easter Sunday. There will be a large mass in the Cathedral, and there will be celebrations and processions and festivities all day. It should be an amazing day to be in Santiago. Tonight we’ll have a farewell dinner – because tomorrow we’ll all head our separate ways.

So this is the itinerary – it should be an incredible tour.

I’ll do regular updates now, and I’m available for any questions – best email me on: bill@bjfilms.com.au

By the way, we’re still short a few people, so if you know of anyone who wants to join us, please get them to contact me on the email above, or the organizing travel agent Duncan Ford, at duncan@flightbiz.com

Santiago cathedral thru door

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