Rota Vicentina on Fallas

15-22 of March

Let’s escape from Fallas to Algarve region in Southern Portugal to do 5 stages of coastal long distance walking path – Rota Vicentina. During the trip we will visit various typical Portuguese villages, get to the Atlantic ocean to enjoy the view from the cliffs and walk till San Vicente cape – the southwesternmost point of Portugal and of mainland Europe.

Comprised mainly of rural trails, Rota Vicentina is a classic Grand Route (GR), with stretches of cork tree forests, mountain ranges, valleys, rivers and creeks, in a true journey through time, local culture and nature trails.
In February 2016, the Historical Way of the Rota Vicentina was certified by the European wide label “Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe”, a certification from ERA – European Ramblers Association – joining the exclusive group of the best walking destinations in Europe. The standards and certification ensure good experiences within beautiful nature, wellmarked trails, easy access, good logistics, well maintained websites and luggage transportation.

Saturday, March 15 (travel day)

We will take a flight from Valencia to Faro, Portugal at 12:05. There is a connection to be made in Lisbon, but the flights are operated by the same company (TAP). We are expected to arrive at Faro at 15:55. Then we will take a train from Faro to Lagos and spend a night there.

Next morning we will take a bus from Lagos to Odeceixe, and start walking from there.

Accomodation: Tivoli Lagos

Monday, March 16: Odeceixe-Aljezur

Groundwater is so abundant in this coastal plateau that it surfaces in certain places at lower elevation, giving rise to wetlands, locally called brejo (marshes). The vegetation is unique, since not all plants can support so much water permanently in the soil. For some animals, swamps are places of food, shelter or breeding. The butterfly Euphydrias aurinia, protected at European level, is one example of a species that depends on these mosaics of humid meadows full of rushes and reeds. These marshes are also the ideal habitat for the Cabrera’s vole, and the swamps are prime hunting places for birds and bats who hunt the small mammals and insects that live there.

Length: 19,5km
Approximate duration: 6hours
Accumulated ascent: 200m
Accumulated descent: 200m
Degree of difficulty: 2/5

Accomodation: Guesthouse A Lareira

Tuesday, March 17: Aljezur-Arrifana

From the top of the legendary castle of Aljezur, one of the seven that are represented in the flag of Portugal, the flat and fertile soils of the floodplains are home to the famous and incomparable sweet potato of Aljezur. The streams meander through these fields with their magnificent galleries of cottonwood, alders, ash, tamarisk, and willows. Man has lived respectfully and harmoniously with this natural world, strongly influenced by the change in seasons. As a result, we find an agricultural landscape rich in diversity, especially regarding plants, insects, birds, amphibians and mammals. In the spring, butterflies rival the flowers in the colorful explosion that occurs.

Length: 12km
Approximate duration: 4hours
Accumulated ascent: 250m
Accumulated descent: 200m
Degree of difficulty: 2/5

Accomodation: Hotel Vale Da Telha

Wednesday, March 18: Arrifana-Carrapateira

In this admirable section there is the con­stant and simultaneous presence of the hills and the sea, pristine nature and the unique presence of man. It’s practically a step-by-step summary of what Rota Vicentina has to offer: the power of the sea pouring over ancient cliffs or on quiet sandy beaches, undergrowths full of colour and aromas, an extraordinary biodiversity of fauna, tranquil woods of cork, wild olive and oak trees, meadows cultivated by man at his leisure, visited at night by boars and badgers, a spring which erupts in flowers and colourful insects, a fall that has mushrooms and edible wild plants, points of contemplation at sea level, at the top of the cliff, in the intimacy of the woods or on top of a hill. It is worth while taking a longer look at Canal Beach and the village of Bordeira.

Length: 24km
Approximate duration: 8 hours
Accumulated ascent: 500m
Accumulated descent: 550m
Degree of difficulty: 3/5

Accomodation: Villa Nooma

Thursday, March 19: Carrapateira-Vila do Bispo

The beginning of this section treats us to scenery in which the mountain range spreads as far as the coast, ending up on the beach. Rocks, hillsides, streams or plains in deep valleys, are some of the features that make up the aesthetic landscape and constitute a mosaic of habitats with distinct ecological functions. En route to the interior, on the way to Vilarinha and Pedralva villages, along the riverbanks, there are tamarisk, willow, ash and Portuguese oaks. On the drier slopes, grow cork oak, maritime and stone pines, oleaster and olive trees. On the steepest slopes, you can admire the natural vegetation, virtually untouched by man, with dense scrub under the cover of cork trees. In this undergrowth strawberry tree, white heather, scotch heather, Viburnum tinus, rock rose, lentiscus, wild asparagus, laurel and gorse are in abundance.

Length: 21.5km
Approximate duration: 6 hours
Accumulated ascent: 350m
Accumulated descent: 280m
Degree of difficulty: 2/5

Accomodation: Pure Fonte Velha B&B

Friday, March 20: Vila do Bispo – Cabo de San Vicente

You are about to finish the Historical Way of Rota Vicentina, but before you’ll pass an area called Vale Santo. For centuries, it was part of the pilgrimage route of the devotees of Saint Vincent, whose journey finished at a monastery, where nowadays the lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente is located.
On this section, the very high cliffs provide unique scenery. Ornithologists and birdwatchers are attracted to Sagres by the autumnal migration of soaring birds and seabirds, which amount to more than 5000 individuals from more than 300 species. In fact, Sagres is the stage of the Birdwatching Festival that takes place annually in October.

Length: 14km
Approximate duration: 4 hours
Accumulated ascent: 100m
Accumulated descent: 120m
Degree of difficulty: 2/5

After the hike we will take the bus to Lagos and spend a relaxing evening there exploring the town a bit and have dinner in some nice place.

Accomodation: Tivoli Lagos

The information about the stages of the trail as well as photos are taken from the official website –

Saturday, March 21: Rest Day

In the morning we will take the train from Lagos to Faro and spend one more day exploring the coastal town, this time – Faro. We’ll walk around old quarters, visit the Cathedral and explore the city walls.

Sunday, March 22: Travel Day

On Sunday we have an 11:15 flight to Valencia, again with a connection in Lisbon, operated by TAP. The flight arrives in Valencia airport at 17:10 – a convinient time to easily get back home.

Rota Vicentina

Total price: 565 euros (200 euros paid in advance). This includes the return flight, 7 nights of accomodation (breakfast included), transportation from Faro airport to beginning of the route and back and travel insurance. The price may vary slightly due to changes in flight fares.


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