Strolling the Rota Vicentina alongside Portugal’s Atlantic Coast

Native fishermen have used these tracks for hundreds of years to achieve one of the best fishing spots alongside the coast, however as of late they’ve been changed by surfers and their camper vans. The seascape is spectacular, a fierce Atlantic with big waves, battering sheer cliffs and embracing lengthy sandy seashores.

Cape St Vincent

Cape St Vincent

The path begins in Porto Covo, south of Lisbon and ends in Cape St Vincent, probably the most south-westerly level of Portugal and mainland Europe. The entire stroll takes 9 days, however I’m lacking out the primary three because of lack of time and beginning at Zambujeira do Mar. I get there by taking a sluggish practice from Lisbon, typically on a single monitor, by the desolate areas of Alentejo after which take a taxi. 

Zambujeira do Mar – Odeceixe 18km

Zambujeira do Mar

Zambujeira do Mar

I depart the little Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Mar and head alongside the principle seaside earlier than persevering with on the cliffs above. There’s a light-weight drizzle, nevertheless it’s heat, and the most important downside is the sand underfoot which makes strolling exhausting. Quickly I’m again right down to the seaside, and the surf college at Praia do Carvalhal earlier than just a few extra ups and downs to achieve the pleasant fishing village of Azenha do Mar. From right here it’s a marvellous cliff stroll to achieve the Seixe Estuary after which inland to Odeceixe. Right here I depart the Alentejo, and I cross into the Algarve.

Odeceixe – Aljezur 24 km

Aljezur Castle

Aljezur Citadel

The solar is shining, and I observe the river again to the estuary earlier than climbing up on the cliffs. The monitor sporadically veers away from the coast, maybe as a result of erosion has made it impassable, and by lunchtime, I’m within the inland city of Rogil, actually only a string of homes alongside a primary street. It’s then again to the ocean earlier than crossing over a bridge and reaching the hilltop settlement of Alijezur. A fort overlooks its cobbled streets, and this was the final city within the Algarve to be captured by the Christians from the Moors.

Aljezur – Arrifana 19km

After a go to to the fort to admire the great views, I’m quickly within the forest, the timber scorched by latest fires. I cross the vacation village of Vale da Telha earlier than taking the street to Praia de Monte Clerigo. It begins to rain closely, and I battle the robust wind as I observe the clifftops. At Ponta da Atalaia the ocean beneath is in torment, visibility is sort of zero, however I battle on, and the rain eases. Arrifana remains to be an energetic fishing village and has a superb browsing seaside. The solar comes out, and out of the blue the ocean is swamped by surfers.

Arrifana – Carrapateira 24km

I’m barely apprehensive by an early morning bathe however then the remainder of the day is dry. On the cliffs immediately I’m overtaken by motorcyclists scrambling down the unfastened rocks to the stony seaside of Praia do Canal.

I climb inland then take an undocumented monitor on a deep sandy path which brings me again to the coast. It offers my ft a tricky exercise, nevertheless it’s price it as I’m away from visitors and bikers. Bordeira Seashore is without doubt one of the largest on my stroll thus far, and I climb over the dunes to achieve the city of Carrapateira.

Sandy Cove close to Carrapateira

Carrapateira – Vila do Bispo 22km

I stroll the size of a Praia do Amado, a big seaside stuffed with surfers earlier than climbing up the cliffs. This stretch is residence to some abandoned sandy coves and is without doubt one of the most spectacular of your entire stroll. There’s a bit of featureless grime monitor so flip off to Praia da Barriga, taking the prospect that the tide is low sufficient to permit me the remainder of the best way alongside the sand. I kick off my sneakers and benefit from the chilly water on my toes. The draw back is a 4km street stroll inland to Vila do Bispo.

Vila do Bispo – Sagres 20km

My ultimate day and it appears a little bit of a slog, partly as a result of the panorama is bereft of timber, all flattened by the robust Atlantic winds. Nonetheless, there are the standard browsing seashores, and the lighthouse at Cape St Vincent within the distance progressively will get nearer. The ultimate monitor is vague however well-marked by cairns, and out of the blue I’m on the Cape. After the solitude of the previous few days, it’s a little bit of a shock to search out coachloads of trippers all out for a view of the tip of Europe. I take just a few photos, earlier than strolling the ultimate 6 km to Sagres, and having fun with an exquisite seafood dinner.

This can be a mild stroll, not too demanding, properly signed, and the ocean views are gorgeous. Better of all, you’ll have the spectacular cliffs, excellent seashores, quaint fishing villages and the wild shoreline principally to your self.  Go in spring or autumn when it’s not too scorching and dip your toes into the ocean. Braver souls could go for a swim.

Reality File

FLY: TAP Air Portugal flies direct to Lisbon from London Heathrow every day

PACKAGE: Camino Methods has a Zambujeira do Mar to Sagres journey together with seven nights’ lodging, breakfast, baggage transfers and vacation pack with sensible data, in addition to entry to 24/7 help. Flights, lunch, dinner, transport or insurance coverage not included. Airport transfers can be organized from Faro Airport.

GUIDE: Cicerone’s Portugal’s Rota Vicentina has detailed route directions

Vacationer Info: Go to Portugal has details about the nation.

 

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