Portugal | THE SOUTHWESTERN SCENIC COASTAL TREK
Visit picture-perfect villages, golden sandy dunes, and dramatic beaches.
Hike along the unspoiled Atlantic coastline on the Fishermen's Trail
Visit old, charming, picturesque fishing villages
Dine on delicious, regional wine, cheeses, meats, and pastries
Our week-long trip to the Southwestern Coast of Portugal offers an opportunity to visit picture-perfect whitewashed villages, golden sandy dunes, and beaches dotted with dramatic black shale rocks. The rugged cliffs, crashing Atlantic waves, natural parks, and an unspoiled coastline make for a wonderfully diverse trek.
Over the course of the week, you hike along the coastline and stop in the small, treasured resort of Almograve, home to the biggest and best-known beach in the area. A hike through the laid-back village of Cavaleiro gives you a peek at the beautiful whitewashed architecture this area is known for. The small horseshoe-shaped beach is the town’s jewel, and features lovely villas set into the hillsides beyond. Another coastal hike takes you to Zambujeira do Mar, where you will want to be sure to visit the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Mar to get dramatic views of the coast. The final hike that follows the historic Fishermen’s Trail takes you through two more picturesque beach towns to the finest viewpoint in the region above Odeceixe Beach.
As you hike between villages, enjoy the flowers and wildlife of the region, and watch farmers and fishermen at work.
Leaving the Alentejo, you move into the Algarve region of Portugal as you travel to Lagos. Your last two hikes are along the magnificent coast.
Throughout your journey, there are plenty of opportunities to dine on delicious, regional cuisine. Considering Southwest Portugal’s closeness to the mouth of the Tagus River and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s no wonder seafood dominates the main dishes of this region. You will also delight in the cured meats, cheeses, pastries, and wines.
Your accommodations include a variety of lodging, from 4-star hotels, to family-run inns. All the hotels and inns are selected for their comfort, cuisine, regional flavor, and friendliness.
Ryder-Walker will provide transfer from Lisbon to Vila Nova de Milfontes, a lovely and laid-back coastal village located in the heart of the beautiful Alentejo coastline. You base out of this beautifully whitewashed and cobbled street village for two days as you embark on the historical Fishermen’s Trail.
After a quick transfer to the official start of the Fishermen’s Trail just north in Porto Covo, you embark on a coastal journey south through the dunes, deserted beaches, and coves of the Costa Vicentina; the last wild coast in Europe. Milfontes is a welcome respite after a day of sandy coastal walking.
Distance: 12.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 550/500 ft.
Begin today with a short walk from the hotel down to the dock where a small family-run ferry takes you across the water. A wider path awaits you and the scents of pine, eucalyptus, and the hearty coastal vegetation dominate the air. Your hike ends on a lovely beach in Almograve, before a short transfer to the hotel.
Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 280/380 ft.
Wander through red-hued sand dunes and cliffs harboring more than 20 species of birds nesting, including the Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, and White Stork. Passing through the tiny village of Cavaleiro, you eventually stroll back into the tranquil village of Zambujeira do Mar and on to your well-appointed hotel.
Distance: 11 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 350/250 ft.
Continuing along the Fishermen’s Trail, you pass the beaches of Alteirinhos, Carvalhal, Machados, and Amalia en route to the natural fishing harbor of Azenha do Mar. From one of the finest viewpoints in the region, look down upon the stunning beach of Odeceixe, which is your final destination for the day.
Distance: 11 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 800/700 ft.
Leaving behind the Fishermen’s Trail, your driver transfers you south to the charming seaside village of Burgau. From here, you hike along the stunning Algarve coastline ending up in the spectacular and historic coastal village of Lagos, located on the very southern tip of the Portuguese coast.
Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: up to 700/780 ft.
Your final hiking day starts with a transfer to Praia da Marinha, where you hike on one of the most classic trails in the Algarve. Covering some of the most beautiful beaches and coves in Europe, if not the world, you wander along the rugged coast, exploring the beautifully carved rock formations. The hike ends in Carvoeiro. Along the way there are beaches where you can sun and swim, as well as several great beachfront restaurants. End the day with a short transfer to your hotel in Lagos and spend another night at your hotel.
Distance: up to 5.5 miles Elevation gain/loss: 475 ft.
NOTE: About 45 minutes into your hike you can opt to take a boat ride or rent kayaks from Benagil Beach to get up close and personal with this amazing coastline. You also have the option to book an excursion out of Lagos if you prefer to finish the hike before heading out on the water. All water excursions are dependent on weather.
There are public transportation options to Faro and Lisbon Airports, or you can book a private transfer through the hotel reception or through Ryder-Walker.