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Hiking on the Fishermen's Trail: Travel story Rota Vicentina

Along the Portuguese coast
Red cliffs by the sea

Why not simply bring spring forward a little? And on one of the most beautiful long-distance hiking trails? As a passionate hiker, I get to travel to Portugal at the end of February 2024. Specifically, on the 10-day version of the Rota Vicentina hiking holiday (8-day version also possible). When passion and profession can be combined, the anticipation increases all the more.

Red cliffs by the sea

Important to know in advance: The journey

Naturally, there are many questions at the beginning of any trip. From how to get there and back to what to wear, I want to be well prepared. The trip is booked, but how do we - my father and I - get to the first hotel in Vila Nova de Milfontes? The town is about 190 kilometres south of Lisbon. After some research on the internet and helpful tips from my colleagues, the journey is easy. We took a direct flight from Munich to Lisbon. From the airport, we take the metro into the centre of the Portuguese metropolis to the "Sete Rios" bus station. From here we took the "Rede Express" directly to our first accommodation. I bought the bus tickets online in advance. A little tip: it's best to book online in advance - the earlier, the cheaper!

Wooden plank path in front of the Oasis restaurant under a blue sky

Hiking along breathtaking cliffs

Eight breathtaking days of hiking holiday in Portugal await us. After a hearty breakfast, we pack our rucksacks and head south from Vila Nove de Milfontes. We soon cross the Rio Mira - over a bridge, of course. Untouched nature awaits us as far as the eye can see. As spring arrives, we see the first colourful flowers. On our second day we reach small fishing villages and the wonderful scent of pines fills our nostrils. Hiking is an experience for all the senses!


It's not long before we reach the most beautiful part of the walk - the cliff walk. The cliffs plunge vertically into the depths. We stand on the cliffs and can't stop marvelling. Walking along the sandy paths, one bay more beautiful than the next. Magnificent coastal scenery as far as the eye can see. Walking has an almost meditative effect on us, we enjoy the sweeping views across the Atlantic and let our minds wander.

On the way from Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe we come across Café Palhinhas. Here we enjoy a coffee and a pastel de nata. Pastel de Nata is a Portuguese dessert, a kind of custard tart, which you must try.

Coffee and pastel de nata with a sea view

Even the most beautiful holiday comes to an end

After many kilometres of hiking, we arrive at Cabo de São Vicente. A rocky cape at the most south-westerly point of Portugal with a lighthouse on a cliff up to 70 metres high. We are delighted to be rewarded with this magnificent view of the lighthouse and take the last stretch with ease. Arriving in Sagres, we enjoy a piece of cake and a cappuccino and reminisce about the most impressive moments of our walk.

Even the best holiday has to come to an end: from Sagres we take the "Rede Express" back to Lisbon, without having to transfer. A return flight from Faro would also be possible. Depending on the flight time, I recommend an extra night before and/or after.

Lighthouse on a cliff high above the sea

What are the hotels and places to stay like?

The accommodation on our hiking holiday is mostly in small hotels or guesthouses. Here we enjoy the individual room design and the personal service. A quick but delicious breakfast with fresh bread gives us a strong start to the day. Many of the locations we stay at have small Portuguese restaurants with lots of great fish dishes. Odeceixe is one of the best. The view over the beach and the mouth of the river Seixe into the sea is impressive.

What should I pack?

Are normal sports shoes enough or do I need hiking boots? I recommend sturdy hiking boots. The penultimate stage from Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo is particularly hilly and rocky in places. It is also worth noting that the paths are mainly sandy. As far as clothing is concerned, I would recommend layering as it can be very windy on the coast - towards the inland it tends to get warmer. A raincoat in your rucksack doesn't take up a lot of space and will be very welcome in case the weather doesn't play ball with you.

Hiker with a view of the sea

My conclusion

The Rota Vicentina is a wonderful long-distance hiking trail along the west coast of Portugal through the Alentejo and Algarve regions. All the hiking trails and paths are well marked with the typical wooden posts (green/blue for the Fishing Trail). Here you can experience untouched nature at close proximity, away from the tourist crowds. Relaxation is guaranteed and you can replenish your vitamin D reserves in February.

My favorite place

My favourite place is the beach "Praia de Nossa Senhora" just before Zambujeira. A staircase leads down the cliff to the beach. A little further towards Zambujeira, a wooden walkway leads up to the cliff and rewards you with a wonderful viewing platform. An ideal place to enjoy the sunset.

Hikers with cliff views of the blue sea
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