Hike Portugal's Wild West Coast on the Rota Vicentina

The Rota Vicentina is a 400km (250 mile) network of walking and biking trails in Southwest Portugal, along some of the most wild, beautiful and best preserved coastline in Europe.

The Rota Vicentina is a 400km network of walking trails in Southwest Portugal, along some of the most beautiful and best preserved coastline in Europe. Between two networks of trails known as the Historical Way and the Fishermen’s Trail, a multitude of itineraries can be constructed combining authentic rural culture and 110 kms of wild coast, all within Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Parks. Visitors will also find a very mild climate, with over 300 days of sunshine per year.

The Historical Way, made up of 12 sections and 230 km, runs through the main towns and villages of western coastal Portugal along rural trails with several centuries of history. This is a classic Grand Route (GR), accessible to hikers and mountain bikers, through stretches of cork tree forests, mountains and river valleys. The Fishermen’s Trail, comprised of 4 sections and 120km, follows the coastline on trails long used by locals to get to the beaches and hot fishing spots. It is a track along high and sometimes exposed cliffs, accessible only on foot, with plenty of beach walking and physically demanding terrain. This route is a chance to experience the ocean winds, the harsh coastal scenery and the wild and powerful natural landscape.

Both routes are very well mapped and marked, and can easily be traveled independently or with knowledgeable local guides who can also arrange for transportation and luggage transfers. Many of the trails are excellent for mountain biking as well as walking. Accommodations are readily available in the countryside and in the villages and towns, including hostels and youth hostels, campsites, small local hotels and B&Bs, and in some places, more luxurious options.

Access to the Rota Vicentina is quite straightforward through Lisbon, an ancient and modern city with an international airport.  Lisbon and environs are lovely and fascinating to visit in their own right, with medieval cobblestone streets and a long and distinguished maritime history.  Nearby Sintra has palaces and a Moorish castle to explore along with miles of coast.  North of Lisbon are the famed wine growing areas of  Porto and Duoro, and the UNESCO world heritage sites of Evora and Coimbra and the religious center of Fatima.  The Rota Vicentina ends at the western edge of the famed Algarve coast, with reknowned beaches, resorts, and more remote countryside and villages to explore.

  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 250.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 15,250 ft
  • 3,000 ft
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 14
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
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