Top Scenic Hikes In Portugal
It may surprise you to know that Portugal was the world’s first major maritime superpower. It colonized large portions of the western coast of Africa and for a time was the strongest empire in Europe. They were also the first Europeans in China establishing a settlement in Macau in the 1500’s. Today Portugal is one the most popular vacation destinations for travelers from the UK and other EU countries. Savvy travelers head to Portugal for their stunning beaches, sunny offshore islands, stunning inland scenery and attractive prices.
In this article, we will focus on some of Portugal’s natural wonders by sharing many of the top scenic hikes in Portugal that are enjoyed by so many active vacationers.
Cabo da Roca:
Wikimedia Commons by: Szilas
Most people associate Sintra with its architectural treasures, but it also has a stunning coastline. Hiking enthusiasts can find the Cabo da Roca trailhead on the Sintra coast. This five-hour moderate level hike leads its travelers north to one of the country’s most beautiful beaches Praia da Ursa. This whimsical beach features limestone structures shaped like Hershey kisses and maybe a large reason as to why most hikers stop their journey here. Those who continue north will find themselves discovering other, much less visited, beaches further up the coast.
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
Wikimedia Commons by: Klugschnacker
This adventure is by far the most popular day hike in Algarve and it is the bearer of some of the most outstanding scenery in the country. This 5-hour return hike is usually started at the Praia da Marinha trailhead and extends to Praia de Vale Centianes. One of the major highlights along the trail is Benagil Beach which is home to the well known Benagil Cave. “Benagil cave can be thought of as a beach covered by a giant dome rock structure. This cave is accessible by kayaks or paddleboard that are available for rent,” writes Meredith Yamamoto, a travel blogger at Writinity.
This cave structure is just one of many attractions to be seen along the hike. There are two other well-known beaches called Corredoura beach and Carvalho Beach. Both are known for their beauty and easy access.
Trail Of Headlands:
This hike is an excellent alternative to the Seven Hanging Valleys hike. It takes about half the time and is usually visited by half as many people. Those who want to enjoy the coastal beauty in a more intimate setting, one with fewer people, should strongly consider this hike. “The end result of the Seven Hanging Valleys trails is a small beach town called Carvoeiro which offers both quant overnight options as well as luxury ones.” writes Henry Zoran, a lifestyle writer at Draftbeyond. On the way to this town, one will pass Praia do Paraíso, a small beach town accessible by an oil, steep, staircase.
25 Fontes Hike:
This hike is of particular interest because it is located on the Portuguese island of Madeira. It is called the 25 Fontes Hike because the journey will lead the traveler across 25 stunning waterfalls. This hike really does show a side of Portugal that many do not get to see and is a highly recommended hike.
Rota Vicentina is one of the best long-distance hikes in all of Portugal. This 450km hike along the southwest coast is characterized by its jagged cliffs and rolling landscapes. This hike intersects parts of the Fisherman’s trail, another famous hike in Portugal, as well as many old, rustic villages. Rota Vicentina is just as charming as it is long.
Montesinho Natural Park:
Wikimedia Commons by: Elisha.wolf
This is one of the most untouched areas in all of Portugal. This park, located in the northeastern corner of Portugal was cut off from Portugal for many centuries. When one visits the park and walks one of its many trails there is a definite sense of wild ruggedness that does not categorize the rest of Portugal. Those looking for an experience a little bit off the standard threaded tourist path should strongly consider visiting Montesinho Natural Park.
Madeira is an island located off the northwest coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. This island is another great example of the diversity that Portugal offers when it comes to its natural beauty. There are several hikes on this island that travel between the jutting volcanic peaks that make up the island. This hike can be particularly interesting as the elevation gained and lost during the adventure is noticeable. One will find they are always walking up or downhill.
Conclusion: While there are many reasons to visit Portugal one of the best is for its natural beauty. Unlike many other countries in Europe, Portugal has much of its medieval period forests still standing.
About The Author: Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. She has been involved in projects throughout the country with several companies. When not working, the mother of two enjoys traveling, reading, as well as attending business development courses.