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Beach of Monte Clérigo

Coming from north, as you arrive to the coast, the circuit heads in the direction of the Ponta da Atalaia. Make a detour and go down to the beach of Monte Clérigo. This is a charming beach and a very special place in the Vicentina Coast

Coastal trail

The highlight of this circuit is the journey along the foot path by the coast, after passing the urbanization of Vale da Telha and the beach of Monte Clérigo. The dune vegetation includes aromatic shrubs, medicinal and edible plants and endemic and rare plants.

Ponta da Atalaia

It has archaeological interest, and the circuit is named after this emblematic place of the Vicentina Coast. The ruins of the Ribat of Arrifana constitute a rare collection of archaeological structures, unique in Portugal, where the remains of eight mosques were found.

Goose Barnacles

You are crossing barnacles territory, one of the most appreciated delicacies in this coastal region. Goose barnacles are very different from other crustaceans. They are basically a cylinder coated with hard scaly skin, topped by a triangle of attached shells.

Historical Way

On your way from Aljezur to Arrifana you may choose to walk this circuit, passing through Monte Clérigo and Ponta da Atalaia. Another option is to stay in Arrifana for another day and do a circular walk combining both itineraries – 21.5 km.

Fishermen's Trail


 

Ponta da Atalaia Circuit

14 km

 
 
 
The section between Aljezur and Arrifana can be extended by walking along the Fishermen’s Trail. When opting for this complementary circuit you will pass by the beach of Monte Clérigo and the mythical Ponta da Atalaia. In a place marked by the strength of legends and the time of the Portuguese conquest of the Moors, this walk is a real trip back in time
 



 
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The beginning of this circuit crosses recently urbanised areas, but leads to unique and extraordinary locations. The manmade lake, despite its origins, constitutes an interesting habitat for wildlife, requiring a silent approach and the use of binoculars. The reed beds on the edge of the lake are the habitats to watch closely.

But the highlight of this circuit is the journey along the footpath by the coast. The dune vegetation includes aromatic shrubs (such as thyme, amaranth, rosemary, myrtle and French lavender), medicinal and edible plants (such as wild asparagus, rock roses, cytinus hypocistic, crowberries and  Genista tridentata) and endemic and rare plants (such as Cistus palhinhae, Thymus camphorates or Linaria ficalhoana).

Nature on this coast always provided abundant resources for man. For some reason there are traces of man dating back to prehistoric times. The list of occupants of this region is extensive and includes Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Arabs.

One of the, still primordial, resources of this coast are the goose barnacles. They are an obligatory part of the gastronomy for those visiting the Sw coast (except from September to December, their protected season). The rocky coast lashed by the waves provides the necessary habitat for this species. Goose barnacles live on the coastline that becomes exposed at low tide, in choppy seas, and on rocks that get the full force of the breaking waves, which means that those who harvest the goose barnacle (perceveiros) do so at  great risk.

 

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Tips


Refreshments along the way

Around km 7 making a detour of 400 m to the beach of Monte Clérigo.

Stay one more night in Arrifana

Take the opportunity to do a circular walk beginning and ending in Arrifana. To do this, you have to walk all of the Ponta da Atalaia Circuit and return to Arrifana along the Historical Way. This walk totals 21.5 km.


Combine this circuit with the Historical Way

If you are doing the Rota Vicentina from north to south you will be able to take advantage of the Ponta da Atalaia Circuit to extend the section Aljezur » Arrifana, following the markers of the Fishermen’s Trail, starting from km 4.

In the south-north direction start the walk in Arrifana. When you come across the Historical Way continue towards Aljezur.

In both directions it is a 18 km walk.

 
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Where to start

North access:

At km 4 of the Aljezur » Arrifana section of the Historical Way, before reaching Vales (on the  road that connects to Aljezur, Arrifana and Vale da Telha).

Arrifana (south):

At the crossroads near the beach of Arrifana, down the road that leads to the ETAR (water treatment plant).

Fact Sheet

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT
DISTANCE: 14 KM
APPROXIMATE DURATION: 5 HOURS
ACCUMULATED CLIMB: 161 M
ACCUMULATED DESCENT: 190 M
MAXIMUM ALTITUDE: 128 M
MINIMUM ALTITUDE: 47 M
RECOMMENDED SEASON:
SEPTEMBER TILL JUNE
 
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Warnings

The path along the coast can be muddy in some places, for which reason we recommend that you wear hiking boots.
 
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RULES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

MAXIMUM OF 20 PEOPLE PER GROUP. ONLY FOR WALKERS
DRIVING IN THE DUNES IS PROHIBITED
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO CAMP ALONG THE ENTIRE FISHERMAN’S TRAIL. LOOK FOR CAMPING PARKS
TRAIL NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WITH VERTIGO OR FEAR OF HEIGHTS
THE CLIFFS ARE IN CONSTANT PROCESS OF EROSION. WALKING ALONG IT REPRESENTS DANGER OF FALLING
THE SIGNS FOLLOW SELECTED TRAILS. RESPECT THEM IN ORDER TO LESSEN THE IMPACT OF YOUR PRESENCE
SEVERAL BIRD SPECIES NEST ON THE CLIFFS. DO NOT DISTURB THEM
VEGETATION ON THE CLIFFS COMPRISES RARE, ENDEMIC AND INVASIVE SPECIES. DO NOT COLLECT SAMPLES
YOU WILL NOTICE ROCK FORMATIONS AND IMPORTANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRACES. DO NOT COLLECT SAMPLES
THERE ARE VERY FEW SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE TRAILS. BRING WATER AND FOOD SUPPLIES WITH YOU
DO NOT LIGHT FIRES
DO NOT LITTER. HELP US OUT BY PICKING UP ANY LITTER YOU MAY FIND ON THE WAY
 




 

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