The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is a scenic coastal trail in Algarve, Portugal. Clinging to the coast the whole time, this spectacular walk stretches between Praia da Marinha beach and Praia de Vale Centianes beach. As you amble across ocher-colored cliffs jutting out of cerulean-colored waters, you’ll be convinced that Southern Portugal is one of the most stunning coastal regions in the world.
In this guide, you’ll find out when to start, where to start, where to eat, and in which direction to hike this trail,
Planning a trip to the Algarve? Also read our 7 Day Algarve Itinerary.
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Seven Hanging Valleys Trail Summary
Trailhead: Praia da Marinha
Destination: Praia de Vale Centianes
Type of Hike: Point-to-point / return
Distance: 5.7 km one-way (11.4 km return)
Time Needed: 2 – 2.5 hours one-way (5 – 6 hours return)
Route: Praia da Marinha – Praia de Benagil – Alfanzina Lighthouse – Carvalho Beach – Praia de Vale Centianes
Where is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The trail is located in Western Algarve in the municipality of Lagoa. The closest towns are Carvoeiro, Ferragudo and Armação de Pêra.
When to Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The best time to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is in Spring or Fall. The temperature is mild and skies are generally clear. It’s also possible to hike in Algarve in winter, but there’s more chance of rain and moodier weather.
When we first visited Algarve in early June, we tried to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. However, it was already way too hot (30°C / 86°F) and we quickly aborted our plans. When we returned to Algarve two years later in early November, it was absolutely perfect hiking weather.
Read Next: Algarve Travel Guide
What Time Should You Start Hiking
This will depend on which season you’re hiking in.
In November, the temperatures are mild throughout the day (18°C / 64.4°F). So, there’s no need to get an early start. Because November is firmly off-season, parking also wasn’t a problem. We started the hike at 11 am and returned at 4 pm.
If you’re hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in summer (June – mid-September), then you should start the hike no later than 8:00 a.m. Depending on the heat, you may want to hike the trail in one direction and catch a taxi back to your car.
Read Next: Best Hikes in Portugal
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail Difficulty
Moderate. The Seven Hanging Valleys walk is not a flat trail. There are several ascending and descending passages along the route. Hiking shoes are essential in my opinion. This is not a hike you want to do in sandals. Though there’s nothing technically difficult about this hike, there are a few places where the terrain is slippery. So, hiking shoes (like these Hanwag Tatra Light Lady GTX), again, are extremely helpful.
Which Direction Should You Hike In
We recommend starting in Praia da Marinha for several reasons. There’s ample free parking at Praia da Marinha. Second, there’s a lovely beachside restaurant at Praia de Vale Centianes, which makes for the perfect lunch break. Third, by hiking in the direction of Praia de Vale Centianes first, you won’t have the sun in your face when you return to Praia da Marinha in the late afternoon.
There is a beachside café at Praia da Marinha, but it was already closed in early November.
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail Markers
This Algarve coastal trail is marked with yellow and red waymarks. The trail is clearly delineated and easy to follow.
Where Can You Eat along the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
There are a few restaurants congregated around Praia de Benagil. There’s also a beachside restaurant at Praia de Vale Centianes called O Stop.
How Busy is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The trail is moderately busy. It only gets “crowded” in areas that are easily accessible by car.
When we hiked the trail in early November, we saw the most people between Praia da Marinha and Praia de Benagil. Between Benagil and Praia de Vale Centianes, there were only several other hikers on route.
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
From the parking lot at Praia da Marinha, the trail heads west (right if you’re facing the sea). If you want to visit Marinha beach first, take the stairs down (on your left).
From the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, there are many gorgeous lookout points where you’ll see limestone stacks and natural arches around Marinha beach. As you progress, you’ll encounter wooden barriers. Please respect these restricted zones, as they are in place to protect the cliffs and sinkholes from further erosion and for your safety.
From the start of the trail, it takes about an hour to reach Benagil Beach. Before you reach Benagil, you’ll see the untouched Praia da Corredoura beach, which can only be reached from the sea.
Benagil Beach is beautiful in its own right, but it’s popular because of its proximity to Benagil Cave (Algar de Benagil). Note: Benagil cave can only be accessed from the sea. On the trail, you can see the cave from above, but it’s unremarkable. The barrier prevents you from getting too close, so there’s nothing really to see from the trail vantage point.
If you want to visit Algarve’s most famous cave, you can either rent a standup paddleboard or hop on a boat tour from the beach. You can also swim. Though with the number of boats entering the cave, you’ll definitely want to take special care if you’re swimming.
From Benagil Beach, the trail continues on the other side of the small parking lot. You’ll have to walk across the outdoor terrace of Casa Lamy (café) to continue the hike.
Next, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail continues to Carvalho Beach. This beautiful golden cove framed by limestone cliffs is accessible via a man-made tunnel.
The coastal trail rises above Carvalho Beach and continues to Alfanzina Lighthouse. The lighthouse is fenced off, so you’ll have to walk around it. After the lighthouse, you’re on the final stretch to Praia de Vale Centianes. You’ll pass by white-washed residential homes and one massive apartment complex before descending down a series of stairs to Vale Centianes.
We ate lunch at O Stop, directly on the beach. Our expectations were low, but we were actually quite pleased with our food. We were really pleased with our clam and shrimp pasta.
Benagil Caves Guided Tours
Where to Stay in Algarve for a Hiking-Themed Holiday
Carvoeiro and Ferragudo are both great choices for a hiking holiday in the Algarve. Carvoeiro boasts one of the most scenic beaches in all Algarve. However, the vibe is distinctly touristic. If you’re looking for a more authentic place to stay, we highly recommend Ferragudo. This white-washed fishing village, situated at the mouth of the Arade River, retains its Portuguese character.
We stayed at Caneiros Luxury House & Suites, which is located outside of the main village, but within walking distance to Caneiros Beach. It’s peaceful, beautifully designed, and professionally staffed. It’s a 20-minute drive to Praia da Marinha. If you’re planning on doing more hiking, this hotel is also a 5-minute walk to the start of the Trail of Headlands, another excellent coastal hike in the Algarve.
Read Next: Where to Stay in Algarve, Portugal
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail Hike Map
In this Seven Hanging Valleys Trail map, we’ve plotted all notable destinations along the trail in teal. And, we’ve marked all suggested places to stay in black.
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More Coastal Hikes:
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