Early November 2019 and there are lots of hikers on this most beautiful trail.

The beach at Zambujeira do Mar

At Cabo Sardao for example, there were 11 in 5 minutes – in groups of 2, 5 and 4. A single walker and a pair spotted this morning on the beach at Zambujeira do Mar. Ranging from German to American, there are similar gatherings in cafes and hostels at the end of each stage that you would expect on the Camino.

The Ferrol (lighthouse) at Cabo Sardao

1. Rota Vicentina

The trails run from Cabo San Vicente to Porto Covo, or vice versa : 350 kms in total, each stage is 12-22 kms in length.

Path on top of the cliffs, close to Almograve

Map of the route

Beach at Carrapateira

The Rota Vicentina consists of two major routes (GR), the Historical Way and the Fishermen’s Trail, which contain 24 circular routes totaling 740 km!

Beach at Carrapateira

You can be creative in choosing your route – the whole thing or part of it – to suit you, your physical capacity and time availability.

The two grand routes are divided by sections, which vary between 11 and 33 km. If you were to complete all of the sections at the rate of one per day, you would need the same number of days as there are sections that make up the Rota Vicentina.

Circular Routes are shorter, ranging from 4 to 16 km in length.

Ideally, you would prepare yourself before departure and take water and groceries with you for the day of walking, since not all sections cross places with coffee shops and / or grocery stores.

At most start and end of stage points, you will have no problem purchasing groceries. Check each village to see what they offer by way of food and drink.

The centre of Zambujeira do Mar
Zambujeira do Mar under the moon

Both the Fishermen’s Trail and the Historical Way have clear signs in both directions.

Fishermans Trail

Mostly by the sea, the Fishermen’s Trail travels along the trails used by the locals to access the beaches and fishing grounds. It is a single track walkable only on foot, along the cliffs, with lots of sand and therefore more demanding from the physical point of view. A challenge to permanent contact with the wind of the sea, the rudeness of the coastal landscape and the presence of a wild and persistent nature.

Official website

I booked it ahead, very easy as they all on booking.com, but I didn’t need to. I got the details from the rota vicentina website which is very good, but there was more accommodation than shown on the site and in most places you have a choice of near empty hotels.’ John Hayes

John Hayes Walks website, in English, with accounts of each day in Spring time.

One thought on “Portuguese Walking Routes 1

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