Solo Hike the Fisherman’s Trail Portugal – 2024 Tips & Accommodations

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The best of the Fisherman’s Trail in Portugal is 4 days of food and incredible, mostly flat hiking. Learn from my mistakes on this stunning (and tasty) coastal hike in Portugal just south of Lisbon that’s perfect for sustainable travel and your first (or one of many) solo multi-day hikes.

The luggage transport makes it especially enjoyable for beginners.

Fisherman’s Trail Portugal Overview

fisherman's trail portugal

Yes, that’s a waterfall and I have NO idea how they got down there, the stairs just kind of ended. Next year I’m going to try.

I did this in 2021, and it was my first solo multi-day hike and I have to admit, I was blown away by the beauty and wild feel of the trail combined with hospitable Portuguese fishing villages with great hotels & restaurants.

Author’s tl;dr: Ultimate Travel and Hiking Guide to the Best 4 days of the Fishermen’s Trail Section of the Rota Vicentina. Including GPX Stages for your phone and a Minimalist Packing List.

➡️ Spreadsheet Fisherman’s Trail Accommodation to plan your own adventure.

4-5 Day Fishermen’s Trail Portugal Itinerary

fishermans trail

It’s not really a “trek” as the terrain is fairly mild and flat.

You’re quite literally walking along the coast or clifftop, staying near the ocean and smelling that salty breeze, hearing the crash of waves on striped cliffs and soaking in Mother Nature.

The hike is not so much up and down, but there is sand, and a lot of it.

It’s tiring, but not technical or scary like the Alps can be. But it’s just as scenic!

My Experience:
Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail Portugal

  • Between 9-13 miles a day (14km – 22km) x 4 days
  • 4.5 – 7 hours of daily walking time (not including stops for amazing food)
  • Moderately challenging ONLY due to sand
  • Max elevation change is 800 ft on the last day
  • Gaiters might be helpful for managing sand

I found it useful to stop every 1-2 hours and dump the sand out of my shoes and soak in the views of wild storks nests, crazy-ass actual fisherman on impossible cliffs, or get a glass of Alentejo wine at the local cafe.

While some may consider it difficult due to the long distances and sandy trails, I found that the hardest part was dealing with the hangover from the tasty village dinners each night with other hikers.

The food and fun were just too good to resist! But even with the occasional morning-after struggle, the Fisherman’s Trail remains one of my favorite hikes to date and is definitely one of the top trekking trails in Europe.

Continue reading for a detailed day-by-day Fisherman’s Trail Portugal Itinerary. It includes the best places to stay, where to eat, and wondrous points of interest (like the famous TUNA TREE, places to forage Medronho berries and abandoned mansions).

fisherman's trail portugal

Best Time to Go : Fishermans Trail Portugal

The beard, the flannel, the hunting for food. Iconic fisherman in Portugal.

Hiking the Fisherman’s Trail Portugal, otherwise known as the Camino de los Pescadores Portugal, is perfect for sustainable travelers. The hope is you can enjoy responsible travel and plan your own SELF-GUIDED hiking holiday. It is one section of the larger Rota Vicentina Trail.

I want to get this out of the way. DO NOT do this in summer unless you are an experienced desert hiker and some kind of masochist.

It’s miserably hot in June through mid-September. The best thing to do here during that time is sit on the beach in Zambujeira and wait for the sun to go down and amble slowly along the coast.

When to Hike the Rota Trail

The hike is accessible September through June.

(Perfect for Fall, Winter, and Spring Multi-day Hikes)

The Alentejo coastline of Portugal is often driven past by tourists on the way between Lisbon and the popular Algarve in the South. I did it myself, twice!

This is especially great for hikers that don’t want to travel to South America or New Zealand to hike September to June.

Fisherman’s Trail Portugal : Waterfalls Flow Into the Ocean

This hiking and travel guide is intended for those that want a predictably great hiking experience without having to rough it.

FYI: Luggage Transport is cheap and easy to make the hike much more comfortable. I’ve listed 2 active small businesses at the end of the article you can contact online.

fisherman trail

About the Fishermans Trail Portugal

Who is This Guide For?

This stunning and unique trail can be experienced as part of a “Multi-day Hiking Trip” where you walk between village hotels each night, or as a series of day hikes.

If you’re looking for some of the BEST SELF-GUIDED MULTI DAY HIKING and COASTAL HIKING in Europe with amazing food, then this may be for you.

If you hate sand, then don’t go.

The Fisherman’s Trail is also perfect for those looking for a Fall or Spring multi-day hiking destination in the northern hemisphere.

Backpacker, Bike tour, Family and Retiree walking tours friendly.

  • Experience the last wild coast in Europe by foot.
  • Perfect to pair with a trip to Lisbon for sustainable travel.
  • Fairly easy, mostly flat (but sandy) and well marked paths that are always on the Atlantic Ocean with stunning views and wildlife.
  • Bikepackers can leave their bike with one of the hotels and use the bus to return to their bike.

This stunning and unique trail can be experienced as part of a “Multi-day Hiking Trip” where you walk between village hotels each night, or as a series of day hikes.

fisherman's trail portugal karte

Now, I know what you’re thinking – a multi-day hike? That sounds intimidating. But let me tell you, it’s not as scary as you might think.

  • Wild camping is not allowed so you’ve got to book hotels each night
  • Each fishing village has a choice of delicious restaurants

Why Spend Vacation Time on the Fisherman’s Trail?

Beginners or New Long Distance Hikers – Taxi & Luggage Transport Options

Beginners should ensure they are comfortable with time on their feet – at least 5-7 hours daily.

One of the great things about this trail is that you can make it as long or as short as you want. If you’re feeling tired or just want to take a break, you can divert from the Nature park, get to a village and always call a TAXI to take you where you need to go.

Why this multi-day hike is good for first timers …

Keep reading to learn more about the cheap and easy luggage transport. That means you can send your bag ahead of you and carry only a small daypack with water and snacks.

IMO that makes the experience SO MUCH better. If you’re not sure if you can walk that far, read my article about how far you can walk in a day based on fitness level.

Fishermen’s Trail Portugal Map

I’ve hiked the absolutely most scenic stages for this Best of the Fishermens trail 4 day guide.

I met new hiking friends along the the fisherman trail in 2022 who’ve done it more than once, and this is the part they have come back to again and again.

Download the Fisherman’s Trail GPX on Komoot here.

Google Map: Rota Vicentina : Fisherman Trail Portugal Map
fishermen s trail

How to Use This Map:
Click on the icon on the top left-hand corner. You will now see an interactive list.

For more info on each, click on the map icons.

To see the map in more detail, click on the [ ] in the top right-hand corner. This will open a larger map where the details of each point can be found by clicking on the location point name in the list on the left.

You can also save the map for your own use by clicking the next to the map name. This will save the map to your Google Maps, where you can make a copy and use it for your own trip planning.

To view the saved map on your phone, open Google Maps, click “saved” on the bottom, and then “maps” on the lower right.

Fishermans trail portugal map : Click above for interactive map.

Explore more with confidence with our top-rated hiking and navigational watch!

If you need a reliable GPS watch for your trip, then my personal recommendation is to choose Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Watch, an award winning navigation watch with advanced features like GPS tracking, altimeter and long battery life. Plus with durable and waterproof design, you can take on any weather.

Buy a watch HERE

Accommodations on the Fisherman’s Trail Route

Unlike many European destinations, finding accommodations on this hike is relatively easy. I’ve given a review of the top hotels for each section at the end of this article, but these were my favorites.

I’m kinda cheap so these are relatively modest budget accommodations, but you can easily find more luxurious accommodations and I’ve included nicer places to stay in each daily stage in the spreadsheet in the table.

One of the Best Coastal Hikes in the World
StageDistance WalkedMy Favorite Places to Stay on the Trail
Day 0Porto Covo: Mute
Day 112 miVila Nova de Milfontes: Vila Eira Boutique House
Day 29 miAlmograve: Almograve Beach Hostel
Day 313 miZambujeira do Mar: Monte Das Alpenduradas
Day 411 miOdeceixe: Bohemian Antique Guesthouse
Travel DaysLisbon, Lagos
Free SheetGet a full list of Accomodations

A range of budget hostels, mid-range hotels and farm stays are available on the Fisherman Walk Portugal. Sustainable hotels are indicated on the website and I’ve listed my favorites that were open in November in each stage.

If you’d like a longer trip, this Rota Vicentina Fishermen’s Trail website provides helpful information and an app to plan the entire way.

There’s some confusion around the terms Rota Vicentina and Fishermen’s Trail. Under the umbrella of “Rota Vicentina” are included the Historical Way (inland, resembling the Camino Portuguese), Fishermen’s Trail (coastal), and Circular Routes (day hikes).

The “Fishermen’s Trail” is considerably more scenic than the Historical Way and runs directly on the coast in 13 stages. Each year more sections are developed and improved, great news for you explorers!

Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail, Portugal

Hiking Fisherman’s Trail Portugal

It’s possible to hike in either direction as the trail is very well marked in both directions, including symbols on “where not to hike”, however the North to South direction is the most simple in terms of bus connections.

Please note many hikers will use bus transport to avoid some of the more boring sections of the fisherman’s way Portugal, such as between Odeceixe and Aljezur.

Also, accommodations in winter on the fisherman’s trail in Portugal may be difficult on the more southern stretches toward Lagos, and people may either wild camp or taxi to the next place to sleep.

Rota Vicentina: the Fisherman’s Trail

🌊 🐙 Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail Hiking Guide

I really loved going in November. It’s the perfect shoulder season for this part of Europe. You may get some rain, but you’ll avoid the heat and crowds.

➡️ Watch my Youtube from the Fisherman’s trail in November. It was the perfect weather. Maybe I got really lucky, who knows.

fisherman's trail portugal

Stage 1: Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes

Distance: 20 km, 12 miles
Difficulty: Moderate only due to sand. You’ll want to empty your shoes frequently
Time: 6-6:30 hours. Take your time as the sand can be challenging

Ascent/Descent: Mild about 450 ft

Tips for Hungry Hikers: Grab coffee at the first seaside restaurant you see called A Ilha under Forte do Pessegueiro. Don’t order a latte, in Portugal this is a kids’ drink called Um galao and it’s a LOT of milk. I try to order the “meia de leite” which is more like coffee and milk.

Bring snacks for lunch as there’s not another village until the evening stop.

Wondrous and Unusual Points of Interest: You’ll walk along the beach without your shoes as much as possible. There are paths more inland, but enjoy these stretches of pristine sand with abandoned fortresses on the dunes and islands reminding you of Portugal’s golden age of sailing and world dominance.

When possible veer onto the many single tracks that line the cliff’s edge, darting under rock formations and providing more landscape drama than the more often travelled sand path in the dunes. You’ll share this area with remote surfers and horseback riders.

—-Where to Stay in Vila Nova de Milfontes Near Fishermen’s Trail

Try to get reservations at Tasca do Celso for dinner for elevated Portuguese. O pescador serves up great, traditional seafood.

My Favorite Hotel in Vila Nova de Milfontes:

Casa de Eira is hands down the most friendly and pleasant hotel experience I’ve had in years due it’s elegant and delicious breakfast service, quiet rooms and incredible service by Rudolf.

He taught me so much about the history of the entire region and the fishermen’s trail.

I felt like the service was at the level of a 5 star city hotel, but in a tiny seaside village for 55 euros a night. I cannot recommend a stay here enough.

Great Hotel Option:

If Casa de Eira is booked, Selina Milfontes has a great vibe and jacuzzi to recover your legs.

Luxury Hotel with Ostrich Farm:

For those that want to stay in complete luxury with high end amenities complete with ostrich and mules on the property in the middle of the Agro-Forest reserve, a stay at Tres Marias will delight.

fisherman's trail portugal

Stage 2: Vila Nova Milfontes to Almograve

Distance: 15 km, 9 miles
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Ascent/Descent: Easy, about 500 ft
Time: 4:30 Hours Short Route, 5:30-6:00 Fun Art-Filled Route

Tips for Hungry Hikers: Look for the Medronho berries alongside the road out of town and near the Vila Nova Milfontes bridge, they make excellent schnapps from it. They are wild berries that look like wild strawberries growing from a scrubby Mediterranean bush.

Wondrous and Unusual Points of Interest: Thanks to my history lesson from Rudolf at Casa de Eira, I learned that the town Fortress Forte de Sao Clemente in town is, in fact, a party boy’s private house. Lucky.

I also skipped the “ferry” most hikers take and walked through the town of Vila Nova MIlfontes and across the bridge over the River. Immediately on the right after the bridge grows the “Tuna Tree, not to be missed.

Then a stroll through an actual cork orchard allows you to see how it’s sustainably harvested. At the end of the orchard lies the most unusual cultural sight in probably all of Alentejo.

Sitting in a dried out field overlooking the river and ocean sits an abandoned architect’s house. Part art-deco, part decaying opulence and part vessel for thoughtful and political street art, it’s a canvas for artists from around Europe.

fisherman's trail portugal

The 3 story building is filled with blown in sand, more street art inside, and local kids’ leftover party bottles placed into neatly tied plastic bags. Tidy litter? If exploring inside, beware as the floor is unsteady with it’s star shaped lighting fixtures dangling between floors.

The rest of the day is filled with natural wonders along the seaside trail, what feels like bushwhacking through dense grasses, and walks alongside grass farms and enclosed ostriches.

Upon entering Almograve just the the right, watch for the town “washing center” where villagers do their laundry outdoors old-school.

Watch my video of sunset at the beach, dolphins love to pop out here.

—-Where to Eat & Stay in Almograve Near Fishermen’s Trail

Almograve is pretty small with only a few cafes open in the fall. O Lavrador is simple and delicious, and any of the shops serve coffee & pastries or sandwiches for breakfast. Simply pick what you want them to include in a sandwich from the deli counter.

Fun Hostel Stay:

I thought the Almograve Beach Hostel was a great stay with comfortable 4 bedroom dorms and some private rooms. It’s got a full kitchen and shared bathroom and is very clean with self check in. I liked the four person room vs a big bunk area.

Not so Many Options Here:

Another option is HI Almograve – Pousada de Juventude, simple and located right in the village. Bring ear plugs and be ready to share space.

fisherman's trail portugal

Stage 3: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar

Distance: 21 km, 13 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Ascent/Descent: Easy-Moderate, about 500 ft
Time: 5:30-6 hours

Tips for Hungry Hikers: Save room for lunch at Adelia snack bar in the village of Cavaleiro, it doesn’t get any more local than this. Here’s where you get a look into local families enjoying mid-day meal, aim for a weekend if possible.

Wondrous and Unusual Points of Interest: After dune walking, some farm roads and lunch in Cavaleiro, the cliffs begin again. At the Western most point of Alentejo, the Farol Cabo Sardao lighthouse marks the white stork extravaganza.

The high dark grey, striated cliffs and islands rise sharply into dragon’s back triangular peaks with white storks nests perched impossibly on the sharp edges. The males swoop around with their impressive wingspan trying to woo their potential lovers.

Again like on day 1, fishermen are in treacherous places with only a pole, net and white plastic bucket. You’ll spy on ropes hung between sharp rocky peaks and wonder if that’s the way the fishermen got to their favorite spots?

Some beaches are accessible from the top of the 200 ft cliffs by walking, but the path includes ropes to help you get up and down the steeper parts. You’ll walk through Entrada do Barca and pass by the strangest house with golden Moorish details on the left before getting into Zambujeira.

—-Where to Eat & Stay in Zambujeira Near Fishermen’s Trail

This seaside town features beaches and many guest houses and restaurants. I opted to take a night off eating and hole up in my guesthouse (introverts recharge) for some mental and physical recovery, so I cannot recommend a place to eat but my trail friends remarked that most places served typical seafood.

The kittens outside my door enjoyed the sardine and persimmon tin I left them from my hotel dinner on this best part of fisherman’s trail.

My Favorite Stay for Excitement:

Hostel Nature is a German ran and very efficient hostel. It has a big kitchen with free filtered water. I hung out here for a while with my new hiking friends, but I had to get out to where I reserved outside town.

And no taxis answered my call in evening, but the owner came and fetched me with the excellent Portuguese hospitality.

My Favorite Hotel for Peace:

Monte Das Alpenduradas is great if you want a quiet night to stay in a raspberry farm and enjoy a spectacular breakfast with roosters sounding off in the garden. It’s rooms are super comfortable, private, and have a full bathroom.

It’s 2 km outside town so arrange a taxi or ride. I actually hitched a ride back into the town with the Vicentina Transfers (luggage transfer) van to meet up with the gang to get back on the fishermen’s trail.

Farm Stay:

Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the action, and this trail has many offerings like a farm stay with your own apartment at Herdade do Kuanza. Again, arrange a taxi ahead of time or pickup from the hotel as it’s a bit outside town unless you want to add a few km to your trek.

fisherman's trail portugal

Stage 4: Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe

Distance: 19 km, 12 miles
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Ascent/Descent: Moderate – It Gets Fun here going up and down the cliffs a bit. About 800 ft.
Time: 5-5:30 hours

Tips for Hungry Hikers: Get the Octopus confit for lunch on the Cliffside Café Palhinhas The kittens will sit patiently under your table for little tidbits and the entire cliffside hamlet is accessible for wheelchairs making it a local’s favorite for Sunday sunset dinner.

Wondrous and Unusual Points of Interest:
Today includes much more fun and exciting up and down along the cliff sides. You’ll pass by one of the most popular fado singer’s private houses and have breathtaking views of the sea almost all day until you turn inland to Odeceixe and follow the mouth of the river to your destination.

—-Where to Eat and Stay in Odeceixe Near Fishermen’s Trail

If you like cafe’s with a variety of vegetarian options and attention to local suppliers, eat at the cafe under the Bohemian Guest house. It had the best coffee that I experienced along the trail.

My Favorite Hotel:

Bohemian Antique Guest House is a charming and cozy, well decorated hostel located on the town’s central square. Highly recommended.

Best Hotel For Privacy:

Apartamentos Mar I Odeceixe will allow you to have your own little holiday home and some quiet just a few minutes from the heart of the village.

Best Luxury Hotel:

Casas de Moinha provides luxury rooms with gorgeous views and pool. Walk to the windmill and beaches and they have jacuzzi and massage services.

Tips for Hiking the Rota Vicentina Portugal

You can’t get lost. That’s the best part!

fishermans trail.
The sea is always there to guide you.
  1. Follow the teal and blue signs, it’s almost impossible to miss. When presented with a fork in the path, it will be marked in teal and blue with a hash to indicate you’re going the wrong way.
Fishermen's Trail Signage - the cross sign is

2. Do the luggage transfer, with only a daypack you can explore the cliffs, dunes and mysterious abandoned mansions with a lighter load.

3. Be prepared for sand with lighter weight trail running shoes. Boots fill up fast and are heavy in the sand. Take the time to empty shoes and avoid blisters.

4. Bring sun and eye protection even in the winter months, there’s very little shade.

5. The Rota Vicentina app or Cicerone guidebook can help you navigate.

6. If you love food, go easy on the daytime snacks and seek out the hole in the wall places in tiny villages for lunch. You may need to do a lot of pointing and google translate as the villages are rustic and English may be limited.

7. Save room for a lovely dinner each night. Invite other hikers to sit with you for a drink or share a “caught this morning” fish, as the good ones are usually big enough for 2-4 people to share.

8. Plan your hike around one of the many local sweet potato festivals that brighten up the tiny villages and cause a party in November. This region is famous for the highly nutritious, diverse and delicious sweet potato (nothing like the orange atrocity typical in American grocery stores).

Practical Information About the Fishermen’s Walk

How to Get to Fisherman’s Trail Trailhead at Porto Covo from Lisbon

Lisbon Airport (LIS Humberto Delgado) – Lisboa Sete Rios stationPorto Covo

fisherman's trail portugal

How to Get to Porto Covo

Compared to the United States, public transportation is generally excellent in Portugal and inexpensive. Outside Porto and Lisbon, buses are the best. It’s possible to shorten or lengthen your hiking trip as there are bus stops in each of the main villages I’ve outlined.

For example, if you only have 3 days you can return to Lisbon from the 3rd village Zambujiera do Mar instead of going the full 4 days to Odeceixe.

Renting a one way car is not a viable option unless you hike all the way to Lagos (12 stages). Also the train options are much slower than buses and run inland.

Timetables do change with the seasons so start your planning here and plan your outgoing bus (16.50) to Porto Covo. Traffic can be challenging in Lisbon, so if you’re trying to get to Porto Covo on the day you fly into Lisbon you may want to have a morning flight arrival in order to get the late afternoon bus to Porto Covo.

I’d allow at least 2 hours commute time from the airport to the bus station in case of delays. Changing all of your nightly accommodations because you missed the bus won’t be much fun.

I had plenty of time to explore the TimeOut Market and wander through the exquisite tile-clad Alfama neighborhood on my arrival day before the bus ride to Porto Covo.

From Lisbon airport it’s simple to use google maps to find the correct subway (1-2 euros), or you can download the “Free Now” app for a private car (around 15-20 euros) to get to the bus station at Sete Rios.

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While taxis are available in small villages, they often are booked and much more expensive. If you want to fly out of Faro airport instead of Lisbon, this is likely going to be your best bet and you’ll want to call well ahead of time to secure a taxi.

food on fishermans trail

Where to Stay in Porto Covo the Night Before Fisherman’s Trail

My Favorite Accomodation in Porto Covo:

I loved staying at Mute, a chic sustainable hostel directly on the ocean with a delicious breakfast included. Sitting on a deck overlooking the ocean with 3 cups of americano coffee and fresh eggs was a great way to start this adventure.

Budget Stay:

For a lovely guest house featuring private bathroom and a great location in town check out Pé na Areia Alojamento Local.

Mid-Range Stay:

Want to rent a whole house for sustainable travel right in Porto Covo? Chaparro Holidays – Big house with terrace will provide a lovely stay.

Where to Eat in Porto Covo

Try to get a reservation for Lamella’s for an interesting take on modern Portuguese cuisine. Female, chef owned and with elegant details such as dried and powdered cilantro.

Cost for Fishermen’s Trail

Excluding the cost of travel to Lisbon, a 4 Day hike with a stay the night before in Porto Covo, the trip should cost:

  • Low end (excluding wild campers) 186 euros
  • High end & more comfort 500 euros

Budget: Hostel/snacking with only one simple meal eaten in restaurant: (36 bus + 100 hostel + 50 simple food) = 186 Euros

Bed and Breakfast, luggage transport and “Elevated Portuguese” meals with wine: (36 bus + 20 taxi + 60 luggage + 275 Bed & Breakfast + 100 elevated food + 20 wine) = 506 Euros

Bus Transportation: 36 euros

Luggage Transportation: 60 euros (same price for 2)

Accomodations: Farm stay private room with breakfast for 2 with bathroom 50-60 euros, Upscale hotel with breakfast 55, Hostel with shared bathroom and breakfast 18-22.

Food costs will range but quality is high and prices are low relative to other European destinations.

food on the fisherman's trail portugal

Lunch & Dinners:

Sea Bream (Dorade fish) with potato, bread and salad 8-12 Euros

“Elevated” Portuguese: 12-18 Euros

Confit Octopus: 7 euros

Charcuterie, vegetable and cheese board: 9 Euros

Hamburger and potatoes: 6 Euros

Sweets: 1 euro or less

House wine liter: 4-6 Euros

Snacks: Sardines 1.80, Bread rolls .20, apple .50

Coffee: 1.30

Water: tap is safe

Rota Vicentina Luggage Transportation

Lisbon train stations and subway stations have lockers you can rent to store extra luggage that you don’t want to carry, or you can utilize the Vicentina Transfers company to lighten your load.

For 15 euros a transfer (2nd bag free), this dynamo couple of a team will pick up your bags at your accommodation around 9 am and deliver it to your next destination accomodation. You can book everything entirely online in English on their website and if you’ve got any changes you can use WhatsApp to communicate easily.

Nature Transfers also provides luggage transfer and you can contact them here.


Travel Guide to Each Village on the Fisherman’s Trail

Fisherman’s Trail Summary with Travel Guides for Each Village

Arrival Day: Get to Porto Covo: (Lisbon to Porto Covo 2.5 hours bus)

Stage 1: Porto Covo to Vila Nova Milfontes 12 miles, 20 km

Stage 2: Vila Nova Milfontes to Almograve 9 miles, 15 km

Stage 3: Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar 13 miles, 21 km

Stage 4: Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe 11 miles, 18 km

Download: ➡️ Fisherman’s Trail GPX
➡️ Minimalist Packing List
Ultimate Guide : Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail

Packing List For Fisherman’s Trail

Don’t make my mistakes. I bought some very expensive “sand” hiking pants with stirrups and they were completely useless.

A lightweight trail shoe would be ideal with frequent stops to dump the sand.

However, hiking with gaiters may be helpful if you don’t like stopping.

I’ve detailed the packing experience in a separate article as it’s a lot to think about.

All Sections of the Fisherman’s Trail

How Long is the Fishermen’s Trail in Portugal

The length of the Best of the Fishermen’s Trail 4 day hike is 76 km (47 miles) long.

The stages outlined in this guide average about 5-6 hours of easy walking time each day at 15-21 km (9-13 miles).

Plan for snack and photo stops here on the edge of the European continent overlooking cerulean blue seas with views of daring Portuguese fishermen in places that seem like they need a helicopter to get to.

This guide starts at stage 2 because stage 1 is alongside roadways and not as interesting according to other bloggers and confirmed by the hikers I met along trail.

  1. São Torpes to Porto Covo (10 kilometers, difficulty: easy)
  2. Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Milfontes (20 kilometers, difficulty: moderate)
  3. Vila Nova de Milfontes to Almograve (15.5 kilometers, difficulty: easy)
  4. Almograve to Zambujeira do Mar (22 kilometers, difficulty: easy)
  5. Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe (19 kilometers, difficulty: easy)
  6. Odeceixe to Aljezur (22.5 kilometers, difficulty: average)
  7. Aljezur to Arrifana (17.5 kilometers, difficulty: average)
  8. Arrifana to Carrapateira (20 or 21.5 kilometers, difficulty: average)
  9. Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo (16 kilometers, difficulty: moderate)
  10. Vila do Bispo to Sagres (20.5 kilometers, difficulty: average)
  11. Sagres to Salema (19.5 kilometers, difficulty: moderate)
  12. Salema to Luz (12 kilometers, difficulty: average)
  13. Luz to Lagos (11 kilometers, difficulty: easy)

Fishermen’s Trail Full route: 13 stages and 225 km (140 miles). This Cicerone Guidebook is a very helpful for planning.

Where Next from Rota Vicentina Trail

After the best section of Fisherman’s Trail, you can continue by foot to Lagos, or take express buses (3:30 travel time) that leave in the morning hours (12:05 being the last bus) back to Lisbon or evening buses go south to Lagos. You can arrange taxis to get to Faro airport if needed.

Do not confuse local buses with the express. They will have different stops in the villages and you’ll need to purchase your tickets online prior to the trip. The bus drivers will not let you purchase your ticket onboard.

I hesitated on which bus to return from Odexiece and the website malfunctioned on my phone and laptop. I had a friend try on her phone and it continued to malfunction. Only once I asked a second person to help me out did it work.

According to locals, this is a frequent occurrence, so book well ahead online at Rede-Expressos bus company.

Typical of Europe, most of the restaurants will take 2-3 weeks of a vacation and completely close but will post it on their window.

Rota Vicentina Weather

The weather is temperate and mild mid September to June on the Portugal coastal trail.

It is on the list of where is warm in April in Europe. There can be occasional rain and humidity, but it’s also not uncommon to wear t-shirts in the sun in November.

Rain gear is needed for hiking, but not the mountaineer version. A simple rain coat and backpack cover should suffice.

Fisherman’s Trail in November

October is the most popular time and you’ll have more restaurants open, but November is my all time favorite because the mountain season is over, yet the coastal weather is good, enough cultural places are open, and the main thrust of tourists have returned to school/work after Fall breaks.

July and August are less than ideal due to the heat and luggage transfers aren’t available.

According to Lamella’s, a female-chef owned restaurant in Porto Covo, there’s an unspoken agreement between food establishments to rotate and keep one nice restaurant in each village open to grow the off-season (hiking) eco-tourism in this typical summer vacation area.

fisherman's trail

Recommended Books and Guidebooks for Exploring Portugal

Rota Vicentina Cicerone guidebook

Walking in the Algarve: 33 walks in the south of Portugal including Serra de Monchique and Costa Vicentina (Cicerone Walking Guides)

Rick Steve’s Portugal

Planning your trip?

FAQ Fisherman’s Trail

Does fisherman’s trail have luggage transportation?

Yes! It’s simple and easy to arrange with Vicentina Transfers or Nature Transfers and they will pick up your luggage and deliver it to your next hotel along the trail.

What is the best part of the fisherman’s trail hike?

There are 13 sections currently but stages 2-5 are the most scenic along the Atlantic coast.

Tips for hiking the fishermen’s trail

The sections average about 9-13 miles a day. The best month to hike is April or October and the worst is June – September.

It’s too hot! Follow the ample signage of teal and blue signposts. Most people hike North to South starting in Porto Covo to Odeceixe.

Book your fisherman’s trail accommodation in advance in the fishing villages right on the trail by using

What is the Rota Vicentina?

Looking for an unforgettable hiking experience in Portugal? Look no further than the Rota Vicentina. This stunning trail system along the southwestern coast of Portugal offers some of the most beautiful and diverse hiking experiences in Europe.

From the challenging Fisherman’s Trail to the more leisurely Historical Way, there is something for every level of hiker. And the best part? The food.

Coastal hiking is all about fresh seafood, and the small towns along the way offer some of the most delicious and authentic Portuguese cuisine you’ll find anywhere.

Is the Fisherman’s trail hard?

As someone who has hiked the Fisherman’s Trail, I can say with confidence that this is one of the most incredible hiking experiences I’ve ever had.

Yes, the sandy trails and long distances can be challenging, but the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the opportunity to explore quaint fishing villages make it all worth it.

And if you’re new to multi-day hikes and feeling intimidated, don’t worry. You can always call a taxi if you get stuck, and the locals are friendly and accommodating to hikers. So why not challenge yourself and embark on an unforgettable adventure along the Rota Vicentina?

Portugal Fisherman’s Trail Map

For the Fisherman’s Trail Portugal route, easily download the GPX files and daily stages of the best of the Fisherman’s Trail on the Rota Vicentina in Portugal. (The fisherman’s trail Portugal map is easy to download to your phone on google maps.)

Fisherman’s Trail Packing List

Take only what you need to minimize your weight and enjoy your hike more with this detailed fisherman’s trail packing list.

Fisherman’s Trail Accommodations

Here’s my spreadsheet of Fisherman’s Trail Accommodations that you can copy and paste onto your phone. Fishermen’s trail camping not allowed in the wild. Fisherman’s trail Portugal camping spots are limited.

Do I need hiking boots in Portugal?

Due to the frequent sand on coastal trails and heat, a hiking shoe may be a better option for hiking in Portugal.

However, if you feel more comfortable in boots by all means wear them.

Unexpected things on Fisherman’s trail

Rugged cliffs, unspoiled beaches, incredible street art in Zambujeira do Mar, and traditional fishing villages littered with wild Medronho berries.

Why you shouldn’t do the Fisherman’s Trail

It’s a trip perfect for first time multi-day hikers, families and winter travelers because the terrain is easy, warm and astounding, there’s always an easy out with buses or taxi if the hiking gets annoying and the food is crazy delicious.

But it is not isolated. If you are looking for something totally wild and rugged…this may not be for you.

Also, it is not great in summer. Even the luggage transport companies shut down their operations. July and August are ideal for sitting on the beach in the shade.

It’s simply very hot and sandy and there’s not much shade along this trail.


Get more CULTURE + NATURE HIKING travel tips here 👎🏻

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.

I hope you enjoyed this Fishermen’s Trail Portugal Travel Guide.

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