Hiking in Portugal

Hiking in Portugal can be a funny experience because the Portugese don’t walk or hike for pleasure and don’t really understand why anyone would want to! There are some practical issues with hiking in Portugal such as the lack of shopping opportunities for equipment such as camping gear, walking boots and dried food which are hard to find. Make sure to go prepared. Most maps are out of date and there is little to no trail maintenance. However, don’t let that deter you! These small facts can be somewhat irritating but they can also play on the hiker’s side.

Hiking trails in Portugal provide brilliant mountain passes which are amazing to experience. The quietness of most of the walking and hiking trails in Portugal also give hikers a chance to get a better, and longer glimpse at some of the area’s wildlife such as golden eagles and wolves. If you’re incredibly lucky you may catch a glimpse of an Iberian Lynx, the most endangered of all wild cats in the world.

Hiking trips in Portugal are popular in the Algarve region. Exploring the countryside by foot is one of the best ways to discover the landscape around you. The Serra de Monchique in Algarve provides a multitude of hiking trips in Portugal as well as some great bird watching. Continuing on the trail hikers can jump back on the coastal path walking by some beautiful Portugal beaches on route to Sagres. A lot of this trail goes right through Cabo de Sao Vicente which provides a lot of unspoiled scenery with very little development.

The Ria Formosa Natural Park and Castro Marim Reserve in the Algarve area have many trails as well but keep in mind they can be fairly wild. Walking along cliffs is the best way to get some breathtaking views. There are many cliff top treks perfect for hiking trips in Portugal. Beginning in the east and moving over, some great Algarve hiking in Portugal can be found along Praia da Marinha, Senhora da Rocha, Porto do Mos, Boca de Rio and Salema.

There are also beautiful hiking trails in Portugal in the northern region. A hike near the Douro River can be really fun. This hike leads up to the Calcada de Alpajares which is also called the Devil’s Trail. This route is one of the older hiking trails in Portugal and leads to Quinta de Santiago which used to be an old pilgrim route. Along this route there are extremely remote villages far away from crowds. This circuit will give hikers a fantastic view of the Douro River as well as a look at some interesting rock formations. This trail is about 22 kilometers in distance and lasts about six hours.

The Madeira Islands south of Algarve are very popular for hiking trips in Portugal and is where most seasoned hikers go. The scenery here is stunning. Levadas are a type of irrigation channel or aqueduct and the Levada da Central da Ribeira da Janela in Madeira is one of the best kept. This is one of the well beaten hiking trails in Portugal and it’s no wonder why. There are seven separate tunnels to walk through as well as a beautiful waterfall along the way. The valleys dive and peak and from the peaks there are beautiful views of island and the Atlantic. This trail will keep you busy for an entire day. There are plenty of other great hiking trips in Portugal to take on the Madeiria islands that keep hikers occupied for weeks.

Mountains, valleys, cliffs, countryside and incredible landscapes can all be found in Portugal. Hiking is a great way to gain a more in depth understanding of Portugal’s landscape and ecosystem. The more adventurous will get the best views that some of the more relaxed beach dwellers will never experience.

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