Caminha to Viladesuso: Portuguese Coastal Camino Day 7
In this introduction to the stages of the Portuguese Coastal Camino, I'm focusing on the stuff you actually need to know. You'll sort out accommodation and restaurants and so forth on your own as you travel. I'll cover the things that you don't want to miss along the way. For everything else, check out this article: What do you REALLY need to know about the Portuguese Coastal Camino?
A rundown of the Portuguese Coastal Camino: Caminha to Viladesuso
23.3 km/14.5 miles
After you get off the boat in Spain at Camposancos, most will walk up and over a hill a few km into A Guarda. However, you also can trace the coast for a prettier but significantly longer option (it adds about 4 km/2.5 miles). The road is flat to rolling the rest of the day. You follow some really stunning coastline, though for a lot of the time you'll be on a separated path on the side of a highway. There’s a separated walkway so don’t stress about safety or anything.
1) If you didn't catch the instructions on how to catch the water taxi from Caminha, I explain it in the previous post.
2) Don't forget to shift your clocks ahead an hour. Spain is on a different timezone from Portugal.
This first day of walking in Spain is muy tranquilo. The ride across the Minho is really pretty, even if the taxi does dump you unceremoniously on a beach a few kilometers from town, leaving you to work your way up and over a hill into A Guarda.
A Guarda is a beautiful little town on a peninsula with nice cafes and a square with a nice old church. We didn't stop by, but it's also the sight of an old Celtic fort from pre-Roman days. The walk out of town is gorgeous, with views along the coast and then mixed road and trail. If you're keen for town time today, spend it here because there aren't any more settlements of any size the rest of this stage.
The coast here is stunning but much of the day involves walking on the side of the road. Road walking isn’t that great but it is what it is. To me, it felt like I'd imagine it would feel to walk Highway 1 in Northern California, if it were much less busy. Gorgeous, but also it's blacktop. It goes fast and it's not too painful, and there are plenty of nice if not notable roadside cafes along the way to break things up.
Oia is a beautiful little agricultural village with a 12th century monastery right on the coast. It's a nice place to stay, which is why more pilgrims stay here than continue on to the serviceable but less atmospheric Villadesusa.
Viladesuso is a more modern coastal development with the roadside Hotel Glasgow being the most visible structure. It's no 12th century monastery. Still, even if this is a sleepy little spot, it's not a terrible place to spend an evening. We had one of our best sunset views of the Camino there in a nondescript bar, drinking cheap Spanish lager.