The northwest coast of Portugal is known as the Costa Verde (or Green Coast) due to the abundance of vegetation that backs onto it and the not-so-distant mountains of the Minho countryside. As you head north from Porto on this 8-day self-guided coastal walk, you’ll experience ever-changing landscapes of wide sandy beaches, rocky coves, pebble drifts, pleasant seaside towns and quaint fishing villages. You’ll also visit the small historic city of Viana do Castelo, before ending up in the charming town of Caminha at the very top of Portugal, just across the river from Spain.
While much of the route hugs the coast, the trail makes occasional forays inland traversing fields and forests, and dropping in on traditional villages. This is a step back in time experience that provides a real glimpse into rural Portuguese life and fascinating small-scale agricultural techniques. With relatively short and leisurely walking days, you can explore the places you stay in, pause your walk to swim in the sea, or simply relax on the beach. Come lunch time, why not sample the freshest catch of the day and indulge in other delicious specialities from the celebrated Minho region?
If time permits, you can extend this coastal holiday by starting your walk from Porto itself. Or you can simply spend a few days there? You can also extend it into northern Spain as far as the vibrant seaside town of Baiona.
At a glance
01 March – 31 October 2024
(You can start any day)
High Season (1 June – 15 September) – £895
Low Season (All other dates) – £795
Single Supplement – £365 (low) £420 (high)
Easy / Moderate
Expect to walk for 4 to 7 hours each day, with 60m – 625m ascent and 140m – 570m descent each day.
7 Nights B&B at handpicked 3* & 4* hotels plus one family run B&B
– from Porto Airport to first hotel (Day 1); and
– from Porto to Povoa de Varzim (Day 2)
Holiday Pack with comprehensive route notes, maps & more
App Access with trail information for use on a smartphone
Baggage Transfers from hotel to hotel (Days 2-7)
24/7 telephone support from our local partner in Portugal
Tourist taxes are not included and will need to be paid locally.
Private Transfer from Caminha back to Porto/ Porto Airport (Day 8)
2-3 people – £180
4-7 people – £235
Extra Night in Porto – 4* hotel £95pp (double occupancy) £165 (single occupancy)
Porto is the best airport to fly into. On arrival at Porto Airport a private transfer (included) will be waiting to take you to your first hotel.
Day 1 - Arrive in Porto
On arrival at Porto Airport a private transfer (included) will take you to your hotel – where your Walk Pack will be waiting. If you have free time in Porto, you may wish to explore the city. The riverside Ribeira district is colourful and lively, with lots of bars and restaurants amid the characterful buildings. Enjoy the sunset from the top level of the Dom Luís I bridge over the majestic Douro River.
Accommodation: 4* Hotel, Porto
Day 2 - Póvoa de Varzim to Apúlia
Route Statistics – 14.4 km (8.9 miles) | +87m
After breakfast, a private transfer will take you to the coastal town of Póvoa de Varzim. Its wide sandy beaches make this a popular holiday spot for Portuguese families. Discover its deep connection with the ocean, depicted in the azulejo panel at the beginning of the trail. Follow the boardwalks alongside sandy beaches and between sand dunes and windmills. Then leave the coast to walk through market gardens and woodland on the approach to the village of Apúlia with its fishing boats and huts. If in luck, you may catch the seaweed collectors at work. Relax on the beach and try some of the tastiest octopus around.
Accommodation: 3* Hotel, Apúlia
Day 3 - Apúlia to Esposende
Route Statistics – 8.3 km (5.1 miles) | +33m
Walk through the outskirts of Fão before walking alongside and across the Cávado Estuary as you approach the charming resort town of Esposende. Your hotel is a short distance from the small historical centre with attractive squares and churches. If you’re feeling energetic, you could hire a bike or try your hand at SUP or even kitesurfing.
Accommodation: 3* Hotel, Esposende
Day 4 - Esposende to Castelo de Neiva
Route Statistics – 12.8 km (7.9 miles) | +97m
Today’s walk offers varied scenery as you pass through small villages and smallholdings and a stretch of pebbly beaches before heading inland to cross the Neiva River. Spend the afternoon discovering the historical features and tree-filled grounds of the gorgeous historical country house where you’ll be spending the night. Relax by the pool and enjoy the slow pace of life.
Accommodation: Small family run B&B, Castelo de Neiva
Day 5 - Castelo de Neiva to Viana do Castelo
Route Statistics – 14.1 km (8.7 miles) | +90m
Returning to the coast, the trail eventually traverses a pleasant section of pine forest as you approach Viana do Castelo. Today’s walk ends with spectacular views from the long Eiffel bridge. This stunning and historic city has much to offer, including the Santa Luzia Basilica, the Costume Museum, the Gil Eannes Hospital Ship and the beautiful Church of Mercy.
Accommodation: 4* Hotel, Viana do Castelo
Day 6 - Viana do Castelo to Vila Praia de Âncora
Route Statistics – 19.4 km (12 miles) | +146m
Start the day by strolling through the enchanting centre of Viana do Castelo before joining the coastal path with its stone windmills. You will head inland, as the trail becomes a charming mix of forest and fields, returning to the sea at a wide sandy beach, which signals your arrival at Vila Praia de Âncora. Here, local fishermen ensure a regular supply of fresh fish and seafood. Relax and indulge!
Accommodation: 4* Hotel, Vila Praia de Âncora
Day 7 - Vila Praia de Âncora to Caminha
Route Statistics – 9.5 km (5.9 miles) | +59m
It’s a short, pleasant coastal walk from the seaside resort town of Vila Praia de Âncora to Moledo beach along the new pedestrian path (ecovia). Walk through a beautiful pine forest to the mouth of the River Minho and on to the riverside town of Caminha with plenty of time to stop for a swim along the way. Visit Caminha’s medieval clock tower and Gothic parish church or simply relax in the beautiful main square around a 16th century fountain.
Accommodation: 4* Hotel, Caminha
Day 8 - Departure
Independent onward travel. Either return to Porto by scenic train (approx. 2hrs, not included), and add an extra night before your return flight home or, if you are heading to the airport, we would recommend a direct private transfer (see optional extras for more details).
This itinerary is based on bed and breakfast accommodation in handpicked 3* & 4* hotels along with one family run B&B.
Need to Knows
Luggage Transfers – limited to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg.
Terrain – most walks are off-road and a reasonable level of fitness is required. Shade is limited to villages, forest and woodland, so sun protection is essential.
Local Partner – this holiday is organised in collaboration with our local partner in Portugal.
Booking Conditions – be sure to read our full terms and conditions here before booking.
At Your Own Risk – please read the important notes here.
Travel Advice – check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice here.
Passport & Visa – any questions should be directed to the relevant embassy of your destination country; find out more here. It is your responsibility to be in possession of a full passport, valid for your chosen destination.
Travel Insurance – having adequate and valid travel insurance is a condition of booking with us. Details of our insurance partner, Campbell Irvine, are here.
Health Information – You should carry either an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) Neither is an alternative to adequate travel insurance. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/
ABTA – Independent travel advice and help is always available from ABTA by calling 020 3117 0599 or visiting www.abta.com.