Our recent research trip found us along the Southwestern coast of Portugal, home to the Costa Vicintina. Famous for the Rota Vicintina, a system of over 450km of trails, this part of Portugal is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately, the trails are divided into manageable sections. For example, hikers can follow the Historical Way, labelled as one of the Best European Quality Trails. It is divided into 12 sections with a total route length of 230km.
Another popular series of paths is the Fisherman’s Trail, which is divided into 5 sections and 4 complimentary circuits, ranging from 6km to 22km. The coastline is really rugged, and astonishingly beautiful.
Nearby are the towns of:
São Teotónio– part of the Historical Way route of Rota Vicintina and home to Europe’s largest bamboo forest. Horse riding and carriage rides in the forest are highlighted here.
Vila Nova de Milfontes– a seaside coastal town with a laid-back surf vibe; super chill in the low and shoulder seasons and bonkers in the high season.
Zambujeira do Mar– quiet coastal town hosting access to one of Portugal’s authorised Naturist beaches and home to the epic MEO Sudoeste music festival every August.
The area is not just for walking and beach life. There are a number of activities available. Our most interesting finds:
Coastal and beach horse riding experiences, plus donkey and pony riding options
Touristic fishing and boat excursions – either inland or along the coast
Birdwatching (specifically the ‘Storks Route’, as storks traditionally nest in this region)
Water sports – SUP, surfing and kayaking feature prominently in the area
Jeep Tours – exciting off-road adventure!
If you’re interested to go a bit off the beaten path, we highly recommend this rustic area. The pace of life slows significantly, but there are enough activities and options to ensure a full and enjoyable holiday.