Coast to Coast

Senda Litoral

There are three “Portuguese Caminos”. Firstly the main Caminho Português goes north from Porto through central Portugal and the two “coastal routes”. The Caminho Português da Costa winds inland at times. We chose to walk south to Porto on the less popular Senda Litoral which generally sticks to the coast. Click here for our Senda Litoral map.

A Guarda – Vila Praia de Âncora

01 June 2019 via SENDA LITORAL

From A Guarda in Spain we took the TAXI-MAR speed boat across the Minho back to Caminha in Portugal and then walked along the Atlantic coast to Vila Praia de Âncora. From A Guarda to the port, 3.6 km 50 minutes and from A Guarda to Vila Praia de Âncora, 10.4 km 3 hours.

TAXI-MAR provides a great service across the Minho when the ferry isn’t operating.
Takes 4 minutes and costs €5 per person

Leaving Spain behind and heading down the Senda Litoral
What could these goats be eating on the rocks? The old windmill is now a house
Vila Praia de Âncora is decked out with petunias

Vila Praia de Âncora – Viana do Castelo

02&03 June 2019 via SENDA LITORAL

20.8 km, 5 hours 20 minutes staying close the coast without walking on the beach although there are a few patches where the sand dunes have covered the boardwalk.

Viana do Castelo was founded in the 13th century. It is one of the beautiful cities in the north of Portugal and a good place to have a rest day.

We set off on the “obvious” path which soon became buried in fine sand so we retreated
And found the nice new path around the sand dunes
19th century windmills – the far one is the only windmill in Portugal with wooden sails
Traditional fishermen’s shelters, used until about 40 years ago
Three of the seven old stone windmills we saw along the coast
Santa Luzia Sanctuary, 200 meters above Viana do Castelo is less than 80 years old
We passed the 18th century Shrine of the Lady of the Agony on the way in to Viana do Castelo
A street in Viana do Castelo, deserted on a Sunday afternoon
The local specialty Pescada a Vianense
Cod fish on a bed of kale with potatoes, olives, onions and corn bread
Igreja da Misericórdia was redecorated in the 18th century
Azulejos wall tiles and ceiling frescoes depict various Biblical scenes

Viana do Castelo – Esposende


The Senda Litoral is at about 4 km longer than the Caminho da Costa (25.5 km, 6½ hours) so we headed inland along the Camino. It was raining for the first two hours but a good days walking, along narrow cobbled village streets and soft paths through eucalyptus forrest. To pass the time we played “count the pilgrims” – final score: 207 but spread out, not in tight clusters.

Walking along a cobbled village path in the rain …
… through eucalyptus forrest …
… past the Monastery of Sao Romao de Neiva, founded 1087 …
… across an ancient stone bridge …
… to eat Portuguese seafood rice …
… and sardines grilled over coals

Esposende – Póvoa de Varzim

05 June 2019 via SENDA LITORAL

Today we headed for the coast again to follow the Senda Litoral, crossing paths with the Camino about halfway: 21.8 km, 5 hours 20 minutes.

Fishermen’s huts
Fish market at Apulia Norte
We saw 10 windmills today
There are dozens of beach bars at Póvoa de Varzim
The history of Póvoa de Varzim is depicted on a panel of azulejos (blue tiles) on the beach
Lunch at Póvoa de Varzim – soup, bread, a fish each and a litre of wine = €7.50 ($12) per person
Pam after 22k, and lunch

Póvoa de Varzim – Cabo do Mundo

06 June 2019 via SENDA LITORAL

It was hard going today. Only 19.2 km, 4 hours 20 minutes but into a strong headwind – a strength sapping 35 kph gusting to 50 kph with intermittent rain. Where possible we walked a block inland from the exposed coastline convincing ourselves it was a little easier.

16th century aqueduct originally had 999 arches and brought water to the Santa Clara Monastery in Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde is where the 15-18th century “Age of Discovery” ships were built
Coastal fishing village
That’s one way of doing the pilgrimage – carry your trolley bag on your shoulder
Senda Litoral Boardwalk – before the rain
Hard work walking into 35 – 50 kph headwinds

Cabo do Mundo – Porto

07 June 2019 via SENDA LITORAL

After yesterday’s wind and rain we were pleased to awake to fine, sunny and calm weather. It’s an easy, attractive walk along the coast to the mouth of the Douro and then along the riverside to Porto. 17.2 km 4 hours.

Good weather makes walking along the coast a pleasure
In 1913 the British steamer Veronese with 221 passengers ran aground against these rocks
Pergola da Foz at the mouth of the Douro
Along the Douro into Porto
There’s also a tram running along the River into Porto
View from our window