Alentejo & Algarve self guided walking holiday, Portugal

“Enjoy six days of self-guided walking amongst the pine groves, sand dunes and fishing harbours of southern Portugal at an average daily distance of 20kms.”


Vila Nova de Milfontes | Alentejo coastline | Mira Estuary | Porto Covo | Ilha do Pessegueiro | Rota Vicentina | Almograve | Zambujeira | Cabo Sardao lighthouse | Carvalhal Bay | Azenha do Mar | Praia de Odeceixe | inland Algarve | Aljezur | River Seixe | Choice of departure airports: Faro or Lisbon |

Description of Alentejo & Algarve self guided walking holiday, Portugal

If you’re looking for self guided walking holidays in Portugal that will take you far from the madding hordes and tourist resorts then you have most definitely come to the right place.

The Alentejo region, just north of the Algarve, is swathed in gently rolling hillsides studded with cork trees, olive groves and vineyards with shimmering fields of wheat providing oceans of gold against clear blue skies and a mild year round climate.

Contrasting coastal trails lead self guided walking holidays in Portugal to sand dunes, cliff tops and secret beaches where fishermen present the catch of the day and seafood grills at sunset provide the perfect end to a good day spent exploring outdoors.

As this eight day itinerary also includes Algarve walking holidays you’ll find numerous opportunities to compare both regions with the swells of the Atlantic the only consistent feature against a backdrop of rural trails, rugged valleys and meandering rivers leading to the coast.

This is a great chance to walk in an area of rural Portugal that’s sparsely populated, where local people will be happy to make your acquaintance or just nod and smile as you admire the surrounding landscapes and decide where to stop for a bite to eat and to take it all in.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Welcome to the charming parish of Vila Nova de Milfontes situated on the west of the Alentejo coastline overlooking the Mira Estuary and the swells of the Atlantic Ocean. Settle in and explore the town and the beautiful area surrounding your small hotel accommodation and find out more about the proximity to the walking trails of the Rota Vicentina.
Day 2:Today’s walking distance: 21kms over four hours. Slip into your hiking boots after breakfast in order to start your first full day in Portugal as you mean to go on. Beginning at the historic village of Porto Covo we’ll pass the island of Ilha do Pessegueiro with hard sand beaches and inland sand dunes marking our tracks en-route to a fishing harbour within the northern part of Vila Nova de Milfontes. (Overnight bed and breakfast accommodation.)
Day 3:Today’s walking distance: 16kms over four hours. A lovely coastal stroll signals the start of day three with pine groves, sand dunes and deserted beaches overlooked by cliff-top trails painting an easy-going picture of the Alentejo coast as we walk to the small fishing community of Almograve. (Overnight rural tourism accommodation with swimming pool.)
Day 4:Today’s walking distance: 21kms over five - six hours. Today’s walk takes you south from Almograve along the beach with panoramic views over the dunes and stork nesting grounds providing a couple of talking points en-route to Zambujeira by way of the traditional Portuguese lighthouse, Cabo Sardao. (Overnight bed and breakfast small hotel accommodation.)
Day 5:Today’s walking distance: 21kms over five hours. Follow the coastal path towards Carvalhal Bay which leads past the natural fishing harbour of Azenha do Mar where a delicious seafood restaurant provides the views and the sustenance prior to heading to Praia de Odeceixe and across the natural border into the Algarve. (Overnight bed and breakfast small hotel accommodation.)
Day 6:Today’s walking distance: 21kms over five hours. This morning we’ll continue walking along the coast and cross over the River Seixe and further into the Algarve en-route to the village of Aljezur which is well-known for its Moorish heritage and the medieval castle overlooking the town. (Overnight small hostel accommodation with double bedroom and private bathroom.)
Day 7:Today’s walking distance: 16kms over five hours. Your penultimate day of self-guided walking in the Algarve and Alentejo finds you exploring Aljezur’s old town cobbles before heading up to the castle or tackling a circular walk that returns you back to base by way of a picturesque stream. (Overnight small hostel accommodation with double bedroom and private bathroom.)
Day 8:If you haven’t opted to extend your tour of southwest Portugal further then today signals the end of the tour as you head back to either Faro or Lisbon airports to meet your scheduled flight home.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This independent holiday is available any day of the year except August and the last two weeks of July.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Alentejo & Algarve self guided walking holiday, Portugal


We are based locally on the Alentejo Coast and Vicentina Region in a small village called Vila Nova de Milfontes. We are well aware of the important impact of tourism on this unspoiled region situated on the Southwestern Europe.. This Alentejo Coast & VICENTINA region is known for its tranquility: deserted beaches, surrounded by beautiful steep cliffs. Inland you will find dales dams and cork oaks, undulating and rural scenery, the magnificent serpent-shaped River Mira, temperate weather all year long.
This is an opportunity to live together with homely and hospitable people, in a rural surrounding dominated by little white villages and traditional agriculture (we use small guest houses owned locally and open all the year). The local gastronomy (local restaurants are recommended during the briefing) based on fresh fish and seafood, and a menu full of tasty meals it’s also a highlight of this unique place.
Now all the route as markers during the all way (Saint Vicent’s Route), giving you more time to appreciate the landscape and helping to minimize the “footprint “impact. We apply to re-use the maps, to repair instead of buying new, reduce and recycle separating all the waste and using the eco points near the villages, the philosophy is to Recycle whatever you can while traveling. We strongly recommend the consumption of fruits and vegetables in season, grown on the area and we also clarify that people can drink from the tap and refill their own bottles.
Some of the accommodations did an upgrade on their energy consumption installing some solar panels and using aero generators. Some of them have adopted the policy to minimize the laundry (for towels and sheets) and putting signs in the bathroom explaining ways to save energy.
By following some of these easy steps people that visit us are contributing actively to a strong and sustainable relation with locals and their region.


We respect local people and their customs, because they are the more important part of this region and they love to share our knowledge of Vicentina & Alentejo Coast Region with our clients.
We take our clients to a fantastic journey, walking trough desert beaches, stunning cliffs and amazing dunes and Rivers. Always using the accommodations owned locally and recommending the typical restaurants that serve traditional dishes focus on our local gastronomy.
We also provide people with contents about the main areas that they will discover during their adventure.
This walking holiday is much more than a ordinary walk from “a” to “b” is a unique experience to interact with local people and nature and taste/smell the original flavors of our region.
Because of all that e like to transmit people that hiking is the best way to discover every single thing with the correct detail. And that is what does this a unique experience, all together is a perfect mix of heritage, with nature, excellent food and very friendly people that have proud in their region and products.

Reviews of Alentejo & Algarve self guided walking holiday, Portugal

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Unending beauty as we walked along the coastal paths, the glorious Atlantic foaming & crashing down to our right. Pristine environment, a profusion of wild flowers,the scent & sight of perhaps twenty different varieties. Ideal walking conditions,a lovely breeze from the sea & mild temperatures (late May). The coastline stretching for miles in both directions.The sight of magnificent storks and their nests, cleverly situated on remote, high rocks. It was a heavenly walking experience. A feast for the senses and easy on the feet!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring binoculars so you can get a closer look at the storks.
And bring plenty of socks as the sand may well end up in your shoes as it did ours! Be prepared for spells of walking/ploughing through tracts of soft sand which inevitably slows down the pace a bit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Well I hope so. Understand that it has extended the season for local people.We loved staying in the local, small scale accomodation.
I think this kind of holiday does support conservation. We met numbers of wonderful, serious walkers who completely respect the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We both absolutely loved this holiday. We are spreading the word among walking friends & would wholeheartedly recommend it. We felt well looked after by the holiday provider and by Ricardo who provided an excellent service from my very first contact with him.

Reviewed on 13 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The beautiful vast coastline was so amazing and we just couldn't get enough of it. Every day we were sad when the days hike came to an end because we had to leave the coast to find our stay for the night.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We can highly recommend Ricardo. He is a really competent travel advisor and will give you a lot of tips and tricks about the hikes. He is also very sympathetic and answers all questions you may have both before and during your visit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we were staying at local B&B's and were so well received everywhere and got excellent treatment at all places. We had a lot of local products and really felt that the travel was well thought over as a concept.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely wonderful. We enjoyed every moment of it and will treasure all the memories we have been getting. We are already discussing when we can come back and do other trails along the coast.

Reviewed on 29 Jan 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

If anything stands out on our tour it was the vistas, the views. Without a doubt, some of the views stop you dead in your tracks because they are so stunning. The tour company did a great job making sure we see the best sights, sometimes deviating from the Rota Vicentina paths because they felt a better idea was called for.

But that doesn’t negate the other important details we loved too; unique foliage, colourful mushrooms, patterned rocks formations, rustic villages, friendly people - all added to the experience.

Special mention goes out to Maria at the Monte Novo and the other local folk in Longueira for providing such wonderful hospitality.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you become acquainted with the marker system of the trails before you begin. The Rota Vicentina is very reliable and marked with great frequency compared to some of the other routes in Europe. The markers even go so far as to let you know when there may NOT being anything to follow for a while. The tour company provided a GPS with the route marked out perfectly so that provided terrific peace of mind. In fact the only time we got in trouble was when we ignored the advice of the GPS route.

Bring lots of water and snacks; small towns with stores & restaurants are occasionally part of the route but not always.
Have a fully charged cell phone to call for a bit of assistance and emergencies. Signals are strong for most of the routes. The company was pretty easy to contact for questions, but we tried not to bug them unless very critical. So we sent emails with questions which were usually replied to in short order.

For those afraid of heights, parts of the Fisherman’s Trail will prove challenging. The Fishermen who carved this original trail were, in a word, crazy. There are times the trail literally skirts a sheer vertical edge 130meters above a pounding sea. It is very stable ground, but intimidating. Most of the time there is an alternate route you can find that others have chosen to do that is a minor deviation from the main path. But there are a few times when there simply is little choice but to skirt the thin edge. Check weather reports for storm surges especially when travelling on beaches.

In the off-season, with less daylight, some of the walk’s lengths are easily achievable only if you don’t take the time to stop and enjoy views, museums, forts and other attractions. Our tour was in the shortest days of the year and we sometimes found ourselves scrambling to reach our destination before dark - a scary prospect in some high elevation, rural areas. A high power flashlight is a good idea regardless of the time of year.

The tour company takes exercise to heart and provides a top-rate hiking experience. Our plan called for hiking to another town almost every single day and we enjoyed that very much. But if you like to soak in more of the towns, the history, the culture & the people, or if you just think you might need a break or two, you may wish to make sure there are a couple of towns you stay in for at least two nights. We recommend an extra day in Aljezur, and/or Odeceixe. Sagres is a bit tourist-y (less genuine Portugal) for our taste but the areas around them have great things to see and do for a day as well.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Our typical off season experience? Locals were frequently surprised to see us. That didn’t mean we weren't welcome.
Quiet the opposite. Very friendly! We felt the extra revenue from our expenditures must help everyone.

Assuming other travellers were like us and you take out everything you bring in (i.e. disposing of garbage properly) then this tour offers remarkably little impact on the environment. Since the trails were marked reasonably well and there was very little reason to depart from the suggested path we felt our impact was minimal.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Wonderful holiday! More Canadians (North Americans) should know about Portugal and it’s walking tours. We would not hesitate to recommend this tour company for the Rota Vicentina trails.

Reviewed on 07 Nov 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Fisherman's and Historical Walk of the Rota Vincentina was the most memorable and exciting part of our holiday. The trail was incredible. The coastal scenery was breathtaking and access to isolated beaches provided great natural experiences. The trails were well marked and the maps and itinerary provided were excellent. The route chosen - from Porto Covo to Alzejur was a perfect blending allowing just the right walking times to take advantage of the cultural and natural environments.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We would give the same advice to any travellers walking long distances...pack light, carry plenty of water and a first-aid kit. In short be prepared for any conditions. We were provide with a GPS downloaded with the trail maps. This was an excellent tool.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We feel that overall our holiday benefited local people and supported conservation. We stayed in local guest houses, bought supplies and dined in local restaurants. Walking and staying on the well marked trail minimizes damage to the coastal ecosystems. There was however on many beaches a significant amount of plastic garbage washed up on shore. This is not a criticism of the local jurisdictions but sadly a sign of the times and an international problem. It may be possible to employ local people or organize volunteers to remove the garbage. This would reduce hazards to local wildlife and enhance the natural experience. Overall the Rota Vincentina provides an amazing opportunity to support conservation and experience the rugged beauty of Southwest Portugal with the least impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The self-guided walking tour of the Rota Vincentina was overall a great experience. We would gladly return to walk some of the other routes of Southwest Portugal. Our host Ricardo was helpful, professional and accommodating.

Reviewed on 09 Apr 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing and feeling the beautiful energy from the ocean as spring broke over Portugal was the most memorable part of my holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

In spring, be prepared for weather to be unpredictable in March. Bring a fairly heavy rain poncho and a warm hat that covers the ears - it can also get windy at the coast - or come in April when the sun is more common.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. This hike meandered through the farm lands and the coast and only hit small towns. There were many independent hotel, B&B, hostel owners and restaurants and cafes that got my business. I didn't bring a rain poncho or a warm hat, so had to purchase those things. I did manage to go to a museum on the trail too. Walking and using the bus to get in and out of the region impacted the area much less than if I had driven in and helps to encourage more hiking and biking (I think).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a little too rainy and cold this year in March to give it a 10. On the other hand, it was quite well organized, my every need was considered and prepared for, and the scenery and fresh air was spectacular. The seafood also was quite a nice addition.

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