Ever since I watched The Way in Spanish class in high school, I wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago. At first, I was really stressed about where to stay, how long it would take me, how to prepare physically, what to bring and more. But after speaking with someone who has hiked it themselves at says it’s not something you have to bend over backwards preparing for, I was put at ease. Regardless, I still did all the preparing I could to make this trip go as smoothly as possible:
Choosing my way: I don’t know how I came to decide on the Portuguese way, exactly. Perhaps because I’ve never been to Portugal and flights to Porto were cheap. Either way, upon looking at Camino ways starting in Porto, I had two options: the Coastal Way or the Central Way. I love the beach, so I went with the Coastal Way, even though it’s a couple miles longer, in hopes that a nice sea breeze will keep me cool on my trek.
Self-guided tour, guided tour or completely solo?: Upon looking for travel tips, I stumbled across a tour company called Camino Ways that offer a wide range of tours on several different Ways. The difference between guided and self-guided tours with this company are self-explanatory and with the company, you get to build your own package of hotel stays and create your itinerary with the option of dinner, airport transfer and luggage transfer between stops. For the Portuguese Coastal Way (last 100 kilometers only), the self-guided tours start at €550 for accommodation alone for five nights and the guided tours start at €1,000 for seven nights all inclusive (you don’t have the option to customize your trip like you can with the self-guided). Between the two, I would prefer the self-guided tour, but €100 per night just in accommodation seems quite expensive, even considering the “price” of convenience. So, I decided to book the whole thing from scratch using various websites and forums to answer any questions I had (I will list all resources I used at the bottom of this post).