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Rota Vicentina

Hiking the Rota Vicentina, on the South West Coast of Portugal, showcases a very different side to the country. This is a part of Portugal where hardly any tourists go, is wild and unspoiled and just begging to be explored on foot. Life passes by here the way it has for hundreds of years, with fishermen lining the impossibly high cliffs, perched on the edge to make their living. Tiny fishing villages line the route exposing you to traditional Portuguese life and gastronomy. 

The Rota Vicentina is split into two sections, The Fishermen's Trail which winds through the Alentejo region and The Wild Algarve which leads you along the quieter coast of the Algarve to finish at Europe’s most south-westerly point, Cabo Sao Vicente. We have also combined these two to give an outstanding two-week walking adventure. This route provides some of the most stunning coastal walking in Europe, but far from the crowds.  

Discover Rota Vicentina

  • Frequently Asked Questions on the Rota Vicentina
    Frequently Asked Questions on the Rota Vicentina

    How long does it take to hike the Rota Vicentina?

    You can walk the entire Rota Vicentina in ten days on our Best of the Rota Vicentina tour.  There is a small section we miss out on the route on the day from Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo as the walking is not the best, but otherwise, we cover the full route.  

    How do I get to the Rota Vicentina?

    Porto Covo is easily reached from Lisbon Airport. From Lisbon, take a bus into the city center, and then another bus to Porto Covo (journey time 2.5hrs, up to 8 daily services, operated by www.rede-expressos.pt). We can also arrange a private taxi transfer from Lisbon or Faro airport for you at an additional cost. 

    When is the best time to go to the Rota Vicentina?

    We offer the Rota Vicentina from March until November. The summer months of late June-August can be really warm and while the coastal walking usually includes a little wind, it is probably more comfortable to walk outside of these months.  Even in November, you can get days where the weather is perfect for walking with a little beach time at the end of your day.

    What is the most beautiful part of the Rota Vicentina?

    The whole trip is beautiful, to be honest, but there is a distinct difference between the northern and southern sections.  The north, from Porto Covo to Odeceixe is the wilder, more untouched part of the walk. The best beaches and vistas are here as it truly is a coastal wilderness. The southern section is more about the towns and people.  While there are still some stunning beaches and views, there tend to be a few more people on this part of the route, but the classic Portuguese white-washed villages the dot this section adds to its beauty.  

    What sections of the Rota Vicentina do our tours cover?​

    Our Fishermen’s Trail tour sticks to the ruggedly beautiful Alentejo coastline, filled with large coastal features such as enormous caves, shifting sand-dunes and dramatic pillars. However, on the southern section of the Rota Vicentina our Wild Algarve tour combines sections of coastal trails with the inland Historical Way, allowing you to experience some of the tranquil Algarve countryside, where you walk through groves of pine and eucalyptus trees and authentic Portuguese villages such as Bordeira, where time seems to stand still.

    Some of the days seem quite long – how tough is it?​

    Yes, a few of the walking days on the Rota Vicentina are quite long – up to around 24km. However, the ascents and descents are actually pretty minor, making it more achievable than it may appear at first glance. What does make it more taxing are the sections where you walk along the sand dunes which can be pretty tiring, and also the fact that the coastal trails are quite narrow and rugged, meaning concentration is required. However, as our pathfinder, Josiah Skeats so eloquently puts it when describing the first day’s walk from Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes – “The path wades over sand-dunes and across beaches. It teeters atop cliffs and scrambles around inlets. At all times the path is sandy ensuring every kilometer and viewpoint is hard-fought for” – but it is more than worth it for the incredible views! “

    I suffer from vertigo – can I do this walk?​

    Unfortunately, this is probably not the trip for you if you suffer from vertigo. As alluded to above, the paths can be narrow and there are some steep drop-offs on most days, so they can be a little vertigo-inducing! 

    Can I swim at any of the beaches?​

    Walking along the miles and miles of golden, unspoiled beaches, it is certainly hard to resist the temptation to pop for a quick swim and at times, this is definitely possible at some of the sheltered coves but you should bear in mind that this is the Atlantic coast, and therefore it can get pretty wild. Those waves attract a lot of surfers for a reason!  So if you are thinking about going for a swim, please make sure you pay attention to any signs on the beach providing warnings. One of the nicest spots is the lovely Praia do Amalia, an idyllic beach with a waterfall that cascades down to meet the beach and a favored holiday spot for Amália Rodrigues, one of Portugal’s most famous Fado singers. 

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