From the wild and undeveloped coast of Costa Vicentina to the ochre-colored limestone stacks of the Algarve, Portugal possesses one of the most varied and striking coasts in the world. We think the best way to experience Portugal’s extensive coastline is by walking. Whether you’re looking for an active day trip from Lisbon, a multi-day coastal trek, or a secret hiking path in the Algarve, you’ll find inspiration for your next trip to Portugal here. Continue reading to discover the best hikes in Portugal.
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The Best Hikes in Portugal
- Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar Coastal Trail
- Trail of Headlands
- Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
- Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail
Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar Coastal Trail
Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Lisboa
If someone mentions Sintra, palaces are the first thing that comes to mind. Indeed, Sintra’s renown is forever interlinked with its architectural treasures. However, most people don’t know that the Sintra Coastline is equally marvelous and worthy of exploration.
We recommend starting this day hike in Cabo da Roca. We’ve explained how to get Cabo da Roca from Cascais and Lisbon in our Sintra coast trail guide.
From Cabo da Roca, you’ll hike North to Praia da Ursa, one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Many people end their hike here, and we really can’t blame them. With its offshore limestone formations shaped like Hershey kisses, Praia da Ursa is a whimsical place that feeds the imagination.
This hike continues to the pristine beaches of Praia da Adraga, Praia Grande, Praia das Maçãs, and ultimately ends in Azenhas do Mar.
With its cluster of whitewashed homes hovering above the sea, Azenhas do Mar is an enchanting sight to behold. Atlantic waves batter the village’s seawall. And, a natural saltwater pool collects at the foot of the village.
- Trailhead: Cabo da Roca
- Type of Trail: Point-to-Point
- Distance: 10.73 km
- Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
- Time Needed: 5 hours (with breaks)
- Where to Stay: Cascais, or Lisbon.
Read Next: Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar Day Hike
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is the most popular day hike in Algarve and encapsulates some of the most impressive scenery in the region. The 5.7 km trail stretches between Praia da Marinha and Praia de Vale Centianes. Though you can start at either end, we recommend starting at Praia da Marinha.
Highlights of the trail include Benagil Beach, Corredoura Beach, and Carvalho Beach. If you want to see Benagil Cave, you can rent a paddleboard, or kayak at Benagil Beach and paddle out to the cave. The cave is only accessible from the sea. The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail ends at Praia de Vale Centianes. Grab lunch at the beach restaurant O Stop, before making the return journey.
- Trailhead: Praia da Marinha, or Praia de Vale Centianes
- Type of Hike: Return (out and back), or point-to-point (with taxi return)
- Distance: 5.7 km one-way (11.4 km return)
- Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
- Time Needed: 2 – 2.5 hours one-way (5 – 6 hours return)
- Where to Stay: Ferragudo, or Carvoeiro / Read: Where to Stay in the Algarve
Read Next: Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
Trail of Headlands
The trail of the headlands is a point-to-point or return hike in the Algarve. This is an excellent alternative to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. It’s not as well known, and as a result, there are far fewer walkers along this route.
You can start this stunning hike at Praia dos Caneiros in Ferragudo, or Praia do Carvoeiro in Carvoeiro. We started at Praia dos Caneiros beach because we were staying at Caneiros Luxury House & Suites, which is only a 5-minute walk to the beach.
Starting at the parking lot at Praia dos Caneiros, the trail leads East. Follow the yellow and red trail markers along the headlands. The trail affords you wondrous views of sheer cliffs and hidden coves. Unlike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, there aren’t many opportunities to access these coves by foot. So, this walk is all about savoring the views.
Shortly before arriving at Carvoeiro, you’ll pass Praia do Paraiso. This tiny beach is accessible by a steep staircase.
Carvoeiro is a beach town that manages to balance its development with its natural beauty. Grab lunch here and enjoy the town’s idyllic beach, Praia do Carvoeiro. For a healthy lunch and delicious smoothies, head to Earth Café.
- Trailhead: Praia dos Caneiros or Praia do Carvoeiro
- Type of Trail: Return, point-to-point (with taxi return)
- Distance: 6 km one-way (12 km return)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Needed: 2 hours one-way (5 hours return with lunch break)
- Where to Stay: Caneiros Luxury House & Suites, near the Praia dos Caneiros trailhead. You can also stay in Carvoeiro.
Costa Vicentina, Alentejo, and Algarve
The Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail is a 4-day trek along the Vicentina Coast. The trail starts in Porto Covo in the Alentejo region and ends in Odeceixe in the Algarve. Clinging to the coast almost the whole time, this exhilarating multi-day hike in Portugal gives you access to remote beaches and secret coves.
Without a question, this is our favorite Portugal hiking destination. The coast is rugged and wild. The air is heavy with salt and wild herbs. And, it looks like the coast is collapsing into the Atlantic in a perpetual effort to join the sea.
Here’s an overview of the Fisherman’s Trail stages:
- Day 1: Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes (20 km, 6.5 hrs)
- Day 2: Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve (15 km, 5.5 hrs)
- Day 3: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar (22 km, 6 hrs)
- Day 4: Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe (18 km, 5.5 hrs)
Fisherman’s Trail Accommodation
You’ll overnight in guesthouses, or hostels along the way. Note: wild camping isn’t allowed. Make reservations a few weeks before you start the trek. Here’s where we stayed along the trail:
- Casa da Eira in Vila Nova de Milfontes. Excellent rooms, extremely helpful staff, and perfect location.
- Almograve Beach Hostel in Almograve. Excellent rooms and facilities, kind and welcoming owners, and great location.
- Monte das Alpendurada in Zambujeira do Mar. Excellent accommodation, but 2.5 km from the main trail. Stay here if you can secure a pick-up from town.
- Hostel Seixe in Odeceixe. Central location, easy check-in, and top budget choice. Our only complaint is the lack of soundproofing between the rooms.
Read Next: Fisherman’s Trail Hiking Guide
When to Hike in Portugal
The best time to hike in Portugal is in Fall and Spring. If you want to hike in Summer, we suggest getting a very early start (7 am latest).
Hiking in Portugal Essentials
It’s easy to underestimate hiking in Portugal because many of us assume that if trails are flat than they aren’t difficult. Even without dramatic ascents and descents, hiking with proper equipment ensures your safety and comfort. So, we urge you to bring your hiking shoes along and leave behind your flat-soled sneakers.
- Trekking Backpack: Women: Osprey Packs Kyte 36; Men: Osprey Packs Kestrel 38.
- Hiking boots. Ladies, we recommend the Hanwag Tatra Light Lady GTX for both day hiking and trekking in Portugal.
- Hiking Pants with elastic ankles like these Macpac Women’s Hike Tight Pants.
- Quick Dry T-shirts
- Hiking Vest like this Eddie Bauer StormDown Vest.
- Rain Jacket like this North Face Venture Rain Jacket.
- Polarized Sunglasses
- Sun Hat
- Hair Buff. It’s really windy along Portugal’s Atlantic Coast. We both wore buffs to protect our ears from the strong winds. Buffs are also helpful in keeping hair out of your face while you hike.
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Water Purification System
More Information for Your Trip to Portugal:
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