Fisherman's Trail Portugal

Walk wild, walk free – Hiking the Fisherman’s Trail in Portugal

Think Portugal’s Algarve. And now think again. Clear from your mind’s eye the imagery of the south coast’s hotel development, supermarket parking lots, water amusement parks and beaches lined with day beds and parasols. Completely re-think the Algarve and start to conjure up images of sandy trails leading to wild and empty beaches, jagged cliffs, and sleepy sea side villages. This is not an imaginary place long lost to tourism and real estate development. This place is real, and it is one of Europe’s last undeveloped and preserved coastlines. The Algarve’s west coast that seamlessly transgresses into the territory of the Alentejo as you move further north is part of the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, a nature reserve stretching along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean for over 100 kilometers. It is as pristine and as wild as it gets and best of all: it contains a network of hiking trails accessible to walkers only. These trails transport you through some of the finest natural scenery you may ever see. Read all about our four-day hiking experience on the Fisherman’s Trail in the below travel story or click here to jump immediately to the section of practical information about the Fisherman’s Trail. It is very easy to arrange hiking this trail as an independent hiker and with my tips and advice based on my own experience I hope to help you with your preparations.


For centuries, fishermen and local villagers have been forging footpaths over the cliffs and through the sandy dunes of this part of the Atlantic coast. The paths were used to get from one village to the next, or to move from one fishing spot to another. Other than the odd villager or fisherman, no one used to walk these cliffs at the edge of the continent. It is remote, it is wild, and it is relatively unexplored – the official hiking trail was only established in 2013. This is exactly what appealed to my partner and me when we were looking for a long distance trail in Portugal that we would be able to complete in one week’s time. After our long distance hiking experiences in Myanmar, Nepal and Scotland, we were eager to put our feet to the test again during a multi-day trek. There is nothing like spending full days out in the open, exposed to the elements and immersed in the splendour of the natural world. We have developed a slight passion for long distance trails and aim to complete at least one every year.

The Fisherman’s Trail seemed perfect because it ticked all our boxes: it was possible to complete it in the short time we had available for a hike, it has daily sections that are not too long nor too short, it runs through a remote natural area, and it connects villages that offer the beneficial comfort of hot showers, warm meals and good beds to rest our weary bodies at night. The Fisherman’s Trail is part of the larger Rota Vicentina, which connects it to the inland Historical Way that passes through Portugal’s rustic countryside. The part of the trail that hugs the Atlantic Coast consists of four one-day sections that are 15 to 22 km in length. It is of a spectacular beauty that must be seen to be believed.


We started our hike in the small fisherman’s town of Porto Covo. Its few streets are lined with two-story cottages with whitewashed walls, red-tiled roofs and their doors and window sills painted a bright blue.



The town with its small church and the few cafes on its main square is appealing, but the real attraction of Porto Covo lies beyond the cobble stone streets: superb swathes of brilliant sandy beach line the coast beyond the village. The spectacle begins as soon as we climb on the first dune out of the town and look in a southerly direction along the coastline that we will be following during the next couple of days. Cliffs rise out of the ocean like vertical fortresses, dropping steeply into the waters below where gigantic waves crash onto boulders and cliff walls with a sound much akin to heavy artillery fire. Golden beaches stretch for as far as the eye can see. A salty sea breeze fills our nostrils and the sun rises, illuminating the entire scene in a light of otherworldly clarity.

We are so ready to start walking that we are unfazed by the fact that much of the trail runs through dunes of loose sand that reduce the walk to the principle of ‘two steps forward, one step back’. It doesn’t matter one bit. We are so impressed by the scenery that we could have been walking in quicksand and still be delighted. It also helps that we are carrying only our day packs with some essentials, as we had arranged for our main luggage to be transported by Vicentina Transfers, a local company that arranges luggage transfer along the entire trail. More about this great service in the section with practical information at the bottom of this travel story.



One of the first points of interest that comes into view is Ilha do Pessegueiro, a small island on which a fortress was built in the 15th century. Today it is covered with swarms of seagulls, but it is easy to imagine it as the pirate’s nest it probably once was. The beautiful thing about the Fisherman’s Trail is that it appears to be completely detached from the context of time. The absolute lack of development (the reserve is protected by a law that prohibits any large real estate development) gives few hints about the modern day and age. This is what Europe must have looked like many centuries ago. The natural environment on this first day’s section is untamed and we see few other people, except on a number of secluded beaches where rolling waves have attracted some lonely surfers. The auditory impact of huge waves crashing on the cliffs is impressive and only ceases when the trail meanders behind huge sand dunes that isolate all sounds from the ocean. There are some sections of the trail that lead away from the edges due to ‘unstable cliffs’ and increased risk of erosion and falls. It is when we walk on these sheltered paths when the sudden silence comes as a surprise. Further away from the cliffs’ edges we see fields of beautiful wild vegetation like dark green ice plants (a type of succulent) with fiery red tips that light up in the early morning sun.






For lovers of flora and for bird nerds: this trail will capture your attention not only for its grandiose views of the coastline but also for the beautiful and intricate details you will find when looking down at the vegetation, or for the different bird species you can spot when looking up. In spring and summer you can see the world’s only population of cliff-nesting white storks here, a sight that must be amazing to behold. Unfortunately for us, the pending autumn means that the storks have already departed for their holiday homes in Africa.



We eat our lunch in the shadow of a tree and re-apply our sun lotion, because despite the season the sun shines harshly in the middle of the day. The afternoon is filled with more sandy paths and spectacular views. It feels like we are walking in a postcard scene. Picture perfect!







At the end of the afternoon we suddenly enter a paved road where a smart entrepreneurial spirit has opened a bar that welcomes weary hikers with a cold drink. Some 3.5 kilometers onward we stride into Vila Nova de Milfontes, our first resting stop on this hike. First stop is our beautifully renovated guesthouse in the center of the village for a hot shower (our luggage already awaiting us there – bliss) after which we explore the town. It is beautifully perched along the clear Mira river that flows into the sea at the edge of the village. In summer this is a popular destination for beach-going Portuguese, but outside the high season it is sleepy and quiet, like all the small villages along this coast. There are a number of good dining options though and we feast on a selection of local meats and cheese with honey and nuts as well as grilled octopus and eggs with asparagus. We turn in early, because a full day of hiking in the salty sea winds empties the mind but also tires the feet.



Our second day starts with a coffee, croissant and pastel de nata in the village café that is crowded with kids getting ready for school and old men reading their newspapers. It takes some time to leave the town and its paved roads behind because we have to cross a big bridge before being able to get back on the trail, but when we do we walk through brilliantly green fields and then again along the cliffs. Today the trail is a bit wider than it was yesterday, permitting us to walk next to each other. It also leads away from the coast a bit more often than it did yesterday. With the absence of the sea breeze the warm and spicy scent of pine trees, eucalyptus and the sturdy coastal vegetation that stubbornly grows everywhere on these sands invades our nostrils and takes a short cut to our brains. These scents are so strong and so zesty. Even without the accompanying images they would immediately remind you of the ocean.





We consume our packed lunch while looking out over strangely shaped rocks, the result of centuries of erosion by the ocean waters. We see few other hikers. This trail brings a sense of seclusion that we just love. Before we enter the village of Almograve, we watch a massive hare sprint away from us through the fields. Nature is always at our fingertips on the Fisherman’s Trail. To close our day we walk down to Almograve’s local beach, where the sun still shines bright and strong in our faces.



We enjoy getting up early every day and try to start our walks at 08:00, when the sun has just risen and is adding a silvery quality to everything around us. From Almograve the trail leads us immediately out of the village’s backstreets and into the dunes. It is so quiet and peaceful and the only sound we hear is that of the ocean rolling onto shore. On this third day we enter an environment that is different than the previous days. The sand dunes and even the cliffs here have a deep red colour and heather is blooming in its deep purple hues. We look down on a myriad of hidden and deserted little bays, with empty beaches out of a dream. On some of them the water laps fine sands quietly, and on others it crashes onto rocks in thundering waves. Some of them are accessible by steep trails winding down the cliff walls, others can only be reached by boat. Most of them are deserted as we pass them.




Also different from the previous two days is that on this day the trail leads through a tiny village at its midway point. Cavaleiro is comprised of just a handful of dormant streets, but it also hosts a local café where hearty food is served to hungry hikers. We are glad to take refuge in the shady interior where we observe the local village figures. A gigantic man with hairy arms and a saggy pair of pants and a wife beater that reveals an equally hairy backside orders a beer at the counter. Three old grandpas shuffle in, sit down at what is probably their habitual table and without asking are served with coffees accompanied by a local liquor. One of the old men is fat and cheerful, a second wears a grey grandpa hat, and the third is small and scrawny. They don’t talk, they just drink their coffee and spirits. This lunch break in the civilized world may not be of the same quality of the natural wonders that drew us to walking the Fisherman’s Trail, but it is surely a fine display of local Portuguese village life.




We walk for a few more hours in the afternoon when suddenly an eerie scene reveals itself. We see a dense fog rolling over the land in front of us and the ocean is completely obscured from our view. Suddenly the world changes from bright and sunny to misty and grey. It is a strange sensation. Few things are as fickle as coastal climates. We descend down a cliff and walk into a peculiarly empty fishing harbour. It holds a few boats and on the wharf a couple of fisherman’s sheds sit listlessly, a collection of buoys and nets hanging from their rafters. The mist is only clearing slightly as we walk into Zambujeira do Mar, our destination for tonight.



It is only the next morning, when the fogs have cleared, that we can fully appreciate the beautiful setting of Zambujeira. The village is flanked by wild dunes and a number of large beaches and from its nearest beach it is an impressive sight to look back upon the town that sits high behind a curving city wall. Its streets are equally curvy and are lined with tiny fisherman’s cottages, some only one story high. In the early morning the sunlight colours their white walls a soft shade of pink. The walk this morning is ethereal. The light of the rising sun illuminates the vegetation that is covered in a layer of dew. Even the sandy paths we walk on have a thin film of moist sand, still wet with the autumn chills of last night. It does not take long for the sun to warm up the earth as well as our bodies however, and we soon take off our extra layers of clothing to walk in our shorts and t-shirts again.




Like yesterday, the trail leads through a village at just about noon. In Azenha do Mar we fuel up in a local fish restaurant. We are surrounded by Portuguese families, fathers carefully hand-picking from a large water tank the crabs and lobsters that their families will be feasting on. The Portuguese do not take lunch lightly, and it is not unusual for them to spend an hour to 1.5 hours enjoying their food. These restaurant pit stops take up more time than eating our pre-packed lunches as we had done on the first two days, so this lunch delays our schedule a bit. This is fine though, because the rhythm of our daily walks have slowed our pace. Perhaps not literally, but mentally I’m easing in a mind-set of slow travel and enjoyment of the little things. A lazy lunch fits this outlook perfectly.




Our final hours on the Fisherman’s Trail lead us past bays with the clearest waters, allowing views on the black rocks that extend from the cliffs far below the surface. In the mid-afternoon the bay of Odeceixe is revealed to us. Here, a river’s mouth flows onto the beach and into the ocean. On the sandy bays surfers carry their boards and families enjoy the warm rays of sun. A tiny settlement of white houses towers above the sands. Again: postcard perfect.




We spend our last night in an agriturismo a small distance outside the town. We bask in the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a long distance trek, we propose a toast with one of Portugal’s typical green wines, and we pet the property’s cats and dogs who are oblivious of the amazing environment they are living in. After dark we gaze at the night sky that is specked with countless flickering stars – there must be as many stars as there are waves in the Atlantic Ocean that was our salty and steady companion for the past four days. The Milky Way shines brightly, its constellations no longer guiding fishermen along the Portuguese coast, but sealing a perfect ending to our intense immersion in the last truly wild ocean coast of Europe.



Create your own adventure! How to walk the Fisherman’s Trail as an independent hiker

It is pretty straightforward to organise your own trek on the Fisherman’s Trail. It is an easy, pleasant and safe trail to hike independently. The trail itself is very well marked, making it nearly impossible to get lost. Each section of the trail runs between villages, which means that at the end of each hiking day you will arrive somewhere where you can sleep in a proper bed and have a good meal, and buy supplies for your next day. With the added benefit of a luggage transfer service that transports your heavy bag for you every day all you need to do is tie up your hiking boots, sling on your day pack and start walking!

How long does it take to walk the Fisherman’s Trail?

The part of the trail that we walked and that I describe above consists of 4 sections, each worth a day’s hiking. In total it is 75 km of trail. This makes it a perfect introduction for people who want to try their first long-distance hike, or for people who are looking for a short break in Europe that won’t take you more than one week of holidays. You could, for example, fly into Lisbon, walk the capital’s steep streets for a day to warm-up your calves for the heavy work on the sand dunes, then go to Porto Covo to prepare for your walk, hike the four days, and end your week with a day or two on one of the beaches of the Algarve before flying back out of Faro on the south coast.

The Fisherman’s Trail is part of the larger network of the Rota Vicentina. Besides the Fisherman’s Trail this also comprises the Historical Way, a much longer trail that runs through the interior of the Alentejo and the Algarve. If you have more time, you can combine the Fisherman’s Trail with sections of the Historical Way because they link up at various points. The full route is 450 kilometers in length.

What are the different sections of the Fisherman’s Trail and where can I find shops, restaurants, toilets and ATMs?

All of the five villages that connect the trail have bars and restaurants where you can have breakfast and dinner. Note that most places don’t open before 09:00 (except for one or two bars that open at 08:00) so if you wish to start your hike early it’s better to buy your breakfast in one of the stores the night before. ATMs where you can take out cash money are available in all the villages. I did not see public toilets in the villages, but you can use the toilets in the bars and restaurants and of course in your hotel or guesthouse. Along the trail there are no toilets but there are plenty of discrete spots where you can relieve yourself if necessary. Please do bring a small plastic bag with you to carry out your used tissues and other trash. There are no trash cans along the trail so you should dispose of your trash in the villages.

Section 1: Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes; 20 km / 7 hours
During this section of the trail you will not pass any other villages, meaning that you should bring a packed lunch with you. There are however two opportunities to buy something to drink: at the beginning of your trek at km 3.5 you can find a beach bar close to the fortress, and near the end at km 16 you will pass a little fishing harbour called Canal where you will also pass a small bar that does not sell food.

Section 2: Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve; 15 km / 5 hours
Again, food and supplies are available in the towns but there are no villages along the trail. Bring packed lunch. At km 4 you can buy some refreshments at Furnas beach. It is possible to skip the first 3 km of the trail by crossing the Mira river by ferry instead of taking the detour on the bridge. We kind of regretted not doing this because the section that leads you over the bridge is not particularly inspiring because it goes mostly on a paved road, so it can be skipped without worry of missing out on something spectacular and the ferry is probably a beautiful and fun way to start your day.

Section 3: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar; 22 km / 7 hours
You will pass the small village of Cavaleiro at about the middle of today’s section. Here I’ve seen at least two restaurants. Beware that they only open at 12:00 so if you start early like we did you may get there before they open, but there is one café that is open earlier and that serves simple but good hiking food like omelettes and pork chops. About 3.5 km before you reach Zambujeira you’ll pass through a small fishing harbour where you will also find a simple restaurant serving snacks and drinks. It was during this section when we saw most of the stork nests on the cliffs.

Section 4: Zambujeiro do Mar to Odeceixe; 18 km / 7 hours
At 9.5 km you will pass the seaside village of Azenha do Mar where a fish restaurant serves lunch.

How difficult is it to walk the Fisherman’s Trail?

It is not difficult. You will need some stamina and it’s good to have done at least some training on distances of about 20 km in length, but the trail does not require any technical climbing skills. The trail itself climbs and falls through the dunes but except from a few steep stretches where you may have to pull yourself up some rocks it is easy to navigate. The hardest part is probably the fact that most of it runs through loose sand which may tire your calves and thighs.

The route is fully marked in both directions. A map is available for sale in the Rota Vicentina webshop, but is not strictly necessary because it is easy to find your way without one. Just follow the signs of green and blue stripes that are painted on trees, stones and poles along the way. A green-and-blue cross means that you are going in the wrong direction, an arrow indicates a change of direction.

The route is not recommended for persons with fear of height or vertigo because it often passes along high cliffs. Due to the erosion of the cliffs there is some natural risk of falling involved. Make sure to stay on the trail at all times and do not move too close to the edges of the cliffs. On sections where the cliffs are especially unstable this is indicated with signs. Respect these instructions.



What is the best time of the year to walk the Fisherman’s Trail?

The trail is open year round but the best time is either spring (May & June) or autumn (September & October). In spring there will be an abundance of wildflowers and you will have the opportunity to see the cliff nesting storks. From May onwards the water temperatures become agreeable enough for a swim. The ocean water is warmest in the fall and September and October are beautiful months for hiking because of high chances of sunny but not too warm weather. The summer months of July and August are best avoided. Not only is it too hot in summer with temperatures reaching well above 30 degrees, but also do Portuguese from all over the country make their way to the Vicentina coast to enjoy their holidays. You will miss out on the magical experience of deserted beaches and quiet nature, the accommodation rates will be much higher and most hotels will require a minimum of two nights’ stay. Winter can be a nice choice: you’ll have chances of rain but it is still possible to have bright sunny days with average temperatures of 16°C. Some accommodations may be closed through the winter, although with the increasing popularity of the trail more and more hotel owners find it sensible to keep their place open in the winter months.

Where can I sleep on the Fisherman’s Trail?

Every town on the trail has good sleeping options, ranging from beds in hostel dorm rooms to small scale guesthouses and in some locations even agriturismos. I do recommend to book your accommodation in advance to prevent getting stranded at the end of a long hiking day.

I will list here the accommodations where we stayed along the trail. We opted to stay in private rooms with ensuite bathrooms with prices ranging between € 45 and € 65 per room. I can highly recommend each of the below options. None of them serve breakfast but they all have clean and fairly spacious rooms in good locations as they are all more or less literally on the trail. Click on the links to visit their website or facebook page through which you can make a booking.

Porto Covo – Calmaria Guesthouse

Everything about this building is new, so it looks very modern and it has a great shower. About 5 minutes walking from the village center and the start of the trail.

Vila Nova de Milfontes – Casa da Vila

Beautifully renovated large room with modern bathroom, loved the high bamboo ceiling. In the center of the village.

Almograve – Almograve Beach Hostel

Has dorms but we opted to stay in the private room that has its own bathroom. Step out of the door and you are immediately on the trail.

Zambujeira do Mar – Hakuna Matata Hostel

Really great hostel where we stayed in the private room which was huge and had its own little balcony and a private bathroom. Communal room and kitchen available and in the center of town.

Odeceixe – Montes de Baixo agriturismo

Just short of the trail’s end in Odeceixe a dirt road branching off the trail leads to this beautiful place on a hill. Cottages with private bathrooms have been prepared in a traditional style and have a private terrace. There are hammocks, dogs and cats to play with, and it has a natural swimming pond. About 30 minutes walk to Odeceixe if you want to get some dinner; breakfast can be had on site because the owners can bring you fresh bread in the morning if you make the request.



Wild camping is strictly forbidding along the trail, however there are some official camp sites that you could use if you wish to pitch a tent. These may not always be in vicinity of the above mentioned towns, so it’s best to do some research and decide where you want to set up camp each night so you can schedule your sections accordingly.

A great list of accommodations that can be found along the trail is on the Rota Vicentina website, where you can also book your stays directly online.

How can I arrange a luggage transfer on the Fisherman’s Trail?

I can highly recommend the services of Vicentina Transfers. This local company, owned by a super nice guy called José who is an avid hiker himself and knows very well the needs of walkers, can pick up and deliver your bag at any point along the trail every day. This is brilliant because it allows you to walk with only the essentials in your day pack, making it much lighter (José’s motto is Walk Free!) I personally love to use a luggage transfer service because it allows me to put a fresh shirt on my back every evening and bring a book, a second pair of shoes and all my toiletries and much more without having to carry it on my back all day. It makes the walk so much easier and more enjoyable.

How it works: let José know your itinerary, then leave your bag at your accommodation at 09:30 at the latest each morning. While you are walking, José will pick it up and bring it to your next accommodation no later than 16:30 (but usually earlier). Effectively this means that each afternoon when you arrive at your next guesthouse your luggage is already there waiting for you.

It is a service of great value that is aimed at serving the independent hiker. The cost of a bag per section is € 15 (or € 10 if you use the service for four sections or more), and if you wish to add a second bag it’s only € 5. That means that if you are walking as two persons, you pay just € 7.50 per person per day to walk free and not have to carry a heavy bag through the loose sands of the dunes. You can book the service (using the online booking form) either for your entire trek or just for one day just to try it out. Go for it and you won’t regret it. José was the hero of our trek!



How not to do it versus how to do it :p

What should I wear and carry on the Fisherman’s Trail?

Your clothing of course depends on the season. In winter, ensure you bring some rain gear with you. In spring and autumn you can likely walk in shorts and t-shirt, but it’s wise to check the weather forecast in advance and bring something warmer if needed. We hiked in October and on most days I wore my merino wool long sleeve during the first 20 minutes in the morning when the sun was just up and the air was still chilly, but I could soon take it off and walk in just a t-shirt. The evenings were a bit fresher but still OK to wear shorts on most nights.

What is very important is to wear high hiking boots! We have seen several people walking the trail barefoot because they either had bad experiences with low shoes (very uncomfortable because sand will enter all the time) or open sandals (same problem with sand entering and little protection against rocks and vegetation). I always like to wear wool socks in my hiking boots to prevent blisters. In my main luggage (the one that got transferred every day) I had flip flops to use in the showers and light sneakers because after a long day of hiking in boots it’s always a relief to change to different shoes.

If you are using Vicentina Transfers luggage transport service, all you need to carry is a small daypack and this is what I recommend it includes:

  • Water! At least 2 liters per person per day.
  • Sun lotion. The sun shines really strongly in these parts and you should re-apply multiple times per day. Try to bring also a lip balm with UV factor. I did not and burnt my lips.
  • Snacks and packed lunch. The first two sections on the trail do not pass any places where you can buy lunch so you should bring your own. Also bring some snacks that will keep you going, like bananas, almonds or the good old snickers bar.
  • A hat or cap to keep the sun out of your eyes. Sunglasses will also do but a hat is better to protect your entire head from the heat of the sun.
  • A long sleeve in case temperatures are chilly.
  • Nail clippers. In case that toenail that is just a little too long starts to bother you in the first hour into your hike. You can also consider to bring a small first aid set with some blister tape and the like.
  • Tissues or toilet paper and a plastic bag so you can carry it and your other trash with you. It was disgraceful to see how many people leave their used tissues behind along the trail. We all come here to admire the beautiful nature, let’s not defile it with our trash that we can easily take with us and dispose of in the next village.
  • Trekking poles come in handy when walking in the loose sands and going up and down the dunes.
  • Swimwear if you expect not to be able to resist the temptation of those incredible empty beaches and blue waters.
  • A phone in case you run into any trouble and a camera to capture all the incredible views.
  • A piece of string to tie your jaw to your face to prevent it from dropping to the floor with every new amazing panorama that reveals itself :p

How do I get to the Fisherman’s Trail?

If you are arriving from outside Portugal, you can either fly to Lisbon airport or to Faro airport from many major European capitals. From Lisbon or Faro you can reach the starting and end points of the trail by car or by public transportation although Lisbon has better public transport connections.

By car:
You can drive to Porto Covo (2 hours from either Lisbon or Faro) and you can leave your car for free in the car park near the main square of Porto Covo. After completing your hike there is a bus from Odeceixe back to Porto Covo in the morning. Check the Rede Expressos website for actual timetables. Otherwise to get back to your car you could take a taxi but it’ll set you back €50-70.

Public transport:
There are direct links from Lisbon by bus. It will take about three hours. The bus to Porto Covo departs from the Sete Rios bus terminal. Coming from Faro you’ll have to connect in Lagos. To get to Lagos, take a bus with Eva Transportes either at 08:00 or at 17:25, then change to Rede Expressos to go to Porto Covo. See the link above for timetables. There are no direct train connections to Porto Covo. If you wish to arrive by train you will have to go Santiago do Cacém or to Odemira and then connect to Porto Covo with bus or taxi.

I only have time to walk one section, which one should I choose?

It is of course possible to walk only part of the trail. If you only have time for a one-day trek or you don’t feel like walking for days at a time, you can decide to pick only one of the sections. For me, the first section (Porto Covo – Vila Nova de Milfontes) and the last one (Zambujeira do Mar – Odeceixe) were the most beautiful ones in terms of scenery because they included the largest share of natural beauty and spectacular views. If you are there in spring and want to see the cliff nesting storks your best bets are on section 3 (Almograve – Zambujeira do Mar) as this is where we saw most nests. If you think 20 km is too long you can try the second section which has only 15 km (Vila Nova de Milfontes – Almograve).

I have more questions!

The Rota Vicentina official website is a fantastic source of information on anything you need to know about hiking this trail.

Disclaimer: Vicentina Transfers has sponsored our luggage transfer on our hiking adventure. However, the recommendation we make for their services is purely based on our honest evaluation of their services and reflects our own personal and unbiased opinion.


  • Willemien

    Heel interessant, indrukwekkend en mooi om te zien en te lezen.Maar het moet nog mooier zijn wanneer je het beleeft, zoals jullie het gedaan hebben.

  • Ivo, Book Directly

    Thanks a lot for your information! We are going to Portugal next year in June and even if we cannot do this trail, because of two small child, definitely want to visit some of these places.

    You’ve got fantastic photos btw


    • Evelien & Sanne

      Hi Ivo! Glad you enjoyed the story and the photos. Even if you can’t hike the trail this is a phenomenal area to visit. If you visit the villages mentioned in this blog you will have easy access to some great views within just a few minutes walking from the towns. I hope you’ll enjoy it a lot! Cheers, Evelien

  • Sonja and Richard

    Thank you so much for this beautifully written and super informative blog. We spontaneously booked a trip to Portugal yesterday so have started researching hiking, biking and kiteboarding options. Seems that Portugal has it all! You have totally sold us on this walk (even though we are going in July). Coming from Australia though we can handle a little heat 🙂

  • Anna

    This is probably the best article I have read in a while, super clear and very informative – thank you so much! I am passionate about multi-day hiking and I will probably do this in June – as a solo hiker. Is the trail crowded and is it enjoyable for a solo hiker – in terms of safety but also in case I’d like to meet new people grab a beer in the evening etc… after the West Highland Way the bar is high 🙂

    Many thanks and have a great day!

    • Evelien & Sanne

      Hello Anna, thanks and it honestly thrills me to hear that you enjoyed this post! A lot of time goes into writing these articles so it is so nice to hear that people find them useful.

      To answer your question: I walked the West Highland Way in August and the Fisherman’s Trail in October and the latter was definitely less crowded. Could have been due to the season; in June you’ll probably find some more people there. When we were there we sometimes walked for hours without seeing other people. However in the villages there is always a crowd, not just hikers but also other visitors/tourists. There are hostels where it is easy to meet people and most times we had dinner in places where other hikers also ate. I think that in June you might see a few more people on the beaches but it still should not be super crowded. Pretty much all Portuguese take holidays in August.

      To me the trail felt safe. I think I would have no problem walking it as a solo (female) hiker. Of course the fact that it was quiet can be a risk, but Portugal in general is a very safe country where you should have no problem going around on your own. A bigger risk than running into the wrong person would be falling off a cliff and injuring yourself, but if you just keep away from the edges there should be absolutely no problem either.


  • Stefan Villette

    Thanks for all the great info. I think that’s it: I’m doing this in September! I did spent some time further down the coast a few years back and it was stunning indeed. Bummer about not being able to camp wild along the way. as for me. nothing beats going to sleep/waking up to those vistas. At least there are some campsites options by the look of it. I’m hoping i might get away with at least one night on the beach/cliffs by pitching after it’s dark/packing up before dawn somewhere, what do you think? Anyway, thanks again for sharing your experience and all the tips.

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