Portugal | The Southwestern Scenic Coastal Trek

ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR COASTAL HIKES IN THE WORLD.

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  • 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 Carvoeiro 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

Arrive in Vila Nova de Milfontes, a lovely and laid-back coastal village located in the heart of the beautiful Alentejo coastline.

After a quick transfer to the official start of the Fishermen’s Trail we embark on our coastal journey south through the dunes, deserted beaches, and coves of the Costa Vicentina, the last wild coast in Europe.

Distance: 12 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 550/500.

We leave the comforts of our hotel and head out of town across the bridge to rejoin the Fishermen’s Trail. 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: 9 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: up to 13 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 660/630 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 Odeciexe.

Distance: 11 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 850/920 ft.

Leaving behind the Fishermen’s Trail, the guide will choose an appropriate outing, all of which are part of the greater Rota Vicentina covering the entire Southwest Alentejo region. Following the hike, we transfer south into the Algarve region to the spectacular and historic coastal village of Lagos, located on the very southern tip of the Portuguese coast.

Distance: up to 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: up to 500 ft.

On our final hiking day we embark 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. Midway through our day we have the chance to take a private boat to really get up close and personal with this amazing coastline.

Distance: up to 7.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 400 ft.

The Southwestern Scenic Coastal Trek | Portugal

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