self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
wild and unspoiled coastal scenery
charming mix of accommodation of character
glorious sunsets over the Atlantic
To explore a truly wild coastal landscape, choose this spectacular walk which reveals the haunting beauty of Portugal’s south-western coastline. Here, on the little-known Costa Vicentina – Europe’s largest coastal natural park – virgin beaches backed by dunes and dramatic cliffs are washed by a restless ocean. The sunsets over the Atlantic are superb, and by day the plentiful sunshine shows the colours of the landscape to best effect: the white-and-blue houses, the turquoise sea, the honey-coloured cliffs, red fishing boats, golden sands, green cliff-tops…
The route was broad and clear with fresh green-and-blue waymarking posts at regular intervals and a delicious sea breeze to cool my progress. From the cliff-tops by the lighthouse Cabo Sardão I could peer down into the storks’ nests and spot bundle-of-fluff baby chicks below.
The pace of life here is refreshingly unhurried, and the beaches largely deserted, attracting egrets and turtles. The sleepy, whitewashed fishing villages offer a glimpse of a way of life that has remained unchanged for decades, and hide rural hotels of great charm and character, which range from luxurious ranch-style hotels to pristine townhouses. Late spring is a particularly special time, when pink thrift carpets the dunes and Europe’s only marine stork colony nests on precarious sea stacks buffeted by the waves.