Follow the most scenic and interesting section of the coastal Rota Vicentina hiking track, taking in awe-inspiring views of Portugal’s cliffs, beaches and ocean.. Delight in Portugal’s bountiful coastline and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch in the village of Zambujeira do Mar with ingredients from the local fish market.. Walk to Capela de Nossa Senhora do Mar, a delightful chapel overlooking the ocean, and enjoy a spectacular sunset you won’t soon forget.. Rest your legs or keep the momentum going during a day at leisure in Aljezur, a mecca for surfing, hiking, stand up paddleboarding (or chilling on the beach!)
Made up of ancient trails and old fisherman’s routes, the Rota Vicentina may not be Europe’s most famous walk, but it’s certainly one of its most spectacular. A world away from the bustle of Lisbon and the sunbathers of the south, you may often find you and your group are the only ones around as you cross the most scenic sections of this coastal path, passing through the sunny Alentejo and Algarve regions. Join a local leader to marvel at jagged cliffs, traverse sand dunes brimming with unique wildlife, relax on heavenly beaches and feast on fresh seafood – the beauty of this corner of Portugal will stay stamped on your memory.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Lisbon! Portugal’s lively capital city is brimming with fascinating historical sites and fantastic restaurants. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm, where you’ll meet your local leader and new travel companions. If you arrive early, perhaps take a stroll through the winding alleyways of the charming Alfama neighbourhood or pay a visit to Sao Jorge Castle. After your meeting, head out with your leader and group to get to know each other over dinner in a local restaurant, followed by a post-dinner walk around the city, which really comes to life in the evenings.
Rota Vicentina (Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes)
Leave Lisbon behind and drive towards Rota Vicentina in the southwest of Portugal, home to an amazing collection of hiking trails down through Alentejo and the Algarve. Jump out of your vehicle in the coastal parish of Porto Covo and lace up your boots for your first day of walking. Making the most of your seaside setting, most of today’s walk is along sandy sweeps of beach, crossing the dunes of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Aivados and Malhao. Each beach you pass offers something different, from freshwater springs to sharp cliffs and hidden coves. As you walk, your leader will introduce you the hardy plants that live along the coast, defying the odds to thrive against a landscape of poor soil, salty air and hot sun. Today’s walk wraps up in Vila Nova de Milfontes, where you may like to cool off with a refreshing dip in the ocean.
Rota Vicentina (Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve)
Start the day with a boat ride from the mouth of the Mira River to Praia das Furnas, where you’ll disembark and begin your walk. On your journey to Almograve, follow the coast and pass by marshes that serve as breeding grounds for many species of fish. If travelling over summer you’ll most likely see swifts soaring overhead. Your leader will point out examples of diverse native vegetation, and also examples of places where such vegetation has been overtaken by the invasive acacia plant. Keep an eye out for small stone-age quarries tucked into the sand dunes, and you may pass a friendly local fisherman or two.
Rota Vicentina (Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar)
Rise bright and early to hit the trail between Almograve and Zambujeira do Mar – the scenery you’ll come upon today is some of the most dramatic and beautiful on your journey. Walk past high, jagged cliffs which serve as the nesting place of over twenty bird species – look out for peregrine falcons, rock doves, jackdaws and kestrels. The area’s layered geological history will become apparent as you pass red sands and oxidised sandstone from previous tropical climates, and remains of cold climate animals from a cooler past. Arrive in Zambujeira do Mar in time for lunch and head to a local restaurant with a menu brimming with fresh seafood, brought in from the fish market up the road. You may like to tuck into a tasty meal of shrimp, clams, hake or whelk. Later in the day, take a short walk to Capela de Nossa Senhora do Mar, a charming little chapel overlooking the sea. You’ll have the option to bring along a picnic and watch the sun go down from this privileged spot.
Rota Vicentina (Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe) / Aljezur
Enjoy a slower start to the day before heading off for another fantastic walk, bursting with more stunning coastal scenery. Setting off from Zambujeira do Mar, walk along gentle clifftops past the beaches of Alteirinhos, Carvalhal, Machados and Amália before arriving at a natural fishing harbour in Azenha do Mar. The sand dunes on this stretch of your walk are alive with activity and home to many mammals, and while they are pretty hard to spot, you may be able to see evidence of burrows and footprints. Egyptian mongooses, beech martens, otters, weasels, genets and badgers all call this part of the country home. Finish your walk in Odeceixe and enjoy some downtime to relax on the beach or explore the village, then board a public bus and head to Aljezur, where you will spend the night.
The day is yours to enjoy the abundance of activities available in the Aljezur area. If you want to keep the momentum going, there are plenty of scenic walking trails ranging from 5 to 15km. For those who want to make the most of the waves, head to Praia da Amoreira where you can hire a stand up paddleboard, surf gear or join in with a class, or you may prefer to rent a bicycle to explore the surrounding landscapes. Of course, if you’d prefer to give your legs a rest, there are plenty of peaceful beaches to stretch out on!
Rota Vicentina (Vila do Bispo to Sagres)
Transfer this morning from Aljezur to Vila do Bispo where you’ll pick up another walk, first heading towards the Cabo de São Vicente, the southwesternmost point of mainland Europe. Your leader will share stories of the cape’s maritime, Phoenician and Roman past as the finish line beckons. Today’s walk will reveal rare plant life only found in this corner of Portugal, so be sure to look down as well as at the scenery around you! Skirt along the coast before finishing up in Sagres, a popular spot for surfers and holiday makers. If the name sounds familiar, it may be because of Portugal’s iconic beer which is named after the town, so this evening why not grab a cool glass of cerveja and some dinner with your group.
With no walks or activities planned for today, your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning.