Portuguese Coastal Way – The Camino Pilgrimage

Depart U.S. for Porto, Portugal on October 11th, 2017
Completion:  Return flights can be booked on October 21st from Santiago de Compostela or Stay On and Travel!
Cost: $1,950.00 USD – ($500.00 Deposit due at time of registering) Includes guides, facilitation, accommodations, breakfast each day and participants carry a lite day pack while their luggage is transported daily!

Portuguese Coastal Way

Get on TREK! For centuries, people all over the world have chosen to walk as a way to see the world and themselves with new eyes. Join with us as we walk the historic Camino Portuguese Way, winding through villages and cities on paths through lush forests, vineyards, fields, and along white sand beaches from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Rich with history, we will walk the paths used by Queen Isabel of Portugal in the 13th century and pass many historic pilgrimage sites. Ending at the Cathedral of Santiago, the location of the Tomb of Saint James, you will have the opportunity to attend the Pilgrims Mass (filmed in the movie “The Way”) if you choose.

Every trek offers two journeys which happen on the same path. The first is the walking we will do. The second journey happens inside each of us, opening a path of self-reflection, helping us to see our future with a clarity that is often difficult when we are immersed in the regular routines of our daily life.

Each night, we will stop at an inn or hotel, sampling local food and culture. Evenings are the time for us to meet as a group, reflecting on our day and being guided through conversations that help us to see our gifts, our opportunities, and gain confidence in the path we choose to take when we return home.

This experience is designed for adults of all ages with average physical fitness who want to walk through beautiful countryside, experience culture that is new and exciting, and have reflective time away from the usual daily routines. Previous experience trekking is not necessary. We are using a specially-designed route that keeps us close to the ocean as much as possible, with periodic short train or bus hops around the more rugged terrain along the route. Although you will be tired at the end of the day, this is not an endurance test!!

Guides: Andrew Bryan and Bruce Anderson

Andrew’s experience as a microprenueur has led him to a number of opportunities, from tutor to teacher, school administrator to educational consultant, coffee house owner, realtor, tourism marketing director, city councilor, school board chair, the list is varied and curious, but very much indicative of what led him to guiding international walking treks since 2011. His mind is always scanning the horizon for creative ways in which those he engages with can pursue their interests and build a path toward true inner and outer success.  Andrew has realized this in himself through the development of walking treks and sharing these pilgrimages with others!  He is, of course, supported in this endeavor by his much cherished and oversized Hoka One One trail shoes!

Image 18 (1) (1)Bruce has spent more than two decades providing coaching, both nationally and internationally, to groups and individuals interested in using the Core Gifts method to identify and realize desirable futures.  Bruce is known for bringing important timeless traditions from international cultures along with personal stories, humor and honed interpersonal skills to his role providing insights and guidance to others. He is an experienced outdoors person, having lived in remote Alaskan villages for many years and operating commercial fishing vessels.  Bruce has been co-guiding European treks for the past four years.

Trek Schedule:

October 11th – Flights to Portugal!
Participants depart USA to either Porto or Lisbon, Portugal.

October 12th – Arrive Porto, Portugal
Once everyone arrives, we will meet and orient ourselves to the trek ahead, then spend the rest of the day wandering in the town of Vila do Conde, just north of Porto! The entire old city of Porto was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1996 and there is plenty to do and see here. Set on the bank of the Douro River and near the Atlantic Ocean, the area is also internationally known for its famous Port wine. And there are plenty of terraces and restaurants in Porto to enjoy it!

We’re here! Now lets get to know each other on our first night by sharing stories, talking about why we came, and what we hope to get from being on this pilgrimage.  We’ll also give a brief introduction to the variety of activities and reflection we’ll have during our evening discussions, and discuss group agreements.

October 13th – Walk to Esposende
Today is an enjoyable and short walk as we leave Porto to reach the lively town of Esposende. Gently undulated woodland and charming villages alternate on today’s route and we will have the option to visit the Chapel of Santa de Franqueira, perched at 290m and to enjoy a panoramic view from the top of the hill. Further on, we cross one of the many well preserved medieval bridges of the Camino and soon we enter Esposende and its attractive main square.

Pilgrimages are intentional journeys, and participants always carry their belief systems along the path as a source of wisdom and reflection. This evening each of us will have the opportunity to share our beliefs about how the world began and what makes a “good life.” Past trekkers have really appreciated the variety of belief systems and principles that are represented in the group.

October 14th – To Vila Praia de Ancora
From beach to quiet country lanes we will walk from Esposende to Viana do Castelo, one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities. Classified as a mecca of architecture, the city is famous for its monuments in and around the city, and the surrounding natural beauty of its beaches and seafront. From here we will travel to Vila Praia de Ancora for the night!

Tonight we’ll hear an old myth, The Girl With The Big Dream, that helps us understand how we discover our true selves, and why it’s so difficult to break out of our usual habits that bind us into being less that we really are capable of being.

October 15th – To A Guarda
The walk today will quickly pass by Caminha, include a short train ride, and then we will get a ferry to A Guarda. Upon our arrival will walk around the peninsula and stopping for lunch with magnificent beach scenery before arriving at our hotel in A Guarda.

Each of us is leaving a legacy, whether we intend to or not. Legacy, from “legatia”, translates to “what I am a messenger for.”  Tonight we’ll talk about the three age-related phases of legacy, and the three requirements for leaving a powerful legacy. It’s all about the threes!

October 16th – To Oía
Today’s walk is along the coast line to Oia.  We will stay in a seaside family owned hotel with a home cooked meal and great innkeepers!

Tonight we’ll take a break from our evening discussions and spend time walking about town and relaxing.

October 17th – To Baiona
The group will meet in the morning to do Core Gift Interviews with each other prior.  We will then take a short ride to the start of our walk along a boardwalk with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cies islands. The afternoon walk today is relaxed and level, as we stroll along the port, have lunch along the waterfront.

Core Gift Interviews! Today is the centerpiece of our work to help each person identify their primary gift.  Trekkers will learn the process and interview each other to create a Core Gift Statement.  Past Trekkers have been both surprised and deeply grateful for the opportunity to clearly name what they see as the primary purpose of their life.

October 18th – To Redondela
The way out of the gorgeous town of Baiona will include a walk through neighborhoods, along beaches, and up into the foothills. We’ll have lunch in a local cafe we’ve discovered, and then finish our day with a shuttle and train to Redondela.

Part of pilgrimage involves an outward expression of gratitude for those who have helped us along our path. Tonight we’ll compose a Gratitude Letter to a person we want to specifically remember and thank for their compassion and interest in our life.

October 19th – To Pontevedra
Today is our last day along the coast.  We’ll start with an initial walk to the ancient village of Arcade. If the timing is right, we will stop to try the famous oysters in the fishing village of Arcade. Our final point is the city of Pontevedra, with its stunning historic center. We will also have time to explore the old town, with its many Romanesque churches and quaint granite squares.

Each of us carries a vision for the next arc of our life “A Story That Could Be True…” It sits inside us, waiting to be acknowledged and lived into. As our pilgrimage gets closer to its ending point, each of us will have time to create a story about our future that includes giving our gifts and leaving an intentional legacy.


October 20th – To Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Passing chestnut groves, we will take the local train to Osebe as the Camino leaves Pontevedra.  As we walk from Osebe, it will now possible to see the towers of the cathedral. Finally the Camino passes by the ruins of a castle known as A Rocha Vella, before entering the city of the Apostle.  During our time in Santiago de Compostela we will visit the cathedral, have our closing group ritual, and attend the evening pilgrim’s mass if you choose.

Our last night together. It’s time for the All Boots In closing ritual, a tradition in our pilgrimages.  We’ll tell stories, talk about our intentions, and share in the joy that pilgrimage creates in each one of us.

October 21st – Departing flights home or continue onward traveling on your own.
Flights from Santiago de Compostela, Vigo, Porto, or Lisbon.  Participants may also want to extend their stay in Portugal, Spain, or beyond!

Trek Map:

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the weather be like?

Of course, the weather is unpredictable, but the historical weather maps show an average October temperature in the mid to upper 60’s during the day on the Portugal coast.

Will I need to get a lot of special gear?

No. You’ll need some layered clothing, rain-gear, some sturdy boots or walking shoes, and a few other things. Once registered, we’ll send you a standard detailed packing list.

Will I be carrying a heavy pack?

No. Your luggage will be transported each day by courier to our destination for that night. You will be bringing a small daypack to carry your snacks, rain-gear, and whatever else you might need for the day’s walk.

What is the age range?

Adults over 32 are welcome to register.

I need to make my travel plans. What time do I need to be in Porto to meet the group, and what time will I be able to depart Santiago de Compostela?

People will arrive and depart at different times due to individual travel itineraries, but plan on departing USA on October 11th, and arriving at Porto, Portugal no later than 2pm on October 12th. You can depart anytime on Saturday, October 21st, from Santiago de Compostela. You will receive information about our arrival hotel and check-in procedure prior to departing the U.S.

How large is our group?

We are limiting the group to 8-10 participants and 2 guides. We have found over the past six years of trekking that this size allows for people to really get to know each other, yet is large enough for lots of variety of ideas and personal styles. Perfect size to maximize fun and learning.

Is this going to be physically demanding?

This is a walk, not an endurance test. Trek participants are generally tired at the end of the day, but not exhausted. We want you to still have energy at the end of the day so we can meet for our evening sessions without you falling asleep!

How many miles do we walk each day?

The daily mileage varies from 6-12 miles. We generally are walking between 9:00am-4:00pm, so we can cover the miles without feeling like we are rushed. Some days we will only walk for ½ day, since we will have other activities to do. Past experience says we generally walk about 2 mph during the trek. This is the average speed of somebody walking down the street in your town.

When you say “average fitness”, what do you mean?

The primary determiner for you should be whether or not you experience physical symptoms that would make daily walking uncomfortable or unsafe. Certainly, if you have heart, joint, or other serious medical conditions you should not apply. If you are not a regular exercise walker, we suggest that you purchase an inexpensive pedometer and wear it for several days prior to coming. Many people are surprised to discover how far they walk during their average days while at home. We have never had a trekker who was unable to complete the journey because of the physical demands.

What happens during the evening sessions?

We will meet most evenings for 1-1 ½ hours, either before or after dinner. The sessions are designed to help you reflect on who you are, your hopes for the next period of your life, and commitments you want to make involving activities, careers, relationships, and personal development. They are designed with a variety of short activities including telling stories, writing short reflections, silence, and sharing ideas. This is not therapy! This is not forced sharing of stories you are not comfortable telling the world! We want you to look forward to gathering with other participants and getting and giving inspiration.

What other costs might I have beyond the registration fee?

We cover accommodations, in-country travel which is part of our itinerary, breakfasts, guides, and evening facilitation. The registration fee does not include your airfare, and you are responsible for your lunch and dinner costs. Trekkers often bring a little extra money to purchase mementos along the way.

What is the “in-country travel” you refer to in the previous question?

Our route involves us taking several short bus, train and ferry rides. Previous trekkers have told us they enjoy these rides as another way to see the countryside and also to spend time with local residents. Some of us like the chance to rest our legs!

Is it possible for us to get lost?

We are not in remote wilderness. We are walking between towns on established trails, across farmland or woodlots, on country lanes, and beaches.

Will my health insurance cover me in Portugal and Spain?

Many health plans cover travelers going outside the USA, but you should check with your specific provider for coverages and what to do in case of illness or accident in order for your insurance to cover the costs. Most health insurance websites have information for foreign travelers. It’s a good idea to bring your health insurance card. The organizers of this trek do not provide insurance of any type for participants.

What are the accommodations?

We are staying in a variety of different hotels and inns, all of them average quality. This is not a luxury tour! The registration fee is based on double-occupancy. Note: With the exception of couples who may come on this journey together, we try to switch roommates each night so you have more opportunity get to know everyone.

What about getting money when I am trekking?

There is easy access to ATM machines in most towns, and credit or debit cards are widely used. We recommend participants notify their bank of travel plans prior to departure.

What about bringing electronic gadgets?

There is no right answer to this. Many trekkers come on trips specifically to get away from the usual demands of staying connected all the time, and believe bringing a cellphone offers the basic contact, email, and emergency connecting they need. Other trekkers are so dependent on their laptop they can’t imagine leaving home without it. One additional note: If your electronic devices are stolen, we will not cover the cost of replacement. We have never had a problem with thievery, but it is always a possibility when traveling.

What about getting work done while I am trekking?

We strongly recommend you NOT plan on getting significant work done while on this trip. You will not have the available time, and experience tells us it usually interrupts a trekkers ability to really be present with other trekkers and the beauty we will be surrounded by. Many trekkers do some brief checking in with home or work in the evening to catch up with important details.

If I choose not to bring electronics, what do I do about emergencies?

The guides will have cellphones with international calling plans and laptops which you can use in an emergency.

Do you have recommendations about setting up my phone for foreign use?

Most of the places we will stay have wi-fi available at no cost, so you do not need to purchase an expensive data plan for your phone prior to departing. Many trekkers add international texting to their phone plan for the time they will be gone, since it’s a reasonable cost to do so. It’s difficult to find inexpensive international calling plans, so most trekkers rely on texting and email, and use phone apps like WhatsApp to make internet phone calls.

Why isn’t this trek on the Trek Epic website?

Trek Epic has a focused mission of serving young adults 18-24 years old, so this adult trek is not a part of its established mission or activities. The Trek Epic guides are doing this trek as a side activity for adults who have told us over the years they would like to go on a trek.

If you have other specific questions, don’t hesitate to contact:

Andrew Bryan, Trek Guide

Registration and Deposit

If you would like to participate on the Portuguese Coastal Way pilgrimage, please request a registeration form below.  A form will be emailed to you directly.  The registration process is two-fold:

  1. Request a Registration form
  2. Once received, fill out the registration form
  3. Pay the $500 deposit (via PayPal).  The deposit is non-refundable after September 1st, 2017.
  4. Final payment of balance due one month prior to departure.

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