Prepare your trip thoroughly
The Caminhos do Alentejo e Ribatejo are about 30 days away from Santiago de Compostela, which is why you need to be physically prepared for a challenging itinerary. Making the journey is always a pleasant surprise, but it is vital to be in good shape to ensure your days are comfortable, and to awaken the spirit to a more absorbing experience.
Plan the distance you intend to cover each day, studying the Guide and any other information that may be available on the Internet. Familiarise yourself with where assistance is available, the places with cafés and restaurants, and ensure accommodation at the start and end of each stage is available.
It is recommended to do some training before embarking on this journey, so you are absolutely clear about your physical capacities. Long stages impact the following days and insufficient physical preparation can lead to muscular pain which will only get worse as the body is subjected to further exertion.
Choose walking shoes you have already worn in, not too tight and which your feet are used to wearing. You can only make the journey if you have healthy feet.
Pack only the essentials. The first days of your trek will soon reveal how superfluous certain items are. As a rule, try to ensure your backpack weighs no more than 10% of your body weight and comes with handy compartments: one for documents, credit/debit card and phone charger; another for a first aid kit; a third for some food. Don’t forget to take a waterproof raincoat that fits over your backpack and flip-flops for showering if you intend to stay in hostels. Also essential is a water container suitable for the difficulty of the journey’s stages. On the Ways, it is important to ration water carefully, for many stages do not have any assistance points and take place under adverse high temperatures.
Make an informed decision as to which time of year suits you best for making your pilgrimage. To avoid the heat of the south and interior of Portugal, the months of March, April, May, September and October are advised, but bear in mind that some months see more rain than others, the closer you get to Compostela.