Fishermen’s Trail

Day 1 - Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes


We were very excited for the first day of the walk, which is said to be spectacular with both beach and cliff top walking, with pretty wild flowers too. Our guide book said 5 hours, 20km to Vila Nova de Milfontes, the information boards in Porto Covo said 20km, 8 hours, a difficult walk, and don't go near the cliff edge. We had checked the route the day before, and as no small villages were passed, we had bought lunch the night before to take with us. We returned to cafe Cantarinha where we had had a small lunch the previous day, having our usual breakfast of coffee and toast (€6.00), leaving at 8am. We had spent some time the previous night finding the start of the walk, with no obvious signage (to us anyway). We were so pleased we had done this, enabling us to make a fast getaway, turning down Rua do Mar, then left at restaurant Miramar, down Rua dos Pescadores, to the fishing harbour, passing white, red and yellow stripes on a post. The path goes through the river (not sure what happens when the tide is in) and up a hill, passing some dwellings. We turned right by a sign saying 19.5km to Vila Nova de Milfontes along the Roto de Vicentina. The path runs parallel with the beach, with splendid views, following green, red and yellow signs. We passed Praia do Sissal beach (8.40am), and enjoyed walking along the sand.

We passed the fortified island of Ilha do Pessegueiro, which was occupied by the Carthaginians in the C3rd B.C., then subsequently used by the Romans as a fishing port. We went up a board walk to Restaurante a Ilha (shut) one hour/2.2 miles after leaving. Make time to look at the very impressive fort, built in 1588 in order to prevent attacks from English pirates. Continuing along the cliffs, then a beautiful beach, up a boardwalk to the car park at Malhao beach-with a locked toilet. 3 hours. 6 miles. 500 feet elevation. The views from the boardwalks are sublime back north to Sines and Porto Covo, and south to our destination. Going south again, the path veered away from the ocean, and we got lost through a series of sand dunes, which seemed to have numerous paths available. We continued using the radio towers and buildings in the distance as a marker, arriving at Ponta das Barcas with a bar and restaurant at 1.15pm. We stopped to have a drink and a snack in the shady bar (not the cheapest). It was a Sunday lunch and the many people eating there, looked a lot smarter than us!! Leaving at 2pm-the day had really heated up now, we went 200m down the road, then took the arrow right. The path splits and we followed the middle one with blue and green signs towards the town. We arrived at the stunning river estuary and castle 35 minutes later, unfortunately there was no shade to sit in. We walked up the road and checked into Sol da Vila. It was great value for money, with beautiful accommodation, an outdoor courtyard, a roof terrace and a very friendly receptionist. Later we ate dinner at 100 Espinhas, great value for money, nice food and good service, recommended by our hotel receptionist, opening at 7pm. We had really enjoyed our first day of this walk. It had exceeded all expectations.

The views, sea, and beaches were exceptional. We have rarely had such a beautiful coastal walk.

Distance 12.2 Miles (19.7km)

Duration of Walk 6.5 Hours

Average Pace 33 Min/Mile

Steps 39031

Elevation Gained 645 feet (197m)

Websites used Lunch Sol da Vila Hotel Dinner


Day 2 - Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve


To leave Vila Nova de Milfontes, there is a choice of routes. Firstly, to catch the boat, the service starting at 9am over the river to Furnas at €5.00 each and saves 75 minutes on the alternative option, or to walk through the town and go over the road bridge. We decided to take the bridge option as reading about it online, we would have views over the river for longer and as it is a relatively short day of 10 miles, we would have time. Also, our hotel was on street Rua Custodio Bras Pacheco that leads to the bridge built in 1974 over the Rio Mira. We packed and stopped for breakfast at Café Companhia,-which is a lovely bakery and restaurant,-and not too expensive. We left at 8.25am, 10 minutes later we turned right at a roundabout, before going over the bridge at 8.45am. The views up and down the river were tremendous, and we could watch the shoals of fish in the water. Following the road uphill for 200m, there is a sign on a lamppost on the right-hand side of the road-FO 430 in very faint green and blue lines. Don't go up the path to the right here, but follow the path at the side of the road for another 200m. We then turned right by the arrow, passing through a gate with a sign saying-mind the cattle. (9.05am). We walked through empty fields, passing a disused building with an amazing mural. Turning left down a lane at 9.30am, in time to see the boat arrive. We were very pleased that we had chosen our route, with amazing views over the river estuary and the town of Vila Nova. We had planned coffee in either of the 2 cafes found here, but they were both closed-maybe we were too early. (3 miles covered).

We turned left up the lane, then right at fields following the signs, arriving at the cliff top at 10.15am (3.7 miles done). There are signs saying “walk only along the marked trails-unstable cliffs danger of falling!!!”. The walk continues along the back of the cliffs through tunnels of vegetation, with a couple of footbridges before emerging onto the coast once more. (6 miles done). At 11.25am we passed a sign 3.5km to Almograve.

There follows the most spectacular part of the day, we went down newish steps onto a fabulous beach of Brejo Largo. We took our time here, removing our boots for a paddle, the water feeling a bit too chilly for a swim. Funny it did seem harder work walking along the beach without boots on, than with them. We sat and ate our tuna sandwiches in the shade. There is a very steep path down the cliffs with a rope to aid passage and a bit later on another path which we took back up. A rope has been secured where a stream goes down the cliff, the gradient is not too steep just slippery underfoot, before we emerged onto the cliff top once more(12.45pm). It suddenly felt very hot, after being on the beach with a lovely breeze. The track is well signed posted, but with more tough walking through soft sand. The town of Almograve comes into view on top of the cliffs, and at another large beach we turned left. The track becomes a stony road, we stopped to empty a lot of sand

from our boots. We turned right at a sign saying 500m to town, arriving at 1.20pm. This was a comparatively short day. It was nice to arrive though and have a drink out of the sunshine. Alternatively, we could have stayed longer on the beach and even gone for a swim. We stayed in the youth hostel. Check-in was meant to be from 6pm, but we left the bags at 2pm and picked up the room key at 3pm. We managed to arrange breakfast at 7.30am instead of 8.30am as advertised. We ate dinner at Mar Azul restaurant, with Nepali/Indian food, it was very popular with other walkers too. Almograve is a small village with 2 small shops, with not much to buy and a couple of restaurants. Distance 10.2 Miles (16km)

Duration of Walk 5.45 Hours

Average Pace 33 Min/Mile

Steps 32592

Elevation Gained 684 feet (208m)

Websites used restaurant



Day 3 - Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar


Another sunny day was forecast and we were really looking forward to more views, beach walking and possibly storks on their nests which are built on sea stacks. In view of a longer day of walking (14 miles), we requested breakfast at the youth hostel where we stayed at 7.30am instead of 8.30am as it advertises. A few others did the same, and we were presented with a nice buffet and coffee.

Leaving at 8am, we turned right, (signed for centre) at the roundabout, passing a church, again right, then left downhill passing large bamboo plants, a waste water station, then down to the beach. The path turns left going up a signed steep hill. It was a beautiful morning beside the crashing sea. We walked along the cliff tops to a car park. (8.30am 1 mile). (Alternatively, the beach road could be followed from the roundabout (straight ahead), saving some time and effort). We decided as the tide was out, to walk along the beach, as we could see in the far distance stairs going up to a building on the cliff. Leaving the beach, we walked along a wide track, with a gym circuit along the way. Just before the road dropped to a tiny fishing harbour, we turned left by a sign, along a red path.

We followed the path along the cliff tops, but at some point, amongst pretty pine trees missed it. (4 miles 10.00am). We went south, joined a main road and followed that into the village of Cavaleiro (10.50am) meeting other walkers who had not got lost! We stopped for coffee and toast in Restaurant Rocamar, the very friendly English-speaking owner told us of the beautiful beaches we had missed, and that we needed to go back to visit them-we decided to continue instead-feeling there were more beaches to come. Leaving the café at 11.15am, we followed the signs along the road towards the lighthouse at Cabo Sardao, after ten minutes there is a blue arrow to the right over the fields to the coast. There are plenty of bird and vegetation information boards here, and boardwalks with views

After the beach there is a long boring walk along a straight track away from the coast, with small bushes on each side, and no shade from the very hot sun. Eventually we arrived at a beautiful beach with a couple of people on it, the path down was so steep we could not make out how they had made it. We sat on the cliff top overlooking stork nests for lunch. (1.50pm) happy with the 11 miles done.

Heading towards the old fishing cottages, we went down steep steps to an old fishing harbour, steeply up again, passing a restaurant and houses at Entrada da Barca. The path then runs alongside the road, passing outdoor gyms on the way. From here you can continue up the main road into town, or we followed the signs to the right, and once more found ourselves overlooking a beautiful beach and cliffs. We decided not to take the steps down to the beach, but continued through the vegetation along the board walks, before arriving in the town of Zambujeira at 3pm, and a chapel overlooking the ocean. Our accommodation of Hakunda Matata Hotel was very conveniently located on the route. It has private rooms, as well as dormitories, and a very friendly English-speaking owner.

Zambujeira is a larger town than the others visited, it has a pharmacy, supermarket, post office and many restaurants. It seemed to be a new town with not many old fisherman's cottage remaining.

We ate dinner in Rita restaurant, very near our hotel, with wonderful views over the ocean. The portions served are very large.

Distance 14.6 Miles (23.5km)

Duration of Walk 7.2 Hours

Average Pace 30 Min/Mile

Steps 43715

Elevation Gained 885 feet (270m)

Websites used Hotel Dinner


Day 4 - Zambujeira do Mar, to Odeceixe

We were wondering how long the stunning scenery could continue, and looked forward to another great day of 12 miles, mostly by the ocean. During dinner the previous night the sea mist had rolled in, completely obliterating the sunset, and surrounding cliffs. We were hoping it would be clear and we would have more fabulous views. We went for breakfast at Cantinho dos Sabores, opting for coffee with plain toast, leaving at 8.15am, a very quiet morning. The path leaves from the beautifully located church overlooking the ocean heading south down the hill, passing the beach, then branching right off the road, up the headland. Fortunately, the mist from the previous night had cleared and views were good. There are steps down to a nudist beach. Continuing, we followed signs for one mile through the pine forest, if lost, head towards the ocean. We came out of the forest, along a boardwalk (9.10am), passing beaches, then downhill to a surf school at Praia do Carvalhal, before going up a steep hill. (9.30am). Amazingly there is a wildlife farm here, with ostriches behind the fence. We followed the fence, then through more vegetation, duck boards and onto a promontory overlooking the beach of Praia da Amalia (3 miles, 1.5 hours done). The path goes steeply right, down to the sea, then up through a big tunnel of vegetation. (4 miles 10.15am). We arrived on a track in the middle of some fields and greenhouses, and followed a sign to Odeceixe. We arrived at a main road, turning right following signs, after ten minutes we went right once more, along a seemingly endless track-now heading north instead of south! Eventually at 10.55am we returned to the ocean, and headed south once more. That surely could not have been the correct way!!.

We stopped in a café in the fishing harbour of Azenha do Mar, (11.30am) for a large coffee and toast with cheese. €6. Leaving, we descended to the harbour, then once more resumed the beautiful cliff top walk. Suddenly the stunning view of Seixe river estuary appears, with a magnificent beach and white-washed houses on the opposite bank. The path goes left, before ascending to a car park. There is now a 2.5 mile walk along a very quiet road, just with bird song, following the river. We passed a few houses, before arriving at the main road, then turned right signed to Lagos over the bridge (2.30pm), then right again into town. There are a couple of useful information boards, giving us details of the walk for the next day-different to our book. We saw the first public toilet of this trip, and arrived at our accommodation of Casa Luar at 3pm, meeting the very friendly owner. We left our bags, then walked round town, stopping for bread, cheese and beer in the main square. A lovely day again with fabulous views. It certainly is a beautiful coast to walk, with the path hugging closely to the ocean-sometimes too close though!!, at times there are some quite scary drops. We ate a delicious Greek salad, olives and pizza, at Blue Sky restaurant in the main square, surrounded by fellow walkers. Odeceixe, is a very pretty old town with cobbled streets, and white-washed buildings. There are various restaurants, and a

couple of shops. There is an old windmill on top of the hill, from which there would have been great views-but we chilled in the main square instead.

Distance 12.5 Miles (20km)

Duration of Walk 6.3 Hours

Average Pace 31 Min/Mile

Steps 38331

Elevation Gained 1114 feet (340m)

Websites used Casa Luar Odeceixe Hotel Dinner



Day 5 - Odeceixe to Aljez

This was to be a very exciting day. For the remaining 5 days of our walk to Cabo Sao Vicente, we were being joined by 9 friends from England-known as the Friday walking club. We were concerned as we had had such a fabulous walk so far, that they might be disappointed with their walk. Only time would tell. We were also concerned as the walk in our book went inland from this point onwards. Fortunately, they had a different book and map-that they had previously bought in Portugal. We had arranged to meet them at 9.15am by the ocean at Odeceixe beach. They had flown in to Faro airport, stayed the night in Lagos, before catching a minibus taxi to Odeceixe. There are many signs all round the village of Odeceixe either for the coastal walk, or inland following the waterways to Rogil. After a fabulous buffet breakfast, we left at 8.15am having seen at least 15 walkers leaving at 7.30am. We opted for the coastal route following the road out of the village, we passed some lovely sculptures, before turning right at an obvious sign, across the fields on the flood plain. The path then returns to the quiet road (8.25am), we arrived at the meeting place by the beach at 8.45am. All the cafes were shut, but there are free public toilets by the beach. In hindsight we would have stayed at Odeceixe beach the previous night, arriving there either by wading across the river, or by following the road we took to Odeceixe and then walking along the road back to the ocean. This would have made this days’ walk of 13.5 miles, 1.5 miles shorter. Our friends arrived on time, it is always very exciting about meeting up with friends abroad. Our group of 11 left fairly promptly following the coastal path, after an hour (10.15am) we turned left inland by a camper van car park, went down a road, then taking a track to the right, before returning to a cliff path once more. (4 miles). We followed the sandy path passing Praia da Quebrada, before heading inland, then finally down a road to Rogil (12.15am). The first cafe was closed, but we were allowed to eat our sandwiches in their beautiful shady garden. The town of Rogil is spread out along a main road, with a Spar shop, various cafes and an ATM machine. After stopping for coffee, we realised we had missed the sign to the right, so back tracked to take the route towards the sea out of town. We followed various tracks, then passed a camping ground at 2.45pm, before a steep ravine. We arrived in the pretty little town of Aljezur at 3.30pm. As we crossed the bridge, we saw turtles and fish trying to survive in the dried up river below-so sad. Centuries ago, the river used to be navigable to this point from the sea. The walk information boards are by the bridge. We stayed at Vicentina Hotel, and enjoyed a few hours relaxing in the hotel pool. We ate a delicious dinner at the nearby Pont a Pe restaurant, with lovely food and great service, having booked it in advance.

The views during the first half of the day were superb and did not disappoint our friends. It is a lovely to have so many like-minded friends, who follow their dreams.

Distance 15 Miles (24km)

Duration of Walk 7.3 Hours

Average Pace 30 Min/Mile

Steps 44396

Elevation Gained 841 feet (256m)

Websites used Vicentina Hotel Restaurant booked in advance


Day 6 - Aljezur to Arrifana

This could have been a shorter re-positioning day, but we extended it to see more beaches, which we were looking forward to making a walk of 11 miles. We had booked breakfast at our Hotel (Vincentina), at 7.30am, and we were not disappointed. It was all beautifully set out for us, with a great choice, of breads, croissants, eggs, juice, coffee etc. The hotel is next door to the Inter March shop which opens at 8.30am, there is a laundrette in the basement car park-if only we had known!!! Leaving at 8.45am, we went back over the bridge passing large information boards about the walk, turned right, then left through the town. On reaching the church we turned left down a road, before passing a well, Fonte das Mentiras which has Islamic origins dating back to the C10th (9.05am). Continuing uphill passing new houses, we had great views inland and over to the coast with some salt pans. Turning right along a main road for about two miles (Monte do Carrical 9.50am), right again along small roads, then a sandy track, we arrived at the unfortunately closed Cafe Taberna do Gabriel with stunning views of Amoreira beach at 11.05am.

Heading south once more, we stopped for lunch at O Ze, before having more breath-taking views from the promontory at Ponta da Atalaia. Spot the fishermen perched high on the edge of the cliffs, an amazing way of fishing-and looked pretty dangerous too. We arrived at some marvellous ruins dating from 1150, which we took our time to explore. Turning left, we headed inland along a dusty track-which seemed hard-going in the afternoon heat. Eventually we were on a road that led to our destination of hotel Vale da Telha, at 3.15pm happy to arrive, and again chilled out in the large-but slightly cool pool.

We went to a local shop to buy lunch for the following day, before going to the nearby Font do Vale restaurant for dinner, which had a great choice of food and football shown too. This was another great day, tough walking in the sand and heat!! We need to leave early-but difficult to do when such superb buffet breakfasts are supplied!!.

Distance 11.4 Miles (18km)

Duration of Walk 6.4 Hours

Average Pace 35 Min/Mile

Steps 37343

Elevation Gained 1120 feet (340m)

Websites used Lunch Hotel Vale de Telha Restaurant for dinner


Day 7 - Arrifana to Carrapateira

This is a relatively long day of 13 miles, with 1,000 feet of elevation, taking about 7 hours. Some of the cliffs are 300 feet high, with spectacular rock strata. We would have preferred to skip breakfast and leave at 7am, but due to a shortage of open cafes along the route, we decided to eat breakfast-a good call.

We had an amazing buffet breakfast in Vale de Telha hotel, served from 8am. Having purchased lunch the previous night from the local shop, we were soon on our way. Leaving at 8.45am, we walked down the road towards Arrifana, turning left just before the village, then headed right down a signed track. After following it for an hour (2.7 miles) we had fabulous views over the beach at Praia do Canal, and the coastline south. It was a steep path down and up, before turning inland along a track, through eucalyptus woods. We took a road before arriving for drinks at Quarenta & Quatro (11.30am), where there is new accommodation with a swimming pool. We were tempted to stay, but had places to be.

We continued in a SW direction passing houses, at 11.50am we turned right towards wind mills on the horizon, then right along another sandy track right signed to Carrapateria 9km.

We were very surprised to see a geodetic mark-which was safely ascended by some of the party. A geodetic marker is a highly accurate surveying reference point established on the surface of the earth by local, state and national agencies. They determine the precise position of permanent point on the earth’s surface, taking into account the shape, size and curvature of the earth. Down the other side of the hill, we sat and ate our lunch on the cliff tops (1.05pm). Twenty minutes after lunch we had views over the beach- Praia da Bordeira. As the tide was out, we walked along the beach, paddling and playing in the sea. We stopped for drinks under the shady bar of Carrapateira Surf school at the end of the beach. (If the tide is in you would need to follow signs to the pine forest of Bordalete, cross the river, then walk down the road to Carrapateira).

From the surf school there is a choice of routes, either to head straight to the back of the beach then over a bridge into town, or the route that we took up the cliff then along a road, before turning right at a blue and green sign across the sand dunes.

We arrived at Pensao das Dunas at 3.30pm. There are en-suite rooms, and rooms which share a bathroom. There is a drinks fridge with an honesty box, peaceful inside and outside areas, which were lovely to sit in and meet other walkers. We went to Alecrim restaurant for dinner, sitting outside, there is a good choice of fish, pizza, curry and salad.

Distance 13.6 Miles (22km)

Duration of Walk 7 Hours

Average Pace 31 Min/Mile

Steps 41218

Elevation Gained 999 feet (305m)

Websites used Hotel Restaurant


Day 8 - Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo

Today's walk is shorter at 9.5 miles, but with more elevation than on previous days. We were hoping for some more fine beach walking too.

The very busy buffet breakfast was served from 7.45am, with everyone sitting at communal tables, or outside, with the bread arriving at 8am. There was a nice choice, with fruit salad, ham, cheese, bread etc. It cost €2.00 to make your own sandwich for lunch, and chocolates for sale.

We left at 9.05 am, going along the main road through town, very soon turning right by a sign, following a relatively easy track, arriving at Sitio do Forno restaurant (9.30am). Don't miss the boardwalk to the right, down to a viewing platform, passing ruins of an Islamic Seasonal fishing village. This dates from the 12th and 13th century, with at least 15 dwellings, a drying terrace for the fish, ovens, and would have been used in the milder seasons of the year. It may also have been used as an observatory for whaling. The views from the promontory are amazing, both north and south, we saw seals in the ocean too.

After 2 miles/one hour of easy road walking, we arrived at Armado beach. There were lots of camper vans parked, a free toilet and a couple of cafes. It was very busy, maybe as it was the weekend. Continuing along a path at the back of the beach we turned right, then followed a steep slope up to Engineers Point (10.30am), again with stunning views. We took some time to rest in the shade of the deserted building.

Descending, we walked along the beach (11.05am), then up a chasm with a well-defined un-marked path. There was discussion at this point whether we were going the correct way or not. We continued up a very steep slope (4 miles). We finally arrived at a car park, where 2 different routes converge, (11.35am), we were not really sure if this is where we should have arrived. We took the path to the right, heading steeply down again, to the stunning Mirouco beach, before ascending once more. We sat on a promontory for lunch (12.15pm), watching the fishermen perched on the edge of the rocks, wondering if they ever fall in!!!, before the final descent and ascent of the day.

Continuing along a track heading inland through a flat shadeless scrub, following signs (1.20pm). An extension to the walk could be followed to the right passing Barriga and Cordoama beaches, but we ignored it on account of the heat. We reached a main road at (1.50pm) then followed the red and yellow signs down the side of the road, before arriving in the very quiet town of Carrapteira. We checked in at hotel Mira de Sagres (2.30pm), with an indoor pool, before having a drink in the main square, which has another walk information board.

This was a much harder day than we had imagined, some of the uphill sections were fairly tricky with loose rock and sand. Quite a few walkers used walking poles to help. The views however more than made up for it. This section overlaps with other routes, so pay attention to the signs.

As there were 11 of us, we had booked dinner in the restaurant Ribeira do Poco in advance. It was a good menu, with delicious food and great service. There is a very large band new Lidl on the outskirts of town.

Distance 9.5 Miles (15km)

Duration of Walk 5.3 Hours

Average Pace 34 Min/Mile

Steps 31082

Elevation Gained 1055 feet (320m)

Websites used Hotel Mira Sagres Dinner


Day 9 - Vila do Bispo to Cabo de Sao Vicent

This was the last day of our walk. The walk has more recently been extended for another 3 days to Lagos. It is sometimes very windy along the coastal section, and an alternative inland path can be taken. We always have mixed feelings on the last day of a walk, very pleased with our achievement, but sad it is finishing. But there are always new trips to plan. This stage is 14km and initially follows the red and white signs of the Historic way, before splitting after nearly 2 hours, following the green and blue signs along the coast.

The official breakfast time was 8.30am, but the room was crowded with walkers when we arrived at 8.10am, all keen to get on their way. In view of no supply points along the way, the previous night in the hotel we had booked packed lunches €7 for an apple, sandwich, juice, croissant. Alternatively, there is a large brand-new Lidl just out of town.

We left at 9am, following red and white signs through the centre of Vila do Bispo, near the restaurant Eira do Mel, continuing along a quiet country road, heading west. There are various routes, including circular walks all marked in red and white.

We reached the disused graffiti-covered forestry station (Casa do Guardo 9.35am 2km). Unfortunately, at this point we went the wrong way, following red and white signs going past a barrier, then along a pretty track downhill through the trees. By the time we realised and returned to the building, it had taken about an hour. (10.30am). Rounding the corner from the forestry station for another 100m , was a 12km Cabo de Sao Vicente sign. If only it had been on the path junction, life would have been easier. However, it had been a beautiful walk!!! We continued along a track across open land, with a weather station on right, and the lighthouse at Cabo coming into view. There is a large obelisk to our right marking the highest elevation of our walk at 154m. We decided not to visit it, being too far on this occasion. There are some monoliths on the left, again we left them for another day (11am). The route splits at a junction, with the first green and blue signs of today. This should have been 1.5 hours from leaving, but in our case, it was now 2.5 hours (11.35am). We went right along the coastal route, with views of the sea on the right. Just before the car park at Praia do Telheiro a new short ladder has been installed, to go down the one-metre drop. (12.35pm).

We stopped to eat our packed lunch overlooking another lovely beach (1.30pm). We continued, following pretty cliffs, and walking along a tricky limestone pavement. The path follows small cairns, and some green and blue paint on the rocks. The path again merges with red and white signs. We turned right for a couple of 100m along the road (1.45pm), before reaching Cabo de Vincente at 1.50pm, the end of our walk!!!

Cabo de Sao Vincente is the southwestern extremity of mainland Europe and a great spot to observe the autumn bird migrations. The cliffs here are tremendous, stretching both north and south west. It is amazing to think 550 years ago explorers set sail across the Atlantic Ocean to an unknown destination, not knowing if they would ever return. The cape took its name from the martyred Spanish deacon St Vincent, whose body was washed up here, and became an important site of medieval pilgrimage. He is now buried in Lisbon.

There are stalls selling food, ice creams, souvenirs. Through a gate is the actual old fort, bar, shop and toilets (0.70cents, no card). A certificate of the walk can be purchased from the shop as a memento. The walk could continue here for another 6km to Sagres-the nearest accommodation, before continuing for another couple of days to Lagos. There is a bus service from Cabo to Sagres and Lagos. We had pre-booked taxis arriving at 2.30pm to take us to our destination of Lagos for the next few days. After being lost for an hour, we kept a careful watch to ensure that we arrived in time. This is an area of particularly strong winds, pay attention if near the cliffs, or take the inland route. We enjoyed our walk immensely, with stunning views, cliffs and beaches. The highlight for us was the beach walking, and a complete sense of freedom. Just keep heading south!!

Distance 10.6 Miles (17km)

Duration of Walk 4.5 Hours

Average Pace 27 Min/Mile

Steps 29464

Elevation Gained 602 feet (183m)

Websites used Bus times.



Day 1 - Algarve Section - Sagres to Salema

Following the previous year’s walk along the Fishermen's way from Porto Covo to Cape St Vincent along the Atlantic coast, we decided to complete the final 3 days from Sagres to Lagos, on the Algarve. We had flown into Faro, and had spent a couple of days in Lagos. We were up early and caught a taxi from Lagos to Sagres. We had checked the local bus service, but they did not arrive early enough. We decided not to walk from St Vincent to Sagres as we had been advised that much of the walk was along the main road. Today's walk is described as being the hardest of the Fishermen's way. It takes at least 8 hours, with some steep sections, but we were looking forward to some beach walking. We were hoping the day would be relatively cool, hopefully with a sea breeze. But even though it was the end of April, it was already 25 °. We were carrying our kit for 3 days, which was replenished each day with 3 litres of water, sandwiches and snacks. There are some beach bars along the way, which we were hoping would be open-always nice for a rest and refreshments. Arriving in Sagres at 8.45am, we soon found ourselves at the start of the walk which is next to the Tourist Information office. There is the usual information board, this one saying 19.5km, 8 hours, 600m ascent, 650m descent, very hard walk to Salema. There is a lovely statue of Henry the Navigator, who was responsible for much exploration of West Africa. We walked east along the road through the small town passing a Spar shop, cafes and surfing accommodation. Watch for the blue arrow turning left just before the port, but we looked over the port first, with great views, before walking across Martinhal beach by a 5-star hotel. Ascending, we continued along the cliff-tops, descending, we passed a large lagoon with 100’s of frogs making a great deal of noise (9.30am).

We passed a ruined building at 10.05am (5.5km), before continuing along Barranco beach, where we stopped for a rest. (145m ascent done, 2 hours). Continuing up a steep path from the beach, to the left of the path is a very pretty circular design of small stones-very artistically created. We stopped at Restaurante do Sebastiao (2 hours 50mins, ascent 210m), having a very welcome drink in the shade, overlooking a beach with surfers. A very large group of cyclists had stopped too.

Continuing, following the path along the cliffs, it was a very steep path descending to Zavial beach, with a couple of our party members taking a fall. We had a lunch stop in the shade of the cliffs for 25 mins, leaving at 1.40pm, before gaining the cliff path once more beside the beautiful turquoise sea. The path goes very slightly inland with the whitewashed village of Salema coming into view. At 3.50pm we arrived in Salema, checking into Hotel Salema, in a lovely room with a sea view.

We had a walk round the small town, there is a small convenience shop opposite the hotel, and another one 5 minutes’ walk back up the hill, as well as a few bars and restaurants. Overall, it is a fairly small, quiet, but lovely place with a gorgeous beach.

We had a drink at Atlantico bar before having dinner at Restaurante Boia, with lovely food, great service, and fabulous views out over the sea.

It had been a lovely day, with wonderful views and scenery. We were looking forward to more walking the next day. We had not found the walk too hard, just slippery on the steep descents.

Distance 12.74 miles (20.5km)

Duration of Walk 7 Hours 2 mins including breaks

Elevation Gained 1932 feet (589m)

Pace 33 min a mile

Information/Advice Hotel Salema

Henry the Navigator was born in Porto in 1394, and died in Sagres in 1460. He never actually went on an ocean voyage himself. He assembled a body of scientists and navigators at Sagres, who invented amongst other things the caravel ship. Henry helped start “the Age of Exploration”, expanding the territory and wealth of Portugal, with new trade routes, and also spreading Christianity.

Sagres means “sacred” and for 3,000 years was at the limits of the known world. It is the best place in Europe for observing migratory seabirds especially when the weather is bad. It is now the centre of a biogenetic reserve, created in 1988.

Dolphins may be seen migrating in October,

The Martinhal Lagoon is dry in the summer, but in the winter is filled by saltwater, and it is a great spot for birdwatching.

Don’t rely on the beach bars being open- it depends on the season/day of the week. Take enough food and drink to last all day, just in case.

Paths were marked by blue and green posts.

Be very careful on the descents, the paths are steep, with unstable loose stones. Even walkers using walking poles slipped over.


Day 2 - Algarve Section - Salema to Luz

After a delicious buffet breakfast in our hotel (Hotel Salema), we left the sea front at 9am, from beside the walk information boards. Today’s walk is 7.5miles/12 km, 5 hours, 400m ascent/descent, average difficulty. There is a choice either up the steep cobbled road-rue de Pescora passing the old Fishermen's cottages, or along the promenade before the 2 routes converge 5 minutes later. After the village the walk continues along a road with views over the countryside, heading away from the sea. After 15 mins we turned right, up a fairly steep sign-posted sandstone path. On reaching the top we had great views once more. We followed the cliff path, before descending to Boco dia Rio. On the left is a very flat area, which was used as paddy fields during the Roman era, and to the right is an old cannery. (9.35am 1.2 miles covered, 73m ascent). We continued over a dried up river, then right up a steep path. (9.45am 113m ascent).

We reached the ruined Almadena Fort at 9.50am. It was lovely to walk round the ruins, which are not fenced off, with great views and much historic interest. We stopped at 10.15am at a cafe on Cabanas Velhas beach, treating ourselves to coffee and a tea cake. Leaving at 11am, we ascended another steep cliff turning left just before more ruins of fishing activity and an old cannery. We continued along the cliffs spotting the fabulous rock strata, and massive erosion/landslides on the cliffs. We arrived in the very picturesque town of Burgau at 11.50am, then followed the painted blue and green stripes down through the town. On reaching the beach, we turned right to arrive at the fabulous Cafe Beach Bar Burgau, eating a delicious salad, with great views out to the ocean. We could have stayed longer, mesmerised by the gentle lapping of the sea.

Leaving at 1pm, we followed more signs, crossing the slipway, passing a few cafes and public toilets up through the town. There is a sign to Luz 5km, before the clifftop walk began once more.

We had again booked our hotel in advance-Hotel Belavista Da Luz, which is about 800m uphill from the town. We arrived at 2.30pm, check in was at 3pm, but drinks were available. We spent some time in the lovely pool, before the forecasted rain arrived. Later we walked down the hill to the town, looking round, and visiting the gorgeous beach, before eating dinner at Pizzeria Delicia. We had been very lucky with the promised rain, which poured down whilst we had our dinner, we were glad it had not arrived before. Remember to bring waterproofs, otherwise we would have got very wet.

This was a shorter and less technical day than the previous one, but still with some tricky uphill and downhill. In places the path seems to go dangerously near to the edge of the crumbling cliffs. I would imagine in future years the path being moved slightly more inland for safety. There are signs in places saying be careful of falling rocks, and loose cliffs.

Distance 8.3 miles (13km)

Duration of Walk 5 Hours 30 mins including breaks

Elevation Gained 1535 feet (468m)

Pace 40 min a mile

Information/Advice Hotel Belavista Da Luz

Almadena fort was built in the XV11 century, to defend the fishing structures and coast against attacks of pirates. Apparently, it was built above a Roman temple dedicated to Neptune. The castle had 2 ramparts, a moat and drawbridge, with cannons facing the sea. It was last used in the civil war (1832-1834), and for contraband surveillance on the coast.

There are warning signs of danger of rock falls, particularly along the beach- praia de Cabanas Velhas.

Emergency phone number is 112


Day 3 - Algarve Section - Luz to Lagos

We were looking forward to another day of cliff walking with fine views, and we weren't disappointed. But sad though that this is the final day of the Fishermen’s trail walk. Leaving out hotel (Hotel Belavista Da Luz) at 9.30am after a delicious buffet breakfast, we were happy to see that the rain from the previous night had disappeared, and a sunny day was forecast. From our hotel, we walked back down the hill into Luz past the church, then turned left along the promenade, passing cafes. There is a lovely wave cut platform and another information board -7 Miles/11km, 4 hours, an easy walk with 300m ascent and descent to Lagos. Look out for the tile frieze of Luz in 1996, looking very different then, than it does now. At the end of the beach, we followed the cobbled path up between the villas. We were soon out of town again, with views over Luz and the countryside. An obelisk comes into view: however, the path does not go straight but takes a gentler path to the left, then turning right. We arrived at the obelisk at 10.05am, 40mins after leaving with112m ascent, and 1.5 miles covered. There are great views to Luz, and Sagres. Continuing we passed a plantation of fir trees, before following the fence around the cliff.

A lady walking the opposite way asked us for directions, (Diane from Holland). It turned out she was aiming for Santiago de Compostela via the Fishermen's Trail, then the Camino from Lisbon or Porto. We gave her our printed-out walks from this trip and a card with our website details on, and wished her well. There is a notice board about the pine caterpillar, we thought our friends were joking when they mentioned them, but reading the board they sound like nasty creatures to be avoided, with lots of side effects if pricked by them.

We stopped for a coffee and cake at San Antonio restaurant watching the surfers on the beach, before leaving at 11.30am. We continued up the road, past a new toilet block, then after 15 minutes turned right. Take care to follow the signs, passing the new villas, before arriving at a boardwalk. From here the walk mainly follows the boardwalk, with occasional detours to see outcrops of rock. There are plenty of stunning feature’s, stacks, arches, collapsed sea caves, set amongst the beautiful turquoise sea. We watched people out on canoes, paddle-boarding, swimming, boating etc. The area is a real hive of activity. We passed the old lighthouse where the car park is being redeveloped, small beaches and more fabulous scenery. By 1pm we were back in Lagos, just before the old walls there is a public toilet 6.95 miles, 3 hours 30 mins, 264m ascent.

The walk continues running parallel to a water channel that was bustling with boats, before turning right (1.15pm) over a bridge towards the large marina. The walk finishes beside the walk information board by the new railway station. Check out the architecture and tiles of the old railway station nearby, which apparently is going to be renovated. After hearty congratulations, we treated ourselves to lunch at The Lighthouse Bar Terrace restaurant. From the upstairs bar there are fabulous views over the marina to the mountains beyond, lunch and service were excellent. We were already planning our next walks’, maybe the Portuguese Camino from

Porto to Santiago de Compostela, the St Cuthberts Way on the Scottish/English borders. And maybe next year the walk from Lucca to Rome. We have found however trips we go on, there are always many more waiting for us.

Distance 7.82 miles (12.5km)

Duration of Walk 3 Hours 55 mins including breaks

Elevation Gained 892 feet (272m)

Pace 29 min a mile

Information/Advice drinks stop lunch stop

It was spring when we walked the final 3 days of the route. The flowers were beautiful, look out for wide orchids, dwarf palms, thyme and lavender.

Take binoculars to observe birds along the path, especially early in the morning.

Lagos was an important port for the commencement of many Portuguese adventurers for over 600 years. In Dom Henrique square there is a statue of him holding a sextant-important for navigation. It is ironic that the place from where people left is now a major tourist destination, with a fishing port, marina, old castle, ancient walls, and many delicious fish restaurants. The old walls and old town behind them are well worth a trip. Lagos has good transport links by train or bus to Faro and Lisbon.

Pine Processionary caterpillars are nasty creatures to be avoided, if pricked by them, there are lots of side effects-carry antihistamines just in case. The caterpillars’ hairs can cause allergies on the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. The greatest risk is between January and April, when the creatures come down from the trees, then bury themselves in the ground. If stung by them remove the hairs that may have stuck to the skin, apply a cortisone cream and take antihistamines.

We now have Garmin watches. These link to our phones, they can record the walk, and give readings of distance walked, metres climbed, heart rate etc. We are loving them, and are very popular with our Friday walking club!

Happy walking, remember Life should be a series of great adventures.


Advice and Summary for the Fishermen’s Trail, South West Portugal


We had booked all accommodation in advance. The stages are obvious, of differing lengths, but always ending in a small village with facilities. The area is well connected by buses-but do check first. The most popular part of the walk seems to be from Porto Covo to Odeceixe, 4 days of walking with spectacular views, and good transport links at each end. We usually use to book accommodation, but occasionally we contact hotels on their website or phone.

Some of the stages had nowhere to buy provisions, cafes found along the way may or may not be open-depending on the time of day or the season. We always checked the following day’s route to see if any small villages are passed, and bought lunch the night before to carry with us-just in case.

The route is mostly marked with green/blue dashes but sometimes following the red and white of the inland/Historic Trail. However, we did get lost on a couple of occasions. The Cicerone book we had is very out of date, as the actual fisherman's way walk has been extended considerably over the last few years, an up-to-date version has just been published. The route can be walked in either direction, with signs for both ways. But the majority of people walked from north to south.

We got lost a couple of times, most of the walk was well signed, but if you have lost the signs, you may be off route. Make sure that you are following the correct colour of sign, as various routes do overlap, as well as local circular walks.

A new book and map can be purchased in Portugal in English or on-line. The guide book purchased in Portugal follows a much better path down the coast, than the English edition. Also check out’ websites, with a walk description and map for each stage. Personally, I would print these out too. In each town there are information boards with details and a map of the following day’s trek. We took photos of these to use in addition to having the guide book.

The walk has now been extended taking an extra 3 days from Cabo Sao Vicente to Lagos, along the Algarve coast. Lagos is a lovely destination with a beautiful beach, accommodation, bars, restaurants, old town, boat trips etc. It has good transport links by train or bus to Faro and Lisbon.

When walking carrying full rucksacks, we tend to average 2 miles an hour. This includes stopping/eating/taking photos etc. This path may seem relatively easy, some days with not much elevation, but wading through loose sand along cliff tops was particularly hard work. The sand in our boots seemed to create blisters too, so needed to be emptied out. We watched YouTube videos of walkers removing their boots and socks to make the cliff top walking easier, but we went on the side of caution not knowing what snakes, scorpions, thorns etc might be lurking in the sand.

We all got bitten-not even sure what by-maybe sand flies. So, take insect repellent and bite cream.

A basic knowledge of the Portuguese language would be helpful, we find that local people usually appreciate the effort, however poor. We did take a small phrase book too. But we did find in most places we went to people did speak some English.

We are used to breakfast of tomato on toast in Spain-not available in Portugal. It took a few attempts of ordering in Portugal, to get it right. By ordering toast, 2 pieces of bread, heavily spread with butter arrived. The toasta mixed, was a toast sandwich with a filling of either ham and cheese or cheese and tomato. We found one of these plenty to share between us.

We walked at the beginning of October, it was 25°C+ by the afternoon, and with little shade for most of the walk, making it very hot for walking. In July/August it would be even hotter, with the accommodation and restaurants being busy too.

Sometimes the shops are closed on a Sunday, we planned accordingly and usually have a few spare cans of tune just in case.

If walking in the Spring, many more wild flowers would probably be seen, in addition to Storks nesting.

Items to take

We took a guide book with us, purchased in England. Our friends purchased a map and a different English guide book in Portugal, but these are not commonly found. The guide book purchased in Portugal follows a much better path, down the coast, than the English edition.

We wore boots, but not everyone did. We also take trainers, just in case of any problems with the boots. Some of the paths were rocky with loose stones, so we thought boots were a good option.

Take fruit, snacks, cereal bars etc, and plenty of water, as on some days there are no refreshments en-route.

Take some cash/coins, just in case, but most places took a card, except for a couple of hotels and cafes. Coins were handy for any drink dispensing machines that you might find.

As usual take sun tan lotion, sun hats, a tick card, insect repellent, spare laces, and a good first aid kit, as there are few pharmacies en-route (and sometimes closed all afternoon). Take a phone and battery chargers, so the apps can be used.

We took gloves and winter hats-in hindsight, not necessary, but had we left earlier in the day-maybe 7am, they may have been useful, also it was chilly in the evening.

Maybe take trekking poles-handy on some of the steep rocky unstable ground.

In an emergency dial 112

Take water containers-the tap water is drinkable. There are no wells in the villages-unlike Camino villages in Spain.

Places we ate along the way Vila Nova de Milfontes Nepali restaurant Almograve

Zambujeira Odeceixe Aljezur-a favourite Lunch Arrifana Carrapateira Vila do Bispo-another favourite

List of Accommodation Porto Covo

Almograve- The worst place we stayed, but when we booked there was nothing else. Zambujeira Casa Luar, Odeceixe Vicentina Hotel Aljezur Hotel vale de Telha Arriifana Hotel Carrapateira Hotel Mira Sagres Vila do Bispo

Other useful websites Hotels


Tickets, Prices and Schedules | Rede Expressos ( Bus from Lisbon Bus to lagos

Books we used

Trekking Portugal’s Rota Vicentina by Gillian Price. Cicerone Press, but buy the most up-to date version, out on 15.11.22-just after our trip.

Map Rota Vicentina-available in Portugal

Guide book Rota Vicentina-available in Portugal website selling book and map of the trail

In the words of the most famous hiker – Alfred Wainwright, in relation to the Coast-to-Coast Walk.

“I want to encourage in others the ambition to devise with the aid of maps their own cross-country marathons and not be merely followers of other people's routes: there is no end to the possibilities for originality and initiative.”