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Hiking Portugal’s Coast: 7 Best Coastal Trails

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Hiking Portugal’s coast is an incredible journey filled with rugged cliffs, golden beaches, and sweeping ocean views. With its diverse coastline stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal’s coastal hiking trails are the best way to experience the country’s natural beauty and maritime heritage.

In this post, we’ll check out the best coastal hikes that Portugal has to offer, exploring hidden gems and breathtaking landscapes along the way.

Whether you’re an avid hiker seeking a thrilling challenge or a nature lover in search of tranquility, these hiking trails near Lisbon, the Algarve, and more will leave you in awe of Portugal’s coastal beauty.

At a Glance: Portugal Coastal Hiking Trails

If you’re in a hurry, take a look at the hiking trails laid out in the table below to get some quick facts about each.

Trail NameDifficultyDistanceTrailhead
Seven Hanging Valleys TrailModerate11 kilometers (6.8 miles)Marinha Beach
Trail of HeadlandsModerate13 kilometers (8 miles)Praia do Paraiso, Carvoeiro
The Dunes of Almograve, part of Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s TrailMisc.Up to 220 km (137 miles)Depends
Cabo da Roca – Azenhas do MarModerate22 kilometers (13.4 miles)Cabo da Roca
Costa da Caparica TrailEasy10 kilometers (6.2 miles)Fonte da Telha
Ribeira do Cavalo BeachEasy1.6 kilometers (1 mile)Parking lot in Sesimbra
Hermitage – Fort of Santa Maria da Arrábida – Galapinhos BeachModerate10.2 kilometers (6.4 miles)Hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida

Before hiking, make sure you have these essentials:

🎒 Hiking backpack: Here’s the one I use & love!
💧 Water bladder: This is the water bladder I recommend!
💦 Water bottle: I love and use the Hydroflask 32 oz!
🥾 Hiking boots: These are the hiking boots I use!
🩹 First aid kit: This is a great first aid kit for your backpack!
🥨 Snacks: Clif Bars are my go-to on the trail!
🌲 Hiking poles: These hiking poles are a great option!
❄️ Microspikes: These are the ones I use when the trails are icy!
☀️ Sunscreen: This is a great hiking sunscreen!

7 Best Spots for Hiking Portugal’s Coast

From the picturesque cliffs of the Algarve to the dramatic shores of the Costa Vicentina, each coastal hiking trail in Portugal has its own unique character and charm. 

Wander along sandy dunes, traverse rugged headlands, and discover secluded coves with crystal-clear waters. These coastal hikes are great for anyone, from solo travelers in Algarve to families exploring the best of Portugal’s cities and towns.

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Algarve

People walking down steps to a beach by the ocean.
  • Distance: 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Marinha Beach

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is arguably the best hike in Portugal. This popular hiking trail in the Algarve stretches along the stunning coastline between the towns of Praia da Marinha and Vale Centeanes.

Head here for breathtaking views of the turquoise water, hidden caves, secluded beaches, and mystical rock formations jutting out of the sea.

The trail derives its name from the seven valleys it traverses, each characterized by dramatic cliffs that descend steeply toward the Atlantic Ocean. Start at the Carvoeiro boardwalk, a scenic coastal pathway located in the charming town of Carvoeiro. 

From there, head towards Algar Seco. This stunning natural wonder is a collection of sea caves and rock formations carved out by the ocean tides over thousands of years.

Explore the area by following the walking paths, and be sure to take your time. There are so many incredible sights to find amongst the limestone cliffs and secret grottoes.

Next, continue on to another incredible sight: the famous Benagil Cave. Possibly the most photographed cave of all time, Benagil Cave is a large sea cave known for its golden sand beach and the natural skylight situated on its dome-shaped ceiling.

Accessible only by boat or kayak, this spot is totally worth the stop to venture inside to discover the magic of this unique spot.

Trail of Headlands

Algarve

  • Distance: 13 kilometers (8 miles) roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Head: Praia do Paraiso, Carvoeiro

The Trail of the Headlands is another phenomenal coastal hiking route in Algarve, Portugal, and a shorter, less-crowded alternative to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.

This trail follows the rugged limestone cliffs of the Algarve coast past some incredible scenery. Enjoy views of the deep blue ocean sparkling in the sunshine while the waves crash into golden sand beaches far below you. 

You’ll pass sights like the Miradouro da Arriba da Salgadeira, a stunning viewpoint where you can admire breathtaking panoramas of the coastline and arched rock formations jutting out of the sea.

Many of the beaches along this trail can only be reached by boat until you reach Praia dos Caneiros, where you can rent umbrellas and beach chairs in the summer. 

Trail of the Headlands begins at the parking lot of Praia dos Caneiros and ends at Praia do Molhe in Ferragudo. This route is moderately difficult with a few elevation gains and takes about 6 hours to complete both ways. 

The Dunes of Almograve, part of Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail

Alentejo

Empty ocean under a blue sky.

The Rota Vicentina is a renowned network of walking routes that wind through the picturesque regions of Alentejo and Algarve in Southern Portugal.

Within this network, you’ll find two popular long-distance trails, the Fishermen’s Trail and the Historical Way, as well as various shorter-day hikes. These routes are known as some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in Europe.

The Fishermen’s Trail, specifically, has garnered international acclaim and was recognized as one of the world’s most exquisite coastal hiking trails by Conde Nast Traveler.

This captivating point-to-point route spans over 220 kilometers across the idyllic Costa Vicentina, encompassing 13 sections that can be completed over a duration of 4 to 14 days.

For a shorter single-day adventure, embark on the circular hike known as The Dunes of Almograve.

This scenic trail intersects with some of the most beautiful parts of the Fishermen’s Trail, and provides a fascinating glimpse into the agricultural heritage of the region.

As you walk, enjoy the fragrant aromas of rosemary and lavender while taking in the vast expanse of sandy beaches at Brejo Largo.

Cabo da Roca – Azenhas do Mar

Sintra

View of a town with red roofs near the ocean.
  • Distance: 13.4 miles (22 kilometers) roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Cabo da Roca

The coastal hike from Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar offers an extraordinary journey through some of Portugal’s most breathtaking coastal landscapes and charming villages.

Cabo da Roca, with its charming lighthouse and ocean views, is easily one of the most Instagrammable spots near Lisbon.

It’s also the westernmost point of mainland Europe, where hikers will be treated to panoramic views of rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and endless ocean horizons.

As the trail winds its way along the coastline, the scenery transforms, revealing hidden coves, pristine sandy beaches, and picturesque fishing villages.

The route passes by Praia da Ursa, a secluded beach known for its unique rock formations and wild beauty, the perfect spot for a refreshing break.

Continue along the path where you’ll find the traditional white houses of Azoia before you reach the stunning viewpoint at Praia das Maçãs.

The real highlight of this coastal hike is Azenhas do Mar, a picturesque cliffside village perched high above the sea.

This enchanting town is filled with whitewashed houses, narrow winding streets, and a natural saltwater pool that blends seamlessly with the ocean.

Less than an hour’s drive from Lisbon, the Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar coastal hike is a great chance to experience the untamed beauty of the Portuguese coastline just outside of its capital city.

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Costa da Caparica Trail

Lisbon

  • Distance: 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Fonte da Telha

The Costa da Caparica trail is a captivating hiking route that stretches along the stunning coastline of Costa da Caparica, just 20 minutes south of Lisbon.

An easy thing to do on a solo trip to Lisbon, this scenic trail offers a wonderful opportunity to escape the city and enjoy the diverse, natural beauty of the coastal region.

Starting at the pristine Praia do Castelo, the trail winds its way along the coastline, revealing breathtaking views of golden sand dunes, rolling waves, and expansive ocean horizons.

Enjoy views of the hidden coves, secluded beaches, and rocky cliffs that dot the rugged shoreline.

The trail also takes you past charming Portuguese fishing villages where you can observe the daily routines of local fishermen and even pick up the catch of the day. There’s a fun, lively atmosphere here, with plenty of colorful beach bars along the way.

Nature enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunities to spot the birds, marine life, and unique flora that thrive in the coastal environment.

The trail also passes through protected areas like the Arriba Fossil da Costa da Caparica Nature Reserve, where you can learn about the region’s geological history.

Ribeira do Cavalo Beach

Arrabida Natural Park

  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Parking lot in Sesimbra

The Ribeira do Cavalo Beach route is a quick, easy hike with phenomenal views that takes place in the Arrábida Natural Park, located in the Setúbal region of Portugal.

This picturesque trail offers breathtaking views, rugged cliffs, and the ultimate reward at the end: the stunning hidden gem of the Ribeira do Cavalo, a beautiful secluded beach!

The hike begins with a scenic journey through the Arrábida mountain range, where lush vegetation, rugged terrain, and impressive limestone formations create a dramatic backdrop.

As you navigate the well-marked trail, you’ll be immersed in the Mediterranean beauty and the aromatic scents of the surrounding pine trees.

The highlight of this hike is undoubtedly Ribeira do Cavalo Beach. Accessible only by foot or boat, this secluded paradise has crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine golden sand, and towering cliffs that provide a sense of seclusion and tranquility.

The beach is nestled in a small cove, sheltered by the cliffs, creating a serene atmosphere for relaxation and sunbathing.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the rich biodiversity found in the area, as Ribeira do Cavalo Beach is part of a protected marine reserve.

Snorkeling and swimming in the azure waters offer a chance to discover an underwater world teeming with colorful fish and marine life.

The Ribeira do Cavalo Beach hike in Arrábida Natural Park is an unforgettable experience that combines adventure, the natural beauty of Portugal, and a touch of serenity.

Hermitage – Fort of Santa Maria da Arrábida – Galapinhos Beach

Arrabida Natural Park

Empty walkway near the beach.
  • Distance: 6.4 miles (10.2 kilometers) roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida

The Hermitage – Fort of Santa Maria da Arrábida – Galapinhos Beach hike is another captivating journey through the Arrábida Natural Park.

This scenic coastal trail is more challenging than the last. It leads you on a mesmerizing exploration of ancient hermitages, a historic fort, and one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches.

The hike begins at the Hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida, a charming chapel perched on a hillside overlooking the sea. The serene atmosphere and panoramic views from this spot set the stage for an unforgettable adventure.

As you make your way along the well-marked trail, you’ll pass through a Mediterranean landscape adorned with aromatic shrubs, colorful wildflowers, and towering limestone cliffs.

The next highlight of the hike is the Fort of Santa Maria da Arrábida, a 17th-century fortress that served as a defensive stronghold.

The fort offers a glimpse into Portugal’s rich history and provides magnificent views of the coastline and surrounding natural beauty. Exploring the fort’s walls and cannons adds a sense of exploration and discovery to the journey.

Continuing along the trail and descend towards Galapinhos Beach, a pristine paradise nestled between rugged cliffs. This small, secluded beach is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, golden sand, and unspoiled natural surroundings.

It has been recognized as one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, offering a tranquil escape and a perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and relaxation.

Hiking this area of Portugal’s coast provides an enchanting blend of cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and pristine coastal beauty.

It showcases the unique charm of the Arrábida Natural Park and offers a memorable experience for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and beachgoers alike.

Don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, water, and a camera to capture the mesmerizing sights along the way.

What to Pack When Hiking Portugal’s Coast

When you’re preparing to hike Portugal’s coast, it’s essential to pack wisely for a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Start with lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for warm weather, including moisture-wicking shirts, quick-drying shorts or pants, and a sun hat.

Don’t forget to bring sturdy hiking shoes or boots, as well as a waterproof jacket or windbreaker in case of sudden changes in weather. 

Other essential items include sunscreen, sunglasses, a refillable water bottle, a small backpack, a first aid kit, insect repellent, and a trail map or guidebook. It’s also a good idea to pack some snacks or energy bars to keep up your energy during the hike.

With these essentials in your backpack, you’ll be ready to embark on an unforgettable coastal adventure in Portugal.

Best Time to Hike Portugal’s Coast

The sun sets over the water.

The best time to hike Portugal’s coast is during the spring and autumn seasons. 

In spring, from April to June, you can enjoy blooming wildflowers, mild temperatures, and fewer crowds. Meanwhile, the autumn months, from September to November, offer pleasant weather with cooler temperatures and vibrant foliage. 

During these periods, you can enjoy comfortable hiking conditions, stunning coastal views, and easier access to accommodations and services.

However, it’s important to note that Portugal’s coastal weather can be unpredictable, so always check the local forecast and be prepared for changing conditions.

Final Thoughts: Portugal Coastal Hiking

Get ready to lace up your hiking boots, breathe in the fresh ocean air, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Portugal.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or more of a beginner, hiking Portugal’s coast is an adventure filled with incredible outdoor exploration, cultural heritage, and breathtaking beauty that will stay with you forever.

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