This Walking Holiday invites you to experience one of the classic Rota Vicentina itineraries, in ten walking days between Porto Covo and Cape St. Vincent, combining the breath taking cliffs of the Fishermen’s Trail with the inland bucolic scenery of the first Western Europe Leading Quality Trail, the Historical Way.
Dramatic cliffs and wild deserted beaches, are some of the landscapes you’ll find when you start the journey at the quiet village of Porto Covo, heading south towards Odeceixe. In the Fishermen’s trail you’ll find a rugged coastline shaped by the Atlantic Ocean, where the sandy trails you walk are the same which are used by locals to get to the beaches as well as the best fishing spots.
From Odeceixe the route continues along the Historical Way heading to Cape St. Vincent, the South-westernmost point of continental Europe. Inland you’ll witness a quiet and pacific lifestyle, where the rhythm of life is still shaped by the shifting seasons. A major draw of this area is the abundance of opportunities for bird-watching and enjoying the wide variety of different plants and flowers along the way, especially during springtime when the fields are covered in coloured, wild flowers, making it a dream hike for any amateur or professional photographer.
• Nice and quiet beaches
• Rugged cliffs
• Cape St. Vincent
• Diversity of scenery, Flora and Fauna
• Wonderful seafood
• Friendly people in accommodations
Somewhat difficult (3 in 5)
11 nights w/ breakfast
10 walking days
Passenger transfers from/to airport - optional
Map, Guidebook, 24/7 Customer Care
Máx. 26 km/day
Total distance: 188 km
12 days, 11 nights
Sandy / Dirt tracks / Along the cliffs
Portuguese, English, Spanish
Mín 1 pax
From September to June
Transfers - optional
Meals not mentiones
Cash, Debit Card, Visa, Mastercard and Bank Transfer
Day 1: Arrive at Porto Covo
The program begins at Porto Covo, a friendly fishing village renowned for its small white houses that were built by the Marquês de Pombal after an earthquake in 1755.
Accommodation: Ahoy Porto Covo Hostel
Day 2: Porto Covo » Vila Nova de Milfontes | 20 km, 7 h
You will spend your first day on the “wild coast”. Walking along vast sand dunes discovering small deserted coves, where you might dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean, until you reach the cliffs of Cape St Vincent. From here once on the cliffs, which gives this coast line its personality you are rewarded with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. Walking along the cliffs the landscape is richer in flowers and plants which make it a delight for the senses before finishing off in Vila Nova de Milfontes. Vila de Milfontes contains a few historic and noteworthy buildings and monuments, such as the Forte Sao Clemente Castle which was built in 16th Century to deter the pirate’s attacks and makes a lovely backdrop for photos.
Accommodation: Hotel Casa Dos Arcos
Day 3: Vila Nova de Milfontes » Almograve | 15 km, 5 h
Today, you will cross the river Mira (by ferry €5 per person) before passing through farmland and coming to the beach of Furnas. After this beach you will skirt a protected reserve, where it is the only place in the world to find the Plantago Almogravensis, so be sure to keep on the designated trails. Leaving the protected reserve you are welcomed by large agricultural fields that appear to reach the sea before entering a forest of acacia trees and then returning to the shore. Continue along the empty golden sands of Brejo Largo beach, which is surrounded by craggy cliffs, then follow the costal footpath that deviates inwards to get to Almograve, the largest village in the region that has a couple of good restaurants serving traditional Portuguese food. As today is a short day walking you may want to bring a picnic to have on Brejo Largo beach and soak up the tranquillity of this area.
Accommodation: Natura Maris Residence
Day 4: Almogave » Zambujeira (22km 7h) | 20 km, 7 h
Today you will have abundant opportunities to get panoramic shots of the surrounding landscape as well as a “selfie” on the cliff tops with the Atlantic Ocean crashing behind you. Leaving Almograve you will head towards the small fishing harbour of Lapa das Pombas. The trail from here follows the cliffs providing panoramic views of the red sand dunes and Atlantic Ocean before entering a pine forest and then continuing along cliffs that are continuously battered by the Atlantic Ocean but where you will witness storks nesting. Passing the lighthouse of Cape Sardão, you will then come to your stop for the night, Zambujeira, a sea side town where you can breathe the sea air and sample fresh fish in family run restaurants.
Accommodation: Casa do Viajante
Day 5: Zambujeira » Odeceixe | 18 km, 7 h
Today’s walk starts from the beach that is overlooked by the beautiful chapel of Senhora do Mar. You will follow the trail over the cliffs to the beach of Alteirinhos, then through pine and acacia forests before returning to the beaches of Carvalhal, Machados and Amália. Leaving the beaches you will reach the village of Azenha do Mar situated on the top of the cliffs and where we recommend that you take a break. Take an opportunity here to swim in pools that were dug into the cliffs in the 50s then sample some local specialities of shellfish or fresh cod. After refuelling you will continue then onto Ponta em Branco (White summit) so named for the colour of the sediments that form its summit, this also marks the border between the Alentejo and the Algarve regions and provides sweeping views of the area before you reach the village of Odeceixe.
Accommodation: Casas do Moinho
Day 6: Odeceixe » Aljezur | 18 km, 6 h
There is the option to lengthen todays walk by 9km by following the Fisherman’s Trail out to the beaches of Odeceixe or Amoreira where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean. For this extra loop you would leave Odeceixe following the Fisherman’s trail to the beach then continue along the cliffs where you are greeted at every turn with breath-taking views and using your imagination may be able to spot a rock in the form of a dragon! Following the trail back inland you will re-join the Historical Way. Alternatively if you would like to stick with the suggested 18kms of today when leaving Odeceixe you will following the Historical Way heading south crossing farmland that is interspersed with areas of pine and eucalyptus trees, as well as orchards of olives, citrus fruits and figs that lend an enticing aroma to the air. After the village of Rogil you have the option to detour to Amoreira beach or simply continue on the Historical trail to Aljezur. Set in a fertile valley known for its sweet potato crops, the town is split by the river with on one side the old town and the other the new. In the 18th Century malaria was rife in the town so to get away from the disease the ‘new’ town was built on the other side of the river.
Accommodation: Carpe Vita
Day 7: Aljezur » Arrifana | 17 km, 5.30 h
Leaving Aljezur, which is overlooked by the Moorish Castle from the 10thCentury which is one of seven that are represented on the flag of Portugal, you have the option of shortening this route by taking the inland Historical Way through the quiet Portuguese countryside which is only 9km long. We would recommend however that you take the more visually rewarding Fishermen’s Trail which brings you by the beach of Monte Clérigo and Ponta da Atalaia where there are remains of an Arab Watchtower built by the sufi master Ibn Qasi. Whilst walking through this area of dunes the air is permeated with the aroma of fragrant, medicinal and edible rare plants. Turning away from the coast briefly you will then arrive into your destination for the night Arrifana where you will be greeted with an awe-inspiring view of the Praia da Arrifana.
Accommodation: Arrifana Ocean View
Day 8: Arrifana » Carrapateira | 26 km, 7.30 h
Leaving the small fishing and holiday village of Arrifana you will travel today on the Historical Way. Crossing a sandy heath you will descend to the Canal beach, a mainly pebble beach with a small sand strip that is frequented by both fishermen and surfers and can make an interesting spot to stop and watch the fishermen at work in this rolling ocean as well as any brave surfers taking on the waves. Ascending from the beach you will spend the rest of today inland moving through woodlands of pine, eucalyptus, cork, oak and strawberry trees followed by a more sparse countryside before you arrive at the village of Bordeira . Continuing on through lush green valleys the landscape becomes drier as you approach your destination for the night, Carrapateira which sits on a small headland of limestone cliffs. An interesting fact about this area of the Natural Park is that the Cork trees you will pass are part of the almost 50% of cork production in the world that comes from Portugal, so it may well be that a bottle of wine you have enjoyed had its cork stopper from this very region.
Accommodation: Casa Fajara
Day 9: Carrapateira » Pedralva | 20 km, 6.30 h
In Carrapateira an interesting addition is to walk the Pontal da Carrapateira circuit of the Fishermen’s Trail, which will again give you an opportunity to possibly go for a swim or even to enjoy a picnic on the beach. From Carrapateira you follow the wide sandy track till the river, then the board walk to the rugged beach of Bordeira with its limestone cliffs and extensive sand dunes. Continuing on to the beach of Amado you will pass through two small fishing harbours and an ancient fishermen’s settlement. Amado beach is a much busier beach than Bordeira and attracts surfers in all seasons. Leaving Amado you will return to Carrapateira by heading north. Before going back into Carrapateira you will join the Historical Way. If you wanted to shorten this day you could just go straight from Carrapateira to the Historical Way, which would save you 10km. Once on the Historical Way today you will move further inland and actually leave the Natural Park but still be surrounded by lush green valleys. Heading firstly to the quaint village of Vilarinha before arriving to your stop for the night in Pedralva. This village was once inhabited by over 100 people but by 2006 only 9 original inhabitants were left. Since then the village has undergone extensive rebuilding to restore and maintain the heritage and spirit of this ancient village.
Accommodation: Aldeia de Pedralva
Day 10: Pedralva » Vila Do Bispo | 12 km, 3 h
Leaving Pedralva you will continue further south ascending back into the Natural Park. Passing windmills that are the first indication you are getting close to the tip of not only the most southwesterly point of Portugal but of the European continent that is fully exposed to the Atlantic Ocean. Arriving into the pretty town of Vila Do Bispo you will be spoilt for choice for restaurants providing a plethora of local delicacies.
Accommodation: Hotel Mira Sagres
Day 11: Vila Do Bispo » Cabo de San Vicente – Sagres | 20 km, 5.30 h
Leaving Vila Do Bispo behind today you will initially be on the Historical Way before having to decide then if you wish to continue on the Historical Way or, as we would recommend, taking the unforgettable coastal walk to Cape St. Vincent, which will provide many an opportunity to get some canvas worthy photos. Traversing cliffs and ravines of ancient dark red rocks you are surrounded by vegetation and strong aromas whilst rewarded visually with wonderful coastal panoramas of the lighthouse of Cape St. Vincent on the horizon which gets ever closer. The lighthouse at Cape St Vincent is built over the ruins of a 16th Century Franciscan convent. It guards one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and is among the most powerful in Europe with its lamps being visible up to 60km away. We recommend to take the bus from the lighthouse in Cabo de San Vicente to Sagres and enjoy a walk in Sagres. The walk from Cabo de San Vicente to Sagres is 6 Km on the hard shoulder of a tarmac road. The small town of Sagres is perched on a rocky outcrop and will not disappoint for the end of your journey. From its selection of fine places to wine and dine, to the opportunity to witness a crimson sun setting into the sea in the West whilst a crimson moon rises in the East.
Accommodation: Memmo Baleeiria
Day 12: Sagres
End of tour
The Village of Pedralva is made up of 25 village houses, of 1, 2 or 3 rooms which make you feel as if you are going back in time, after the reconstruction process.
Two bedroom house, perfect for couples and families, in the center of Zambujeira do Mar, 2 minutes walking distance from the beach and the Fishermen's Trail.
Located in the heart of the Vicentina Coast, near the village of Carrapateira and 5 minutes from the beaches of Bordeira and Amado, Casa Fajara offers 12 spacious rooms with private bathroom.
With 144 fully equipped rooms and suites, offering comfort and well-being, this 4 star Design Hotel have a privileged location in the heart of the town of Sagres, with views over the sea.
Located in Vila Nova de Milfontes, Hotel Casa do Arcos it’s a small familiar hotel, offering 18 double rooms with breakfast service, right in the historical centre of the village.
Overlooking the river and the plains, Casas do Moinho are located on a hill nearby Odeceixe, consisting of 8 typical village houses, that can accommodate up to 3 or 4 people.
With 20 rooms and one suite, an indoor heated pool and a spa, this three-star hotel in Vila do Bispo is the best option to recover energies.