The Alentejo and Vicentina coastline in the southwest of Portugal is the best preserved coastal area in southern Europe. With fabulous beaches, isolated traditional fishing villages and 75 hectares of protected flora, fauna and coastline, this is a destination with immense appeal for nature lovers and best explored on foot.
Two distinct walking trails – the Rota Vicentina – have been developed to enable visitors to explore this remarkable landscape whilst safeguarding the local economy and the beauty of the area. The Historical Way stretches from the Santiago do Cacem (Alentejo) to the Cape of St. Vicente in the Algarve – a distance of 240km. The Fisherman’s Trail meanders along the Atlantic Coastline for a distance of 110km from Porto Covo (Alentejo) to the Cape of St. Vicente (Algarve), the most south westerly point in Portugal. Each walk has been divided into shorter trails to allow for a day’s exploration.
The Historical Way offers an ever-changing landscape of Atlantic cliffs, cork tree forests, river valleys, rural villages and small fishing communities as it traverses the country. The trail is accessible to walkers and mountain bikers and includes a mixture of inland and coastal sections.
The Fisherman’s Way, as its name suggests, runs along the southwest coastline of Portugal, and is used by local inhabitants to access beaches and prime fishing spots. Only accessible to walkers, this trail is more demanding than The Historical Way, but you will be rewarded by views of a mainly deserted, craggy coastline with rocky coves, typical seaside flora, golden sands, superb sunsets and the glittering blue of the Atlantic Ocean.
Sunvil has hand-picked a number of properties along, and close to, the Rota Vicentina. These can be combined as part of a tailor-made holiday, using flights into Lisbon or Faro. The list below details the trail close to which the property is located. Transfers to/from the start/end of the walking trails can be arranged locally.
Herdade do Freixial, Vila Nova de Milfontes, is located close to The Fisherman’s Way.
Porto Covo – Vila Nova de Milfontes (20km): This 20km is along the beaches and sand dunes of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Aivados and Malhao. Although tiring, due to the sandy terrain, the walk will uncover small deserted coves and provides plenty of opportunities for a refreshing dip.
Vila Nova de Milfontes – Almograve (15km): This short walk offers overwhelming views over Princesa do Alentejo (Alentejo's Princess) and the River Mira estuary.
Naturarte Campo, Sao Luis is located close to The Historical Way.
Cercal do Alentejo – Sao Luis (21km): This 21km trail is the most mountainous and physically demanding section of the Rota Vicentina. From the summit of the high peaks you will be rewarded with uninterrupted views over the plains and the Atlantic Ocean.
Sao Luis – Odemira (25km): A vibrant and lush Alentejo is revealed on this 25km walk, which follows refreshing water streams and ponds from Sao Luis to Odemira. Ash, willow and alder forests provide shade from the sun en route.
Herdade do Touril, Zambujeira do Mar is located close to The Fisherman’s Way.
Almograve - Zambujeira do Mar (22km): Small fishing harbours, reddish sand dunes and lunar landscapes, the scent of pine tree forests and the sight, seen nowhere else in the world, of storks nesting on the cliffs make this walk a true balm for your senses.
Zambujeira do Mar – Odeceixe (18km): On this 18km trail you will pass Alteirinhos, Carvalhal, Machados and Amalia beaches on the way to the natural fishing harbour of Azenha do Mar. One of the most outstanding views in the entire region – Odeceixe beach seen from the majestic Ponta em Branco - can be enjoyed during the walk.
Aldeia da Pedralva, Pedralva is located close to The Fisherman’s Way.
Carrapateira – Pedralva (11km): Coastal and rural communities are explored on this short 11km section of The Fisherman’s Way.
Pedralva – Vila do Bispo (21km): Deep ravines, verdant hills, sheltered white sand beaches and the wild Alentejo coastline are discovered on this 21km walk.
Pousada de Sagres, Sagres (7km from the Cape of St. Vincent) is located close to The Historical Way.
Vila do Bispo – Cape of St. Vincent (15km): This walk leads towards the south western tip of Europe, a magical place where one can almost hear the echoes of the voices of sailors and pilgrims.
When to go:
The southwest of Portugal has a Mediterranean climate with a strong Atlantic influence. Throughout the year, mild temperatures can be enjoyed although the spring, autumn and winter months are the best periods in which to sample the delights of the Rota Vicentina. In the Spring the average temperature is 14°C and in the Autumn 19°C.