Cicerone Press, Kendal UK 2018.
ISBN 978 1 85284 932 0
This welcome new guide to the 620km Camino Portugués responds well to the needs of pilgrims undertaking a largely rural Camino which continues to grow in pilgrim numbers by about 10% annually – and which is now the second most travelled pilgrim route in Spain after the Camino Francés.
Also, by including Porto in its title and by its comprehensive content, the guide recognises the reality that about 80% of pilgrims choose not to walk the 25 -stage 620km from Lisbon (only about 6% do so) but rather the 10-stage 243km from Porto to Santiago, and some even closer to Santiago, the 6-stage 120km from Tui.
The guide provides stage-by-stage information for the Central Camino from Lisbon, Porto, or Tui; the increasingly popular Coastal Camino between Porto and Redondela; and the Spiritual Variant from Pontevedra to Padron. Also described are the link routes which enable swapping from one route to another.
This is complemented by 145 excellent maps; 107 relevant high-quality photographs; information on historic and religious sites; fulsome advice on getting there, when to go, where to stay, what to carry; a services and facilities table; and a very useful language glossary in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
All of this is packed into a well-edited, attractive, nicely printed (on lightweight durable paper), pocket-sized 333-page book. Unlike some other Cicerone guides, it comes in at a reasonable 360g. If you still baulk at that weight, the e-version is about the same price (A$25) as the print version.
The guide’s author, Kat Davis, hails from Melbourne, and is now based in London after completing seven Caminos and walking over 10,000km worldwide, including the 4240km Pacific Rim trail from Mexico to Canada. She knows her stuff, and merits congratulations for a job well done.
This new guide by her is highly recommended as essential preliminary reading for anyone considering the Camino Portugués, and for anyone with the good
fortune to actually undertake all or part of it.
Alan Bundy (SA)
PS The print is quite small and I needed glasses to read it! ED.