Walking Portugal's Coast and Beaches Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Portugal
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TSV
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Boasting one of the most beautiful and well-preserved coastlines of Europe, blessed with wild pristine beaches, towering cliffs, great biodiversity, remote whitewashed traditional villages and a temperate climate, Portugal’s Rota Vicentina is the ultimate hikers and ramblers' paradise. We have hand-picked the very best walks from the 125km selection of coastal trails that span the tranquil Portuguese region of Alentejo and along the few remaining undeveloped shores of the Algarve. Starting from the picturesque town of Vila Nova de Milfontes, we walk on quiet breath-taking cliff trails used by locals to get to the beaches and hot fishing spots, and end in the famous town of Sagres. We stay overnight in three different villages strategically located to provide easy access to/from the trails each day. Always in close contact with refreshing ocean winds, rugged coastal scenery and wild and powerful natural landscape, walking in this remote corner of Europe will be truly reinvigorating.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights 2 and 3-star hotels, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days guided walking and 1 free day
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs.
  • All transport by private cars or minibus
  • Not suitable for severe vertigo sufferers

Trip Highlights

  • Dramatic cliffs, forgotten sandy beaches and quiet trails
  • Excellent bird watching opportunities and mild year-round climate
  • Stay overnight in authentic whitewashed villages including Sagres
  • Reach Cape of St Vincent, Europe's most south western point

Is This Trip for You?

Grade: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) 5 days guided walking with low altitude throughout.

Portugal's Rota Vicentina is home to some of the best coastal walks in Europe. The remote quiet trails and temperate climate make this a heaven for hikers and ramblers. The average walking distance each day is approx. 13 km and the pace of the walks allows time to rest and enjoy the views. The walks are mostly undulating and do not include any long challenging climbs however the terrain can make the walking quite exerting at times as we will be walking mostly on sandy trails as beaches well as rugged clifftop paths. For this reason and due to the exposed nature of the trails, the route is not recommended for those with a fear of heights or vertigo.

Walks usually take between 4 and 6 hours including lunch stops (depending on the pace of your group) and require a good level of fitness.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Vila Nova de Milfontes
End City:
Sagres

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start in the charming seaside town of Vila Nova de Milfontes

    This trip starts in the seaside town of Vila Nova de Milfontes, located in the heart of the beautiful Alentejo coastline approx 2 hrs from Faro and 2.5 hrs from Lisbon. Still largely undiscovered by foreign visitors, the town is delightfully Portuguese, filled with cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and scenic views across the Mira River. It is also the start point of incredible coastal trails leading to vast stretches of wild and deserted beaches. Despite its remote location, it has an extensive selection of restaurants, and a lively nightlife making it a perfect base for the first three days of the tour.

  • Day 2

    Rewarding coastal walk to Almograve; transfer back to Vila Nova de Milfontes.

    We start the week with a relatively short coastal hike offering superb views throughout. Leaving from the hotel, we cross the bridge in Vila Nova de Milfontes and admire the views of the River Mira meeting the ocean, with the small whitwashed town and lush hillsides in the background. There are stretches along today's trail where native vegetation displays all its diversity and other areas where it has been wiped out by a most aggressive exotic plant – the Acacia. At times farmlands stretches right down to the ocean, but you can also enjoy other traces of human presence such as local, non-commercial, fishing or small stone-age quarries hidden amongst the dunes, a reminder that man has lived in this remote corner of the world since ancient times. Between March and October you’ll be able to spot many swifts since Alpine, Pallid and Common Swift all nest along this coast. Interestingly, swifts spend over 90% of their life in the air as they feed, mate and sleep in flight - they are so well adapted to flying that landing on the ground may be fatal. The walk ends in the peaceful town of Almograve, perfect for an unhurried, afternoon stroll or break before we return by private transfer to Vila Nova de Milfontes.

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    90
    Altitude loss (m):
    120
  • Day 3

    Walk from Cabo Sardão to Zambujeira do Mar along dramatic high cliffs, nesting spot of more than twenty species of birds.

    Small fishing harbours, sand dunes, the scent of pine tree forests and the sight, seen nowhere else in the world, of storks nesting on the cliffs make this today's walk truly special. We start with a short transfer (approx. 20mins) to Cabo Sardão lighthouse which was pecularly built the wrong way round. The entry door is facing the ocean and the lighthouse is facing inland! This is the start of today's trail which follows the high cliffs exposed to the constant salty ocean waves and winds, and favourite nesting spot for over twenty species of birds! These include Jackdaw, Shag, Common Kestrel, White Stork, and the Peregrine Falcon, the fastest recorded animal in the world. When they dive in flight they can reach speeds of up to 300 km/h! We will have time to stop and watch these birds, especially during spring, when it is possible to quietly observe their mating rituals and the careful building of their nests. We pass Lapa das Pombas, a picturesque tiny non-commercial fishing harbour, before concluding the walk in the sleepy seaside village of Zambujeira do Mar and its wondeful beach. In the afternoon we return to Vila Nova de Milfontes by transfer (approx. 30mins).

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    170
    Altitude loss (m):
    170
  • Day 4

    Coastal walk to Odeceixe; admire breath-taking rock, cliff formations and some of Portugal’s best beaches; transfer to Vale da Telha.

    This morning we transfer (approx. 40 mins) to Carvalhal beach, the start of today's walk. Along this stretch of coast it is interesting to take a close look at the cliffs' rocks composed of schist and greywacke, resulting from the consolidation of sand, clay and volcanic ashes accumulated on the bottom of an ancient ocean over 300 million years ago. This whole coastal region has a very special energy and it was here that the Fado diva Amália Rodrigues seeked refuge and inspiration for her songs. Along the walk we may also spot traces of nocturnal mammals include Egyptian Mongoose (locally known as “Escalabardo”), Weasel, Beech Marten (also known as “Papalvo”), Badger, Genet and rabbits. Before reaching Odeceixe, we will take a break in Ponta em Branco (white summit) so named for the colour of the sediments that form its summit, marking the border between the Alentejo and the Algarve regions. This is considered one of the the most scenic points in the entire region thanks to the breathtking views over Odeceixe beach, with the mountain top of Fóia and Monchique as a backdrop. We transfer to the cosy hotel near Arrifana beach, and enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or a drink on the sunny terrace before dinner.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 14 km / 8.6 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    220
    Altitude loss (m):
    230
  • Day 5

    Free day; enjoy an optional circular walk to Arrifana beach or other activities such as surfing and horse riding.

    Today is free to choose from the many optional activities available in the area. You may decide to go on a self-guided circular walk passing the beaches of Monte Clérigo, Pontal da Atalaia​, as well as the famous surfing ​beach of Arrifana​. Alternatively you may book a surfing class or a horse riding excursion along the spectacular coastline. We also suggest a visit to the small market town of Aljezur, famous for its whitewashed houses and cobbled streets and dominated by the ruins of a tenth century Moorish castle.

     

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Circular walk around Carrapateira; enjoy stunning ocean views and the sandy beaches of Bordeira and Amado; transfer to Sagres.

    Today we travel further south and transfer (approx. 30 mins) to the village of Carrapateira, the start of today's short circular walk. Along the circuit we will come across various viewpoints, with superb views of the sandy beaches of Bordeira and Amado and also the ruins of an ancient Islamic fishermen’s settlement. On the first part of the trail we will walk through undulating dunes carpeted by lush vegetation and aromatic wild plants including thyme, yellow amaranths, rosemary, lavender, crowberries, blue pimpernel, sea lavender. We then walk along the limestone cliffs for most of the trail and may get the opportunity to spot the cormorant, a wintering bird which is an expert angler, consuming almost 1 kg of fish per day! In the afternoon we transfer (approx. 20 mins) to the village of Sagres, at the extreme western tip of the Algarve. Although primarily known as a surfing destination, Sagres has a lot more to offer. You may decide to spend the rest of the day in one of the sheltered pristine beaches, or book an optional dophin watching excursion along the coast (weather and season dependent).

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6.2 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    100
    Altitude loss (m):
    70
  • Day 7

    Final cliff walk to Cape St. Vincent, the south-westernmost point in continental Europe; afternoon optional visit to Sagres fort.

    Surrounded by foaming Atlantic breakers, Cabo de Sao Vicente marks the most south-westerly point of Europe. The final walk from Sagres out to the edge of the continent should prove to be one of the highlights of the week! Surrounded by amazing coastal scenery, we will walk across a wild trail that follows sandy paths and gorse-strewn meadows to the very edge of the Iberian Peninsula. Setting off from our hotel, we start walking on monumental cliffs and ravines covered with native vegetation passing first by the golden beach of Beliche, and, then after a short section inland, Telheiro beach, a place of extraordinary geological interest. The last section of the path continues along the cliff top before a memorable arrival to Cape St. Vincent where we find a lighthouse, museum and small bar, offering wonderful photo opportunities. It's only a short transfer (5 mins) back to Sagres where we can choose to visit the imposing sea fortress at sunset or relax with a cold drink on the waterfront, watching fishermen mending their nets. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7.5 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    100
    Altitude loss (m):
    50
  • Day 8

    End Sagres

    This trip ends in Sagres in the morning of Day 8. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Comfortable 2 and 3-star hotels

On this trip we will use three different 2 and 3-star hotels. All rooms are en suite and all hotels have a swimming pool.

Hotels normally used:

Vila Nova de Milfontes (3 nights):  Hotel HS Milfontes Beach ***
Located on the main beach avenue in Vila Nova de Milfontes, it enjoys the most amazing views of the Mira river bay. It also offers an outdoor pool and gym.

Vale da Telha (Aljezur) (2 nights): Hotel Vale Da Telha **
Simple but cosy hotel, offering a very relaxed and peaceful atmosphere as well as an outdoor pool with a spacious sun deck.

Sagres (2 nights): Aparthotel Navigator ***
Overlooking Mareta Beach, this hotel offers spacious apartments with balcony and an outdoor pool. The Fortress of Sagresand town's centre are within walking distance.

 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from 342.00 CAD

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts and 5 pic-nic lunches

The pic-nic lunches will include a mix of sandwiches, cheeses, cured meats and fruit.

During the week we will get the opportunity to sample other delicacies and traditional dishes of this region which will include some of the freshest seafood and fish. The local speciality from the sea is the Barnacle Perceve, this is not taken from the bottom of boats but the bottom of submerged local cliffs, it is harvested by hand using a dangerous and traditional method, which involves one of the two collectors dangling by a rope from the top of the cliffs! Away from the sea the dried hams, salamis and cheese are excellent. Good quality meat is also always on the menu. Vegetables are plentiful and although vegetarian dishes in traditional restaurants are available, the choice may be limited.

 

Transportation

Airport transfers will be by private minibus. During the week we have included some short transfers by private cars or minibus to take you to the begining of the walk or back to our hotel after a day of walking.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

The South West of Portugal has one of the best climates in the world, with a Mediterranean climate with a strong Atlantic influence, guaranteeing mild temperatures throughout the year. Winters are short and are never very cold, but offer enough rain to fertilize the soil for the nine months when the sun is king. The recommended period to walk the Rota Vicentina is from September till June, when our departures are scheduled. In winter, temperatures do not fall below 11ºC during the day and this is normally the rainiest period of the year. From March on, sunny days alternate with rainy days and temperatures start to rise. The reborn landscape and the intensity of the colours and aromas make spring one of the best seasons to visit the area. Heat waves can push up temperatures in July and August and it gets too hot for walking. In the autumn months temperatures are generally quite mild, with the ocean waters reaching pleasant temperatures for swimming. Please note that coastal areas of Portugal are known to be quite windy throughout the year. We highly recommend that you check the weather forecasts close to the arrival date and bring adequate rain gear.

 

 

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways, Easyjet or Norwegian (depending on availability) to Faro. As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. 

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Vila Nova de Milfontes and ending in Sagres

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Vila Nova de Milfontes  in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Vila Nova de Milfontes
Location end:
Sagres

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Walking shoes or boots
  • Warm clothing in February, March, October and November
  • Sunhat, suncream
  • Daypack to carry your belongings on walks
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterbottle
  • Light beach towel

Optional Equipment

  • Umbrella
  • Swimwear 
  • Walking poles

Practical Information

Passport

Portugal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Portugal

No visa required for British passport holders.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Portugal's Timezone:
Europe/Lisbon WET (GMT +00:00)

Electricity

Portugal's Electricity:

European 2-pin plug. 

 European 2-pin plug

Money

Portugal's Currency

The national currency of Portugal is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in the main towns where we stay but they may not be walking distance from the hotel so we recommend taking some Euros cash with you. Cards are widely accepted but cash is generally preferred in local restaurants and small shops.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need spending money for meals not included in the itinerary and all drinks. We suggest to budget approx. €25 per day to cover for dinner with drinks if not then €15-20 per day. On the days where lunch or dinner is not included expect to spend €10-€15 for lunch.

Optional Activities:

Sagres - Dolphin Watching approx. €35 per person (season and weather dependent)

Sagres - boat trip approx.€30 per person  (season and weather dependent)

Sagres Fort €3 per person

Arrifana - Surf lesson 1/2 day approx. €30-35 per person

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the leader at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. As a guideline we recommend a contribution of €15 per client per leader. 

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.