Experience and Expertise
Your two bilingual guides that accompany the tour are either Spanish or live in Spain year round. This is our home and we love to share it with you!
All your meals (B,L,D) are included, so you only need to worry about enjoying the trail! Weather permitting; our gourmet picnics showcase the freshest of local flavors.
Charming restored manor homes and 3-4 star hotels that offer the best in hospitality, comfort, and location.
Our itinerary qualifies you for the Compostela certificate upon your arrival to Santiago.
You choose! Walk alone with the assurance that we'll take care of you or enjoy the company of others and your knowledgeable guides.
No need to carry a heavy pack - let us do the lifting while you do the walking.
Expect to have a wonderful time!
We've designed each trip to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Spanish landscape, while giving you a true sense of the soul and magic of these exciting people and their culture. We love to share this magnificent country and want you to feel a part of it - for us it is more than just a trip, it is our home.
Porto to GuimarãesAccommodations: Guimarães (D)
We pick-up the group in the afternoon in Porto and head for the countryside to the birthplace of Portugal as an independent country, Guimarães. In 1100, Portugal's first King, Afonso Henriques, was born inside the thick walls of the medieval castle that overlooks the town. Before dinner we have a stroll and then sit down for our Orientation Meeting to discuss our journey along the Camino de Santiago.
Vitorino de Piaes to Ponte de LimaAccommodations: Ponte de Lima (B, L, D) / Walking: 12KMs or 7 miles
After breakfast, we hop in the van and shuttle to Vitorino where we hit the trail and have a warm up of our week to follow. We lace up our boots to take our first steps on the Camino, getting our first stamp in the parish town of Vitorino de Piaes! We finish in the lovely river valley town of Ponte de Lima. What are all those Roman soldiers doing here?
Ponte de Lima to RubiãesAccommodations: Ponte de Lima (B, L, D) / Walking 18KMs or 11 miles
Yesterday's walk into the river valley means that today we have to climb out on the opposite side! Our most difficult climb (while you are still fresh!), we head up and over the Alto da Portela Grande, the highest point of our walk at a mere 400 meters. Coming down to Rubiães, follow the Roman Via XIX and pass by a miliáro, ancient mile marker used by the Romans.
Rubiães to TuiAccommodations: Tui (B, L, D) / Walking: 19KMs or 12 miles
With our boots on, we take to the trail for our last complete stage in Portugal. We wander through various wooded pathways that lead us into the fortress town of Valença. Here we prepare our passports for a border crossing over the Miño River into Spain. Actually, as both are part of the European Union, you'll only need your Pilgrim's Passport and know that the word for stamp will change from Carimbo to Sello!
Tui to PorriñoAccommodations: Tui (B, L, D) / Walking: 18KMS or 11 miles
Remember to change your watches as Spain is 1 hour ahead of its neighbor. We begin our day admiring the views from the 12th century Santa Maria Cathedral in Tui. We end our day with an excursion that takes us back over 2000 years to the Celtic remains of the Castro de Santa Tecla, where the views of the Atlantic and Portugal are unmatched!
Porriño / Fonte do Chan to RedondelaAccommodations: Pontevedra (B, L, D) / Walking: 14KM or 9 miles
Saying goodbye to the granite cutting mills of Porriño, we get the blood going with a good climb up to the Monte de Santiago de Antas, where we find another Roman mile marker. Continuing along the Camino towards Redondela, we get our first glimpse of the Estuary of Vigo, where mussels and scallops are farmed on floating barges! Sounds delicious - anyone for a tapa and Galician white wine?
Redondela to PontevedraAccommodations: Pontevedra (B, L, D) / Walking: 18KMs or 11 miles
We hit the trail and soon come to the lovely stone bridge in Pontesampaio where Napoleon's troops were defeated in the War of Independence. Here we can dip our toes into the Verdugo River, before preparing for our walk into the pedestrian-friendly city of Pontevedra. Here, we must stop in and get a stamp at La Peregrina, the 18th century chapel whose floor is in the shape of a scallop shell!
Pontevedra to Caldas de ReisAccommodations: Padron / Walking: 23KMs or 14 miles
Leaving the city of Pontevedra, we quickly return to nature, crossing through quiet paths where we come to the granite Cross of Amonisa with the carved figure of Santiago facing our destination. We arrive in Caldas de Reis, whose natural thermal springs have made this a place to soak your weary feet for thousands of years!
Caldas de Reis to A EsclavitudeAccommodations: Padron (B, L, D) / Walking: 23KMs or 14 miles
Today we arrive in Padron (or pedrón - Galician for big stone) and pay homage to the famous rock where the boat that contained Saint James was moored to upon its arrival from Jerusalem after he had been martyred. Padron is also famous in culinary circles for its little green peppers, some which are hot and others that are not.
A Esclavitude to Santiago de CompostelaAccommodations: Santiago de Compostela (B, L, D) / Walking: 19KMs or 12 miles
9 days, 153 kilometers, and we have arrived in Santiago de Compostela. Congratulations! You are going to love this magical city filled with fantastic monuments and with a lively buzz from the international pilgrims and university students that fill its medieval streets. After requesting our Compostela certificates at the Pilgrims' Offce, we head to our hotel and get ready for our evening celebratory dinner!
Santiago de CompostelaThe End (B)
After a buffet breakfast, our local historian gives us a closer look at the amazing Cathedral that has seen so many transformations since the original chapel built in the 9th century. After the tour, we sadly say our last "buen camino" as we leave you at the Cathedral in time for the Pilgrims' Mass at noon.
* Please note: This itinerary is subject to slight modifications due to hotel availability, weather, festivals and other occurrences.
Our greatest resource! We know Spain, because it is our home. All our guides are either Spanish or live in Spain year round - no hired-out college grads! When specified, local art historians will join us to provide further insights of the specific monument / museum that we visit.
Limited Group Sizes
Fresco Tours are in small groups to ensure that you receive the individual attention that you deserve. In order to treat each of our clients with a personal touch, we limit our group size to a maximum of 15 participants.
Fresco Tours selects a combination of 3-4 star hotels, restored country manors and B&B's that offer the best in hospitality, comfort and location. All rooms have their own bathrooms. Tour prices are based on double occupancy.
Food speaks volumes about a culture and we love to eat! During our walk days, when possible, we prepare gourmet picnics, using the freshest of local ingredients and selecting the tastiest recipes of the region. Dinners are celebrated in restaurants chosen not only for their menu, but also their atmosphere and service. All breakfast, lunches and dinners are included. We are proud to cater to vegetarians and those with food allergies as well.
Your walks will be accompanied by a support vehicle that will be there to provide you assistance when the route permits. The possibility of shorter routes and pick-up options will be explained on a daily basis.
All ground transportation between the designated starting and finishing point of your Fresco Tour is provided. We will help facilitate information for your travel arrangements prior to and after the tour start and finish.
Your luggage will be transported between hotels. Due to space restrictions, each participant is limited to one medium-sized piece and a small carry-on bag.
Special Event Tickets
Wine tastings, garden tours, concerts, etc. as outlined in the itinerary.
Airfare to and from Spain, airport taxes / departure fees, visas, or items of personal nature - laundry, phone, luggage surplus charges, medical expenses, bar, tips, etc.)
Prior to / After your Fresco Tour: Should your vacation to Spain be for more than a few days prior to or after your Fresco Tour, perhaps you would be interested in a Spain-taineous Custom Tour and personalized private itinerary. Let us know and we'll create an itinerary especially in tune with your needs and desires.
On the Road
What is the weather like on El Camino Portugués Tour?
Fresco Tours' Camino Portugués Tour covers about 160 KM's of the Camino in the Northwest region between Portugal & Galicia. Here we enjoy a more temperate climate than other parts of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
For average monthly temperatures and rainfall of Porto and Santiago de Compostela, please click below:
What is a typical day like on the El Camino Portugués Tour?
After breakfast, we lace up and get the blood going with a walk for a couple hours, where we will do a check point to make sure that everything is OK. You then continue along the Camino for another 1-2 hours where you will come across a complete gourmet picnic prepared with the all the freshest local ingredients. On some days, we continue for 1-2 hours more after lunch to burn off dessert.
In the afternoon, we go to our hotels, where we take a shower, siesta and just relax! We finish our day with a glass of tinto and a feast of the local gastronomy. We then retire for the night and get ready to do it again! On some afternoons, we have planned excursions, such as a visit to Celtic ruins or perhaps a massage!
Does the group stop for breaks on the El Camino Portugués Tour?
The great thing about the Camino is that it is very well-marked and we encourage people to walk at a pace that is comfortable for them - this is not a race! We want you to enjoy the route and we also like to stop with our clients for a coffee or cerveza along the way and take everything in!
What is the terrain like on El Camino Portugués Tour?
In Portugal & Galicia, the regions where we walk, the terrain is green rolling hills - there are neither steep climbs nor treacherous descents. The trail itself is a combination of very well maintained compact dirt and stone footpaths and small country roads.
What is the change in elevation on El Camino Portugués Tour?
We will be walking from Portela to Santiago de Compostela, the last 153 KM's of the Camino de Santiago. For more information on the distances between towns along the Camino and their respective altitudes, please click here.
How many kilometers are walked each day on El Camino Portugués Tour?
The amount of KM's scheduled for each day varies from 12KM's to 23KM's. We have designed this tour to allow the possibility to walk the last 100KMs to Santiago, which is a requirement by the Church if you are going to ask for the Compostela Certificate. However, the walks are accompanied by a support vehicle and options for less (or more!) KM's are possible on a daily basis. We can tailor the Camino to suit your needs!
How can we sleep in the same hotel for 2 nights and still walk the last 153 KM's?
Since the distances that we walk during the day on El Camino Portugués Tour can be covered quickly in the van, we take advantage of this and stay in the same hotel for 2 nights on multiple occasions. Our walk always starts at the point where we finished the previous day to maintain our continuity along the trail. We believe that the time (and energy) saved packing and unpacking everyday makes these shuttles a great convenience for everyone.
Will I have access to WiFi?
Yes, but you will be walking in one of the most rural parts of Spain so the service may be a bit difficult or slow in certain locations. Nonetheless, many cafes along the way also offer Wi-Fi so you'll have several opportunities to be online. Finally, remember that one of the greatest joys of the Camino is cultivating the ability to disconnect and enjoy your immediate surroundings!
Getting There & Back
How do I get to El Camino Portugués Tour starting point?
To facilitate your travel for the start of your walk, we will meet the group in Porto, which has airline connections from around the world! In the afternoon, we will meet you for your Orientation Meeting and an evening guided tour of Porto. If you need assistance with hotel arrangements, we will be happy to help.
How do I get from Santiago Compostela to Lisbon and other cities?
There are buses that will get you from Santiago to Lisbon - click here for an example of the timetable. If you are looking to fly, there are excellent internal flights that fly Santiago to Lisbon. For a complete list of companies that service the Santiago airport, please click here.
Can you help with purchasing online train tickets on the Rail Europe site?
Contact us and we would be happy to have our local travel agent assist in making those arrangements for you. Keep in mind that train tickets cannot be purchased until 60 days prior to departure.
How do I get to and from the Airport?
The national organization of airports in Portugal (ANA) has a great website that explains how to get to and from the major city for your airport of choice. It also has information regarding the routes serviced, the corresponding airlines, terminal information, transportation options and more.
If you are flying into Madrid and need to get to Porto, please see Spain's (AENA) website for information on destinations and routes serviced, the corresponding airlines, and much more. You may have to re-click the "English" tab at the top once you have chosen your airport.
How do I get from the Lisbon Airport to Porto?
Before You Go / Preparing
What type of boots do I need for El Camino Portugués Tour?
Footwear is a very personal question - depending on how active you are and how much support you will need. Since we will be walking on a daily basis on the Camino de Santiago, I believe that comfort is key - you do not want to get blisters. You probably won't need a full high boot that covers your ankle (unless you need this support), but rather light trail walkers or even running shoes if you are used to walking. In the spring, there may be mud and water along the trail, so keep that in mind. Most important: Make sure that they are well broken in!
What sort of conditioning do I need to undertake El Camino Portugués Tour?
We encourage you to walk before and be prepared for your own enjoyment. However, this is your vacation and not boot camp! During your walk, one of the two guides will be on the trail with the group to keep an eye that all is well. Also, we have planned check points along the way with our support van to make sure you have plenty of water, if you need a change of shoes, or just feel like taking a break. In most cases, you will see the van at a minimum every couple of hours.
How do I purchase travel insurance?
If you are interested in travel insurance, we like Squaremouth.com, which allows you to compare various policies across the top Insurance Providers. Visit our personalized Squaremouth for Fresco Tours Clients page, where we have taken the time to wade through policies that don't fit your needs (such as immigrant travel, golfing or and other specialized trips, etc.) to make your selection process easier.
In addition, we encourage you to check out TravelInsuranceReview.net, which explains the different insurance policy options in simplified lingo and provides editorial reviews of the insurance companies in terms of "The Good, The Drawbacks & The Bottom Line".
Where do Fresco Tour clients come from?
We are very fortunate to have had clients join us from around the world giving us a wonderful mix of diversity. The internet allows us access to the world, and since 2006 we have had travelers from the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, the United Kingdom (England & Scotland), Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, China, India, South Africa, Namibia and even Egypt! It truly is a small world after all!