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Beaches as far as the eye can see and towering cliffs

The beaches of Malhão and Aivados are the biggest of the Sw coast, south of Porto Covo. As you arrive to Alturas do Norte, the landscape changes and the beaches give way to towering cliffs that from this point to Cape St. Vincent give this wild coast its personality.

The first storks nest on the coast

On a coast characterized by the presence of the industrious White Stork who nests on the cliffs, an isolated rock south of Malhão beach is home to the first nest on the entire coast. No-one could say that they live closer to the sea! Keep quiet and avoid sudden movements.

Unmarked path!

Between the beaches of Queimado and Malhão, the path is not fully signposted. Follow the broad sand track that skirts the extensive succession of dunes. Alternatively, and only at low tide, you can walk along the beach.

Biscutella Vicentina

One of the plants you may see along the way is called Biscutella vicentina. Its name is derived from the fact that its fruit is shaped like a biscuit. This plant can only be found along this coast, so please help us preserve it!

Understanding the landscape

As the sea retreated after the last global seawater rise, sand dunes were formed on top of older rock formations. These sands consolidated and formed sandstone – fossil dunes.

Fishermen's Trail


 

Porto Covo » Vila Nova de Milfontes

20 km

 
 
 

This is the beaches section, where you will walk along the vast sand dunes area of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Aivados and Malhão beaches and discover small deserted coves that will surprise you. It is a tiring walking day though, given its extension and the constant sandy terrain.

 



 
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The diversity of beaches you will find just on this section is absolutely fantastic! Beaches like Aivados with pebbles shaped by the constant rough and tumble of the waves. Beaches like Faquir or Farol where lace-like sandstone dunes seem to slide down into the ocean.

Sandy beaches like Malhão gently and constantly changing. Beaches such as Milfontes, (Thousand Fountains), with either rivers, small streams or tiny fresh water springs fed from the hilly interior through a network of underground channels. These beaches are interspersed by ancient, dark erosion-resistant rocks that make up the cliffs and tiny islands (locally called “palheirões”) that one comes across from time to time.

The sand dunes’ biodiversity and plant life is remarkable and reaches its peak between March and June, with a vast array of amazing colours, aromas and shapes. These plants are true masters of adaptation in this hostile environment and have to put up with poor quality soil, a dry season that can last over six months and a constant buffeting by the strong, salty winds, and you will see that the most obvious adaptation is their shape.

Pines, Rosemary and Rockrose are bent nearly horizontal and thus better adapted to these harsh conditions. Some of these plant species are endemic to this coast and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

 

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Tips


Refreshments along the way

- At km 3.5, on the beach of Ilha do Pessegueiro

- At km 6.5, making a detour of 1.8 km to Ribeira da Azenha

- At km 16, at the fishing harbour of Canal


Shorten this section

Finish this walk at Canal (fishing harbour) and get a taxi to Milfontes, saving the last 3 km.

 
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Where to start

Porto Covo:

From the market square heading towards the fishing harbour.

Vila Nova de Milfontes:

At the tourist office in the village, going down Rua Custódio Brás Pacheco towards the river.

Fact Sheet

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: DIFFICULT
DISTANCE: 20 KM
APPROXIMATE DURATION: 7 HOURS
ACCUMULATED CLIMB: 167 M
ACCUMULATED DESCENT: 149 M
MAXIMUM ALTITUDE: 51 M
MINIMUM ALTITUDE: 1 M
RECOMMENDED SEASON:
SEPTEMBER TILL JUNE
 
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Warnings

Unmarked Path

Between the beaches of Queimado and Malhão, the path is not fully signposted, in order to respect the interests of the landlords and the project. Follow the broad sand track that skirts the extensive succession of dunes, of the beaches of Aivados, Galé and Malhão, following the instructions that you find on the signs. Alternatively, and only at low tide, you can walk along the beach.

A long and tiring section!

Covering 20 km and with a sandy path, this section is long and tiring, especially if you are going to start your journey through Porto Covo. Prepare yourself well and bring at least 1.5 L of water.

 
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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