surfer walking on the beach of the portuguese coast
surfer walking on the beach of the portuguese coast

Rota Vicentina, on the Portugese Coast

117 km
8 days | 7 nights
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
price from
€ 564
CO2 footprint
99,6 Kg/person
  1. Portugal
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode PTSW006

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.


  • Follow the steps of the pilgrims on the Rota Vicentina route, along one of the best-preserved coastlines in Europe;
  • Walk surrounded by a stunning landscape, between lighthouses on the sea and rocky coves where storks nest;
  • Dive between the waves on the Bordeira beach in Carrapateira, a true surfers' paradise;
  • Chat with the locals in a village bar sipping iced coffee.


Day 1

Arrival in Algarve

Arrival in Algarve

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.

Day 2

From Almograve to Cabo Sardão to Zambujeira do Mar, 20 or 12 km

From Almograve to Cabo Sardão to Zambujeira do Mar, 20 or 12 km

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.

Distance: 20 or 12 km

Elevation gain: +175/-175 m

Day 3

From Zambujeira to Odeceixe, passing from Azenha, 20 km

From Zambujeira to Odeceixe, passing from Azenha, 20 km

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.

Distance: 20 km

Elevation gain: +220/-230 m

Day 4

From Odeceixe to Aljezur, 17,5 o 20 km

From Odeceixe to Aljezur, 17,5 o 20 km

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).

Distance: 17,5 or 20 km

Elevation gain: +145/-150 m

Day 5

From Arrifana to Carrapateira/Pedralva, 15,5 km / 23,7 km

From Arrifana to Carrapateira/Pedralva, 15,5 km / 23,7 km

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.

Distance: 15,5 / 23,7 km

Elevation gain: +325/-425m

Day 6

From Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo, 19 km

From Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo, 19 km

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.

Distance: 19 km

Elevation gain: +400/-340 m

Day 7

Cabo São Vicente, 14 km

Cabo São Vicente, 14 km

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.

Distance: 14 km

Elevation gain: +150/-200 m

Day 8

End of the trip

End of the trip

Our services end after breakfast


Is this for me?

An ideal holiday if you love the ocean, the cliffs, the wind on your face as you walk, the lighthouses and beaches, dunes and rocky coves. If you've always wanted to visit Lisbon, this is your chance to do that by stopping a few days after your holiday. 

This trip is not recommended to beginners, even if some of the daily stages may be shortened to make the day less challenging. You will often walk on rocks, so you are required to have a good balance and stability. There are several exposed sections, 


What is included

  • 7 Nights in double room in ** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • transfers described in the day by day program
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.

Below you see some examples of the facilities used for this trip, but keep in mind that they may vary based on availability in the period. We could therefore book for you structures different from those you see listed here, but of the same category and carefully chosen according to SloWays criteria.

Hospedagem Rosa dos Ventos Zambujeira do Mar
Hospedagem Rosa dos Ventos - Zambujeira do Mar

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 Odeceixe
Casas do Moinho - Odeceixe

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.

Vicentina Hotel Aljezur
Vicentina Hotel - Aljezur

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.

Aldeia da Pedralva Vila do Bispo
Aldeia da Pedralva - Vila do Bispo

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.

Hotel Mira Sagres Vila Do Bispo
Hotel Mira Sagres - Vila Do Bispo

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.

When to travel

As Portugal’s southernmost region, the Algarve enjoys a Mediterranean climate influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, with mild, relatively rainy winters and warm, sunny summers. The Atlantic wind blows frequently in the colder half of the year, while sea breezes cool the coast on summer afternoons. 

Both spring and summer offer long hours of sunshine, but the Atlantic is never very warm for swimming and the ocean remains quite cool until June. Average water temperatures range from 14°C in February to 21°C in September.

Temperatures are mild year-round and, as would be expected, the north is colder than the south. In general, average air temperatures in Zambujeira do Mar (to the north) vary from 12°C in Dec-Jan to 18-20º C in July-Aug-Sept. While in Vila do Bispo (to the south), summer temperatures are warmer, with the highest highs reaching 28º C in July-Aug. In this area it is rare to see lows below 6ºC or highs over 32°C. 
Rainfall is most common from November to April, with precipitation 6 to 7 days a month. Fog is not so common, but the relative humidity tends to be high due to the proximity of the ocean. 

What to bring

Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive

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 (

From Faro airportShuttle 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

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

Mobile App

Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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