Fisherman’s Trail Portugal Itinerary – 2023 Ultimate Guide – Rota Vicentina

Fisherman’s Trail Portugal : a combination of breathtaking coastal hiking and delicious food that is close to Lisbon and perfect for sustainable travel.

If you want a detailed Fisherman’s Trail Portugal Itinerary, I’ve got you covered with the best places to stay, where to eat and wondrous points of interest.

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

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.

It’s not really a “trek” as the terrain is fairly mild and you’re staying near the ocean almost completely.

tl;dr: Ultimate Guide to the Best 4 days of the Rota Vicentina Fishermen’s Trail Hiking Guide with GPS Stages, Food and Hotel Recommendations

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.

The trails are sandy, but stunning! I found it useful to stop every 1-2 hours and dump the sand out of my shoes.

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.

4-5 Day Fishermen’s Trail Portugal Itinerary

Fishermen's trail portugal

Who is This Guide For?

If you’re looking for some of the BEST SELF-GUIDED HIKING in Portugal, then look no further than the Fisherman’s Trail.

This is a Portuguese COASTAL HIKING trail that offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean you’ll ever see.

And let’s not forget about the FOOD. The villages along the way offer some of the most delicious seafood you’ll ever taste.

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.

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.

So, if you’re thinking about doing a thru-hike but have been intimidated in the past, give the Fisherman’s Trail a try. It’s the perfect place to start. And who knows, you might just fall in love with it and become a comfortable adventure travel fanatic like me.

Keep reading to learn more about the cheap and easy luggage transport so you don’t even have to carry very much on your back between villages.

Short on Time? Quick Resources

What You Will Learn in This Article

Top Places to Stay on Fisherman’s Trail

Download my spreadsheet of accommodations so you can easily book your places to stay right along the fisherman’s trail and bring only what you need with this Fisherman’s Walk Portugal Packing list.

Ready to go and just need navigation? ➡️ Download Fisherman’s Trail GPS.

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Overview Fisherman’s Trail Hike

  • Experience the last wild coast in Europe by foot.
  • Perfect to pair with a trip to Lisbon for sustainable travel.
  • Fairly easy, mostly flat paths that are always on the Atlantic Ocean with stunning views and wildlife.
  • Backpacker, Bike tour, family and retiree walking tours friendly.
  • Wild camping is not allowed.
  • Incredibly sandy, but well marked trails and easy maps.
  • Pro tip: June, July and August can be very hot here and not great for hiking.

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 PDF download.

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
PDFGet a full list of Accomodations

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

Fishermens Trail  Rota Vicentina
The sign for this thru hike – it’s super easy to follow even without a GPS app.

Fishermen’s Trail Portugal Map

Download the Fisherman’s Trail GPX on Komoot here.

Google Map: Rota Vicentina Best of 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.

I’ve hiked the absolutely most scenic stages for this 4 day guide.

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

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hiking kotor bay

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.

🌊 🐙 Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail Hiking Guide

Fishermens Trail  Rota Vicentina

Arrival Day: How to Get to Porto Covo (trailhead) from Lisbon

How to Get to Porto Covo

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

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

octopus on fishermans trail

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.

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.

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.

fishermens trail

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.

Good luck though. Portuguese pronunciation is something of an art form as they don’t pronounce many of the vowels and run the words together, similar to the sound of Russian.

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

Hiking Details:

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.

fishermens trail day 2

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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

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.

For Luxury:

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

Practical Information About the Fishermen’s Walk

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

▶️ Self Guided Plans

Use my free tool to plan your trip step by step or read until the end to find a free PDF with the accommodations listed by stage.

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.

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

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.

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!

Fishermens Trail  Rota Vicentina

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, such as between Odeceixe and Aljezur. Also, accommodations in winter may be difficult on the more southern stretches toward Lagos, and people may either wild camp or taxi to the next place to sleep.

White Storks Last Nesting Place in Europe
White Storks Last Nesting Place in Europe

PDF Accommodation Guide for Fisherman’s Trail

Just want the list of hotels, hostels and BnBs along the trail?

➡️ Spreadsheet Fisherman’s Trail Accommodation

Make it easy to plan your trek.

PDF Planner for Fisherman’s Walk

Download my Fisherman’s Trail Full Planner here where you can plan your trip step-by-step with the best places to stay.

➡️ Prefer PDF? Download a list of the accommodations directly on the Fishermen’s trail.

There are options for budget and luxury however some of the villages may require a taxi to get to a true luxury stay. It’s really fun to stay in town with the other walkers and share dinners.

Summary of Each Village

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

One of the easiest long distance trails to just get up and go, but some planning in the “busy” season is needed to secure accommodation options such as hostels, hotels or cozy bnb private rooms.

And birdwatchers interested in the last white stork nesting ground in Europe will be surprised at what this little, last wild corner of Europe has to offer. Watch my youtube video of storking flirting or trying to kill each other, I’m not sure.

On a bicycle tour of the Iberian peninsula and want to get off your butt on onto your feet? No problem, many of the hostels will hold your bike for you for 4-5 days to complete the walk.

fisherman's trail rota vicentina portugal

Tips for Hiking the Rota Vicentina Portugal

  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).

Packing List For Fisherman’s Trail

All Sections of the Fisherman’s Trail

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)

Fishermens Trail  Rota Vicentina
Day 1 and impossible to get lost: keep the sea to the Right.

Rota Vicentina Weather

The weather is temperate and mild mid September to June compared to most of 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.

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 in November

When to Hike the Fishermen’s 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.

If you need a rental car check out Discover Cars, they offer fair and transparent pricing.

Where Next from Rota Vicentina Trail

You can continue on the Fishermen’s Trail 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.

The best part is that you get to stay in a lovely accommodation each night and send your luggage ahead of you…so you only have to carry a day pack to experience the freedom of backpacking without having to rough it.
– morgan the adventure-ish hiker

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.

Why Do the Fisherman’s Trail

When presented with golf course and towering condo development along the Alentejo Atlantic coast, Portugal instead invested in the Rota Vicentina Eco Tourism project.

It connects ancient fishing trails and where needed, new hiking trails have been built to create 225km (140miles) of the best coastal scenery path in Europe all the way to Cabo Sao Vicente at the very southern tip of Europe.

Dark gray striped cliff sides, fossilized sand dunes, and tiny quaint fishing villages were linked by the Fishermen’s Trail with an emphasis on slow and responsible travel.

If you want to hike with only a daypack it’s easily possible, as luggage transport is simple and easy.

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.

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

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?

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 accommodations in advance in the fishing villages.

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?

Fisherman’s trail map

Easily download the GPX files and daily stages of the best of the Fisherman’s Trail on the Rota Vicentina in Portugal.

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 Accomodations

Here’s my spreadsheet of Fisherman’s Trail Accommodations that you can copy and paste onto your phone.

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.

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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a passionate hiker and writer, physical therapist, and photographer. She has a doctorate in physical therapy and is featured giving science-based hiking tips and advice.

​When not out exploring the mountains or sea, she’s writing articles and gear reviews to empower Outdoor Journeys that include family and good food.

With 💞, Crave the Planet

Thanks for reading! Please share your stories of your awesome outdoor adventures or ask questions from the community over on our facebook group Untold Outdoor Europe Travel Planning.

Europe Travel Planning Guide

Hey there travel enthusiasts! Looking for a one-stop-shop for all your trip planning needs? Look no further! Here’s a list of our go-to resources for all our Outdoor wanderlust adventures.

And the best part? If you use any of these links to book or sign up, we’ll get a small commission (which we super appreciate). But don’t worry, your price stays the same.

Should I buy Europe travel insurance?

100% YES! — Europe has many different healthcare systems but it’s only for citizens! Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit.

I recommend Hey Mondo Travel Insurance – they have a 5% discount for the readers of Crave the Planet!

How do I pay mountain huts and other places that don’t do credit cards?

Wise is the absolute bomb for international banking. With this awesome tool, we can send and receive money in multiple currencies, convert to even more with no extra fees, and withdraw or pay with local currencies. Click here to signup for Wise, a must-have! FAR better than paypal.

Can you drink the water in Europe?

Yes — In all major cities in Europe, you can drink the tap water. However, you should never drink river or lake water, there are cows doing their business in streams everywhere! I recommend a Lifestraw water filter for long hikes and backcountry camping to stay safe and hydrated.

Is it safe to rent a car in Europe?

Yes Renting a car is safe, but not a necessity in most of Europe. However, if you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, you’ll find it easier to get to trails and need to rent a car.

For booking trains, buses and flights, ➡️ OMIO offers incredible deals.

What’s the best way to book my European accommodations?
My go-to for European hotels, hostels and vacation homes is as it’s more transparent and safe than Airbnb. Read my full review here.

What’s the best site to buy European Tours?
Ready to explore the world with a local guide? Get Your Guide has a massive selection of tours, activities, and adventures waiting for you!

Do I need a visa for Europe?

Likely Not — US and UK passport holders don’t need EU visas. However, some other countries do. And if you plan to stay for more than 90 days (an average tourist visa length), you will need to look into visas to live in Europe.

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