ROTA VICENTINA

FISHERMEN’S TRAIL & HISTORICAL WAY

Trip Style

Rural Rugged Coastline, Dunes and Beaches

Availability

From September to June

Highlight

Quiet beaches, Rugged cliffs, Cape St Vincent

From

€870 / Person

 

Grade

The Rota Vicentina is a series of walking trails located in the South West of Portugal that navigates through the Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park. Combining the Fishermen’s Trail, the Historical Way and several circular routes this trail combines both the rural charm of Portugal with the rugged coastline that has been shaped by the Atlantic Ocean.

 

The Fishermen’s Trail which you will take from Porto Covo to Odeceixe is a coastline route that follows trails created by locals to get to the beaches as well as the best fishing spots and can only be travelled by foot. The majority of this route is also on sand trails which can be more tiring to walk on and it is recommend that you have good walking boots.

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After Odeceixe the route will the follow both the Fishermen’s Trail as well as Historical Way. The elements of this section that comprise the Fishermen’s Trail are walks that take you back out to the coast line from the inner Historical Way, but should you be tight on time these section can be easily by-passed.

 

A major draw of this area is the abundance of opportunities for bird watching and enjoying the multitude of different plants and flowers along the way – springtime (in other words any time after Christmas!) is ideal and the colours are amazing and a photographers dream.

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Opening hours: Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 6.30pm (GMT)

PACKAGE DETAILS

Day 1: Arrive at Porto Covo


Porto Covo is a friendly fishing village renowned for its small white houses that were built by the Marques de Pombal after an earthquake in 1755.

Day 2: Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes (20km 7hr)


Starting from the fisherman’s village of Porto Covo, you will spend your day on the “wild coast”. Walking along vast sand dunes discovering small deserted coves, where you might dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean, until you reach the cliffs of Cape St Vincent. From here once on the cliffs, which gives this coast line its personality you are rewarded with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Walking along the cliffs the landscape is richer in flowers and plants which make it a delight for the senses before finishing off in Vila Nova de Milfontes. Vila de Milfontes contains a few historic and noteworthy buildings and monuments, such as the Forte Sao Clemente Castle which was built in 16th Century to deter the pirate’s attacks and makes a lovely backdrop for photos.

Day 3: Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve (15km 5hr)


Today, you will cross the river Mira (by ferry €5 per person) before passing through farmland and coming to the beach of Furnas.  After this beach you will skirt a protected reserve, where it is the only place in the world to find the Plantago Almogravensis, so be sure to keep on the designated trails.  Leaving the protected reserve you are welcomed by large agricultural fields that appear to reach the sea before entering a forest of acacia trees and then returning to the shore.  Continue along the empty golden sands of Brejo Largo beach, which is surrounded by craggy cliffs, then follow the costal footpath that deviates inwards to get to Almograve, the largest village in the region that has a couple of good restaurants serving traditional Portuguese food.   As today is a short day walking you may want to bring a picnic to have on Brejo Largo beach and soak up the tranquillity of this area.

Day 4: Almograve to Zambujeira (22km 7h)


Today you will have abundant opportunities to get panoramic shots of the surrounding landscape as well as a “selfie” on the cliff tops with the Atlantic Ocean crashing behind you.  Leaving Almograve you will head towards the small fishing harbour of Lapa das Pombas.   The trail from here follows the cliffs providing panoramic views of the red sand dunes and Atlantic Ocean before entering a pine forest and then continuing along cliffs that are continuously battered by the Atlantic Ocean but where you will witness storks nesting. Passing the lighthouse of Cape Sardão, you will then come to your stop for the night, Zambujeira, a sea side town where you can breathe the sea air and sample fresh fish in family run restaurants.

Day 5: Zambujeira to Odeceixe (18km 7hr)


Today’s walk starts from the beach that is overlooked by the beautiful chapel of Senhora do Mar. You will follow the trail over the cliffs to the beach of Alteirinhos, then through pine and acacia forests before returning to the beaches of Carvalhal, Machados and Amália.  Leaving the beaches you will reach the village of Azenha do Mar situated on the top of the cliffs and where we recommend that you take a break.  Take an opportunity here to swim in pools that were dug into the cliffs in the 50s then sample some local specialities of shellfish or fresh cod.  After refuelling you will continue then onto Ponta em Branco (White summit) so named for the colour of the sediments that form its summit, this also marks the border between the Alentejo and the Algarve regions and provides sweeping views of the area before you reach the village of Odeceixe.

Day 6: Odeceixe to Aljezur (18km 6hr)


There is the option to lengthen todays walk by 9km by following the Fisherman’s Trail out to the beaches of Odeceixe or Amoreira where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean.  For this extra loop you would leave Odeceixe following the Fisherman’s trail to the beach then continue along the cliffs where you are greeted at every turn with breath-taking views and using your imagination may be able to spot a rock in the form of a dragon!  Following the trail back inland you will re-join the Historical Way.  Alternatively if you would like to stick with the suggested 18kms of today when leaving Odeceixe you will following the Historical Way heading south crossing farmland that is interspersed with areas of pine and eucalyptus trees, as well as orchards of olives, citrus fruits and figs that lend an enticing aroma to the air.  After the village of Rogil you have the option to detour to Amoreira beach or simply continue on the Historical trail to Aljezur.  Set in a fertile valley known for its sweet potato crops, the town is split by the river with on one side the old town and the other the new. In the 18th Century malaria was rife in the town so to get away from the disease the ‘new’ town was built on the other side of the river.

Day 7: Aljezur to Arrifana (17km 5hr30)


Leaving Aljezur, which is overlooked by the Moorish Castle from the 10thCentury which is one of seven that are represented on the flag of Portugal, you have the option of shortening this route by taking the inland Historical Way through the quiet Portuguese countryside which is only 9km long.  We would recommend however that you take the more visually rewarding Fishermen’s Trail which brings you by the beach of Monte Clérigo and Ponta da Atalaia where there are remains of a Roman Watchtower built by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar during the 1st Century and will give you many photo ops along the way.  Whilst walking through this area of dunes the air is permeated with the aroma of fragrant, medicinal and edible rare plants.  Turning away from the coast briefly you will then arrive into your destination for the night Arrifana where you will be greeted with an awe-inspiring view of the Praia da Arrifana.

Day 8: Arrifana to Carrapateira (26km 7hr30)


Leaving the small fishing and holiday village of Arrifana you will travel today on the Historical Way.  Crossing a sandy heath you will descend to the Canal beach, a mainly pebble beach with a small sand strip that is frequented by both fishermen and surfers and can make an interesting spot to stop and watch the fishermen at work in this  rolling ocean as well as any brave surfers taking on the waves.  Ascending from the beach you will spend the rest of today inland moving through woodlands of pine, eucalyptus, cork, oak and strawberry trees followed by a more sparse countryside before you arrive at the village of Bordeira .  Continuing on through lush green valleys the landscape becomes drier as you approach your destination for the night, Carrapateira which sits on a small headland of limestone cliffs.  An interesting fact about this area of the Natural Park is that the Cork trees you will pass are part of the almost 50% of cork production in the world that comes from Portugal, so it may well be that a bottle of wine you have enjoyed had its cork stopper from this very region.

Day 9: Carrapateira to Pedralva (20km 6hr30)


In Carrapateira an interesting addition is to walk the Pontal da Carrapateira circuit of the Fishermen’s Trail, which will again give you an opportunity to possibly go for a swim or even to enjoy a picnic on the beach.  From Carrapateira you follow the wide sandy track till the river, then the board walk to the rugged beach of Bordeira with its limestone cliffs and extensive sand dunes.  Continuing on to the beach of Amado you will pass through two small fishing harbours and an ancient fishermen’s settlement.  Amado beach is a much busier beach than Bordeira and attracts surfers in all seasons.  Leaving Amado you will return to Carrapateira by heading north.  Before going back into Carrapateira you will join the Historical Way.  If you wanted to shorten this day you could just go straight from Carrapateira to the Historical Way, which would save you 10km.  Once on the Historical Way today you will move further inland and actually leave the Natural Park but still be surrounded by lush green valleys.  Heading firstly to the quaint village of Vilarinha before arriving to your stop for the night in Pedralva. This village was once inhabited by over 100 people but by 2006 only 9 original inhabitants were left.  Since then the village has undergone extensive rebuilding to restore and maintain the heritage and spirit of this ancient village.

Day 10: Pedralva Vila Do Bispo (12km 3hr)


Leaving Pedralva you will continue further south ascending back into the Natural Park.  Passing windmills that are the first indication you are getting close to the tip of not only the most southwesterly point of Portugal but of the European continent that is fully exposed to the Atlantic Ocean.   Arriving into the pretty town of Vila Do Bispo you will be spoilt for choice for restaurants providing a plethora of local delicacies.

Day 11: Vila Do Bispo to Cabo de San Vicente – Sagres (20km 5hr30)


Leaving Vila Do Bispo behind today you will initially be on the Historical Way before having to decide then if you wish to continue on the Historical Way or, as we would recommend, taking the unforgettable coastal walk to Cape St. Vincent, which will provide many an opportunity to get some canvas worthy photos.  Traversing cliffs and ravines of ancient dark red rocks you are surrounded by vegetation and strong aromas whilst rewarded visually with wonderful coastal panoramas of the lighthouse of Cape St. Vincent on the horizon which gets ever closer.  The lighthouse at Cape St Vincent is built over the ruins of a 16th Century Franciscan convent.  It guards one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and is among the most powerful in Europe with its lamps being visible up to 60km away.  We recommend to take the bus from the lighthouse in Cabo de San Vicente to Sagres and enjoy a walk in Sagres.  The walk from Cabo de San Vicente to Sagres is 6 Km on the hard shoulder of a tarmac road.  The small town of Sagres is perched on a rocky outcrop and will not disappoint for the end of your journey.  From its selection of fine places to wine and dine, to the opportunity to witness a crimson sun setting into the sea in the West whilst a crimson moon rises in the East.

Day 12: Sagres


Today we bid you Adeus!

INCLUDED AND NOT

  • 11 nights Guesthouses, 2* & 3* hotels
  • 11 Breakfasts
  • Roadbook (Guidebook) and Maps
  • Luggage Transfer
  • 24/7 Customer Care
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Transfer from/to airport
  • Extra night stays

Access

Way in & out

Situated between Lisbon and the Algrave the region is served by the airports in both Lisbon and Faro.

If starting from Porto Covo we would recommend that you fly to Lisbon.  From Dublin there are direct flights with both Aerlingus and RyanAir.  From London there are direct flights with TAP Portugal, British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.

From Lisbon to then get to Porto Covo you can get a bus or we can organise a private transfer.

Information on the bus schedules can be found on: http://www.rede-expressos.pt/.  The bus journey is approximately 2hr 30 minutes.

A private transfer will take approximately 1hr 55 minutes and will drop you at your first nights’ accommodation.

Going home from Sagres to Faro Airport we can arrange a private transfer which will take approximately 1hr 20 minutes.

Alternatively you can get a bus from Sagres to Lagos where you can then get a train to Faro and the shuttle bus back to the airport.  The bus from Sagres to Lagos is approximately 1hr 5 minutes and information on this can be found on http://eva-bus.com/index.php?lang=uk.  Information on the train can be found on http://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/ and the train takes approximately 1hr 45 minutes.  Information on the shuttle bus in Farro to the airport can be found on http://www.proximo.pt/pt/ and takes approximately 25 minutes.

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