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The Camino Portugues: From Lisbon and Porto to Santiago - Central, Coastal and Spiritual caminos (International Walking) Book Review

By Kat Davis
Cicerone Press, 2018
336 pp, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-85284-932-0

Camino Portugues Book Review

Since the year 1211, pilgrims have been walking the Camino Portugues, a 620-kilometer (385.3 mile) trek from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, site of the cathedral believed by many to be the burial site of Saint James the Great, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.

Some say the Camino Portugues is the world's second-most traveled pilgrimage.

Those undertaking this trip will find that Kat Davis' book is all you need, and sometimes more, about how to manage their trip. The trek is broken down into 25 stages (one day each) along the main path, and within each stage a list of the start and stop points, the total distance you'll be walking, the elevation climb and descent, level of difficulty (easy, medium or, very rarely, hard), the time required to walk and a shortlist of cafes and accommodations to choose from.

Camino Portugues Book Review
Sample page

There are two variant routes, a coastal route, and a spiritual route. Routes linking these alternative routes are also covered. The routes listed will take you via ancient Roman roads across ancient bridges and through quaint villages, farmlands and forests, and in some cases large cities.

Also dealt with are trip preparation, for example, the level of fitness required (surprisingly not very high), the best time to go (April to October), what to take, a calendar of annual festivals and events, an English-Portuguese-Spanish glossary and a “getting there and away” section covering air, rail, and bus.

In addition to many nice pictures, there are maps for every day of each of the branches of the trip. Even if the book fails you somehow, there are markers along the roads to point you to your ultimate goal. Should you get lost, the book says friendly Portuguese are more than willing to help you find your way.

Camino Portugues Book Review

There are four UNESCO sites along the way; Tomar's Convent of Christ built by the Knights Templar, Coimbra University (one of Europe's oldest universities), and the old towns of Porto and Santiago (in Spain). There are numerous other historical and religious sites you will run across as well. The reader can't help but learn a number of interesting historical tidbits while reading through descriptions of the cities; for example, how port wine was first made in the city of, of course, Porto.

The level of detail in this book might surprise the reader at times. For example, in one of the variant routes, it becomes necessary to take a ferry. If the main ferries are closed for whatever reasons, the book suggests going to the local tourist office and having them find a local willing to take you. Failing that, the book lists the phone number of a local man who is willing to take tourists in his private boat!

Curiously, the book doesn't have an index, which would have been handy if you wanted to find, for example, a list of museums on the trip.

Anybody concerned with the logistical problems of taking this pilgrimage will probably rest assured after they get this book. That is a sign of a good travel book.

Buy this book Camino Portugues from Amazon USA | UK | Japan

By Marshall Hughes

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