The Rota Vicentina Trail or the Historic Route of the Rota Vicentina has received Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe certification. In other words, it was elected one of the best tracks in Europe by the European Ramblers Association.
The reason is simple. The Rota Vicentina trail meets all the quality criteria, as a result of the improvements and adjustments that have been made to the trail in recent times. This route extends through the southwest of Portugal and includes a network of routes that follow that beautiful coastline. There are 230km, 13 stages, and a unique combination of the Historic Path with the Fishermen’s Trail.
So, as soon as this coronavirus storm allows it, venture to discover an absolutely unmissable piece of the Portuguese coast.
Itinerary: Rota Vicentina Rail
Day 1: Santiago do Cacém
This city is located in the interior of the Alentejo coast. It is a region full of medieval marks and remains that are worth exploring and getting to know. Dedicate a day to this location and stay overnight.
Day 2: Santiago do Cacém – Vale Seco (20 km)
Start the trail of the Rota Vicentina, covering the Alentejo coastline. Get ready to go through several woods and cork oak forests. Pay attention and be able to observe several endemic species of birds that have their nests there.
Day 3: Vale Seco – Cercal do Alentejo (19km)
Explore the countryside, crossing farms and farmland. Before reaching Cercal, you will pass through forests, olive groves, small lakes and water reservoirs. If the day is hot, stop by Lake Campilhas and take a dip.
Day 4: Cercal do Alentejo – Porto Côvo (19km)
Now, begins to walk along the trail of the Rota Vicentina towards the ocean, approaching the so-called fishermen’s trail. After passing through the fields and gardens, you will smell the wonderful aroma of the eucalyptus plantations. At the end of the route, you can see the blue color on the horizon line.
Day 5: Porto Côvo – Vila Nova de Milfontes (20km)
This is a demanding stage from a physical point of view and, during which, you must take supplies to feed and gain energy. The views in Milfontes are magnificent! This is a path still little explored, with several areas with loose sand.
Day 6: Vila Nova de Milfontes – Almograve/Longueira (17km)
The challenge of this day on the route of the Rota Vicentina is to cross the river by the bridge and face a very peaceful and restorative stage. Cross fields and small cliffs that give access to the region’s extraordinary beaches. Have lunch around the region and make the most of the local cuisine, until you reach the village of Longueira, inland.
Day 7: Almograve – Zambujeira do Mar (21km)
Return to the incredible landscapes of the Alentejo coast. Pass the fishing port of Zambujeira (Entrada da Barca) and follow the cliffs and the spectacular views you can admire from there. And don’t miss the storks!
The village of Cavaleiro is a good place to stop and have lunch. Then, pass by Cabo Sardão lighthouse until you reach the extraordinary beaches of Zambujeira do Mar.
Day 8: Zambujeira do Mar – Odeceixe (18km)
This is a stage full of attractions on the trail of the Rota Vicentina, towards the first village in the Algarve region, Odeceixe. On the way, you will pass by Praia do Carvalhal, the residence of fado singer Amália Rodrigues and the port of Azenha do Mar. Have lunch and finish the day in Algarve lands.
Day 9: Odeceixe – Aljezur (22km)
Continue south along the coast to the village of Aljezur. Pass the agricultural village of Rogil, where you can enjoy its tasty sweet potato.
Day 10: Aljezur – Praia da Arrifana (18km)
The fishermen’s trail follows Arrifana beach and offers the best views over the ocean. Take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and calm of the beach.
Day 11: Praia da Arrifana – Carrapateira (23km)
Head south between the sea and the mountain. Enjoy the hills, dunes and beaches. A path along the route of the Rota Vicentina is still untouched and offers countless surprises, such as a garden, which is enchanting at any time of the year.
Day 12: Carrapateira – Vila do Bispo (21km)
Hills, meadows, rivers and lakes guarantee the beauty of a stage characterized by an incredible local biodiversity. Close to Vila do Bispo, you can see some unique species of birds.
Day 13: Vila do Bispo – Cabo de São Vicente (19 km)
The route of the Rota Vicentina ends at the most southwestern point of continental Europe. São Vicente is an excellent bird observatory, so don’t forget to take your binoculars with you!