The cliffs and blue ocean of the Alentejo region of Portugal

An Unplanned Visit to the Costa Vicentina

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After finishing up our house sit in Algoz, we packed our bags and took the train to Lagos on the coast.  This will be our next spot, having rented an apartment for 3 weeks.  However, someone screwed up (OK, maybe it was me…) and somehow booked the apartment for 6 days after our house sit ended.

So, what were we to do for 6 days?  We rented a car, booked a super cute studio apartment and headed out to the the Vicentine National Park in the Alentejo region Portugal!  My original plan included renting a VW camper and wild camping along the cliffs but Terry thought he might want hot, running water.  As it turns out the car + apartment option is cheaper but I still get a little jealous every time we pass a parking lot filled with camper vans.

Man standing beside a bright red hatchback rental car in a field in Portugal.
Almost, but not quite, as cool as a classic VW Campervan…

Hiking the Alentejo Region

Until researching this area (somewhat belatedly) I had no idea the Rota Vicentina existed.  It turns out there is a hiking trail running over 230km north to south along the west coast of Southern Portugal.  It has swiftly been added to our bucket list!

Luckily for us, there are also additional circular routes and additional fishermen’s trails that can easily be done as day hikes.  We chose Carrapateira as our home base in part because it seemed like a cute traditional village with some amenities but also as it is the starting point for a number of hikes.

Old building beside a whitewashed one on a winding street in Carrapateira, Portugal.
Wandering around the village where we stayed, Carrapateira.

 

With four full days, I picked some interesting trails and we headed out each day with a new one in mind.  These trails are incredibly well-marked and scenic.  We did have a couple of days of rain.  After getting soaked towards the end of one hike, the next day when the rain started we were high on a cliff’s edge with many kilometres left.  For better or worse, we happened to be near a shortcut back to the car so we decided to cut our losses.  This isn’t tropical rain here!  The hike was supposed to take us past a beautiful beach and town so we cheated and drove there instead.

Looking over plant-covered dunes to a wide beach with huge waves in Bordeira Portugal.

 

If you are heading to Portugal, put the Vicentina Coast on your list of must-sees and pack good hiking shoes.  Why?  I’m going to let the pictures explain.

There’s not much more to say about the week so let me just fill your screen with pictures.  Eventually I’ll write about each hike, and the area, in more detail but until then, enjoy the scenery!

an abandoned building with a hiking trail marking on the side and man walking down the path in Portugal.
You never know where you might find the next trail marking!

 

Long windswept beach with a few rocks and backed by cliffs in Vicentina coastline, Portugal.
Praia do Amado, a popular surf spot that hosts national and international competitions.

 

Man running from a huge wave crashing on rocks, Vicentina Portugal
This wave came out of nowhere and caught us off guard!

 

View while driving through Alentejo region, Portugal.
Even when you look away from the cliffs and ocean, there are still beautiful views everywhere!

 

Small white houses with colourful doors in a village in Portugal.
The once abandoned village of Vilarinha. After the population decreased to 9 (!), it has been revitalized by turning the abandoned houses into vacation rentals.

 

View between cliffs to a beach with huge waves on the Vicentina Coast of Portugal
View, after view, after view…

 

A river running between a beach and tree covered hillside in Alentejo region of Portugal.
The river running into Praia da Amoreira. Between the ocean, beach, sand dunes and river, it’s hard to say which direction was the prettiest…

 

Man walking up the side of a trail through a sand dune in Alentejo region of Portugal.
The trail may not have been very steep but walking in the soft sand is still hard work – Terry tries to avoid the softer parts by walking on a side trail.

 

Small village on a cliffside with surfing beach at the bottom in Portugal.
The white-washed village of Arrifana leading down the cliffs to the surfing hotspot of the same name.

 

Boardwalk leading through dunes to a windswept beach in Bordeira Portugal.
Bordeira Beach, a popular surf spot.

 

Man walking through a forest of twisted trees.
Hiking into the creepy oak forest, could be the set of Little Red Riding Hood!

 

 

So, have you pulled out your notebook and added this area to your bucket list yet??

 

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