Fisherman’s trail – exploring Southwest of Portugal

All of the Southwest coast is one of my favourite spots of my country. It combines the fantastic gastronomy of the region with the proximity to the ocean that I love!


This National Park promotes a long trekking route that connects the main towns along the coast. You can do it on your own with no need for great apparel or expertise.

There are two options, the fisherman’s trail which runs nearer to the coast, and the historical way, which runs more inland. Both treks are divided into stages that start and end in coastal villages where you can easily find accommodation, a place to eat and supplies to stock on. Halfway along each stage you will usually find a restaurant that can be a good stop for refuelling and a well-earned rest.

Why do it?

Most of the fisherman’s trail runs along the seaside and some stretches will take you into the beach. You will see amazing beaches, some of them completely isolated and virgin. The landscape changes quite a bit, so you will not be bored, and the birds you will most likely find will make your day. I was particularly mesmerised by the storks, which nest on the rocks inside the ocean, and more than once glided a few feet from us with their majestic wings fully open.

When to do it?

We have done two of the stages in the beginning of May, which is basically a pre-season. The weather is still somewhat mild and most of the restaurants and hotels are already up and running. I guess September and October could also be a good time of year. July through August are the crowded season and the hottest: with temperatures above 35º it can become challenging.

How to do it?

We stayed in one village and either caught a taxi at the end or at the beginning of the trek. But that’s because we could only do one stage each year.

You can do the same or just take your backpack with you and book your accommodation in advance.

Be sure to check with your accommodation if the restaurants along the way are working and what are the opening times. Out of season some are closed, so you might need to bring your meal or find another solution. As they are on the beach, sometimes we found it hard to get a table.

Other than that, just bring your trekking gear (boots are not a must if you prefer shoes) and a good photo camera or binoculars, if you are a fan of birds.

Rota Vicentina

These treks are part of the Rota Vicentina, which has its own great website where you can find all the info you need on accommodation, restaurants, supermarkets and even GPS tracks to use on your device. 

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