Rota Vicentina Walking Holiday Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival & Briefing at the Accommodation
Meet your transfer driver in the Lisbon or Faro arrivals hall (if taking private transfer option). Transfer to Santiago do Cacém situated in the inland of Alentejo’s coast. It is an interesting town well worth exploring. A passage point of walkers since the medieval age. Enjoy the magnificent panoramic views over the city and towards the hill with the castle and city’s church on top. Accommodation: in a Small Hotel
Day 2: Route between – Santiago do Cacém- Vale Seco
Daily distance: 20km – 6h
Time to start your adventure, This section of the trail is dominated by cork trees, the Alentejo’s emblematic species. Vieira Natividade, a well-known Portuguese forester, said: “No other tree gives us so much while requiring so little”. The cork tree is crucial to the local economy and supports an extraordinarily wide-ranging ecosystem. Cork oak forests also support various economic activities such as Bee-keeping, Nature orientated tourism, the collection of edible or medicinal mushrooms, (and even mushrooms used in the making of cosmetics), as well as farming of local animal breeds such as the famed Black Pig of the area and several different species of Alentejo cows. Being an evergreen species, Cork oaks provide shelter and food right up the food chain the whole year-round. They are home to numerous insects and spiders which produce food for a wealth of different birds, and there are over fifty different species that commonly nest in cork forests, among which can be found at least three different species of eagle, the Short-toed, Booted and Bonelli’s. Other species of wildlife, such as the Wildcat, Genet or Weasel can also be found.
Accommodation: in a Turismo rural.
Day 3: Route between – Vale Seco – Cercal do Alentejo
Daily distance: – 19Km – 6h
The third day brings a strong rural feeling to the walk, passing by many farms and cultivated fields, an excellent opportunity to see a different rhythm and lifestyle. Walking through forests, open cultivated fields, olive fields, small dams and reservoirs of water before reaching Cercal, the path takes you around the beautiful Campilhas damp, a lovely spot for a picnic and a quick swim in the warmer days.
Accommodation: In a small Hotel.
Day 4: Route between – Cercal do Alentejo – Porto Côvo
Daily distance: 17km – 5h
Now it’s time to get closer to the sea. This is the section connecting the Historical Way to the Fishermen’s Trail on Rota Vicentina’s northern region, allowing you to feel this area’s strong connection to the ocean, as you approach the coastline and Porto Covo, a picturesque fishermen’s village. After the first Kms by small farms and their beautiful cultivated gardens, we can smell the eucalyptus in the air as we pass by a plantation. You will know the sea’s getting closer as soon as we find some flat cereal fields, with the ocean on the horizon.
Accommodation: in a Small Hotel.
Day 5: Route between – Porto Côvo – Vila Nova de Milfontes
Daily distance: 19km – 6h
This is the beaches section, where you will walk along the vast dunes area of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Aivados and Malhão beaches and discover small deserted coves that will surprise you. It is a tiring walking day though, given its extension and the constant sandy terrain. Walk along the coastline, always with a fantastic sea view. Starting in the pretty historic village Porto Côvo, passing a small Island called “Ilha do Pessegueiro” with the option to go by the beach to walk on the hard sand or going a little inland by the dunes path. You will find some stunning beaches, and after that, almost at the end, you have a fishing harbour in the “north area” of Vila Nova de Milfontes.
Accommodation: Small Guesthouse.
Day 6: From Vila Nova de Milfontes – Almograve/Longueira
Daily distance: 17km – 4h
Easy walking along the coast with paths winding their way through pinewoods, dunes and along cliff tops. You will find some deserted beaches and after that than the tiny fishing village called Almograve. Here you can have a rest and try the local gastronomy (seafood is excellent). After lunch, a 30 minutes walk to Longueira, where Maria do Carmo will be excepting you at her Turismo Rural.
Accommodation: in rural tourism.
Day 7: Route between – Almograve – Zambujeira do Mar
Daily distance: 21km – 5h
The high cliffs you will see during this part of the journey, despite being exposed to the constant salty ocean winds, are the nesting site for over twenty species of bird! These include Jackdaw, Shag, Common Kestrel, “pure” Rock Dove, White Stork, Peregrine Falcon and Black Redstart. It is worthwhile taking the time to stop and watch these birds, especially during Spring, around the Cape Sardão area. The Rock Doves are especially interesting as they are the original species from which all the feral pigeons in the world descend. If you look carefully along this coastal stretch, it is easy to see past climate change written in the rocks. The sandstone was formed when the sea was at least 100m, (400 ft), lower than at present, with the beach over 60 km further west. Prehistoric settlements have been found here with remains of colder climate animals and shellfish, evident signs of a colder, drier past, but it is equally possible to see signs of times when the climate here was warmer, wetter and more tropical, displayed by impressive reddish tones in the sand and sandstone, resulting from the accumulation of iron oxides. Leaving the village of Almograve behind you will be once again, exploring landscapes along the unspoiled coastal Alentejo. Passing on the side of the fishing harbour (Entrada da Barca – on route) you continue walking next to the cliffs with panoramic sceneries. You can stop at the village of Cavaleiro to rest, gather supplies and enjoy a tasty and homemade local dish before heading West to the beautiful lighthouse of Cabo Sardão. You finish at Zambujeira do Mar, with one of the most amazing urban beaches in Portugal.
Accommodation: in a Small Hotel
Day 8: Departure.
Enjoy breakfast. Checking out today and private transfer to Airport (if taking private transfer option). We can also arrange an extension in the Algarve or Lisbon/Lisbon coast.