This is a gentle, yet spectacular, walk along a truly wild and unspoiled coastline that highlights the haunting beauty of Portugal’s south-west coast. The route follows arguably the most interesting sections of the Rota Vicentina through what is Europe’s largest coastal natural park.
You will cross virgin beaches, meander over wild sand dunes and wander along dramatic cliffs with the waves pounding below. Throughout the year, the warm sunshine saturates the brilliant colours of the landscape, from imposing ochre cliffs and dappled green woodland to red-and-white fishing boats floating beyond villages of traditional blue-and-white houses, while each evening, the setting sun adds a golden ending to the day.
The way of life here is refreshingly unhurried, and you will find rural hotels of great atmosphere and character hidden away down quiet dusty lanes or in tranquil whitewashed fishing villages. They are run by caring, hospitable owners who are keen to share their intimate knowledge of the area with you.
Wildlife thrives here, too, taking advantage of the benign climate: in the spring, wildflowers along the footpaths are at their colourful best; the woods echo to the sound of azure-winged magpies startled by a passing mongoose, while the Park’s crowning glory is Europe’s only colony of marine storks which nest on precarious sea stacks above the ever-changing ocean waves.
From 960€ pp in double room
Somewhat difficult (3 in 5)
7 nights w/ breakfast
6 walking days
Detailed route descriptions and Maps
máx. 18 km/day
Total distance: 92km
6 days, 7 nights
Sandy / Dirt tracks
min 1 pax; Máx 8 pax
March, April. May, June, September, October and November
Arrival and departure transfers
Cash, debit card, VISA, Master Card, check and money transfer
Day 1: Arrival
Your holiday begins near Praia de Odeceixe. Depending on your flight times, you should be here in plenty of time to unwind by the pool and to enjoy dinner.
Accommodation: Casa Vicentina
Day 2: Odeceixe » Brejão | 15 km, 5h
The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast, you are driven down to the nearby town of Odeceixe to begin your first day’s walk, a great introduction to the varied scenery you will encounter during the rest of the week. From the drop-off point, you walk along a tree-lined river to reach the Atlantic before following the coast north. The well waymarked route leads along clifftops between traditional fishing hamlets, with plenty of opportunity to overlook precarious sea stacks where nesting maritime storks can often be seen during the breeding season. At the fishing village of Azenha do Mar, there’s a small tavern offering authentic seafood cuisine, after which you continue to Praia da Amália, where you head inland for a short distance to reach Brejão.
Accommodation: Cerca do Sul
Day 3: Brejão » Touril | 18km, 5.5 h
You start the next day by returning to the cliffs and resuming your route north. Passing farmland and shady woods, you reach a long stretch of glorious sandy bays and dramatic headlands. By the time you reach the resort of Zambujeira you’ll be ready for refreshments or lunch if you didn’t enjoy a cliff-top picnic earlier, before a final stretch to Touril in time to relax by the pool before dinner.
Accommodation: Herdade do Touril
Day 4: Touril » Longueira | 18-21 km, 5.5-6.5 h
The first section of today’s walk is famed for the storks which nest along the cliffs that lead to the lighthouse at Cabo Sardão. They live here all year round, having decided that the annual migration wasn’t worth the effort with such spectacular surroundings! From the cape, you head through the town of Cavaleiro before venturing onto the vast dunes that lead to the golden beach of Almograve. Your next hotel is a short distance inland in the quintessentially Portuguese hamlet of Longueira.
Accommodation: Monte Novo da Longueira
Day 5: Longueira » Vila Nova de Milfontes | 15-18 km, 4.5-5.5 h
The next section of the walk takes you through rich pastureland to reach a pretty coastal track which offers spectacular views to the sea – with a detour to the Praia do Brejo Largo, a long expanse of golden sand backed by low cliffs, on the way. On reaching the wide mouth of the River Mira, you can take the small ferry (depending on the time of the year) to reach the town of Vila Nova de Milfontes, on the far bank, or walk round via the bridge. It’s a pretty town with an atmospheric old quarter and some nightlife.
Accommodation: Casa do Adro da Igreja
Day 6: Vila Nova de Milfontes » Porto Covo | 15 km, 4.5 h
Your final walk is a glorious section of the Fishermen’s Trail, along clifftops and across sand dunes to the beautiful, long sandy beach at Malhão. Here, you head inland once more following a sandy track through scented eucalyptus plantations to reach Tres Marias, where you spend your final two nights.
Accommodation: Três Marias
Day 7: Around Porto Covo | 10.5-18 km, 3.5-5.5 h
On your last day you may choose to simply relax but we recommend a choice of routes. One heads inland away from the sea to explore the hills, following paths lined with gum cistus and cork oaks. The other starts with a taxi ride to the pretty seaside town of Porto Covo in time for lunch, after which you return along the coast, following the Fishermen’s Trail of the Rota Vicentina overlooking Pessegueiro (Peachtree) Island. There’s a café on the route back where you can enjoy typical local dishes and a refreshing glass of chilled wine, perhaps, before returning to the tranquil Tres Marias for your final night on the sublime Alentejo coastline.
Accommodation: Três Marias
This agrotourism, part of a large farming estate in the Vicentina Coast, within the Natural Park, only 500 m away from the cliffs and 3 km from Odeceixe beach, has 12 pleasant suites for its guests.
Situated in the village of Longueira, this rural guest house offers 7 cosy and simple double rooms, all with private bathroom, fridge and TV. All rooms open on to the garden where the swimming pool invites you to rest and a take a refreshing dip.
In a quiet corner of Milfontes, Casa do Adro – an old house totally recovered – offers 6 double rooms carefully decorated in a familiar style, and a magnificent homemade breakfast.
Located in the village of Brejão, on the southern tip of Alentejo Coast, with wide views of Monchique’s mountain range and the ocean, this charming rural tourism unit has 7 simple and cosy double bedrooms, where you can feel truly comfortable.
Located 4 km from Zambujeira do Mar, at Sw Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park, Herdade do Touril offers the comfort and tranquillity of rural environment along with the privilege of being close to the sea, offering 12 rooms, 2 suites and 3 apartments.
Três Marias, or Three Maries, located between the villages of Porto Covo and Vila Nova de Milfontes, offers 10 rooms in a beautiful setting on the countryside, where nights are spent between candle lights and the stars above.