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  • Tim Mathis

Vila do Conde to Apulia: Portuguese Coastal Camino Day 3

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?

Camino doggie at Povoa de Varzim

A rundown of the Portuguese Coastal Camino: Vila do Conde to Apulia


21 km/13 Miles


Beach, boardwalk and cobblestones - mainly flat with occasional rolling hills. Nothing to stress about. Key towns are Povoa de Varzim and Agucadoura but restaurants and cafes are dispersed every few miles today. Lots of nice coastal views. It's lovely.


If you follow the Senda Litoral, the day starts by heading straight to the coast through Vila do Conde. If you haven't yet, take some time to wander the streets in town and see the old town. It's a gorgeous little place. You'll have the option to follow a more traditional route through the suburbs instead of along the coast, but by all accounts, it's better to walk along the water. That's what we did, and we liked it.

Povoa de Varzim is a popular beach resort town about 4 km from Vila do Conde. It's worth a cafe stop, and wander as well. There are some cool old churches, narrow streets, and nice tile facades characteristic of the area.

Capela de Sao Roque, Povoa de Varzim on the Portuguese Coastal Camino
Capela de Sao Roque, Povoa de Varzim

The Capela de Sao Roque on the square in Povoa de Varzim is a stately structure with an ornate interior that features some characteristic Portuguese tile work. It's worth a stop, right off the Camino. It's not officially dedicated to St. James, but there are old Camino connections here. The chapel grew in prominence in the 15th century when a St. James icon was said to have been found on a beach nearby and installed, and a local brotherhood dedicated to St. James was established. Now you'll find a small plaque and some scallops scattered around the structure, but I'm not sure what happened to the icon from the beach. The square here is colloquially referred to as Santiago square.

After Povoa de Varzim, the route today primarily meanders directly along the coast until after Agucadoura. Along the way, you pass some interesting and picturesque old windmills, and a lot of beautiful, relaxed coastal scenery. It captures the essence of what the Coastal Camino is about. Relaxed, pretty walking along the ocean, passing in and out of small, picturesque settlements. No worries.

boardwalk near Povoa de Varzim  on Portuguese Coastal Camino
Boardwalk near Povoa de Varzim

When you get close to Apulia, you'll cut in from the coast slightly.

Apulia is quite a small place. We stayed in a nice little albergue here because it fit our itinerary, but a fair number continue up to Fao or Esposende. Any are good options with multiple options for accommodations and food.

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