If you are in Portugal and you are a lover of nature and outdoor you cannot miss the chance to visit the South West, especially the Algarve region.

Located in the south-west part of Portugal, the Algarve region covers about 4,997 square kilometers. The climate is mild in winter and warm in summer. The region is bordered on the sea by a perimeter of 150 km of beautiful beaches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to the beaches, the Algarve also contains more beautiful rural sites within the hills.

Many of the natural sites are protected areas and belong to the UNESCO world heritage.

The inner part of the region is characterized by a hilly landscape dotted with small villages where time seems to have stopped.

Rota Vicentina
Rota Vicentina. Photo by Jornal de Monchique.

In the region there are several paths to do on foot, the most famous is the so-called Rota Vicentina, a destination for hiking enthusiasts from around the world.

The Rota Vicentina is a network of walking trails that extend for a total of 450 kilometers, the path as a whole has been recently recovered and made again viable, thanks to the local associations that have worked on the restoration of the paths.

Inside the Rota Vicentina there are three main routes:

  • Historical Way: 12 sections and 230 Km(green on the map)

    Rota vicentina Historical Way
    Rota Vicentina Historical Way- Odeceixe. Photo by Visitportugal.
  • Fisherman’s Trail:  4 sectionsand 5 complementary circuits, for a total of 120 km(blue on the map)

    Rota Vicentina Fisherman Route
    Rota Vicentina Fisherman Route. Photo by Macsadventure.
  • Circular Routes: 8 routes for a total of 90Km  (orange on the map)

    Rota Vicentina Circular Routes
    Rota Vicentina Circular Routes. Photo by Rotavicentina.
Rota Vicentina
Rota Vicentina. Photo by Adphaa.

You can go on Historical Way and Circular routes both by foot or by bicycle, with the exception of the circular route The Dunes of Almograve and From Bordeira to the Sea, that can only be done on foot.

Regarding the Fisherman’s Trail, it can only be covered on foot

The sections in which the route is divided is a simple indication, in fact, the various paths can be walked independently depending on your preferences and the location in which you are located.

All routes are between Alentejo and Vicentina Coast Natural Park, passing through Santiago do Cacém to get to Cabo de S. Vicente in the Algarve. The paths wind through rural landscapes in the Historical way, imposing cliffs, beaches, small bays between rocks and impressive cliffs in the Fisherman’s Trail offering breathtaking views.

Besides the spectacle of the rural landscapes and the uncontaminated coast, in the villages on the sea, it is possible to taste fantastic fresh fish dishes. In the various villages that dot the routes, you can find camping, hostels, self-catering and much more.

As a certification of the beauty of these paths In February 2016, the Historical Way of the Rota Vicentina has been certified by the European “Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe”, a certification from the European the best-walking destinations in Europe.

As mentioned above the paths have been recently recovered and fully marked in both directions and can be traveled independently and in total security, preferably from September till June.

For those who want to immerse themselves in this pristine nature, we remember that we are always talking about hiking and that even if it is not a high mountain there are still some climbs and descents and therefore a certain level of physical preparation is necessary.

Faithful companion of every hiker is the backpack, it should be sized according to the number of days of duration of the excursion and how you decide to spend the nights. For those who spend the night in a tent the backpack will certainly be more challenging.

Even if the routes are marked, we recommend to never forget to put in the backpack the essential elements for your safety. Here is an infographic that summarizes the “Ten Essentials”.

Ten Backpacking Essentials
Ten Backpacking Essentials

You will certainly have a little less free space in your backpack, but you will guarantee your safety, and in hiking this is always the first aspect to consider.

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