Fisherman’s Trail Day 1: Porto Covo – Praia da Ilha do Pessegueiro – Ilha do Pessegueiro Fortress – Malhão Beach – Vila Nova de Milfontes
- Distance: 20 km
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Accumulated Ascent: 200 m
- Accumulated Descent: 180 m
- Time Needed: 6.5 hours with breaks
- Where to Eat: There are two restaurants along the route: A Ilha do Pessegueiro (next to the Fort) and Porto das Barcas. We recommend packing a snack with you today, because both of these restaurants aren’t located at an ideal mid-point location. It takes 1 hour to get to A Ilha from Porto Covo. And Porto das Barcas is located about 35 minutes walking (3.5 km) from Vila Nova de Milfontes.
Stage 1 of the Fisherman’s Trail is said to be the most difficult. You’ll spend the whole day walking either on sand dunes or on the beach. We read that a lot of people struggle with this stage because they get blisters from the sand in their shoes. If you want to avoid getting sand in your shoes, wear long hiking pants with elastic ankles (these women’s pants are perfect) over high cut hiking boots (like these boots). That’s what we did, and we had zero problems with sand.
Hugging the coast almost the entire day, stage 1 of the Fisherman’s Trail begins brilliantly. Breath in the salty herbacious air and follow the green and blue waymarks south. Initially, you’ll walk on sand dunes. Then a sign will direct you to walk along the beach Praia da Ilha do Pessegueiro until you get to the Fort. It takes 1 hour to get from Porto Covo to the Ilha do Pessegueiro Fortress.
The trail continues on sand dunes for some time. You’ll see a pod of surfers floating just off of Praia dos Aivados, which is a long beach lined with a train of pebbles.
Eventually, you’ll descend to Malhão Beach. It’s far easier to walk on the beach than on the dunes.
From Malhão Beach, the trail leads up to a parking lot. You can take a number of boardwalks and pathways to various lookout points.
From the boardwalk above Malhão Beach, the Fisherman’s Trail continues on a sandy road along the coast and then back onto a narrow sandy trail. From here, it’s a good 3 more hours until Vila Nova. This section of trail is breathtaking. It looks like the coast is actively tumbling into the sea.
16.5 km into today’s hike, you’ll arrive at Porto das Barcas restaurant. From here, follow the paved road for a few minutes until you see a trail marker pointing right and signed 3.5 km to Vila Nova de Milfontes. You’ll see a small harbor and several fishing huts off to the right.
Where to Stay in Vila Nova de Milfontes: Casa da Eira
Casa da Eira is the best place to stay in Vila Nova de Milfontes. Managed by the kindest and most helpful people in the world, Casa da Eira feels like a home away from home. The staff really goes out of the way to make sure you’re comfortable and that all your questions are answered.
Rudolf gave us top local tips about where to eat in town and along the trail. He also made us a dinner reservation at Tasca do Celso, which was the best meal we had along the Rota Vicentina.
Aside from the first-rate hospitality, Casa da Eira impresses with its lovely rooms. In the morning, we received a breakfast basket filled with lots of goodies. In the future, guests will eat breakfast in a breakfast room (currently under construction).
Book your stay at Casa da Eira.
Look for accommodation in Vila Nova de Milfontes.
Vila Nova de Milfontes Tips
- If you want a really delicious, albeit more expensive, dinner make a dinner reservation at Tasca do Celso before you arrive in Vila Nova de Milfontes. We secured the last table that night by extraordinary luck (and we were here off season). This traditional Alentejo restaurant makes a godly Carne de Porco Alentejana (regional pork and clams dish) and seared Sarrajão (bonito fish).