From Castle to Cape - 15 days - 13 walks.

Self-guided walking on  the Rota Vicentina from Santiago do Cacém Castle  to Cape St Vincent via the Fishermen's Trail.


Itinerary (click walk name to view gallery).

Day one: Arrival in the Alentejo. Overnighting in the town of Santiago do Cacém at a guesthouse close to the historical centre and the northern starting point of the Rota Vicentina.

Day two: Welcome meeting after breakfast at your guest house before the first stage from Santiago do Cacém to Vale Seco. A 21 km (6½ -7 hours / easy) walk along a stage of the Historical Way through the hills between Santiago do Cacém and Vale Seco. Your accommodation for the night is in the converted mill buildings of the 19th century twin windmills, Moinhos do Paneiro, directly on the trail, where you can enjoy a dip in the swimming pool after your walk.

Day three: Vale Seco to Cercal do Alentejo. A 20 km (5 - 5½ hours / easy) walk passing Campilhas Dam & Reservoir on what is considered to be the most arrid stage of the Historical Way. The night will be spent at a guesthouse near the centre of the village.

Day four: Cercal do Alentejo to Porto Covo das Bandeiras. An 18 km (4½- 5 hour / easy) walk along the stage joining the Historical Way to the Fishermen's Trail. Emerging from the wooded foothills of the serra, with the ocean ahead of you, the spectacular sight of Peachtree Island appears before you. The night will be spent at a small inn or hotel near  the village square.

Hotel pool

Day five: Porto Covo das Bandeiras to Vila Nova de Milfontes. A 20 km (6-7 hours / difficult) hike starting at the northernmost point of the Fishermen's Trail, from where you will walk through the wide sand dunes of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Aivados and Malhão beaches and along the cliff tops, discovering secluded coves at every turn. You will spend the night at a small hotel/guest house near to the old historic centre of Vila Nova de Milfontes, close to the castle with its views over the Mira estuary.

Day six: Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve. A 15 km (4½-5 hours / somewhat difficult)  walk continuing on the Fishermen's Trail along the coast with the spectacular views of the Mira estuary from the bridge and equally enjoyable views if you choose to take the shortcut by boat.. A relatively short walking day which gives you time to enjoy the area to its full extent, particularly Brejo Largo beach.  You will spend the night at a delightful guest house situated just behind the sand dunes at Almograve.

Day seven: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar. A 22km (6½-7 hours / somewhat difficult) walk heading south from Almograve, passing scented pine forest to the village of Cavaleiro and the historic Cabo Sardão lighthouse. From the cliff tops you can view the nests of white storks on the rocky crags, something that is unique to this short stretch of coastline. You will spend the night at a small guest house close to the  centre of Zambujeira do Mar.

Day eight: Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe. An 18 km (6½-7 hours / somewhat difficult) walk along a coastal path, passing the wonderful beaches of Alteirinhos, Carvalhal, Machados and Amalia en route to the fishing village of Azenha do Mar, with its seemingly inaccessible natural harbour. The trail continues along the cliff tops, through the sand dunes  to reach the majestic Ponta em Branco, with views over Odeceixe beach and estuary and southwards along the western Algarve coast.You will spend the night at a small guest house close to the river in Odeceixe.

convent ruins

Day nine: Walk from Odeceixe to Rogil. A 15 km (4 hours / easy) hike starting from the  centre of  the village to take  the recently extended Fishermen's Trail to Rogil .

Day ten: A 12 km (3½ hours / easy)  walk firstly on the Historical Way to join the Amoreira beach circuit and then further to Aljezur. You will spend two nights at a delightful guest house situated close to the centre of the village.

Day eleven: A transfer after breakfast to Arrifana for a 18km (5-6 hours / somewhat difficult) walk, firstly along the Pontal da Atalaia circuit and then back along part of the Historical Way back to Aljezur .

Day twelve: A transfer after breakfast to Bordeira for a 18km (5-6 hours / somewhat difficult) walk, firstly along the "From Bordeira to the sea" circuit and then along the Historical Way to Carrapateira, where you will spend two nights in a guest house close to the dunes.

Day twelve:10km (3½ hours / easy) walk along the Pontal da Carrapateira circuit.

Day fourteen: A transfer after breakfast to Vila do Bispo for a 14km (4-4½ hours / somewhat difficult) walk, firstly  along the Historical Way and then along the Telheiro beach circuit to Cape St. Vincent. Then a short bus ride or a 5km walk to Sagres, where you will spend the night in a hotel overlooking the ocean.

Day fifteen: Departure after breakfast by complimentary taxi to Lagos.

Stork and chicks

General advice and information.

Many of the coastal trails involves a significant amount of walking on soft sand, particularly on the  stage from Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes. For walkers unaccustomed to walking on sand, the trails can be quite tiring. The levels of difficulty more    reflect the fitness required rather than the technical capabilities.

At several points along the coast, the trail passes quite close to cliff edges. Therefore we do not recommend these walks for persons who truly suffer from vertigo.   

Whilst late March until early June is the most popular period for this trail, due to the abundant spring flowers and the nesting storks, in the autumn there is still an array of different colours and fragrances to  experience.

For a stress-free start to your travel, arriving at the start point by early evening on day one is recommended.

Website updated: 26th March 2020. Copyright © All Rights Reserved.