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Self-Guided Coastal Trails of Portugal

Portugal - Trip code WSPO Walking and Trekking
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185Kg of CO²e
Average carbon footprint per person
Carbon Footprint
You deserve to know everything about your holiday, from what is included, what to expect and every kilogram of CO2 emitted on average per person along the way.

We've partnered with ecollective to measure the carbon footprint of this tour based on an average group size. Find out more about how we calculate this and why we think it's important here.

Why book this trip?

On this self-guided holiday walk the Rota Vicentina, a well-marked trail along cliff tops, amongst dunes and beside dramatic rocky shorelines to Cabo Sao Vicente, the south-western most point of Portugal and continental Europe.

  • Get off the beaten track - Walk the Rota Vicentina along this little-known part of the western Algarve
  • Cabo de Sao Vicente - Discover the south-western most point of mainland Portugal and continental Europe
  • Relaxed pace - Enjoy the lifestyle and food and wine of the region
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 8

  • Trip staff


  • Transport


  • i


    5 nights comfortable hotel

    3 nights simple hotel

  • i

    Walking grade:



Day 1 - Trip starts in Zambujeira do Mar

Your accommodation for the first two nights of your holiday is in the coastal village of Zambujeira do Mar. After checking-in, you may choose to spend some time exploring this charming village, set against a backdrop of wild beaches and rugged cliffs. There are several small cafes serving delicious, fresh custard tarts and coffee which you can enjoy. The cafes at the bottom of the village have wonderful views out to sea and great vantage points for sunset. This evening, we recommend enjoying a dinner of freshly-caught fish in one of the family-run restaurants in the village.

On some days of your trip the walks are affected by tide times. Please check these in advance and plan your walks accordingly.

We are able to offer private transfers from both Lisbon (LIS) and Faro (FAO) Airports. Please contact our self-guided team for further information.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Walk along the 'Rota Vicentina' from Cavaleiro to Zambujeira do Mar

This morning starts with a short taxi transfer to the village of Cavaleiro. From here, your walk takes you along a coastal section of the famous 'Rota Vicentina' footpath. Shortly after leaving Cavaleiro you reach the cliff path and the lighthouse at Cape Sardao, from here on there are fantastic coastal views for most of the day. The route follows a wide path for most of the time but there are narrower sections and one short, steep descent towards the end of the walk. You can expect today's 12 kilometre walk to take approximately five hours. If you would like a longer walk today there is the option of starting in the village of Almograve. This section begins with a wide gravel path parallel to the coast and then turns into gentle sandy dunes. For the most part you stick on the coast but a short section which winds in to a pine forest offers a beautiful complement to the coastal scenery. Starting in Almograve, the total distance walked today is 21 kilometres and will take approximately 7 hours.

You can expect today's 12 kilometre walk to take approximately five hours. If taking the longer option the walk is 21 kilometres and will take approximately 7 hours


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 3 - Walk along the coast from Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe

Today's walk follows another section of the Rota Vicentina along the stunning Atlantic coast. This route alternates between rolling dunes and rocky cliff paths where storks nest, the views along the way are beautiful and there is no shortage of spots to stop for a snack and to take it all in. Following the coast, you pass pristine golden beaches and the fishing village of Azenha do Mar before reaching the mouth of the River Odeceixe. Here you turn inland and follow the river to reach the attractive, laidback village of Odeceixe, where you will spend the night.

You can expect today's 20 kilometre walk to take approximately six hours. There are two steep sections on today's walk, both are very short and covered in just a few minutes but walking poles would be useful (but not essential) for these sections.


Grade: Simple Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 4 - Choice of routes to Aljezur

Once again, today's route follows the Rota Vicentina, although this time you walk inland. After passing alongside an irrigation channel winding through farmed fields, the scenery opens out into a landscape of heather and fragrant shrubs. If you'd prefer to remain on the coast, at low tide an alternative route crosses ravines, from one beach to the next. Whichever route you choose, you will arrive to the interesting village of Aljezar. This is where we stay tonight so there is time to explore the 'old village' and the Moorish castle.

You can expect today's 18 or 17.5 kilometre walks to take approximately seven and four-and-a-half hours, respectively.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 5 - Choice of routes to Carrapateira

Today, your choice of walk will once again depend on the tide. After a short taxi ride to the fishing village of Arrifana, if tides are low, you can walk along rocky strands and sandy beaches. If water levels are high, an alternate route takes you inland via Bordeira to Carrapateira, where you will find your hotel for the night.

You can expect today's 12 kilometre walk to take approximately four hours.


Grade: Simple Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 6 - Choice of routes to Carrapateira

Today you have a choice of circular routes from Carrapateira. The shorter leads you through sand dunes to reach the picturesque beach at Carrapateira. The longer walk begins with a section along the coast then turns inland through idyllic valleys, passing hidden villages like Pedralva, where you may wish to stop for lunch. Alternatively you can do yesterday's coastal walk if conditions didn't allow for that.

You can expect today's 24 kilometre walks to take approximately seven hours.


Grade: Simple Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 7 - Walk to historic Vila do Bispo

Setting off from your hotel, today's route incorporates inland and coastal sections, depending on the tides. Along your way, you're likely to spot fishermen perched high on the cliffs. Your route ends in historic Vila do Bispo, where you will spend the next two nights in a hospitable hotel, complete with indoor swimming pool and sauna.

You can expect today's 19 kilometre walk to take approximately seven hours.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 8 - Walk to the far southwest point of Portugal

Your last day of hiking takes you through pastures and fields to the far southwest corner of Portugal, walking along flat tracks and narrow fishermen's paths above rocky shores. If the weather is warm, you have the option of stopping for a swim at 'Praia do Ponto Ruiva'. Your walk ends at windy Cape Sao Vicente, with sweeping views of the ocean. From here, you can either walk back to your hotel, or catch a public bus or taxi, before enjoying your final evening in Vila do Bispo.

You can expect today's 14 kilometre walk to take approximately four-and-a-half hours. A walk back from Cape Sao Vicente will add an extra six kilometres and an hour-and-half to your route.


Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 9 - Trip ends in Vila do Bispo

After breakfast, the organised part of your holiday comes to an end.

We are able to offer private transfers to both Lisbon (LIS) and Faro (FAO) Airports. Please contact our self-guided team for further information.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Trip information

Climate and country information



Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a trip to Portugal - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The northern high plains has both extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. The islands have very different weather patterns due to their positioning and can have sudden rain falls throughout the year so waterproofs are recommended even in the summer.

Time difference to GMT



2 Pin Round


Roman Catholic



Budgeting and packing


Light rainwear may be needed at any time of year, and a warm fleece/jacket is recommended for cooler evenings and nights early and late in the season.


Well worn, sturdy walking boots with good ankle support are essential for the walks. Sandals and trainers are recommended for relaxing in the evenings.

Luggage: On tour

Bring one main piece of baggage as per your airline luggage allowance, maximum 20 kg per person. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage during transfers by public transport so don't overload yourself. Luggage transfers between hotels are normally arranged by the hoteliers. Mark your bags clearly and leave them at the place and time arranged with them. When travelling on public transport you should always take your luggage with you.

Luggage transfer

Included between each hotel.


A water bottle, sunhat and sunscreen are all essential and you may wish to bring a light torch. Walking poles recommended.

Maps - Along with the destination manual and route notes you will be sent a set of maps that have been created specifically for this trip to help you navigate. The route is marked on each map together with a series of numbered waypoints which correspond with instructions in the route notes. Should you wish to purchase a more detailed commercially produced map we recommend the following:-

General Map
Grupo Anaya, Portugal, Madeira y Azores, 1:340.000 (2008)

Topographic Map
Rota Vicentina Mapa / Map, 1:55.000 (2013)


Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.

Dinner price
Beer price
£2.00 - 3.00 depending on your location, well touristed areas are usually slightly more expensive.
Water price
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Take the majority of your spending money in Euros cash.
Where To Exchange
We recommend that you change any currency into Euros prior to arrival. Bureau de Change are generally only found in major cities and large airports.
ATM Availability
Cash-point machines are available in all major towns. Bankcards with the Cirrus logo are accepted.
Credit Card Acceptance
Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted in larger restaurants and some shops.
Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques can be exchanged in all major towns but are not recommended due to the high rate of commission.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information


Recommended airport

Faro Airport (FAO) or Lisbon Airport (LIS)

Flying to your destination

We'd recommend flying into and out of Faro Airport (FAO) or Lisbon Airport (LIS).

Faro is served by budget (including Easyjet and Ryanair), charter (including Thomson Airlines and Monarch) and scheduled airlines (including British Airways and TAP - non-direct) from many UK airports.

Lisbon is served by fewer airlines from fewer UK airports, but these included Easyjet, Ryanair and British Airways and TAP.

Arrival and departure information

At the start of your trip you can fly into Lisbon (LIS) or Faro (FAO) Airports.

By public transport from Lisbon Airport (LIS):
There are public buses from Lisbon airport to Sete Rios bus station in Lisbon city centre. For further details please see: parking/getting-to-and-from-the- airport/public-transportation

From Lisbon Sete Rios bus station to Zambujeira:
In high season there are 4 buses a day (5 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) between 07.30 and 17.00, with Rede Expressos. Duration 4 hrs. For further details please see:
In low season there is one daily direct bus at 17.00 (with an additional one at 10.30 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). Alternatively there is a bus at 15.00 to Odemira (approx. 4 hours). From there a taxi to Zambujeira (20km) costs approx. €20.

If you miss the 17.00 bus, at 17.30hrs there is a bus to San Teotonio (duration 3.15hrs). You will then have to take a taxi to Zambujeira (15min).

By public transport from Faro Airport (FAO):
Take a taxi or bus from Faro airport to Faro bus station (Terminal Rodoviaria, EVA bus company). Alternatively if you have travelled by TAP there is a free shuttle bus.

From Faro bus station (Terminal Rodoviaria, EVA bus company) travel first to Portimao:
Departures Mon to Fri at 08.00 and 09.00 (except bank holidays) and daily at 12:30. Duration 1 hour and 45 min. For further details please see:

From Portimao take the Rede Expressos bus to Sao Teotonio:
Departures daily at 15:00. Duration 1,5 hrs. For further infornmation please see:

From Sao Teotonio, take a taxi to your accommodation in Zambujeira (15 min).

On departure from Vila do Bispo to Lisbon Airport:
From Vila do Bispo travel with EVA bus company to the bus station in Lagos. (The bus stop in Vila do Bispo is opposite Caixa Agricola bank. You buy your ticket to Lagos on the bus). Duration is 30 to 45 minutes. There is at least one bus every 1.5 hours. The first bus departs at 06:15 Monday - Saturday (07:15 Sundays and holidays). Check departure times at the cafe opposite the bus stop or at (Alternatively take a taxi from Vila do Bispo to Lagos).

Travelling with Eva bus company from Lagos to the bus station in Lisbon, there are approx. 5 regular departures a day (the first at 05:45, last at 18:15 hrs). Duration is just under 4 hours. See for complete timetables. From Lisbon bus station you take a shuttle bus or taxi to the airport.

On departure from Vila do Bispo to Faro Airport:
Travel to Lagos as above.

From Lagos to Faro by bus or a train:
1. Lagos-Faro by bus with EVA (Terminal Rodoviaria). Duration 2 hours. Departures from 06:50 to 17:15 hrs, with services approximately every 2 hours.
2. Lagos-Faro by train. To get to the train station, from the Rodoviaria bus terminal cross the footbridge and walk right alongside the harbor building. There are trains every 2 hrs approx, from 06:15 to 19:15 hrs. Duration 2 hours. From Faro, you take a bus or taxi to the airport.

From Faro (bus station) to Faro Airport:
1. Airport shuttle: the bus stops opposite the Rodoviaria Terminal (take the 'Urbana' bus, direction 'Praia de Faro'). Duration approx 20min. Several departures daily during the week. Timetable is more irregular at the weekends. Ask the driver for assistance.
2. A taxi from Faro to the airport costs about €10. There are taxi ranks in front of the bus station and by the park ('Jardim Manuel Bivar' near the History Museum).

From Faro (train station) to Faro Airport:
There are buses every 45min (approx) from 07.00 hrs to 20.00 hrs, with fewer services on Saturdays and Sundays.

Further information on bus services with Rede Expressos at (click on the English flag).

Further information on bus services with EVA bus at

Further information on train services in Portugal at

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Portugal: Visas are not required by UK, E.U nationals, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.

All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Minimum age restrictions

For our group tours, the minimum age is 16. The minimum age on Family trips varies between 7 and 11 - please check the 'Family information' section of the trip page for more information. 


Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.

Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here


It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.

Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.


Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Maximum altitude (m)




Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Walking and Trekking information
WSPO Distance Chart
Walking grade
Trek details
On this journey you walk for 5 to 7 hours on 7 days, mainly on unsurfaced tracks, coastal trails and footpaths. The distance covered is a minimum of 128 km (an average of 18 km per day). On two days there is a choice of route depending on the tide.

Max walking altitude (m)
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Airport Transfers
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