Trekking in Portugal: The 3 best Trekking circuits

We list the 3 best Trekking circuits in mainland Portugal for ecotourists who enjoy hiking on trails, whether long or short. They are tours that offer unique and spectacular views, from start to finish.

Trekking in Portugal

Trekking is an activity that consists of walking along natural trails seeking greater contact with nature. The activity combines the pleasure of contemplating nature with the benefits of walking. It is one of the safest outdoor activities and can be practiced by any healthy person, at any age.

In Portugal there are trekking options for all levels of difficulty, from very light hikes to large expeditions. The world of expeditions classifies trekking into categories, according to their characteristics, variations and levels of difficulty. Here we consider only one day trekking in Portugal, with short duration. They have approximately 10 km with a well-defined start and end and are aimed for beginners.

The one-day trekkings aim to cater to all types of public. Very good for families, whether small or big, where each one likes something different. It’s great for people who want to relax, and also for people who just want to go on an adventure. Perfect for those who want to find themselves in a more peaceful place and stop time.

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail – Faro

The first option for trekking in Portugal is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, which crosses one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve. It is a circuit that starts at Vale Centeanes Beach and extends to Marinha Beach, or vice versa, depending on where the ecotourist starts.

Trekking in Portugal 01

The difficulty level is considered moderate, because even though most of the route is flat, there are many points where it requires a little more effort from hikers, especially on the climbs. The total distance of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is approximately 18 km.

An option for tourists who want to trek the seven suspended valleys trail in one direction only, without completing the circuit, is to use a taxi service on the way back. The total hike lasts approximately 6 hours, but this will depend a lot on the pace of the participants during the trekking.

How to get to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail?

For those who want to go by car and complete the circuit, it is advisable to park it on one of the ends of the trail, either at Vale Centeanes Beach or Marinha Beach. If car is not an option for you, there are public transports that stop near Vale Centeanes Beach, where the ecotourist can start from. It is important to note that the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail passes through several other beaches, which can be accessed by leaving the original route a little.

Trekking in Portugal 01 Map 01

General information and recommendations for the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

  • Always pay attention to the timetable if you choose to use public transport, as the buses comply well with the round-trip schedule.
  • The route is well signposted, with information that will help you find your way around.
  • It is up to the tourist to hire a specialized guidance service. We emphasize that a specialized guide can add a lot of value to the adventure, far beyond information. It offers security and technical assistance to the group, making the adventure much more comfortable.
  • It is an activity suitable for all ages. However, it requires special attention with children. Although it does not require much physical effort, it is necessary to respect the limits of each participant. We remind you that the endurance of adults is much greater than that of a child.

Covão dos Conchos – Serra da Estrela

The second option for trekking in Portugal is Covão dos Conchos, a hole in the shape of a drain that is located in the lagoon of the same name, in Serra da Estrela. Despite the appearance, it is not a natural phenomenon. The visible part is the mouth of the tunnel that was built in 1955, with 1.5 km in length, to take the waters from the Ribeira das Naves to Lagoa Comprida. It is a small dam that is part of the Sabugueiro power plant. In winter, the Lagoon and the waters freeze forming a thin layer of ice.

Trekking in Portugal 02

Trekking to Covão dos Conchos Lagoon

To reach Lagoa do Covão dos Conchos, it is necessary to complete a trekking route of 4.5 km and with a low difficulty level. It starts on the left side of Lagoa Comprida and is approximately 10 km long the complete circuit. It is a very pleasant walk for ecotourists who venture there, and it takes between 3 and 4 hours to complete the route. We recommend including in the planning the various stops on the way and the pace of each participant.

Trekking in Portugal 02 Map 01

Trekking in Portugal 02 Map 02

General information and recommendations for the Covão dos Conchos trail

  • It is recommended that you always wear warm clothes, bring gloves and even a hat. Choose waterproof materials.
  • Bring hiking shoes. Consider also waterproof material.
  • Avoid stepping on the ice sheets, as in addition to the breakage, there are risks of slipping.
  • There is no limitation on the number of people to visit the site and it is free of charge.

Cabo da Roca Trail – Sintra

The third trekking option in Portugal is Cabo da Roca, which is located at the extreme end of the Serra de Sintra, in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The trail is circular and starts and ends at the westernmost point of Europe, Praia Grande in Sintra.

Located 50 meters from Praia Grande, there is an almost vertical rock slab where dinosaur footprints were discovered in 1981. They are assumed to be from the Lower Cretaceous period, about 110 to 115 million years old.

According to studies, the Praia Grande deposit has very deep footprints corresponding to at least two types of animals, herbivores and carnivores. There are 66 footprints, of which 55 are spread over 11 tracks that appear to have been made by bipedal animals. The rest are apparently isolated.

Trekking in Portugal 03

Tourist attractions of the Cabo da Roca trail

  • Cabo da Roca Lighthouse: The Cabo da Roca Lighthouse is one of the first tourist constructions made from scratch in Portugal. Until then, all other points had been built from existing buildings. It began operating in 1772, being a 22 meters high tower and in 165 meters of altitude.
  • Nossa Senhora da Roca Fort: It is located in the south of Cabo da Roca and was built in the 18th century, initially to defend the entry of pirates and corsairs into Lisbon.
  • Views from Cabo da Roca: All the views of the Atlantic coast region of the municipality of Sintra promote some of the best landscapes of the Portuguese coast.

How to get to Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca is in Colares, located 17 km from the historic center of Sintra, 15 km from Cascais and around 40 km from Lisbon.

There are two options for getting there:

  • By car: From Lisbon it is approximately 40 km. Take the A5 for 27.4 km. Then take exit 12 onto N9-1 (Estrada Malveira da Serra. Continue on the N247 towards Estrada do Cabo da Roca, in Colares.
  • By public transport: Take the train to Sintra or Cascais station, whichever is more convenient. Then take the 403 Scotturb bus

General information and recommendations for the Cabo da Roca Trail

  • The region is very windy, so it is not recommended to use accessories such as caps, hats, etc. Chances of losing them are high.
  • For a more comfortable hike, it is recommended to wear closed trekking shoes.
  • It is mandatory to respect the protection barriers and pay attention to the signs referring to rockslides.
  • The trail and parking are free.

When it comes to trekking in Portugal these are three of the best trekking circuits. The country offers many Small Route (PR) options and some good Great Route (GR) options too. Therefore, there’s a lot of trekking to enjoy while in Portugal.

Author
Paola Manacelli Cavalcanti

Paola Manacelli Cavalcanti

Tourismologist

Graduated in Tourism from Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, my interest has always been to get to know the world and collect stories of the incredible places I have been to. My goal is to provide and share the same dream with other travelers around the world.

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