Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Rota Vicentina: The Fishermen's Trail Self Guided Walking Holiday
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Highlights

  • Walk the Alentejo region’s best section of the Rota Vicentina
  • Escape to tranquil coves and preserved trails only accessible by foot
  • Porto Côvo and beloved whitewashed fishing villages full of local character
  • Dramatic ochre cliff tops and brilliant sand dune beaches
  • Sample ruby red Alentejo wines paired with fresh locally prepared seafood
  • Spot white storks nesting in cliffs along the Costa Vicentina

Hike the Alentejo’s best section of the Rota Vicentina and discover the unspoiled villages and rugged trails of Portugal’s lesser known coast. Enjoy honey-colored cliffs and deserted sand dune beaches only accessible by foot, and embrace the preserved charm of the local fishing culture.

Begin in the archetypal Portuguese fishing village of Porto Côvo, filled with whitewashed homes and surrounded coves. Follow well-marked, yet “off the beaten path” routes over magnificent cliffs and through untouched, ochre sands dunes. Watch White Storks circling overhead or in nests teetering on the cliff edges. Spend the final days in the laidback village of Odeceixe, a local favorite known for its teardrop shaped beach.

Dine alfresco on local ingredients and discover why the local motto of “the simpler, the better” rings true. Enjoy each unique village and your overnights in the “casas” chosen for their charm and welcoming atmosphere.

Day 1: Arrive Porto Covo

The small village of Porto Covo can be easily reached from Lisbon Airport (1h 45m). With it’s white-washed cottages and beautiful beaches backed by high cliffs, it is a charming location for your first night in south-west Portugal. On arrival take a wander down to the attractive cobbled square or if you have time perhaps take a boat trip out to the nearby Ilha do Pessegueiro with its 15th century fort and Roman ruins.


Overnight: Porto Covo


Day 2: Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes

Your first day’s walking is all about beaches, sand dunes and deserted coves. From the rough pebbly beaches at Aivados to the golden sand dunes of Farol, you will be amazed at the diversity of coastal landscapes and plant life on this section.Some tougher walking along the dunes is rewarded by fantastic coastal views and the chance to feel the sand between your toes if you feel like casting off your walking boots!


Walk: 19km, 7hrs, 167m ascent, 149m descent


Overnight: Vila Nova de Milfontes


Day 3: Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve

Enjoy a more relaxed day as you walk via the Mira river to Almograve. The lush vegetation and wildflowers covering the local hillsides in this area mean that it is rich in birdlife, including Alpine, Pallid and Common Swifts. If you wish to take it easy you can also shorten the day by taking a boat across the Mira river (request in advance, payable locally).


Walk: 12-15km, 88m Ascent, 116m Descent, 5 hours.


Overnight: Almograve


Day 4: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar

Todays walk offers a change of scenery as you walk past ochre sand dunes and high cliffs home to over twenty species of birds, followed by a section through some fragrant pine forests. A highlight is sure to be capturing sight of the nesting white storks—this coastline is the only place in the world where they nest! Stop off at Cape Sardao Lighthouse and marvel at the fishermen perched precariously on the cliffs before arriving at Zambujeira do Mar.


Walk: 22km, 203m ascent, 193m descent, 7 hours


Overnight: Zambujeira do Mar


Day 5: Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe

Dipping up and down to the sea on narrow cliff side paths, today’s walk is an invigorating one, with some of the best views on the whole of the Fisherman’s Trail. Pass by several beaches, a natural fishing harbour and the spectacular Ponta em Branco. From this viewpoint you look over Odeceixe beach with the mountain tops of Foia and Monchique as a backdrop, before following the river into Odeceixe.


Walk: 18km, 263m ascent, 283m descent, 6-7hours


Dinner & Overnight: Odeceixe


Day 6: Rest Day or Optional Circular Walk to Odeceixe Beach

If you wish, you can take it easy today and relax by the pool at your lovely hotel or soak up the atmosphere of the laidback village of Odeceixe. The main square has plenty of bustling bars and cafes in which to enjoy some refreshments or there are also many craft shops to peruse. Alternatively enjoy a short walk to Odeceixe beach which takes you past the Seixe River and wetlands before following fishermen trails along the coast to the beach at Odeceixe. This broad sandy beach is perfect for swimming!


Walk: 9km, 104m Ascent, 17m Descent, 3 Hours.


Dinner & Overnight: Odeceixe


Day 7: Onward Travel

After breakfast, make your way back to either Faro (1h 30) or Lisbon Airport (2h 30) for onward travel.

Accommodation

Stay 1 night in a small 3* hotel, and 5 nights in simple but welcoming guesthouses with a focus on a personal service and welcome. Below is an example of the accommodations we use on this trip. These accommodations are subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


We also welcome solo walkers on this tour, again a supplement is payable.


Meals

Breakfasts are included each day, Packed lunch items can be bought locally from markets or cafes. 2 dinners are included in Odeceixe. On other evenings,  dinner can be purchased in each town with many restaurants serving delicious seafood dishes!



 

 

 



Hotel Porto Covo

Hotel Porto Covo is located just 800m from the famous beaches of Porto Covo and 500m from the village centre. It has comfortable and cosy rooms as well as a small swimming pool.



 

 

 



Casa Do Adro



Casa Do Adro

The 17th Century family run Casa do Adro is just 2 minutes from the beach and offers a warm welcome, delicious breakfasts and a rooftop terrace on which to relax.



 

 

 



Duna Maris Residence



Duna Maris Residence

Duna Maris Residence is just a short stroll from the beach via a wooden walkway amongst the sand dunes. It has simply furnished rooms and a lovely outdoor pool in which to relax after a hard day’s walking.



 

 

 



Casas do Moinho



Casas do Moinho

Casas do Moinho is a lovely collection of restored village houses built in the style of the traditional architecture of the area. Relax at the outdoor swimming pool with a view over the windmills of Odeceixe.

Time of Year

This tour is available to start on any day of the week from March through to June, and then from September to November. The temperatures during these months should be very pleasant. We do not offer the tour in July and August due to high temperatures at this time of year.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


We also welcome solo walkers on this tour, again a supplement is payable.


Grade & Terrain

This trip is graded ‘moderate’ overall with the average daily distance being 16km. You will be walking for between 3 to 7 hours a day on undulating terrain, with some short ascents and descents, and often on sand which does make the walking quite tiring at times. We do not recommend this trip for anyone with vertigo due to the fact that some of the cliff top paths have steep drop-offs.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

All trails are well way-marked and you will be provided with a map and route notes. You will also have access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone's GPS so you will have no problems finding the way.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example. proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take.This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

Getting to Porto Covo

For general travel planning, we recommend the helpful site www.rome2rio.com


Fly: Porto Covo is easily reached from Lisbon Airport. From Lisbon, take a bus into the city centre, and then another bus to Porto Covo (journey time 2.5hrs, up to 8 daily services, operated by www.rede-expressos.pt).


By Road: Porto Covo is approximately 170km south of Lisbon and a 2 hour drive.


By Taxi Transfer: We can arrange a private taxi transfer from Lisbon or Faro airport for you at an additional cost. Please ask us for more details should you require this.


Getting from Odeceixe

By Air: Odeceixe is between Lisbon and Faro Airports and easily accessed from both. You can take a bus from Odeceixe to Lagos (1h) with Redes Expressos Buses and then another bus from there to Faro with Eva Bus (2h).


To get to Lisbon Airport, you can take a direct bus with Eva Bus or Rede Expressos which operate twice daily and take 4-5 hours.


By Taxi Transfer: We can also arrange a private transfer from Odeceixe to either Faro or Lisbon Airport for you at an additional cost. Again, please ask us for more details should you require this.

Included

  • 1 Nights accommodation in a 3* hotel, 5 nights in casa-style guesthouses
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • 2 Dinners
  • Luggage transfers
  • Maps, route notes, GPX tracks, access to our smartphone app & info pack
  • 24/7 emergency telephone support from our office and local partners

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Porto Covo and from Odeceixe
  • Lunches
  • 4 Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s) if applicable
  • Solo walker supplement if applicable
  • Additional nights before, during and after the walk

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Portugal is extremely popular during the Summer.

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is suitable for walkers with good physical fitness and is graded ‘moderate’ with average daily distance being  16km. You will be walking for between 3-7 hours per day on undulating terrain, with some short ascents and descents, and often on sand which does make the walking quite tiring at times.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

What equipment do I need?

Your detailed information pack will be sent to you after you book. This has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

When is the best time of year?

This tour is available from March-June, and then again from September to November. Any time within this period is ideal for walking. We do not offer this tour in July and August due to the high temperatures at this time of year.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport or a local taxi to continue to your next overnight stop.

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