Hiking in Portugal
Hiking in Portugal is the best way for outdoor lovers to explore the country’s landscape. From the granitic massive of Peneda-Gerês National Park to the coastal trails along the Algarve’s coastline, you will find some of the most beautiful places in the country. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find all the best trails in Portugal as well as the best times for hiking in Portugal and your hiking essentials.
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Whether you prefer seascapes or exploring rural scenery, Portugal has many hiking trails that will make you fall in love with this beautiful country. In fact, this is why Portugal is becoming a major hiking destination.
In this article, we will show you the best hikes in Portugal. Put on your hiking boots and come along with us on this incredible journey!
When is the best time for hiking in Portugal?
Portugal is a country you can visit any time of the year. The warm temperatures and low rain levels, typical of the Mediterranean regions, attract visitors worldwide, especially from the northern European countries.
While you can plan a hiking trip to explore the trails in any season. Local authorities recommend you confirm the weather conditions before starting any hike.
In the mountains of Peneda-Gerês or Serra da Estrela, it is common to have foggy weather, even in the summer months. Similarly, in the sunny Algarve, sea storms might endanger hikers on the trails along the coastline, especially during winter.
So before departure, take a look at the weather forecast!
When taking a hiking trip, we recommend you prepare for any challenges that might come along the way. Having the essential equipment and a fully charged cellphone will help you if you get lost or injured.
We recommend you consider packing:
- Snacks and water
- Hiking shoes or hiking boots
- Weather-appropriate clothes
- First aid kit
- Map or compass
- Knife or multi-tool
The Best Portugal Hiking Trails
In Portugal, you will find hundreds of amazing hikes to choose from. With so many options at hand, you will probably feel overwhelmed. To help you decide, we have narrowed the list and will present you with what we think are the best hiking trails in the country. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
The Via Algarviana, in the Algarve, is the longest walking trail in Portugal. With a total length of 300 kilometers, this trail takes you through the unknown landscape of the Algarvian mountain range of Monchique, Espinhaço Cão, and Caldeirão.
If you are eager to discover the Algarve’s rural landscapes and little towns, then Via Algarviana is perfect for you. Since they divide the walk into smaller sections, you can choose to walk the total length or select one of the complementary paths.
We recommend you to start at Alcoutim, near the Spanish border, since the elevation gains are lower. The total duration of this hiking adventure will depend on your physical readiness. Some people take up to two weeks, while others take longer to complete it.
Via Algarviana will welcome you any time of the year. Yet, we suggest hiking during Spring, between February and May. Once the rainy season is over, the waterfalls and small streams will be overflowing, and the fields covered up with the most beautiful flowers.
If you would like to explore Via Algarviana but fear it is too challenging, try leaving Monchique village and walk up to Picota and Fóia. You will have the opportunity to admire century-old trees and the land’s unique geology in the highest mountains in the Algarve.
Our Preferred Hotels Near Via Algarviana
- Hotel d’Alcoutim (Alcoutim)
- Alte Tradition Guest House (Alte)
- Villa Termal Caldas de Monchique Spa Resort (Monchique)
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail holds the most iconic landscape in the Algarve. In fact, Europe’s Best Destination declared this coastal trail the best trail destination in all of Europe.
In Lagoa Municipality, along the coastline between Praia de Vale Centeanes and Praia da Marinha, you will find hidden coves, beautiful beaches, and sea caves. The rock formations of towering limestone cliffs, shaped by the wind and sea, are a sight to behold.
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail extends for 6 kilometers on a linear path, on top of the cliffs. Although this is a trail of moderate difficulty, in some sections, the cliffs are steep. Therefore, we suggest you wear your best hiking shoes and pay attention to loose rocks along the way.
On this beautiful hike, you will have the opportunity to admire inspiring scenery: Cabo Carvoeiro, Benagil Cave, Benagil Beach, Praia do Carvalho, and the rock formation at Praia da Marinha.
Along the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, you will find many sinkholes. Although they are well signposted, be sure to keep a safe distance.
Our Preferred Hotels Near Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
Similar to Via Algarviana, Rota Vicentina is one of the country’s great hikes. It connects several coastal hikes and sandy trails along the magnificent Algarve coast.
The Fisherman’s Trail is probably one of the best hikes in Portugal. This coastal hike begins in the port town of Lagos and ends in Sines, a coastal city in the Alentejo region.
For over 200 kilometers, this hike takes you through the dark cliffs of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park and along the endless sandy beaches of the Alentejo coastline.
Since the landscape changes dramatically, the Fisherman’s Trail is quite difficult. We do not recommend it for people afraid of heights because the paths pass along the edge of high cliffs.
The Fisherman’s Trail is located inside a nature reserve. Be sure to comply with all regulations to protect the delicate ecosystem. Note, wild camping is not allowed here.
Our Preferred Hotels Near Rota Vicentina
Peninha and Anta Andrenunes Trail
Amongst the forests of Sintra Cascais Natural Park, there is one of the best hikes in Portugal offering gorgeous viewpoints and historic sites.
Peninha and Anda Adrenunes Trail extend for 13 kilometers in a round trip and is of moderate difficulty. Its name comes from the Peninha Sanctuary, found at the top of the highest hill.
The Convento dos Capuchos’ car park is the beginning and end of this trail. Nearby you will find the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Penha, from where the vision of the Atlantic Ocean stretches as far as the eyes can see.
If you look closely, you will find Cabo da Roca and Praia do Guincho in the distance.
This hike will take you inland through the native laurel forest until reaching the Andrenunes Dolmen, a megalithic monument on top of the hill. From there, you can gaze upon Sintra’s surrounding mountains, as well as Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle in the distance.
Sintra mountains are known for their humidity, foggy, and windy conditions, even in the summer. Therefore, we recommend you pack a light windbreaker jacket.
Our preferred hotels near Peninha:
Our Preferred Hotels Near Peninha
Schist Villages Trail
Near Coimbra, you can explore authentic stone villages on one of the best hikes in Portugal. The Schist Villages Trail takes you on a journey through the Lousã mountains. Although it has only 6 kilometers, there are high elevation gains. As such, we consider it a difficult hiking trail.
The hike starts and ends at Lousã Castle and Nossa Senhora da Piedade Sanctuary. The path goes through Talasnal and Casal Novo, two traditional villages where the refurbished houses maintain their original features.
This hike will take you back in time, along the same path the ancient villagers used to reach Lousã village.
Special Tip: We suggest this hike during Spring or Autumn since the mild temperatures will help you overcome the elevation gains. Also, avoid this hike during the summer. The warm and dry weather increases the risk of forest fires.
Our Preferred Hotels Near Lousã
Covão dos Conchos Trail
Now, we will take to the highest mountain in continental Portugal: Serra da Estrela.
The Covão dos Conchos is an iconic sinkhole that became viral, in the last decade. However, it is not simply a hole. It is a tunnel built in the 1950s to transport the waters of the Naves stream to Lagoa Comprida, the largest water reservoir in Estrela Mountain.
The Covão dos Conchos Trail is one of the best hikes in Portugal due to its natural beauty. The hike is a round trip, extending along 10 kilometers. It starts nearby local shops, where you can park your car. Since there is no public transportation, you will walk 5 kilometers both ways.
This is a relatively easy hike, which will allow you to admire an absolutely stunning landscape. At 1,500 meters altitude, this hike can be challenging. If it is your first time at Estrela Mountain, then we suggest you do this hike in the springtime. The weather is milder, and you might find snow in some places.
We suggest avoiding the summer and winter months for Covão dos Conchos Trail. Since there are fewer trees, the weather might be too warm over the summer. Contrarily, during the winter, you might find freezing temperatures, snow, and fog, making it unsafe to hike.
Special Tip: If you plan hiking on Estrela Mountain, then it is crucial to inform the local authorities. Let them know when you will be hiking and your route. This way, if you need help, it will be easier to find you.
Our preferred hotels near Estrela Mountain:
Our Preferred Hotels Near Estrela Mountain
Paiva Walkways Trail
The Paiva Walkways is a breathtaking hiking trail along the Paiva river, and one of the best hikes in Portugal.
The impressive wooden walkways contour the rolling hills and valleys of the landscape. This hike is a round trip, 8 kilometers in length, and it is one of the most challenging hikes since some sections are steep. Along the walkways, you will have the opportunity to admire stunning views and observe the local flora and fauna.
If the weather allows, you can dive in the waters of the fluvial beaches, Areinho and Espiunca. Contrary to what happens on other hikes, at Paiva Walkways Trail, you must buy a ticket. The entrance fee helps the Arouca municipality maintain the infrastructure and all related services.
Special Tip: This hike is less demanding if you follow the direction of Areinho – Espiunca.
Our Preferred Hotels Near Arouca
At the heart of Peneda-Gerês National Park, the only national park in Portugal, you will find one of the best hikes in Portugal.
The Currais Trail is a 10-kilometer circular, rocky path. Because of the steepness of some sections, this trail is rated difficult. Regardless of your efforts to complete it, you will be stunned by the absolutely beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking views.
Along its unique landscape, the dense forest will make it impossible for you to see the blue skies.
This hiking trail starts and ends at the Centro de Educação Ambiental do Vidoeiro, only three kilometers away from Gerês village. Along the hike, you will find the Currais of Lomba do Vidoeiro, Carvalha das Éguas and Espinheira. These were temporary stables used between May and September when the shepherds took the cattle to higher altitude pastures.
Another landmark on this hike is the Miradouro da Pedra Bela. This sightseeing point offers spectacular views of the valley and Caniçada Lake.
Special Tip: If you would like to stay closer to nature, consider spending a few days at Vidoeiro Camping. This camping site will make you feel like you are camping in the wild. Also, it is very close to Gerês village and Currais Trails. Take this opportunity to explore other landmarks, such as Cascata do Arado and Miradouro das Rocas.
Our Preferred Hotels Near Gerês
All the hikes on this page can make great getaways in themselves, but string together a day hike in a few different hiking areas with a few multi-day treks and you have a hiking vacation you will remember for years to come!