Via Algarviana GR13
Hiking signifies a return to our roots, to an original form of life and to our innate speed. All our senses are awake and feel, see, smell, hear and taste nature. When we go walking, our thoughts become sharper. This old pilgrims’ path is about 330 kilometres long. It takes us 14 or 15 days to walk it.
A good rucksack and no more than 10 kilos of luggage for men. Important things are: one pair of long trousers and one pair of shorts, two shirts, one pullover, two pairs of non-slip socks made of wool/flax and breathable, waterproof, ankle-covering footwear. Water bottle, hiking staff, light sandals, towel and swimwear, olive (kernel) soap, toothbrush. You will need rainwear, headgear, scarf or neckerchief, some underwear, sunglasses, whistle, compass. First aid kit, with plasters for blisters, ointment for bee stings, magnesium tablets, sun and foot creams.
Don’t forget a simple mobile phone with charger, writing material, a good book, a map. Glucose, carob bars from BEQ, a bag with nuts, almonds, dried figs, raisins etc. And what about ear-plugs against snorers, a sewing-kit, a knife, and a small hip-flask for medronho brandy.
N.B.: take as little as possible that you don’t need. Good advice doesn’t come cheap. At this point, there is no hidden advertising for equipment suppliers, or clothes and shoe manufacturers. Most of you will know from experience WHERE to get WHAT you need for your hike. I only recommend small local suppliers, clothes and shoe manufacturers. On request, we can provide some tips.
Fishermen’s Trail in Rota Vicentina GR11
This long-distance walk takes you along the Atlantic coast. Hikers can complete it in four, or in seven stages. It always depends on where they want to start the walk. People travelling south from Lisbon by bus arrive in Sines and then start the walk in Porto Covo. Then you walk for seven days as far as the old end of the world at the southwest cape.
There is plenty of accommodation in the villages: from a simple youth hostel to a small hotel, a rural house, to a four-star hotel. Everything is possible.
The cuisine of the Alentejo and the Algarve offers fresh fish and shellfish of almost every kind. It is unique. After a day’s walk over the cliffs and along the beaches, always heading south with the Atlantic on your right, you witness the sunset over the sea. With a glass of rosé from the Barranco Longo winery (Algoz), a fish soup as a starter, an octopus salad, and a grilled bream for your main course, a peaceful evening can begin once the day’s walking is done. Leave a bit of room for dessert.
If you want to walk in the company of donkeys, which can carry your rucksack for you, contact Elsa & Sofia in Aljezur on 967 145 306 or 936 060 808 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have reached Odeceixe after four days, you head inland on the fifth day and stop overnight in Arrifana. From there, you head to Pedralva via Carrapateira. On the last day, hikers reach the southwest cape via Vila do Bispo. Don’t forget to get hold of a hiking map.
Vale do Côa GR45 | From Spring to Mouth
This long-distance walk is ideal for walkers who want to leave the city and civilisation behind them for a couple of weeks. If you want to take a tent and sleeping bag with you, you should definitely include a few days in the Faia Brava Nature Reserve almost at the end of the tour, and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings. There, you can come across aurochs that have been released into the wild, as well as wild Garrano horses and vultures that nest there. From the source of the River Côa, you walk for two days along the stream, and the watercourse gradually turns into a river. From Sabugal, if not before, the Côa becomes a serious river. The footpath is sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right bank and it winds back and forth a bit until straightening out. Tributaries make it wider, and every day the Côa looks different. Grey herons stand at shallow points and fish. Good accommodation can be found on the third day of the walk at Refúgio no Campo close to the village of Rapoula do Côa. Very good rooms, friendly service, and a fantastic breakfast. Then the walk continues via Vilar Maior and Castelo Mendes to Almeida and Quinta Nova. There too, a good bed and excellent meal await the long-distance walker at the Encostas do Côa hostel.
With every subsequent day, you become increasingly aware that you are walking on ground that is steeped in history, in cultural and historical heritage. A view opens up from the village of Cidadelhe onwards. Artistic rock paintings by our ancestors accompany you from there on, in Faia Brava and after you leave the reserve and walk towards Vila Nova Foz da Côa. The website
www.granderotadocoa.pt (Portuguese/English) with its interactive hiking map will make it much easier to plan a long-distance hike. Walking the Grande Rota Vale do Côa is to be recommended between October and June in any year. The daily maps can be downloaded for printing from the website