Portugal | The Southwestern Scenic Coastal Trek


Portugal Flag
  • Boat in Portugal
  • Hikers in Portugal

Trip Highlights:

  • Trek a portion of the historic Fishermen's Trail from Porto Covo to Odeceixe.
  • Explore deserted beaches, spectacular cliffs and quaint fishing villages.
  • Swim in the warm Atlantic Ocean water.

Our coastal route covers a portion of the historic Fishermen’s Trail with 4 days of hiking from Porto Covo to Odeceixe exploring deserted beaches, spectacular cliffs and quaint fishing villages. The Fishermen’s Trail follows in the footsteps of local fishermen throughout the years to favorite fishing spots while connecting the small coastal villages along the way. It is part of a greater trail system named the Rota Vicentina. The Fishermen’s Trail, the Circular Routes and the Historical Way which runs more inland make up the greater Rota Vicentina. This trail system was named one of the best quality trails by the European Ramblers Association (ERA) and has a total of roughly 450 miles of trails.

The hike takes you through the protected zones of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park.

We begin our journey in the charming old fishing village of Vila Nova de Milfontes – built on a site called Milfontes meaning “Thousands of Fountains”. Vila Nova (New Village) was added to the name when the village was founded. The name refers to the many water springs existing on the area.

Over the course of the week, we 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 from the laid-back village of Cavaliero gives us a peek at the beautiful whitewashed architecture this area is known for. The small horseshoe-shaped beach is the towns jewel and features lovely villas set into the hillsides beyond. Another coastal hike takes us to Zambujeira do Mar, where you will want to be sure and visit the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Mar to get dramatic views of the coast. The final hike takes us through two more picturesque beach towns to the finest viewpoint in the region above Odeciexe beach.

As we hike between villages, we enjoy the flowers and wildlife of the region, and get to see farmers and fishermen at work. Leaving the Alentejo, we move into the Algarve region of Portugal as we travel to Lagos. One of our hikes is in the rural countryside and the other along the coast.

Throughout our 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. The combinations of all the above should make for a spectacular week of hiking and exploring the rich coastal culture of Southwest Portugal.

Trip Itinerary

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.

Today, we hike on a section of the Historical Way of the greater Rota Vicentina leading you to the coastal village of Porto Covo. We end with a bit of transfer back to Milfontes for a second night.

Distance: 10 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 500/930 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 us today and the scents of pine, eucalyptus, and the hearty coastal vegetation dominate the air. Our hike ends on the lovely beach in Almograve, before a short transfer to our 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 we eventually stroll back into the tranquil village of Zambujeira do Mar.

Distance: 11 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 350/250 ft.

Today we continue along the Fishermen’s Trail passing beaches en route to the natural fishing harbor of Azenha do Mar. From one of the finest viewpoints in the region we look down upon the stunning beach of Odeceixe.

Distance: 11 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 800/700 ft.

Leaving behind the Fisherman’s Trail our driver transfers us south to the charming seaside village of Burgau. We now get a glimpse into the coastal beauty of the Algarve Coast and its orange sandstone hues, stunning beaches, wild rock formations and grottos on our hike into the historical and bustling village of Lagos on the very southern fringes of the European continent.

Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: up to 700/780 ft.

Our final day starts with a transfer to Praia da Marinha where we begin our 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, we wander along the rugged coast, exploring the beautifully carved rock formations. If weather permits we may take a boat ride along the beautiful coastline. The hike ends in Carvoeiro where we meet our driver for a short transfer back to our hotel in Lagos.

Distance: 5.5 miles  Elevation gain/loss: 475 ft.

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.

The Southwestern Scenic Coastal Trek | Portugal

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