Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Rota Vicentina: The Wild Algarve Self-Guided Walking Holiday
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Highlights

  • Walk the quiet trails and unspoiled atmosphere of the Algarve region
  • Explore the beloved fishing villages from Odeceixe to “Land’s End” of Cabo São Vicente
  • Dramatic cliff tops and brilliant white beaches highlight the rugged Atlantic coastline
  • Escape to peaceful forests, orchards, and rolling hills filled with wildflowers
  • Sample ruby red Alentejo wines paired with fresh locally prepared seafood
  • Appreciate historic Moorish architecture at the ruins of the Castle of Aljezur

Hike the classic Rota Vicentina through the unspoiled towns and wild trails of the Algarve’s lesser known west coast. Immerse yourself into lush green valleys, diverse forest trails, and dramatic coastlines to whitewashed fishing villages.

Start the trip in the laidback village of Odeceixe, a local favorite known for its teardrop shaped beach. Walk to “Land’s End” on Cabo São Vicente, which, like the Rota, is named after the patron saint of Lisbon, Saint Vincent. Follow well-marked, yet “off the beaten path” routes to pristine beaches framed by dramatic cliffs and rolling fields of wildflowers. Slow down to view the diverse bird and plant species endemic to Portugal, and discover rich Moorish and Medieval history.

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

Day 1: Arrive Odeceixe

A private transfer is included on arrival to take you from Faro Airport to Odeceixe (1.5hrs). This charming whitewashed village is a lovely place for a stroll. Enjoy it’s lively square or take a wander up to it’s famous windmill for wonderful views over the village.


Overnight: Odeceixe


Day 2: Walk to Aljezur via Odeceixe Beach

Start your walk by heading along quiet fishermen’s trails to the beautiful beach at Odeceixe. Spot white and grey herons on your way to the beach at the mouth of the River Seixe before arriving at the impressive sand dunes of Odeceixe.  From here the route winds through coastal upland areas and scented groves of pine and eucalyptus trees, passing the pretty village of Rogil. Arriving in Aljezur, you will be ready for a well-deserved rest and a delicious plate of freshly caught seafood.


Walk: 23km, 5-6hrs, 186m ascent, 175m descent


Overnight: Aljezur


Day 3: Walk to Arrifana

Before setting out for the day it is worth taking a climb up to the Castle of Aljezur, famously represented on the flag of Portugal. Enjoy views over the fertile valley below rich in flora and fauna. Continue along the Amoreira Valley with spectacular views over the beach before heading toward Ponta da Atalaia on the coast.



Walk past sand dunes rich in lush vegetation and discover ruins dating back to prehistoric times. You may also spot fishermen harvesting goose barnacles, a must-try local delicacy. The wide sandy bay of Arrifana is wonderfully wild and rugged and a delightful place to end your walk.


Walk: 18km, 314m Ascent, 259m Descent, 4-5 hours.


Overnight: Arrifana


Day 4: Walk to Carrapateira

Today is a wonderfully varied day of walking. Begin by walking out of Arrifana with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Enjoy breath-taking views of the coast from rugged cliff-top paths before heading away from the coast into an area of peaceful forests and meadows filled with wildflowers during the springtime.


Arrive at the delightful little village of Bordeira, where life moves at a wonderfully slow pace and rural traditions such as goat herding are very much alive. Continue to Carrapateira and enjoy wonderful views as you head towards the coast again.


Walk: 23km, 377m ascent, 443m descent, 5-6 hours


Overnight: Carrapateira


Day 5: Loop Walk from Carrapateira

Enjoy an exhilarating coastal walk around the rugged Ponta da Carrapateira today. There are numerous wonderful viewpoints all the way around the peninsula looking down on to glorious sandy beaches such as Bordeira and Amado. Look out for fishermen perched precariously on the cliffs and enjoy lunch whilst breathing in the sea-salt air and taking in the views! Return to Carrapateira for another relaxing night at your Casa.  


Walk: 10km, 100m ascent/descent, 2-3 hours


Overnight: Carrapateira


Day 6: Transfer to Pedralva, walk to Vila do Bispo

A short transfer (10mins) takes you to the village of Pedralva this morning, a picturesque little place lined with whitewashed houses featuring painted colourful doors.


Continue along peaceful forest tracks and through  scented orchard areas. If you are travelling in spring, this area is home to an array of colour wildflowers including forget-me-nots, yellow narcissi, hyacinths and purple orchards.  After leaving the forest head to the coast and the rugged beach at Praia da Barriga, deep in the heart of the Costa Vicentina National Park. Continue into a lush forested area before catching a glimpse of the sea again as you arrive in Vila do Bispo.


Walk: 20km, 575m Ascent, 537m Descent, 5-6 Hours.


Overnight: Vila do Bispo


Day 7: Walk to Cabo Sao Vicente

Enjoy a wonderful end to the walk today as you head towards the most southwestern point of Europe, Cabo Sao Vicente.


Reaching Telheiro Beach and the Cape, enjoy fantastic views of the wild coastline as the waves crash below. If travelling in autumn look out for the soaring seabirds who migrate here including booted eagles, black kites, sparrow hawks and black storks.


Arriving at Cabo Sao Vicente and the iconic lighthouse is a magical experience. Place yourself in the shoes of the pilgrims who used to finish their journey here at the burial place of St Vincent. Or in that of the fishermen who would have set sail from here into the unknown. After taking in the views, a transfer will collect you from the Cape and take you to your hotel in the thriving little coastal town of Sagres.


Walk: 14km, 85m Ascent, 148m Descent, 3-4 Hours.


Overnight: Sagres


Day 7: Onward Travel

If you have the time, we highly recommend adding a couple of extra nights in Sagres to relax and enjoy the beach. Otherwise, make your way back to Faro Airport for onward travel connections.


 

Accommodation

Stay 1 night in a 4* hotel, and 6 nights in traditional casa-style guesthouses and small hotels 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. Lunches and dinners are not included and you can take your pick from some of the restaurants in the villages and towns you will stay in most of which will serve a variety of delicious seafood dishes!



 

 

 



Casa Morais



Casa Morais

Casa Morais is a traditional family run guesthouse in the centre of Odeceixe. All the rooms are individually decorated and come with a terrace. A delicious continental breakfast is served in the owner’s kitchen, giving it a home-from-home feel!



 

 

 



Vicentina Hotel

The 4* Vicentina Hotel is a lovely modern hotel offering a warm, friendly welcome. Enjoy relaxing in the outdoor pool or perhaps even a massage to soothe those tired legs.



 

 

 



Arrifana Destination Boutique Hotel



Arrifana Destination Boutique Hotel

A small boutique hotel with just 8 rooms, the Arrifana Destination Boutique Hotel is a friendly little place with a great atmosphere. Take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool with it’s fantastic views over to sea and relax on the outdoor patio with a drink from the mini-bar.



 

 

 



Casa Fajara



Casa Fajara

The small boutique hotel, Casa Fajara, set within large private grounds in unspoilt surroundings is the perfect place to relax for a couple of days. Enjoy traditionally decorated rooms and a gorgeous outdoor pool with views of the surrounding hills and beautiful gardens in which to relax.



 

 

 



Pure Flor de Esteva



Pure Flor de Esteva

Pure flor de Esteva is a delightful little bed and breakfast run by the friendly Goncalves family. Relax in modern, well-equipped rooms and enjoy some of the spectacular sunsets from the garden area.



 

 

 



Mareta View



Mareta View

Located in the centre of Sagres, Mareta View is a small boutique bed and breakfast set overlooking the sands of Mareta Beach. Enjoy a delicious breakfast in the tropical garden which also features a jacuzzi and in the evening it is just a short walk to several local restaurants

Time of Year

We offer this tour during the nicest months of the year to walk in the Algarve from March to June, and then from September to November. We do not offer this tour in July and August due to high temperatures making it too hot for enjoyable walking then. If you walk in the springtime you can expect to see the inland areas covered with wildflowers and enjoy pleasant temperatures. The autumn months of September to November are also very mild. For keen birdwatchers, the autumn migration period from late August to mid-November brings lots of seabirds. For nesting birds such as the Alpine Swift visit during the spring.


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 17km and a couple of longer days of around 20km. You will be walking for between 3 to 7 hours a day on undulating terrain, with some short ascents and descents, and sometimes on quite rugged clifftop paths. We do not recommend this trip for anyone with vertigo due to the fact that some of the clifftop 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 Odeceixe

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


Fly: Odeceixe is between Lisbon and Faro Airports and easily accessed from both.  A private transfer is included in the cost of your tour from Faro Airport to Odeceixe.

To reach Odeceixe from Lisbon Airport, you can take a direct bus with  Eva Bus or Rede Expressos which operate twice daily and take 4-5 hours. Alternatively we can arrange a private transfer from Lisbon Airport at a small additional cost.



By Road: Odeceixe is approximately 230km south of Lisbon and a 2hr 45m drive. Or from Faro it is 124km and a 1.5hr drive.


Getting from Sagres

By Air: The closest airport to Sagres is Faro. To get to the airport from Sagres, take the bus to Lagos with Eva Bus (1h, operates hourly) and then another bus to Faro with Eva Bus (2h). From the centre of Faro shuttle buses operate to the airport (15min).


Private Transfers:


We can also arrange a private transfer to take you from Sagres back to Faro Airport at an additional cost.








Included

  • 1 Nights accommodation in a 4* hotel, 6 nights in boutique casa-style guesthouses and small hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers
  • Transfers as per itinerary
  • Airport transfer from Faro Airport to Odeceixe
  • Maps, route notes, GPX tracks, access to our smartphone app & info pack
  • 24/7 emergency telephone support

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Faro and from Sagres
  • Lunches
  • 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 and the accommodations get booked up quickly.

How fit do I need to be?

This trip is graded moderate overall, with the average daily distance being 17km and a couple of longer days of around 20km. You will be walking for between 3 to 7 hours a day on undulating terrain, with some short ascents and descents, and sometimes on quite rugged clifftop paths. We do not recommend this trip for anyone with vertigo due to the fact that some of the clifftop paths have steep drop offs.

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.

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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