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Rota Vicentina

My hike along Portugal’s west coast

Spectacular views, untouched nature and the relaxing sound of the sea. I experienced all this and more on my hiking trip on the Rota Vicentina in April. The 450-kilometer hiking trail in southwest Portugal combines two worlds: steep cliffs and sandy paths along the coast, as well as inland rural trails through endless fields of wildflowers.

Adventurous coastal walks

The first three stages of my hiking tour led along seemingly endless shores and past steep cliffs – the sound of waves always ringing in my ears. During the day you will encounter one or two other hikers at most. You can enjoy the unspoiled nature of the beaches, or listen to the birds and watch the waves completely undisturbed.

It only takes a few words to describe this walk: pure nature.

The rocky coastal path and sandy paths are sometimes exhausting to walk along, but the beautiful places along the route invite you to persevere and linger. With the right hiking gadgets every stage is easy to manage.

Unique to Rota Vicentina: along the coast you can see dozens of storks, which build their nests on the cliffs. A unique experience that is fascinating to see.

Diverse countryside

The interior of Portugal, where I travelled during the second part of the trip, has many impressive regions. The hike impresses with hilly landscapes, busy farms and lovely fishing villages.

The temperatures in April are perfect for hiking. Another advantage in spring: the magnificent wild flowers that you can admire on every corner, there’s blooming meadows as far as the eye can see.

Above all, the versatility of the landscape can be seen in the historical path, which includes everything from mountains and valleys to small villages and streams – everything a hiker could want.

Historic streets and natural diversity are a constant companion during the hike in the Portuguese countryside.

Accommodation with charm

The Rota Vicentina isn’t for those looking to spend the night in luxurious suites and five-star hotels. Small, family-run accommodation and down-to-earth locations invite you to relax.

Along the coast you can enjoy your time in-between hikes in traditional charming places, the inland offers typical fishing villages.

If you can afford to do without great luxury, you will certainly feel at home in the charming and well-maintained accommodation.

By the way: In the countryside the accommodation sometimes have pools, where you can cool off after a strenuous hike – on the coast you have the sea on your doorstep. But beware: the Atlantic is still very cold at this time of year.

Culinary delights

In addition to the Portuguese national dish ‘Bacalhau’ (cod), you can enjoy many other specialities in the small, charming restaurants along the route. On the coast, you’ll find mainly fish and seafood. As you travel in-land you’ll notice the food is fresh. Probably because the vegetables are fresh from the field.

Pastel de Nata: My personal culinary highlight and most famous of traditional Portuguese desserts is the Pastel de Nata, a puff pastry tart with custard.

Sprinkled with cinnamon or powdered sugar, it is a wonderful way to build strength for the next hiking stage.

My conclusion: The unspoiled landscape on the west coast of Portugal impresses with its steep cliffs and picturesque fishing villages. Although the sandy paths along the coast are demanding, hiking in Portugal is easy. Not least thanks to the tasty, authentic cuisine, I definitely give it two thumbs up.


See you soon, Verena

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