A week of walking along the Atlantic coast, on beaches, dunes and steep cliffs through a peaceful natural area where sea mist bathes Mediterranean vegetation. The Portugese coast known as the Algarve offers much, much more than just sun and sea. Idyllic beaches edged by dunes and rocky cliffs, pretty coves backed up against steep rocks. The smell of the sea here interlaces with aromatic eucalyptus and thyme and a wide variety of Mediterranean flora and fauna. Our itinerary avoids the touristy south coast and concentrates instead on exploring the relatively little-known west coast, in a varied landscape: sand dunes, rocky cliffs, mediterranean woodland and heather-dotted paths.
You will have the chance to enjoy the traditionally relaxed Portugese lifestyle and all the pleasures of tasty food and good wine, from fresh fish dishes to the famed local white wine.
The walking routes follow the coastline going south, crossing the Natural Park called ‘Sudoeste Alentejano en Costa Vicentina’, to Cabo de São Vincente, the southwestern-most point of the European continent.
The starting point of the trip is the coastal village of Zambujeira do Mar. Here, you can bathe on the Zambujeira beach, or adapt immediately to the portuguese lifetsyle tasting local specialties on your first dinner of the trip.
After a short taxi transfer to Almograve, you will start your walk to Zambujeira along the marked Rota Vicentina route, a path often trodden by fishermen. Along the walk you will have the chance to see the Cabo Sardão lighthouse, in the pictoresque village of Cavalheiro, and you ill marvel at the extraordinary views on the sea and on the steep cliffs that characterise this portion of the coast.
If you do not feel up to walking the whole route, you can shorten the stage cutting 8 km with an optional transfer.
Today you will again walk on the Rota Vicentina, passing from fishermen villages and sandy beaches: a wonderful path, where dunes alternate with rocky creeks where storks nest.
Towards the end of the leg you will make out, in the distance, the white houses and the orange roofs of Odeceixe, a rural village surrounded by the green of the Natural Park of Costa Vicentina.
Today you will walk inland, following the Rota Vicentina between rural tracks and quiet tarmac lanes, winding through the cultivated fields of the countryside, then continuing towards Aljezur accompanied by the scent of the heather bushes.
If you prefer to walk on the coast today, you can take a short detour at the start. This involves 3km on tarmac, so you may want to order a taxi to skip that section. Toward the end of the walk, you take another short detour, this time to Praia da Amoreira. You will need to arrange an extra transfer from Praia da Amoreira to Aljezur (optional – this not included in the trip price).
After a short transfer to the village of Arrifana, you will be able to choose todays's route: you can follow the Rota Vicentina inland, between mediterreanean shrubland, cultivated fields, and small villages where you can stop for a typical iced coffee. As an alternative, if the tide level allows it, you can follow a coastline path.
The real treat however, awaits for you at the splendid Bordeira da Carrapateira beach, a surfers' paradise and one of Portugal's finest beaches, where the bravest will have the chance to celebrate today's arrival with a swim in the Ocean. A transfer will take you to Pedralva, an ex-ghost village now brought back to life after a fascinating restoration process.
Today's walk, after an initial transfer back to Carrapateira, will be a mix of coastline and inland paths towards Vila do Bispo: in the first section of the leg you might come across fishermen perched patiently on the cliffs. Vila do Bispo is a town full of history which preserves the heritage of the people that have inhabited the area: from prehistoric Menhirs to ruins of the Phoenician and Roman civilizations, that left temples and furnaces.
The last stage takes you through the fields and pastures of Portugal's south-western corner. You will walk on rocky shores through fishermen paths: if the weather is good, you will able to stop for a swim in the beach of Praia do Ponta Ruiva, a scenic point for the contrast of its red rocks with the sea blue. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot a majestic falcon in flight.
The destination of this last day is the windy Cabo São Vicente, that will offer a spectacular view on the Ocean as a Goodbye present. A transfer will take you back to Vila do Bispo for your last night.
Our services end after breakfast
7 nights in double room in hotels, with private bathroom
This lovely B&B with Andalusian style is located 6 minutes by walk from the beach and it offers accommodations overlooking interior courtyard. Rooms are comfortable, clean and well-furnished with TV, fridge, free Wifi. All the necessary for breakfast is served in room.
Casas do Moinho is located inside a natural park, near many beaches. It offers both apartments with kitchenette and basic rooms. Furnitures are modern, accommodations are comfortable, spacious and clean with free Wifi, air conditioning, TV, electric kettle. In addition this hotel has a swimming pool in the external garden. Breakfast is good, staff is courteous.
Hotel Vicentina**** is surrounded by Aljezur hills and it has spacious, comfortablr and modern apartments and rooms with free Wifi, air conditioning, telephone, TV, balcony overlooking swimming pool or Aljezur Castle. Staff is helpful and careful about client's need. Breakfast is very good.
This is a rebuilded small hamlet and it offers both rooms and apartments with common area where you can find wood oven, grill, picnic table. Accommodations have kitchenette, fridge, dishes, microwave and espresso machine. Free Wifi. The restaurant is very good and it offers typical dishes. Breakfast is very rich. Owners are helpful and welcoming.
The hotel is located in Vila Do Bispo and it has antique facades and overlooks the 16th century Mother Church. It features modern, comfortable and clean rooms, with TV, fridge, free Wifi. Hotel has a Spa and a covered swimming pool. Highly international breakfast.
Arrival in Zambujeira do Mar
From Lisbon airport. Shuttle bus from Lisbon airport to Sete Rios bus station in Lisbon city centre. Then take bus from Lisbon-Sete Rios bus station to Zambujeira with company Rede Expressos (www.rede-expressos.pt)
From Faro airport. Shuttle bus from Faro airport to Faro bus station (Terminal Rodoviario – EVA bus company). If you are flying with TAP, you can make use of their free shuttle service.
From Faro Bus Station you travel first to Portimão (Timetables at www.eva-bus.com)
From Portimão you take the Rede Expressos bus to São Teotónio. Then from Sao Teotónio, you take a taxi to your accommodation in Zambujeira
Departure from Vila do Bispo
To Lisbon airport: From Vila do Bispo you travel with EVA to the bus station (terminal) in Lagos (30 to 45 minutes) or take a taxi from Vila do Bispo to Lagos. Then take a bus to Lisbon and then a shuttle bus or taxi to the airport.
To Faro airport; From Vila do Bispo, you can travel with EVA to the bus station in Lagos (‘terminal’) or take a taxi. From Lagos, you take the bus / train to Faro. From Faro bus station / train station to Faro Airport you can take a shuttle bus or a taxi.
Optional airport transfers
Private taxi transfers can be booked from/to the airport (Lisbon-LIS or Faro-FAO) through S-cape Travel. Prices on request
GPS tracks are available on request.
What is included
· 7 nights in double room in hotels, with private bathroom
· 7 breakfasts
· Luggage transfer on days 3,4,5 e 6
· Transfers as indicated in the programme (Zambujeira-Almograve, Aljezur-Arrifana, Carrapateira-Pedralva e viceversa, Capo Sao Vicente-Vila Do Bispo)
What is not included
· journey to the places of arrival and departure
· lunches and dinners, unless otherwise indicated
· Optional transfer at the end of the walk, days 4 and 5
· Optional transfers to shorten the walks
· Transfers by public transports
· Personal expenses
· Everything that is not mentioned under "What is included"