Welcome to Western Thrace in Greece! This region, located in the country’s northeastern corner, is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. Starting in Thessaloniki, we will take you on a journey through some of the most beautiful and interesting places to visit in Western Thrace, visiting Xanthi, Kavala, Alexandroupolis, Komotini, Drama, and returning to Thessaloniki. Along the way, we’ll also cover some useful information about lodging and points of interest.
Arriving in Thessaloniki
Your journey to Western Thrace begins in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. Thessaloniki is a vibrant metropolis that is steeped in history, culture, and tradition. The city is located on the shores of the Aegean Sea and is renowned for its delicious food, lively nightlife, and stunning architecture.
If you’re arriving in Thessaloniki by plane, you’ll land at Makedonia Airport. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to the city center. The journey takes around 30 minutes by taxi and around 45 minutes by bus.
Once you’re in Thessaloniki, there are plenty of things to see and do. Some of the top attractions include the White Tower, the Archaeological Museum, and the Byzantine Walls. You can also take a stroll along the seafront promenade, enjoy some delicious Greek food at one of the city’s many restaurants, or explore the vibrant nightlife.
After exploring Thessaloniki, travel to Xanthi, a picturesque town located approximately 200 kilometers to the east. Xanthi is well-known for its lovely old town, which combines Ottoman and Balkan architecture.
The Old Town of Xanthi is one of the city’s most popular attractions, with its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and traditional houses with wooden balconies. In addition, there are numerous museums, galleries, and churches to visit in Xanthi, such as the Municipal Museum, the Folklore Museum, and the Church of Saint Nicholas.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Xanthi, there are numerous options available, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. The Hotel Xanthippion, the Elisso Xenia Hotel, and the Hotel Elena are among the best-rated options.
The next stop on the itinerary is Kavala, a coastal city about 70 kilometers south of Xanthi. Kavala is well-known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque harbor, and lively nightlife.
The Castle of Kavala, which offers stunning views of the city and the sea, is one of the top attractions in Kavala. Other must-see attractions include the Imaret, a former Islamic seminary that has been converted into a luxury hotel, and the Municipal Museum, which houses an ancient and Byzantine art collection.
In Kavala, there are numerous lodging options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. The Lucy Hotel, the Esperia Hotel, and the Porto Palio Hotel are among the best-rated options.
It’s time to leave Kavala and head to Alexandroupolis, a coastal city about 150 kilometers to the east. Alexandroupolis is well-known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and lively cultural scene.
The Lighthouse, which offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding area, is one of Alexandroupolis’ top attractions. Other must-see attractions include the Ethnological Museum, which has exhibits on the region’s history and culture, and the Municipal Park.
Alexandroupolis has a variety of lodging options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. The Alexander Beach Hotel, the Astir Alexandroupolis, and the Grand Hotel Egnatia are among the top-rated options.
After exploring Alexandroupolis, travel to Komotini, a city located approximately 100 kilometers to the west. Komotini is well-known for its fascinating history, diverse culture, and breathtaking natural beauty.
The Mosque of Komotini, one of Greece’s oldest and most important Islamic sites, is one of the top attractions in Komotini. Other must-see attractions include the Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts from the region’s ancient past, and the Municipal Park, which provides a peaceful respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.
In Komotini, there are numerous lodging options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. The Arcadia Hotel, the Orpheus Hotel, and the Anatolia Hotel are among the best-rated options.
The next stop on the itinerary is Drama, which is about 60 kilometers northwest of Komotini. Drama is well-known for its breathtaking natural beauty, delectable cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene.
The Agia Varvara Monastery, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area, is one of Drama’s top attractions. Other must-see attractions include the Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts from the region’s ancient past, and the Municipal Park, which provides a peaceful respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.
In Drama, there are numerous lodging options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. The Hydrama Grand Hotel, the Philoxenia Hotel, and the Xenia Hotel are among the best-rated options.
The Aggatis Cave
Passing Drama back to Thessaloniki, the Greece’s Aggitis Cave is a singular and magnificent natural wonder that can be seen close to the town of Drama. Because to its intricate morphology, abundant biodiversity, and stunning formations, it is regarded as one of Europe’s most amazing caves. The cave was created by the action of water on the regional limestone rocks and is thought to be 20 million years old.
Although though it stretches over 18 kilometers, just a small portion of it is open to the general public. A guided tour of the cave is available for visitors, who may marvel at the spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, and underground rivers. The cave is a popular location for nature lovers because it is also home to numerous endangered and uncommon species of creatures, including bats, spiders, and snails.
Back to Thessaloniki
After exploring Drama, return to Thessaloniki to conclude your trip. Along the way, you might want to stop at Pozar, a popular thermal spa about 100 kilometers west of Thessaloniki.
Pozar is famous for its natural hot springs, which are said to be therapeutic. Visitors can relax in the hot springs or explore the surrounding area, which has stunning waterfalls, hiking trails, and other natural attractions.
Pozar has a variety of lodging options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. The Loutraki Spa Hotel, the Orizontes Hotel & Spa, and the Guesthouse Kastro are among the top-rated options.
Western Thrace is a truly unique and beautiful region in Greece that is just waiting to be discovered. This region of Greece has something for everyone, from the stunning beaches of Kavala to the rich history of Xanthi. We hope this travel guide has given you a good idea of what to expect on your trip to Western Thrace and that you have a great time exploring this beautiful part of Greece!
So you’re planning your holiday trip and you are wondering where to stay in Alentejo Portugal?
Alentejo is the largest region of Portugal and covers one-third of the country. Alentejo only contains 5% of its population.
Though Portugal in itself has a lot to offer, where to stay in Alentejo will depend on your needs and wishes. Since the population in Alentejo is very low, it is possible to enjoy the beauty of the region in silence.
The region of Alentejo is well known for its rural interior. The inland has rolling hills, with olive and cork trees as far as the eye can see.
On the coastline, you can find some deserted beaches where surfing is possible. And coastline where beautiful fishermen’s towns can see. This is a place to stay and spend your time.
If you are planning a road trip, then staying in Alentejo has a lot to offer. Alentejo has many medieval and fortified villages that seem to have stopped in time.
The influences of Arabs arriving in the 8th century are still quite visible. Aas can be still seen today by the narrow and cobbled alleys and white washed houses.
Something which is worth doing is to have a tour through the Cork Tree plains, which covers 28% of Portugal. This is not that surprising when you know that Alentejo in Portugal produces half of the world’s cork. Portugal handles around 70% of the world trade.
Where is the Alentejo region of Portugal?
Alentejo for many people is not well known. When you stay in Alentejo you find that Portugal has so much more to offer. Alentejo has much more history to discover.
Beyond the Tagus river, the Alentejo region starts. Alentejo sits in the south-central and southern part of Portugal . The name Alentejo originated from alem-do-Tejo and means: beyond the Tagus river.
Cities mentioned in Alentejo are: Évora, Beja, Sines, Serpa, Estremoz, Elvas and Portalegre. Do visit the more picturesque and less known towns, as these are worth the visit.
When is the best time to visit?
During Summer, times the inland of Portugal might be way too warm. For many years there has been a lack of water. Landscapes will change color from vibrant green and flowers to a carpet of golden yellow
From my own experience, I would recommend visiting Alentejo from the end of October to mid-may. Of course, I do not say that you should not visit Alentejo in the summer. In Summer you will experience Alentejo in a different way. Be aware that in Summer temperature may well rise above 40 degrees.
What is the capital of Alentejo?
Évora, is the capital of Alentejo and part of the UNESCO world heritage city in Portugal. This city is a must to put on your list if you are wondering where to stay in Alentejo. Évora is less than 90 minutes from Lisbon and makes it ideal for day trips.
Reasons to visit Évora
Évora has more than enough historical highlights to fill a day or two. A few to mention are:
Besides the historical highlights, you will definitely enjoy gastronomy.
Being a Portugues myself it’s easy to say that gastronomy is amazing. So it will be up to you to judge if I was right on this one. Black porc, fresh baked bread from Alentejo, and pastries are some examples to mention.
Évora has a lot of vineyards in the surrounding area. It is the perfect location to indulge yourself in wine tastings.Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo is your starting point to plan your wine trip around the region.
There are several tour operators that guide you to this and other cities. Guiding tours for one day, if you do not want the hassle of organizing the trips yourself. Several tour operators leave from Lisbon itself.
How do I get from Lisbon to Évora, Alentejo?
If you are more of a hiking kind of person than from Lisbon it is possible to take a bus. Rede Expressos drives several times a day and will cost around €8 to €12,50.
Alentejo covers one third of Portugal and traveling by bus is not the easiest way. I therefor recommend you to always opt for hiring a car.
This 5-star hotel resides in a 16th-century palace, overlooking the aqueducts of Évora. The hotel has an extensive spa with an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is in the city center and has many highlights on walking distance. A few to mention are: the Temple of Diana, Cathedral of Evora Se and Praca do Giraldo, all 600 m away. The Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos) is 800 m away.
This hotel is in the city center and is 600 m from the Chapel of Bones. Giraldo Square, the Roman Temple of Évora and the Cathedral are only 15-minutes walking. It has a rooftop terrace with a view overlooking the historical city center of Évora. The hotel has a spa on the 5th floor where you can find a sauna, gym and outdoor swimming pool.
Are you looking to stay more on a budget than ZOETIC is the place to be and particularly liked by solo travelers. ZOETIC offers bike hiring. And is 10-minutes walking. from Évora Cathedral and Roman Temple. A shared lounge and garden is available.
A hostel which also offers family rooms in case needed. This hostel is 1,2 km from the Cathedral of Evora Se and the Chapel of Bones. Points of interest near the hostel are the Roman Temple of Evora, Praca do Giraldo and the Royal Palace of Évora.
Each morning a continental breakfast is available.
10 recommended places where to stay in Alentejo, Portugal
The first one on our list, which I mentioned in depth, is Évora, the capital of Alentejo. Though I will not elaborate more about this city, it is worth the mention as it is part of my top 10 and a must to visit.
Elvas in Portugal, is close to the border of Spain. It was once seen as a strategic point between Portugal and Spain. It’s this history that made Elvas one of the most fortified cities. Walls all around feared for attacks and domination. What were once the first lines of defense, has now become a magnificent highlight to visit.
Castelo de Vide, its castle surrounded by the town’s white houses, only has around 3000 habitants. This beautiful village located in the North of Alentejo. It sits at the bottom of a double hill. On one side you can find the Medieval castle of D. Dinis (13th century) and on the other side the São Roque Fortress.
There are few highlights to visit, the history and the surroundings are worth the visit. The views are amazing to see during sunrise and sunset.
A paradise for influencers, bloggers, travel journalists and Europe’s elite. Only one hour away from Lisbon. Although it is not the same as the medieval towns I mentioned before, it does deserve mentioning.
Unlike anywhere else in Portugal, this charming town has become popular with Europeans. This town is chic, stylish and laidback. Comport offers wellness retreats, delicious seafood restaurants, and wonderful gold sandy beaches.
The Tróia Peninsula is a coastal gem. It has stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and pine-forested sand dunes. When you love sports, there are more than enough activities to keep you busy and entertained. Tróia Peninsula has great opportunities for cycling, golfing and water sports. When luck is on your side you might even spot some dolphins.
Estremoz, nicknamed the White City or Cidade Brance, is no coincidence. The white marble quarries in Estremoz, Alentejo, are famous and nearby. Quarries that have used since the Roman days. Making Estremoz one of the most important cities for exporting white marble.
The city Estremoz is a wonderful city where you can stay. Where Roman and Arabic influences can seen. The Castle built in the 13th century remains the biggest highlight till this date.
Vila Viçosa is a beautiful white marble-decorated city. This city has also the name of “Princess of Alentejo” in Portugal. Vila Viçosa, which means lush village, gets its name due to the fertile land and surroundings. Is is also the hometown of Florbela Espanca, one of the most notorious poetesses in Portugal.
Vila Viçosa is full of history. Nature is still the provider of marble as its raw material and comes out from around 160 quarries. The quarries in itself are open to viewings when joining a guided tour.
Who walked The Fishermen’s trail has also passed one of these smaller fishermen’s towns. Vila Nova de Milfontes is on the western coast of Portugal, between Lisbon and the Algarve. Is located in Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejo and Costa Vicentina. Tourism seems to be increasing a bit every year, but it is still one of my favorite towns.
Since beaches have some strong currents it is not recommended for family holidays. It is a great spot for surfing and kite surfing and worth the visit.
Zambujeira do Mar is a very sereen village. Also this village is well known when walking The Fishermen’s trail. It is next to the Costa Vicentina and Sudoeste Alentejano Nature Park.
The village has a great beach to spend your time, with a Blue Flag award. This means that clean bathing water and a seasonal lifeguard service is available. Zambujeira is also well known amongst surfers.
On one of the cliffs at the northern end of the beach is the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Mar where you can enjoy the sunset.
Where to stay connected with nature in Alentejo, Portugal?
If you feel the need to retreat from urban life, there are Natural Parques and Reserves to visit. Below a few to mention:
Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede
Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina
Parque Natural do Vale do Guadiana
Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado
Reserva Natural das Lagoas de Santo André e da Sancha
Note: Be sure to also enjoy the “Montado”. These are agroforests where the main tree species exist of Alentejo. For example the cork oak (Quercus suber L) and/or holm oak (Quercus rotundifolia L).
My experience on staying in Alentejo, Portugal
Where to stay in Portugal does not matter, as Portugal and its diversity has many things to offer. Alentejo has never been the attraction of many travel agencies. And because of this, I did feel the need to talk about its beauty.
When you enjoy the beauty of nature, tranquility and history, Alentejo is something for you.
For me Alentejo is a place that can throw you out of your comfort zone when you live a hectic life in the city. Alentejo is for me a place to slow down. Enjoying all there is, without the need of rushing or time pressure. Enjoying the simplicity of life itself.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click on them, at no additional cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
Although the Rota Vicentina circular routes are amazing trails to walk, The Fishermen’s Trail is the hike I prefer above them all. It is here where my journey started as a holistic transformation coach. And as a blogger of thecoachingnomad.com.
Hiking on the Fishermen’s Trail was the first hike I did solo in September 2021 and is one of the many hikes to come.
Doing a solo hiking trail at the Vicentina coast is a wonderful experience. You will be one with nature. The wonderful Vicentina coast and its trail also called the Rota Vicentina. A trail that blows your mind away.
Hiking on your own might confront you with the many thoughts you might be having or the feeling of being alone. It always gives you insight into your authentic self and the person that you are.
Out of my own experience, the hike is solo or with a group and walking the Fishermen’s trail is an experience on its own. A hike you for sure will never forget and a memory to cherish.
The following will contain a detailed guide and itinerary for 2022. Supporting you in the planning of your hike and experiencing beautiful nature. Golden beaches, colorful cliffs, and wonderful nature to admire.
What is the best coastal place to hike in Portugal, Algarve and Alentejo?
Are you searching for a hiking trail with dramatic cliffs? Do you love incredible beaches and sun all year round? There is a hiking trail in the southwest point of Europe called The Fishermen’s trail in Portugal. The Fishermen’s trail, also known as the Rota Vicentina. This trail is one of the most beautiful trails to hike in Portugal.
Various hiking trails in Portugal exist across the country and The Fishermen’s Trail is one of them. This trail consists of various stages and can consist of easy day trips to multi-day treks.
On the Fishermen’s Trail, I endeavored on a 9-day hiking trip from Vila do Bispo to São Torpes. I compiled a list of spectacular beaches, accommodations/hostels. But also activities, tips, and tricks to meet your needs.
My goal is to inform you in any way I can and enjoy the Portuguese beauty of nature at its best.
If you can’t hike the full 9 days it’s ok, you can start and end the trail in any way it fits. But if you tend to extend your hiking, the entire Fishermen’s trail from start to end runs along the coast for the 226,5 km between São Torpes and Lagos and includes in total 13 stages.
This post links to products and services I love, which I may make a small commission from, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!!
When is the best time of year to walk the Fishermen’s Trail at the Rota Vicentina?
The official Fishermen’s Trail hiking season is September to June. I recommend you to hike during Fall (mid-September – mid-November) or Spring (mid-March early June), as these are the best seasons to hike in.
In the summer it’s way too warm to hike the Fishermen’s Trail (July, August, early September). During winter there is a high probability of rain.
I hiked Rota Vicentina in early September. During this period the amount of people hiking is decreasing. You will encounter some people on the route, while just having enough time to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature.
I had two days of rain, but the temperature was still somewhat high. To avoid the afternoon heat, leave early in the morning. Restaurants and bars are still open, but some of them close at the end of September.
What to pack for the Fishermen’s Trail hiking adventure at the Coast of Vicentina?
There are a few things you should always prepare for, depending on what time of the year you plan to go for the Rota Vicentina hiking adventure in Portugal.
First of all, buy some sunscreen, especially in the south of Portugal. It’s important to protect yourself from the sun with a cap or hat and sunscreen together. A sunburned or overheated head can ruin your hike. The sun in Portugal is strong all year round.
Second, it’s important to have a good hiking backpack and a good pair of hiking shoes or boots. Comfort while hiking the stunning route of the Fishermen’s Trail is important.
Make sure you have enough water, two litres of water is not a luxury. I recommend a good quality reusable water bottle that keeps the water cool throughout the day and/or a camel bag. If you’re going on a longer trek, it’s always recommendable with a water bladder in your backpack.
What to bring when trekking the Rota Vicentina / Fishermen’s Trail in Portugal:
snacks, like salted nuts. (you will need the salt because of sweating)
bikini/board shorts + towel (on coastal walks if you like to swim)
Do I need travel insurance when hiking the Fishermen’s Trail at the Vicentina coast?
It’s up to you to have travel insurance when hiking the Fishermen’s Trail in Portugal, but I highly recommend it. I will mention a few reasons here, although many more exist.
First of all, paying the medical expenses yourself if you happen to get seriously sick or injured on your hike is something you do not want. In addition when losing baggage, things get stolen from your accommodation (hotel, hostel or apartment) or when your flight gets canceled/delayed you will be insured. A trusted travel insurance company which covers this all is good to have.
My preferred choice is a travel insurance company which is promoting responsible tourism.
I therefore choose World Nomads. World nomads is easy to sign up, affordable and gives great coverage to ensure peace of mind while traveling.
World Nomads travel insurance promotes responsible tourism. When you buy travel insurance with World Nomads, it is possible to add a small donation to your policy price. This way you will help fund a community development project. World Nomads works with reputable charities and NGOs. Administration costs relating to the donation will be absorbed by the insurance company, so that 100% of your donation goes directly to the project of choice. If you want to know more, read my complete World Nomads vs SafetyWing review for digital nomads.
Can I buy more travel insurance with World Nomads?
If you want to extend your trip while traveling, World Nomads lets you buy more cover to keep you on the road. The support of a multi-lingual assistance team can help you when you need it most, connecting you with transportation and medical treatment.
What is the Rota Vicentina in Portugal?
The Rota Vicentina has actually multiple trails. There are in total 24 Rota Vicentina circular routes, which are short roots. Their beginnings circled back to their endpoints. A real easy way to discover the pleasure of hiking. There is also no transfer needed for your luggage.
The Historical Way runs through the main towns and villages. And consists of mainly rural trails and is a Classic Route (GR).
My preferred trail is the Fishermen’s trail and therefore I’ve written this itinerary. The Fishermen’s Trail is a 13 day coastal trek in Portugal at the Vicentina Coast. The trail located between the coastal town of São Torpes in Alentejo and the coastal city of Lagos in Algarve. Originally the end of the trail was at the lighthouse town of Cabo de São Vicente, the trail to Lagos was added later.
The trail covers the whole Vicentina Coast of Portugal, passing through the provinces of Alentejo and Algarve. This beautiful trek gives hikers access to Portugal’s most wild and remote coastal areas.
The Vicentina Coast is by far the most sandiest walk I have ever done and it certainly increases the degree of difficulty. Depending on the weather conditions the type of sand varies from hikes on sand dunes, wet sand, hard-packed beach walking to slightly sandy dirt trails too.
I must confess that although the terrain sometimes might be challenging, having the amazing scenery makes it all worth it. The Vicentina Coast is defined by amazing cliffs and rock formations and beautiful beaches.
The Rota Vicentina Fishermen’s Trail follows the pathways used by locals to get to prime fishing spots. During the trail, you’ll see fishermen perched on cliffs, or on coastlines, calmly waiting for their catch. Aside to an occasional fishing town, there’s most certainly no urbanization along the coast. The entire trekking route is located within the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, which is a protected environment, stretching out for 226,5 kilometres along Portugal’s southwest coastline.
Although the hiking trail is for the most part level, the hike is everything but a basic one. You’ll be walking in the sand for quite a while, which needs to be mentioned.
To sort out your planning into a multi-day or multi-week journey to Portugal, read the Fishermen’s Trail Itinerary down below.
Where to book my accommodation for The Fishermen’s Trail?
Planning accommodation on the Vicentina coast for the Rota Vicentina circular route, historical way, or The Fishermen’s trail is not an issue. Though it was difficult to find an overview of the best accommodations, hostels, hotels or apartments on the Fishermen’s Trail.
Hostels, hotels and guesthouses can be found in each town along the Rota Vicentina.
I skipped the campsites although there are some you can find in Porto Covo, Vila Nova de Milfontes, Zambujeira do Mar, Odeceixe, Aljezur, and Sagres. Knowing that I have a cool and nice place to stay after my hike, camping was not my option.
Where I book my accommodations
If you are looking for hostels, then Hostel World is the place to go. They offer you all the resources to find your hostel not only in Portugal, but all around the world.
If you are looking for hotels or apartments, then Booking.com is my preferred place to go to. They for sure offer you all the resources to find the accommodation that suits your needs and comfort.
In the case you want to stay for a longer period of time after or before your hiking than I would recommend Airbnb.
Booking accommodation in advance
I booked the accommodation one or two days in advance. Based on the weather forecast and the hiking season you’re in, it might be that hostels are fully booked.
Since I walked the trail at the beginning of September, it has been somewhat busy. Knowing what I know now, planning the Fishermen’s Trail hiking 2 days in advance is recommended.
In the periods June and August I strongly recommend booking accommodation way upfront and even if you’re planning to camp at least contact campsites to find out how full they are. Remember that this is the peak season for tourists.
Since prices may vary from season to season and seem to be increasing, it might be worthwhile to put some effort in finding the perfect accommodation for you regarding comfort and price.
Tips and tricks regarding booking accommodation:
check-in time in most hotels is quite late, around 3 pm. Check it and plan accordingly.
make sure your accommodation is in the town itself. You do not want to walk additional kilometres.
check if your accommodation requires you to pay before or on arrival itself.
How to transfer my luggage for Rota Vicentina?
In case you would rather not walk around with a heavy backpack it’s possible to arrange a luggage transfer on your trail from accommodation to accommodation. Vicentina Transfers is the main company that does transfers on the Fishermen’s Trail. Vicentina Transfers is an organization that provides luggage delivery on your hiking trips. It’s 15 Euro per piece of luggage per section.
Make sure you have booked your accommodations in advance, so the organization has a clear understanding on where to deliver your luggage.
How to get to the Fishermen’s trail?
I got you all excited and the question you may have is: How do I get to the Fishermen’s trail Rota Vicentina?
Lisbon to Porto Covo
There are direct buses going from Lisbon to Porto Covo, Lagos or anywhere in between. Rede Expressosbuses leave throughout the day from Sete Rios Bus station in Lisbon.
The bus journey from Lisbon to Porto Covo takes approximately 2 hours and ticket prices go for €20 euro a single transfer. Tickets can be bought at the bus terminal or online. It’s always recommended to purchase tickets in advance.
For the trip back you can get direct buses to Lisbon from pretty much every town. Except Arrifana and Salema. On Rede Expressos you can check the current itinerary and purchase a ticket.
Faro to Lagos
If you arrive at Faro airport the public transport is very poor. Private transfer is the easiest and fastest method to travel to Lagos and get booked in advance via a single transfer.
Costs of €83 are including single transfer, the A22 expressway, and take approximately 70 minutes.
Practical information regarding the Fishermen’s Trail
Tap water in Portugal is fine to drink. You don’t have to buy bottled water or use filters. Though in some regions water may taste somewhat like chlorine.
The hiking route is well indicated and it’s easy to plan on your own. No need to worry about arranging a tour or guide.
The Fishermen’s Trail crosses the Alentejo and Algarve provinces in the south of Portugal and can get very hot in the summer. I recommend that you start walking early in the morning to escape the afternoon heat.
Every town on the trail has ATMs, shops, and accommodation. You don’t have to carry lots of food or a lot of cash with you, many accept credit cards too.
Distances between towns are quite long, so just make sure you take some snacks and water with you to keep your spirits high. There are no taps to refill your bottle with water and refilling in natural streams is not recommended.
There is a Ciceron guidebook on the Rota Vicentina that has a lot of information regarding the hike.
In July and August it’s peak season for tourists, which as result increases prices for quite a lot of accommodations. Keep it in mind when you have the Fishermen’s Trail itinerary.
My Fishermen’s Trail Hiking Itinerary on the Vicentina Coast
The official Fishermen’s trail starts/stops at Lagos and starts/stops at São Torpes each part of the trail will have its challenges to conquer and will be between 16 and 22km.
Based on my experience I love to share tips and tricks and give you insight to my itinerary for those who got inspired.
First of all hiking can best be done with the usual hiking gear, I will not go much into detail here as it has been discussed earlier in this article. Good footwear, clothing based on the weather conditions are a must. To give you a bit more comfort when staying in a hostel (like I did) where you sleep with multiple people in a room, a sleeping mask, earplugs, microfiber bath towel (which dries quickly) and shower gel may be part of your gear as hostels may not have any.
Ensure that for these kinds of hikes your backpack does not weigh more than needed. The sandy beach and coast of the Fishermen’s Trail make it hard to walk on. Essentials are at least 2 liters of water and some snacks like salty nut mix to prevent any muscle cramps. On the first days, it seemed I was lacking salt (cramping of hands).
As mentioned before any luggage that you don’t need during hiking can be sent via a transfer shuttle to your next accommodation via Vicentina Transfers to your next accommodation.
Most hikers seem to start in the north because of wind directions. So if you want to have the chance to tag along with a hiker this is the way to go. In my case I decided to do the hike from the south because of practicality and planning.
The hike in itself is amazing and should definitely be on your list!
Note to self and others: Do not hike with 20 kilos in your backpack (like I did), it makes life a bit easier.
The trail overview
Distance: 124 km / 77 miles
Days: 8 days
Starting point: Vila do Bispo
Walking surface: a mix of sand dunes and gravel road
Route marking: blue & green marks (though I deviated from the path between Carrapateira to Aljezur
Average cost: from €30 per person per day
Accommodation: Hostels and a studio
The itinerary overview
Arrival Day: Lagos
Day 1: Vila do Bispo to Carrapateira (16 km, 7h)
Day 2: Carrapateira to Aljezur (21,5 km, 6h 30 Note: Arrifana, skipped went inland)
Day 3: Aljezur to Odeceixe (22,5 km, 7h)
Day 4: Resting day in Aljezur.
Day 5: Odeceixe to Zambujeira do Mar (18,5km, 5.5h)
Day 6: Zambujeira do Mar to Almograve (via Rede Expressos) and Almograve to Vila Nova de Milfontes (15,5 km, 5.5h)
Day 7: Resting day in Vila Nova de Milfontes
Day 8: Vila Nova de Milfontes to Porto Covo (20 km, 6.5h)
Day 9: Porto Covo to S. Torpes (10 km, 3,5h)
You can easily extend this trek by combining the Fishermen’s Trail with the Historical Way, the other Rota Vicentina Route. Recently, the Fishermen’s Trail has been extended all the way to Lagos. We’ve outlined the itinerary below.
Day 1 and 2 Vila do Bispo to Carrapateira, the beginning of my Fishermen’s Trail hike (16 km, 7 h)
Distance: 16 km
Total Ascent: 420 m
Total Descent: 500 m
Time Needed: 7 hours
Where to Eat: Ribeira do Poço, Sítio do Forno, CATO Restaurant
The first stage on the Fishermen’s trail (Trilho dos Pescadores in Portuguese) started from Vila do Bispo to Carrapateira. What I did not know at first was that most people are traveling from north to south, while I was going from south to north.
The reason why most hikers are walking from the north side is because of the wind direction coming from the north. But to be honest I did not experience any issue with that and having the sun on my back I could enjoy the view even better.
This section of the Fishermen’s Trail offers unquestionably the most amazing scenes. At the point when you thought you had seen everything, you will be dazed with the incredible cliffs and coastlines: Amado, Murração and Manteiga are three genuine pearls of nature for those hiking the Rota Vicentina.
I start the hike at a restaurant called Eira do Mel. To be honest, I did not know where the first starting point of the Fishermen’s Trail was, but for sure it had to be somewhere. With the use of the Rota Vicentina app and Google maps, I identify the right direction and off I go.
The route follows the same track as the Historical Trail, but initially I need to follow the red and white marking. This route also overlaps with the E9 hiking trail, a trail of 5000 km which starts at Sagres in Portugal to Tallinn in Estonia, so who knows.
Within 5 minutes I’m out of Vila do Bispo. The path initially follows the N268, but then on the dirt road next to it. It waves up and down a bit, actually fine to start with. The green and blue markings follow shortly after and the Fishermen’s Trail hike can start.
When I finally start to reach the Vicentina Coast on the Fishermen’s trail the views are getting better.
Praia da Pena Furada
The trail was actually very easy until now, while following wide unpaved roads. Arriving at Praia da Pena Furada his changes.The path here is super narrow and makes a big drop.
Though the path is a bit tricky the view is amazing and when I arrive at the beach and stop for a snack. The beach is stunning and enclosed by rock formations.
Praia do Amado
Continuing the hike I arrive not much later at the second beach on this Fishermen’s trail, Praia da Murração. This place seems to be a popular place for people who live in a van. Walking further north you can overlook Praia do Amado. The red cliffs make the view beautiful.
Note: If you want to make a detour you can visit the remains of the islamic settlement of Ponta do Castelo. This is a settlement from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
After hiking for a couple of hours I can finally see Carrapateira and it’s time to rest.
Hostel do Mar Accommodation:
I stayed here just for one night, but enjoyed it a lot. The hostel accommodation was very pleasant, the bathroom was very clean and they have an amazing terrace from which you can watch the sunset. The staff was very enjoyable and if you like to surf, this is the hostel to stay. For further reviews and booking can be done at Hostel do Mar.
Day 2 Carrapateira to Aljezur (21.5 km, 6 h 30)
Distance: 21.5 km
Total Ascent: ?
Total Descent: ?
Time Needed: 6:30 hours
Where to Eat: Alecrim, Taberna do Largo
Note: You can skip Arrifana and walk next to the coast directly from Carrapateira to Aljezur. It’s a very long walk, about 31 km.
On the second day of the hike, I’m feeling very well. I could not find a hostel at Arrifana the day before, and when booking one day in advance, I decided to go directly to Aljezur.
You must be thinking by now did he then walk the 31 km? No, actually I went via the inland, actually not the most beautiful route as you will not see much of the beauty of nature. Actually, it was not even part of the Fishermen’s Trail, but the Google maps way.
So there is not much to tell about this route, except that it is outside of the Rota Vicentina path with a lot of urbanization.
Luckily when walking your mind wonders and you sometimes are in a different dimension. Time passed quickly and Aljezur was in sight.
Amazing Hostel Accommodation:
I booked this hostel for two nights during the Fishermen’s trail hike. Though the pictures you find are creating some high expectations for one or two nights it is ok. For a longer period of time I would advise to find other possibilities. Do bring a sleeping mask and some earplugs with you. For further reviews and booking can be done at Amazing Hostel.
Day 3 Aljezur (Resting day)
Day 3 of my hiking trip, or better said resting day on the Fishermen’s Trail. Today it started to rain a lot and therefore I decided to stay one more night at the Hostel.
Aljezur is a little coastal town in the Algarve which is part of the Rota Vicentina route. It is situated near a small river and surrounded by green hills and a beautiful landscape. An arch bridge divides this little village into two parts, which can be described as the old and the new.
When you arrive at Aljezur you will see some typical white houses on the green hills and on the top of one of the biggest hills you will find a castle (it is a ruin). Beaches are close by and also amazing beaches to surf. It’s also good to know that you need a car or a mountain bike if you want to explore the surrounding area.
This town is increasing in its popularity and yoga-retreats, spiritual communities and surfing schools are slowly appearing.
Definitely, a great place to rest if you are doing a hike on the Fishermen’s trail following the Vicentine coast.
Day 4 Aljezur to Odeceixe (22.5 km, 7 h)
Distance: 22.5 km
Total Ascent: 150 m
Total Descent: 150 m
Time Needed: 7 hours
Where to Eat: Altinho – Tapas & Petiscos – Bistro, Pão do Rogil, Restaurante da Praia
A new day, a new adventure! This time I continued north on the Rota Vicentina to Odeceixe.
Odeceixe is another small town on the route that is not by the sea. The beach here is 3 km away. In Odeceixe, the Rota Vicentina routes, the Fishermen’s Trail and the Historical Way join.
From here I also continued the route on the Rota Vicentina trail in the direction of my end destination São Torpes. But first many more villages and trails to conquer.
If you would have the necessity to have your accommodation near to the beach you can walk 3,5 km extra to Praia de Odeceixe. A bit outside of the Fishermen’s trail, but worth it if you like the beach. Praia de Odeceixe is a tiny place with a couple of hotels and restaurants located right at the beach. On the Rota Vicentina this place is visible from the cliff on the way.
Note: Do not cross the river in the direction of Zambujeira as the town is on the same side.
Horta do vale Nature House Accommodation:
This hostel was very pleasant halfway on my Fishermen’s trail on the Vicentina Coast. The owner made sure it felt like home. Odeceixe is a charming place and thanks to the hospitality it felt even better. Further reviews and booking can be done at Horta do Val.
Celebrate the end of the trek with a bottle of wine and tapas at Altinho. The food is excellent, albeit a bit overpriced.
Walk up to the windmill “Moinho de Odeceixe” for sunset views.
Day 5 Odeceixe to Zambujeira do Mar (18.5 km, 5.5 h)
Distance: 18.5 km
Total Ascent: 300 m
Total Descent: 300 m
Time Needed: 7 hours
Where to Eat: O Sacas, A Barca Transquitanas, I Cervejaria, Casino da Ursa, Restaurante da Costa Alentejana, See all Restaurants
The next stage of the hike is Zambujeira do Mar. Leaving Odeceixe, crossing the river. You cross from the Algarve region to the Alentejo on the Rota Vicentina.
After the first 6 km on the Fishermen’s Trail, you pass the small city of Praia de Odeceixe. This town can now be seen on the other side of the river. With low tides it is possible to cross the river, water would then be reaching knee-deep.
From this point you reach the beach, the route of the Fishermen’s Trail goes next to the ocean and so amazing and beautiful views are there to surprise you.
This walking had some up and down hills, but compared to my previous stage it felt like a breeze.
Hakuna Matata Hostel Accommodation:
The location is super central and just a few steps from the beach. I had a room with 1 bunk bed which was very nice, including the company of my roommate. The room was very spacious and clean and there was a shared bathroom right next to the room. The owner was super friendly and although I didn’t use any of the shared facilities (due to only staying one night), it looked like there was everything I could possibly need.
Day 6 (Zambujeira do Mar to )Almograve to Vila Nova de Milfontes (15.5 km, 5.5 h)
Distance: 15.5 km (without ferry crossing)
Total Ascent: 130 m
Total Descent: 150 m
Time Needed: 5:30 hours
Where to Eat: Casa do Benfica, Tasca do Celso, Porto das Barcas, Geladaria da Pietro, HS Grill & Buffet Restaurant, Restaurante Stress Free
The hiking route between Zambujeira do Mar to Almograve of the Vicentina Coast I had to skip.
Also here I encountered that although peak season was almost over I could not find affordable accommodation to stay in.
So one day in advance I booked a ticket with the Rede Expressos and drove to Almograve where I started my next hiking adventure.
From Almograve I took the more scenic way along the coast which passes the beautiful beaches. I did take my hiking shoes off while walking on the beach itself as it felt much more comfortable feeling the sand between my toes.
With Vila Nova de Milfontes in sight, you can stop at Praia das Furnas. The beach itself is outside of the Fishermen’s Trail, but I would recommend going down and walking on the beach.
Note: When you are 4 km away from Vila Nova de Milfontes you pass by the Ocean Drive Beach restaurant. For around 5 Euros pp you can take a ferry to Vila Nova de Milfontes from here. You won’t miss a lot as from here most of the route is a paved road and I would rather spend my time on the beach.
Although I read different bad reviews, I found it rather comfortable and very clean. Not sure if it has to do because certain rooms might be outdated? The location is near the river Mira and is on the route of the Fishermen’s Trail. Further reviews and booking can be done at Selina.
In this town, I can envision living my life one day. This town is situated at the mouth of the River Mira and though the recent development is owed by a great increase in tourism, it’s still a wonderful town to be in.
The beautiful beaches along the Costa Vicentina have great conditions for water sports and outside of the tourism season it only gets better. The magnificent beaches still retain its natural features of pristine golden sandy beaches and wonderful coastal line.
Vila Nova de Milfontes Tips:
There are several buildings to visit in the town’s historical center:
Fortress (built between 1599 and 1602 to defend the town against constant attacks by pirates)
the Parish Church
the Lighthouse of Cabo Sardão (built at the beginning of the twentieth century)
Day 8 Vila Nova de Milfontes to Porto Covo (20 km, 6.5 h)
Distance: 20 km
Total Ascent: 180 m
Total Descent: 200 m
Time Needed: 6:30 hours
Where to Eat: Arte e Sal, La Bella Vita, Restaurante a Ilha, Porto das Barcas, Tasca do Celso, Geladeria da Pietro, HS Grill & Buffet, Restaurante Stress Free.
Between Vila Nova de Milfontes and Porto Covo, the Fishermen’s Trail has some amazing views along the shore and beach. Beautiful cliffs can be seen here. A couple of beaches to be mentioned are:
Praia da Ilha do Pessegueiro
Praia dos Aivados
Praia do Saltinho
Praia dos Nascedios
Praia do Malhão
It’s possible to walk barefoot on the beaches, instead of the coastal route of the Rota Vicentina.
If you walk to the north, then basically for the last 10 km you can walk on the beach. To be honest the entire walk was one big spectacle of nature. Make sure you have enough water!
Apartment in Porto Covo Accommodation:
On this last trail of the Fishermen’s Trail, I was joined by a friend who lives in Lagos. In Porto Covo, we booked a studio via Booking.com. It was time for a comfortable room.
Day 9 Porto Covo to São Torpes (10 km, 3.5 h)
Distance: 16 km
Total Ascent: 100 m
Total Descent: 120 m
Time Needed: 3:30 hours
Where to Eat: O Tarro, Fonte Ferrea
Last day and as final and last destination São Torpes! Here is where my hike on the Fishermen’s trail ends and for many, the hike on the Vicentina coast starts.
For those who do start from São Torpes, which is near the city of Sines, there is no public transport. So how do you get on the Fishermen’s trail? Sine has a good public transport connection and here you can arrive or leave with Rede Expressos to and from Lisbon and Lagos.
From Sines you can get a taxi which is a 10 or 15 minutes drive to São Torpes.
My experience hiking the Fishermen’s trail
My experience on The Fishermen’s trail is one I will never forget. Never had done solo hiking before. Knowing what I know now I would do it again in a heartbeat. The beauty of the coastline, cliffs, and sandy beaches are memories I will never forget.
If you love hiking, this trail is a must. Prepared for the weather conditions depending on the season. The Historical Way or the Rota Vicentina Circular Router is always an option.
Best hike and trail books and guidebooks to recommend for the Fishermen’s trail?