Discover the unspoilt coastal scenery of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park
Walk clifftop trails above the turquoise Mediterranean Sea and the wild Atlantic Ocean
Explore the charming whitewashed fishing villages of Burgau, Salema and Sagres
Enjoy fresh seafood caught daily by local fishermen
Daily swimming opportunities on Portugal’s best beaches
Hiking in the Algarve: Self-guided walking holiday
Regarded as one of Europe’s most beautiful stretches of coastline, The Algarve boasts a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate – meaning that the temperatures and natural light are great all year round. It is a perfect year-round hiking destination, with mild and bright winters and cooling sea breezes in summer. This walking trip takes you through the Costa Vicentina Natural Park in the western Algarve, a protected area of natural beauty which has managed to preserve its wild and rugged coastal landscapes despite the development of tourism.
This southwestern part of Portugal boasts two markedly different coastlines. The Vincentine coast to the west is home to over 1000 species of vegetation, hundreds of migrating sea birds, multicoloured cliffs and moors, towering sand dunes and wild beaches. The southern coastline is more protected from the strong winds and has a more Mediterranean feel, made up of soaring ochre cliffs, sea caves, golden sands and turquoise waters.
The underlining theme of Portugal’s great maritime discoveries is inescapable and offers a cultural depth to this trip. From the harbour of Lagos – launchpad for so many epic voyages – to Cabo de São Vicente and the Fortaleza de Sagres, you will be surrounded by the remnants and reminders of the golden age of discovery.
|7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS||From €420 per person sharing*
*high season supplement will apply during busy booking periods
Accommodation is on a bed and breakfast basis and all rooms are en-suite. The hotels are carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services.
|AVAILABILITY||This trip is available all year round and you can start on any day of the week, subject to availability.|
|DIFFICULTY||Easy to moderate walks: between 2 to 4 hours walking and an average ascent / descent of 100 to 300 metres per walk.|
Day 1: Arrival in Burgau
Arrival in the small fishing village of Burgau, situated on the Algarve coast between Lagos and Sagres. Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy the beach in Burgau or the pool at your hotel.
Private transfers can be arranged from Faro or Lisbon airports. Public transport information is also provided.
Day 2: Lagos & Ponta da Piedade
Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 300 m | Descent: 300 m | 3½ hrs approx.
After breakfast, a private transfer is arranged to take you to the famous Ponta da Piedade, a natural monument of ochre cliffs, archways, coves and inlets with sparkling turquoise water. From there you will follow a spectacular coastal path, heading west along pristine beaches and rugged cliffs. The picture-postcard village of Praia da Luz is an ideal resting spot, with its old lighthouse and whitewashed church. The path eventually leads you back to the beach and village of Burgau
Day 3: Walk from Burgau to Salema
Distance: 8 km | Ascent: 250 m | Descent: 250 m | 2½ hrs approx.
From Burgau, you head west along the coast via beaches and cliffs that offer stunning panoramic views. Then, heading inland towards the village of Figueiras, you’ll discover traditional farming methods which were initiated by the Romans and perfected by the Moors. Olive trees, carob trees, almond trees, pomegranate and fig trees are the main features of this non-irrigated agriculture known as “sequeiro”. The little whitewashed village of Salema is an ideal place for a rest with many excellent seafood restaurants, from where you can watch the fishermen unloading their catch or tending to their boats on the beach. When you are ready, return by taxi to Burgau.
Day 4: Walk the Algarve coast to Sagres
Distance: 11.5 km | Ascent: 200 m | Descent: 200 m | 3½ hrs approx. (not including visit to fortress)
Your day begins with a 30-minute transfer to the start of your walk, on another picture-postcard beach. The itinerary continues to the west along the wild coastline to the small port of Sagres via the beach in Martinhal, enticing you in for a refreshing swim. You pass through the village to get to the imposing Fortaleza de Sagres, an important maritime monument where a huge stone compass bears witness to the great scientific navigational research of the 15th Century, encouraged and financed by Prince Henry the Navigator – the father of the Portuguese Age of Exploration who discovered Madeira, Cape Verde, and much of the West African coast.
Day 5: Carrapateira loop walk
Distance: 10-12 km | Ascent: 150 m | Descent: 150 m | 3-4 hrs approx.
A private transfer will take you to Carrapateira, a fishing and surfing village in the heart of the Costa Vicentina National Park. You cross a flower-covered dune ridge to reach the small river of Bordeira and the long beach of the same name. The hike continues along the dramatic coastline, where you will spot numerous storks nesting on the cliffs, a phenomenon unique to the Costa Vicentina. You return to the village of Carrapateira where you can include a visit of the small Terra e Mar museum dedicated to traditional farming and fishing. Transfer back to Sagres.
Day 6: Cabo de São Vicente, edge of Europe
Distance: 6 km | Ascent: 100 m | Descent: 100 m | 3 hrs approx.
Transfer to the little hamlet of Vale Santo, close to the wild beach of Telheiro, which is the most southerly beach on Portugal’s west cost. Your walk will take you through wild heathlands, home to aromatic herbs, and along the multicoloured cliffs to Cabo de São Vicente; the most southwestern point in Europe. This place has a real edge of the world feel and it’s easy to imagine the great ships setting sail across the Atlantic in search of new continents. During the migrating season, hundreds of birds swam the skies and each year a bird watching festival takes place in Sagres. Inside the lighthouse, you’ll discover a small maritime museum, well worth a visit to wrap up this hike in style.
Day 7: Departure
Your trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. Transfers for onward travel can be arranged.
Getting to Burgau
Departure from Sagres
|To Faro airport: From Sagres, you can travel with EVA bus 48 to the bus station in Lagos (1hr approx.) 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.
To Lisbon airport: From Sagres, you can travel with EVA bus 48 to the bus station in Lagos (1hr approx.) or take a taxi. Then take bus 52 to Lisbon (3hrs 45mins approx.) and then a shuttle bus or taxi to the airport.
|Optional airport transfers
Private taxi transfers can be booked either to Lagos or to the airport (Faro or Lisbon). Prices on request .