Cercal Circular - 11 days - 9 walks.

Self-guided walking on the Rota Vicentina starting and finishing in Cercal do Alentejo.

Hiking vacation in Portugal

Itinerary (click walk name to view gallery).

Day one: Arrival  in the Alentejo. Overnighting in the  village of Cercal do Alentejo .The night will be spent at a guesthouse near the centre of the village.

Day two: Cercal do Alentejo to São Luis. A walk through the "serras" over harsh and irregular terrain, with views to the Atlantic coast and inland over the Alentejo plains. The night will be spent at a rural guesthouse in a converted Alentejano farm just outside the village.

Details: +/- 6.5 - 7 hours | 20.5 km | Asc. 500 m - Desc. 500 m. | Scale 3.

Day three: São Luis to Odemira. A walk known as the water section of the Historical Way, where there is an optional but recommended side trail to Pego da Pias pools. The night will be spent at a family owned pension in the centre of Odemira .

Details: +/- 8 hours | 25 km | Asc. 300 m - Desc. 450 m. | Scale 3.

Day four: Odemira to São Teotónio. Much of the route follows wide trails with mild ascents and descents beside the rivers Mira and S. Teotonio and their sidestreams, with their crystal clear waters which are host to a variety of wildlife, including dragonflies, crayfish and otters. The night will be spent in a rural guesthouse on the edge of the town, where you can take a dip in the swimming pool after your walk.

Details: +/- 6 hours | 19 km | Asc. 350 m - Desc. 220 m. | Scale 2.


Walking holiday SW Alentejo

Day five: São Teotónio to Odeceixe. A walk along some inhospitable but truly memorable trails, climbing from valleys, rich in native vegetation, through quiet forests to open plateaus and hilltops with views of the Atlantic coast. (During and after periods of heavy rain, part of the trail may be waterlogged. There is a marked alternative route. +/- 5.5 hours | 15 km | Asc. 200 m - Desc. 400 m. | Scale 2.) You will spend the night at a small guest house close to the river in Odeceixe.

Details: +/- 5.5 - 6 hours | 17 km | Asc. 350 m - Desc. 550 m. | Scale 3.

Day six: Odeceixe to Zambujeira do Mar. From the majestic Ponta em Branco, look back at views over Odeceixe beach and southwards along the western Algarve coast, from here the trail continues along the cliff tops, through the sand dunes to the fishing village of Azenha do Mar.  The path continues   passing the wonderful beaches of Amalia, Machados, Carvalhal and Alteirinhos. You will spend the night at a  guest house close to the centre of Zambujeira do Mar.

Details: +/- 6.5 - 7 hours | 18.5 km | Asc. 300 m - Desc. 300 m. | Scale 3.

Day seven: Zambujeira do Mar to Almograve. Heading north to Almograve, passing the historic Cabo Sardão lighthouse and the village of Cavaleiro.  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 delightful guest house situated just behind the sand dunes.

Details: +/- 6.5 - 7 hours | 22 km | Asc. 200 m - Desc. 200 m. | Scale 3.

Hiking holiday in SW Portugal

Day eight: Almograve to Vila Nova de Milfontes. Continuing on the Fishermen's Trail along the coast. A relatively short walking day which gives you time to enjoy the area to its full extent, particularly Brejo Largo beach. With  spectacular views of the Mira estuary from the bridge and equally enjoyable views if you choose to take the shortcut by boat. You will spend the night at a small hotel or guest house near to the  historic centre of the village.

Details: +/- 4.5 - 5 hours | 15.5 km | Asc. 130 m - Desc. 150 m. | Scale 3.

Day nine: Vila Nova de Milfontes to Porto Covo. A 20 km (6-7 hour / difficult) hike heading to the northernmost point of the Fishermen's Trail. First  you will walk along the cliff tops, discovering secluded coves at every turn and then through the wide sand dunes of Malhão, Aivados and Ilha do Pessegueiro beaches. The night will be spent at a small inn or hotel close to  the village square.

Details: +/- 7.5 - 8 hours | 20 km | Asc. 180 m - Desc. 200 m. | Scale 4.


Day ten: Porto Covo to Cercal do Alentejo. A walk along the stage joining the Fishermen's Trail to the Historical Way, passing through mixed woodland and the serra  leaving the ocean  behind you. Your accommodation for the night is a guest house near the centre of Cercal do Alentejo.

Details: +/- 4.5 - 5 hours | 16.5 km | Asc. 300 m - Desc. 200 m. | Scale 2.

Day eleven: After breakfast, depart from Cercal do Alentejo.

Walking holiday Rota Vicentina

General advice and information.

All 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.   

During and after periods of heavy rain, some inland trails may be waterlogged.

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.