Whether you’re setting out on the Camino Portugues da Costa to Santiago de Compostela, or just want a lovely walk around the coast from the city, this route from Porto central to Matasinhos in the city’s outer suburbs is a delight and highly recommended. The ‘official’ Camino route goes up through the streets and suburbs, but the coastal route is a much better experience, especially if the weather is good.
It’s around 13km in total so you can do it slowly and still make it to Matasinhos port for lunch. It’s an easy, flat walk — just keep the river and then the ocean on your left.
I stayed at House of Sandemans on the south bank of Porto Gaia which has a view over to Cais de Ribeira where you start the walk. As I walked along the waterfront with a pilgrim I met, a man called out from a window high up — “Bom Caminho!” — the first of many such greetings over the following weeks.
You mainly walk alongside the road all the way, but often on separate walkways and paths. There is a boardwalk on one section out the city.
Walk under the Ponte da Arrabida bridge.
At the mouth of the river, there’s a lighthouse, Farolim de Felgueiras. The next stop looking west is the USA, so it can be windy with big waves in bad weather. I walked it on a glorious day!
Walk north alongside beaches, mostly on boardwalks or on a wide footpath.
There are lots of coffee shops and bars along the way, as well as ample opportunities to stop and swim or watch the waves. There are public toilets at the edge of many of the beaches and also in the coffee shops and bars.
The approach to Matasinhos has a long beach with apartment blocks behind. It is a working port, so it’s not ‘pretty’ like the old part of Porto.
There is a Camino office at the north end of the beach where you can get information and a stamp for your Credential, as well as use their Wi-Fi if you need it. There’s also a statue of grieving women for the fisherman lost to the sea.
Matasinhos has some great fish and seafood. Some restaurants will bring various starters and bread without you asking, so if you don’t want it, just say no and they will take it away again. If you start eating it, you’re paying for it!
You can get the metro back from the Mercado station in Matasinhos back into Porto. It’s about 40 mins to the central Trindade station and only a couple of EUR.
I did this walk on the day before starting my Camino officially, took the metro back into Porto for the night, and then came back out on the first train the following morning.
Continue the Camino journey: Matasinhos to Póvoa de Varzim.
Accommodation: I stayed at the Hotel Sandemans (privately arranged) and also the Portobay Teatro (my first night on Camino trip arranged by Macs Adventure) in Porto. I would recommend both.
Facilities: Coffee shops mostly open from 10am, but there are lots on this walk. Lots of restaurants in Matasinhos. Many public toilets along the beachfront.