Portugal's Rota Vicentina
The Historical Way and Fishermen's Trail
Guidebook to walking Portugal's Rota Vicentina, a stunning yet remarkably little-visited 220km route down the south-western Atlantic coast, through the Alentejo and Algarve districts. The route, which is suitable for all fit walkers and is not technically difficult, is described across 12 stages, making it perfect for a 2-week holiday.
SeasonsThe perfect time to go is spring (March to May/early June) then late summer to autumn (September to November). September to June is fine although the winter can be wet. Midsummer can be stiflingly hot and not recommended.
CentresSantiago do Cacém, Cercal do Alentejo, Porto Covo, Vila Nova de Milfontes, Almograve, Zambujeira do Mar, Odeceixe, Aljezur, Arrifana, Carrapateira, Vila do Bispo, Cabo de São Vicente, Sagres, Odemira.
DifficultyThe trek stages are on mostly level ground and are straightforward, with no special difficulty involved (Grade 1 and 2). This trek is suitable for all fit walkers who are capable of walking around 20km per day.
Must SeeDramatic cliff scenery along the Fisherman's Trail; vast sandy beaches; white storks nesting on sea stacks; 15th-century Age of Discovery sites and history of Henry the Navigator; Arab-era castles; welcoming fishing villages and Portuguese hospitality; Europe's most southwestern point of Cabo de São Vicente.
This guidebook follows the Rota Vicentina, a 220km walking route along the stunning Atlantic coastline in the Alentejo and Algarve regions of Portugal. The 12-stage trek combines two well-marked routes, the Caminho Histórico (the Historical Way) and the Trilho dos Pescadores (the Fishermen's Trail), to create a hike starting in Santiago do Cacém and ending at Cabo de São Vicente. The guide also describes an alternative circular route for those who would prefer an 11-stage loop, moving inland from Odeceixe and back up to Santiago de Cacém.
Whichever route is chosen, the Rota Vicentina is ideal for a two-week holiday in spring or late summer to autumn, offering walkers a remarkable range of landscapes from coastal fishing villages to wooded river valleys. The guidebook includes advice about accommodation options along the route, information about the surrounding area, and a glossary of Portuguese terms to aid with reading signs and maps.
Along the Rota Vicentina are many delights for walkers. This stunning coastal region is home to a variety of rare birdlife, including white storks that nest precariously on sea stacks. Another treat is the mouth-watering Portuguese cuisine, whether the famous custard tarts or less well-known goose barnacles. With its vibrant cultural traditions and rich history displayed in Arab-era castles and 15th-century Age of Discovery sites, this route offers pleasant surprises at every stage along the Portuguese Atlantic coast.
Gillian Price has trekked throughout Asia and the Himalayas, but now lives in Venice. Gillian has steadily explored the mountain ranges of Italy, and Corsica, and brought them to life for visitors in a series of outstanding guides for Cicerone. She is an active member of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) and Mountain Wilderness.View author profile
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