Rota Vicentina, Historical Way | Portugal Outside

Rota Vicentina, Historical Way


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We believe the best way to get to know a place is by exploring on foot, backpacking away from the tourist routes, feeling the path underneath, meeting the people who live there, tasting their food. We give you, open heartedly, 260 km to explore and venture through Alentejo and Algarve’s best kept traditions, gastronomy and natural views.

 The food will be served with great Portuguese wine. In Alentejo your stomach will never be disappointed, be it beef or fish, red or white wine – the regional cuisine is always a crowd pleaser.

 The ever present natural scape will marvel you. From the hills you’ll glance at the ocean and make out the beaches hiding beneath the schist or sandy cliffs. Amongst holm and cork oak groves, and valleys where shepherds guard their flocks, you’ll be taken back in time. Streams and creeks of fresh water provide home for unique specimens, both animal and plants, and it is well worth exploring these amazing ecosystems.

 Leave all the hustle and bustle behind and let yourself immerse into the calm landscapes of the southern region of Portugal and be sure the enjoy every step.

 Welcome to Rota Vicentina, it’s time to embark on your next adventure!

  • Pick-up at airport with briefing, and drop-off at the hotel
  • 13 nights superior accommodation Superior with breakfast included
  • Personal accident insurance and liability insurance
  • 12 self-guided hiking routes, all info included
  • ‘Portugal Outside’s Travel Itinerary’ developed specifically to enhance your journey with authentic experiences, not only with travel tips and useful information, but also suggested trails, cultural highlights, places to eat, etc
  • ‘Portugal Outside’ Hotline
  • Pick-up and drop-off for one of the days of the program
  • Drop-off at the Airport on the day of departure
  • This schedule may be subject to changes to better suit your expectations. New activities and experiences may be added and you want to stay around for a couple more days just let us know.
  • No car rental necessary.
  • The routes included in this program are better feasible between the months of March to June and the months of Setember to March
  • Minimum two persons
  • Groups with a Guide minimum 6 persons

Sugested Program

This is the day we’ll get to meet you and drive you to your hotel. We’ll brief you with all the information you need and answer all your questions. You’ll be handed a custom made PortugalOutside Guide to take on your adventure, and also a few more treats we’ve prepared just for you.
We encourage you to take the rest of the day to relax and get ready for the first day trekking towards the southwestern most corner of Portugal!

You’ll start trekking a trail that is part of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, that begins here at Santiago do Cacém Mother Church. Many millions of people in pilgrimage through the ages have connected these two sacred spots.
During this first trail you’ll be crossing cork oak groves, not only the most defining landscape in Alentejo region but also one of the most important product for local and national economy.
Up and down, through valleys and hills you go!

Today’s trail will take you through the most arid landscape of the route, a typical rural area dedicated to farming and grazing, where you’ll feel the heat and the strong scents of the animals, albeit the proximity to the refreshing breezes of the ocean.
Once you reach Campilhas dam, take a break from the road and the heat and treat yourself to a few splashes in the clear water.

This will probably be the most physically challenging stretch you’ll face, with long steep trails climbing up the mountains and irregular terrain to step onto.
But once you reach the summit you’ll be dazzled by the magnificent views over the Atlantic ocean and the plains below. The mountain range will provide moments of pure joy, both through unexpected surroundings such as Rocha de Água d’Alte, and by the unfolding of breathtaking panoramic views over the shoreline.
The underground water surfacing to form streams of crystalline water is surely responsible for the unique and rich flora, which is worth exploring.

A completely new Alentejo will unravel today before you. This leg of the trail is green and vibrant and rich in wild life. You will get running streams and refreshing creeks, and a lush forest growing along Ribeira do Torgal, the main affluent of Mira river. At Pego das Pias you may take a break, either on the verge or letting your self plunge into its refreshing waters. In fact, water will tangle along beside you for the bigger stretch of today’s route ending up at Odemira. Once here you’ll watch as the meandering Mira river drains into the sea right next to Vila Nova de Milfontes.

Today’s route will give your legs some rest, as this is one of the easiest segments of Rota Vicentina, with wide open roads and no steep slopes to hike.
Mira river and São Teotónio riverside will keep you company while you walk closer to the ocean. You will notice slight changes in the fauna, as the strawberry trees slowly replace the cork oak groves. This Mediterranean native tree has many uses in the region, from providing wood for heating to producing the most delicious fruits with which jams and spirits are made, this tree is a must for local economy. Be sure to try some “aguardente de Medronho” and some freshly baked bread with jam!

Halfway through you adventure in the south of Portugal and now is time to leave Alentejo behind and literally cross the river to the other side to find yourself in Algarve, the southern most region of our beautiful country.
Memorable trail ahead, descending to deep valleys and then climbing back up the hill to enjoy the view over the sea and Odemira village.
Along the way you’ll cross inhospitable landscapes and trails covered by well preserved native plant species and by the end of the day you’ll have Algarve at your feet.

Starting the day walking the trail along Seixe riverside is quite extraordinary. This small river drains into Odeceixe beach, circling its way around the schist cliffs to reach the ocean and it really worthy saving some time to linger here for a while, or to allow yourself to walk this village’s welcoming streets and picturesque windmill.
If you want to know where to go next, just follow the sand dunes and its characteristic maritime vegetation, keeping the Atlantic close by.

Today’s gastronomy will take you from the land of gooseneck barnacle to the realm of sweet potato- Aljezur.
If you’re a fan, don’t let the opportunity to try them both slip away.
You are now given the opportunity to either following the ocean shoreline, or take a left and walk side by side with river Mira through farmland where the regional sweet potatoes grow and the herbs feel the air with their pungent scents. Should you choose to stay closer to the shore be sure to follow through Carreagem beach and as you reach Aljezur’s riverside and stream you’ll be rewarded with a birdwatcher’s paradise!

Did you know that the castle still standing at the top of Aljezur’s hill is one of the seven castle represented in the Portuguese national flag? This was one of the castles conquered back from the Moorish in times long passed and today you will be surrounded by History and legends from the past.
When you’re able to make out the ocean in the distance and feel the salty sea breezes swiping the low range canopy of this landscape you’ll know you’re getting closer to Arrifana magnificent bay. Through Montes Clérigos beach and up to Ponta da Atalaia, this is a trail worth hiking if you want to end the day marveling at the amazing sunset over Arrifana.

Pedra da Agulha will present itself to by from Praia do Canal, and the Vale Figueiras’ sands in succession with steep hills and deep valleys will only confirm this region’s appealing wild and inhospitable charms. As you arrive, you’ll be offered a summit view over Bordeira’s sand dunes and the creek running towards the ocean. Have your camera ready and shoot away!
Nature will once again gain you over, either through tranquil woods rich in biodiversity, or the changing hues and pungent herbed scents. The powerful waves crashing against the tall and ancient cliffs, or rolling softly over the sand, are a feast for the senses. And finally, Praia do Canal, a hidden spot mostly forgotten where you can loose track of time just listening to the roaring ocean.

Today’s trail gifts you with hillside views slowly unfolding towards the shore until they finally collapse at the beach. Rocks and hillsides, creeks and valleys, they all make up the aesthetics of this landscape that provides home and shelter to a myriad of species, each habitat fulfilling a very specific niche.
Year round in succeeding seasons, the ponds burst with tadpoles, migrating birds, tortoises, native mammals and autochthonous plants. Come April and May, the flowering blue myosotis, the yellow daffodils, the lilac hyacinths, the purple orchids and the white marigolds paint the surroundings with a lovely color pallet.

On this last hiking day we follow the trail leading to Cabo de São Vicente, the southwestern most corner of Europe, where the voices of pilgrims, sailors and old world navigators still echo in the wind.
Monumental cliffs, breathtaking summit views over the ocean – this place serves as main stage for migrating birds to display their gliding skills.
And finally we reach São Vicente, 12 days into your hiking adventure through the south of Portugal. Let us know what feelings arise when standing at the tip of Europe. And then make sure you indulge on a well deserved treat from the local gastronomy!

It is time to say goodbye to Costa Vicentina and you must be feeling amazing! You trailed the trails and tasted the food, and you have been swept away by the views and the odors. You have felt the freedom of walking the cliffs and spreading your arms to the wind. You have met a warm and welcoming people and it feels appropriate that you falter when time comes to leave this place.
We have a saying here, that time flies by when you’re having fun – but don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. If you feel you need a few more days to explore our beautiful country we can make it happen.
If, sadly, it is definitely time to leave we hope to have provided an amazing experience that will make you come back to Portugal again and again.
See you soon
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