Starting in Coimbra and continuing all the way up to Porto, this 3rd section of the Camino Portugues stretches between inland Portugal and the Atlantic coast. Here, the Camino brings us through history with such cities as Coimbra, the former capital city of the country and Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Between these urban areas, vineyards, river valleys and gently undulating woodlands are also part of the landscape and with reasonably lengthy walks, this walking holiday is accessible to anybody with a regular level of fitness.
This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
Coimbra University is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Established in 1290 today it is not only an operating University but also a World Heritage Site. The University sits on the site where the first Kings of Portugal once lived when the city was the capital of Portugal from 1145 to 1255. Be sure to visit the library and chapel of the University. The students add a lively atmosphere to the city and are easily spotted in their long dark robes that are said to have inspired JK Rowling for the cloaks worn in Harry Potter.
Although this town may look like many other typical northern Portuguese towns it is in fact a town that was established with the sole purpose of providing hospitality to pilgrims. In the 12th Century it was by the royal command of Queen D. Teresa, Afonso Henriques’ mother,that the first hostel for pilgrims was founded and around this the town emerged. Pilgrims passing through the town is a major part of the identity of the town and one the current inhabitants are happy to continue.
Mosterio S. Salvador de Grijó
The original monastery was founded in 992 by two clergy but moved to its current location then in 1122 and was consecrated in 1235. The monastery went into decline and it was not until the 1500s that the monks returned to a ruined monastery. They rebuilt the monastery but it took over 60 years to fully complete the work. In 1770 the monastery was extinguished and the property became a part of the Convent of Mafra.
Coimbra to Porto
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Coimbra has always played an important role in history of Portugal and relics of the ancient times can still be seen in this lively city. Indeed, being the former capital city of Portugal, Coimbra is not only home to a 13th century university, but its cathedral is one of the best preserved gothic buildings in the country. As a university city, Coimbra has everything to entertain visitors, and it is also a great place to taste local wines produced in the area!
Day 2 22.9km
Today is mainly a flat walk alternating between urban areas and river valleys. The only difficulty of the day might be the gentle climb up when leaving Coimbra and the Rio Mondego valley, up to Cioga do Monte. On this stage, the Camino mostly follows an ancient Roman road even though nowadays very little of the original remains. We end the day in Mealhada, in a famous wine-growing area.
Day 3 25.3km
Leaving Mealhada, we continue to walk through pleasant vineyards with no particular difficulty, even though we spend most of the day on asphalt. On the way, the route runs through Avelas de Caminho, a city historically linked to the Camino. We finally reach Agueda, a town built on the banks of the Certima River.
Day 4 16km
ALBERGARIA A VELHA
This easy short stage presents no difficulty, the highest point of the day being our final destination in Albergaria A Velha. The most attractive part of the day runs through peaceful pine and eucalyptus woods, a leg of the Camino that follows the original Via Romana XVI, with a beautiful stone bridge crossing over Rio Marnel.
Day 5 29.2km
ALBERGARIA A VELHA
SAO JOAO DE MADEIRA
We start this day walking along a lovely forest road through pine and eucalyptus woods and then the area becomes more urbanised as the Camino progresses further towards the North of the Beira coast and Porto. We also cross the charming town of Oliveira de Azemeis with its small yet pretty historical centre and Matriz de Sao Miguel church. The terrain also becomes more undulating and there is a bit of up and down across small hills, the highest point of the day culminating at a mere 220m in Sao Joao da Madeira.
Day 6 34.1km
SAO JOAO DE MADEIRA
Leaving Sao Joao da Madeira, we pass through Arrifana and go past its blue church. Soon we find ourselves walking on the well-preserved original cobbled Roman road. We then continue downhill towards the 13th century Monastery Mosteiro de Grijo. Heading towards Porto, feeling the fresh breeze of the Atlantic coast as we get closer to the famous Port wine capital city. Today again, we will walk on an original Via Romana section in Perosinho before heading to Vila Nova de Gaia, the city facing Porto, on the other side of Rio Duero. Finally, we enter Porto via the majestic Puente D. Luiz I before reaching the city’s UNESCO World Heritage old town.
After breakfast, we bid you farewell.
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