The Rota Vicentina is a long-distance footpath which opened in 2013 and represents a successful eco-tourism initiative to develop low impact tourism in a relatively untouched region of Portugal. The trail connects Cape St Vincent, Portugal's most south-westerly point, to the village of Odeceixe, where it splits into two trails; the Historical Way which heads inland and the Fishermen's Trail which follows the coast to Porto Covo. This trip follows the Fishermen's Trail from Porto Covo to Odeceixe. To the south of the bustling capital of Lisbon awaits a contrasting landcape of wild beauty, where tourists rarely visit despite endless beaches and authentic fishing villages. This is the Alentejo region, covering a third of Portugal's land mass but just 4% of its population. Following this dramatic coast where wildflowers and butterflies keep company with just a handful of hikers, there is ample opportunity to take a swim or a rest break overlooking the endless ocean. In the evening, enjoy carefully handpicked accommodation where your hosts take pride in the cuisine and culture of the region and where delicious seafood and delectable wine is standard.
MODERATE TO CHALLENGING – GRADE 4
This trip involves walking between 3 and 7 hours per day over undulating terrain, often on the beach and on sand, with some short steep ascents and descents. Daily distances range from 9-20km. We do not recommend this trip for anyone who suffers from vertigo. The trip is graded moderate to challenging and is considered suitable for active people who have a good level of fitness.
Make your own way to the first hotel in Porto Covo. Porto Covo is a beautiful beach resort town located on the western Alentejo coastline. The small town is surrounded by some of the finest beaches of central Portugal.
Today you will follow the coast, and you'll walk along the vast sand dunes area of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Aivados and Malhão beaches and discover small deserted coves. The terrain today is constantly sandy, but the diversity of the beaches you pass will surprise you. Overnight at Vila Nova de Milfontes.
During today's walk you will marvel at the views over Vila Nova de Milfontes and the Mira river and the point where it meets the ocean. At low tide you will be able to see the marshes on the river bends, which are partially submerged and covered with reeds. You'll continue along rugged cliffs to Almograve, where you will overnight.
Today you will walk past small fishing harbours and reddish sand dunes, all while delighting in the scent of pine tree forests and the sight, seen nowhere else in the world, of storks nesting on the cliffs. The high cliffs you will see during this part of the journey, despite being exposed to the salty ocean winds, are the nesting site for over twenty species of bird! These include Jackdaw, Shag, Common Kestrel, Rock Dove, White Stork, Peregrine Falcon and Black Redstart. This afternoon you will arrive in the white village of Zambujeira do Mar - your destination for today.
Today is another interesting walk along the clifftops. Along the way you will pass the beaches of Alteirinhos, Carvalhal, Machados and Amália. You'll find a natural fishing harbour at Azenha do Mar. A real highlight of today is the stunning views of Odeceixe beach seen from the majestic Ponta em Branco. Overnight Odeceixe.
Today you have a choice of two activities. Spending the day at leisure, relaxing on the beach or taking a short optional walk along the Odeceixe beach circuit. This circuit takes you along the coast, walking along fishermen's trails. You'll walk among the dunes, passing the Seixe river, and enjoying views of yesterday's walk. Overnight in Odeceixe.
Picnic lunch can be ordered from the hotel if you choose to do the optional walk - allow EUR10 per person, payable locally).
The trip concludes after breakfast in Odeceixe.
This is a rugged, beautiful hike along the cliffs of the Portuguese coast. While the elevation is not great, there are several ups and downs as the trail follows the dramatic coast which can be strenuous. The trail varies from roads to wood walkways to deep dry sand. It is well-marked in most places, and curiously unmarked in others. There are few accommodations or restaurants along the way, so hikers must be entirely self-sufficient each day. The local towns are picturesque and the innkeepers were uniformly welcoming. If you travel during the summer months, be prepared for lots of direct sun. Ask for the trail guidebook in advance of your departure.
C. Hawley., Santa Cruz, CA. USA
This was a beautiful trip along the southern coast of Portugal. The hiking was great although hiking in the sand gave us an extra challenge. And the accommodation were very nice.
R. Kasparek, El Paso, Texas, USA, 18 May 2017
Per Person, Twin Share