Updated: June 6, 2024

carvoeiro-hikes-portugalThere is no doubt that Portugal is one of the most beautiful European countries. Just look at the sheer number of visitors it has each year. With so much natural beauty to explore, you may feel overwhelmed thinking about where to begin. We recommend checking out some of the country’s fantastic hikes. Portugal is best explored by foot for many reasons, one of which is its varied natural landscapes. So, let’s take a look at some of the best hikes Portugal has to offer. 

For nature lovers, Portugal is an ideal location to take in the beautiful scenery. The country’s scenic hikes range in difficulty so that all levels can enjoy the breathtaking views. From tranquil walks along the coast to more challenging treks in the countryside, you’re unlikely to run out of areas to explore. So lace up your hiking shoes, and let’s get started.

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

benagil-sea-cave-portugalThe Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is one of the best hikes Portugal offers along its rugged coastline. Over the years, the coastline has been molded and shaped by the powerful forces of the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the stunning sea caves that exist today. 

These intriguing natural rock formations can be enjoyed on this hike. Following this 12 km (about 7.5 miles) trail is suitable for all levels and is a fantastic way to explore the seven caves along the Algarve coast.

The Algarve coastal path trail begins at the rugged cliffs of Carvoeiro and stretches all the way to Praia da Marinha. Along the way, you’ll come across Benagil Beach and Carvalho Beach. Benagil Beach is most famous for its sea cave which is only accessible by boat, and it’s certainly worth a visit to see the distinctive hole in its roof.

The area surrounding the beach offers places to rent paddleboards and boats to truly enjoy the best views of the impressive cave from the ocean. It’s certainly one of the most beautiful sea caves you will come across, so make sure to take full advantage of the sites when visiting the Algarve region.

Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar Coastal Trail

beautiufl-beaches-cabo-da-roca-hikes-portugalAnother of Portugal’s fantastic coastal hikes is located in Sintra, a place known for its colorful charm. The route begins in Cabo do Roca and is easily accessible from Lisbon and Cascais. You will wander through a selection of beautiful beaches until you come across Azenhas do Mar, known for its typical Portuguese whitewashed houses overlooking the stunning sea.

The walk continues for a total of just under 11km (7 miles), taking you on a journey along the edge of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The unforgettable panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean that will remain in your memories (and in your phone’s picture folders) attract many to this walk.

Rota Vincentina

Fisherman's-trail-portugalNext on our list is a coastal route known as the Rota Vincentina or the Fisherman’s Trail. Its name comes from the fact that, while it’s a picturesque hike along the Portuguese coastline, it offers hikers the opportunity to visit charming fishing villages along the way. These places are steeped in Portuguese history, perfect spots to make a pit stop and learn about the country while refueling on fresh fish.

Suitable for all levels, this coastal hike begins at Cabo de São Vicente, the southernmost tip of Europe. You’ll start with stunning views of the coastline that stretch into the distance, and if you need a more manageable route, the trail offers some easier sections. For unrivaled natural beauty in southern Portugal, this is the hike for you.

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25 Fontes Hike

25-fontes-hikes-portugalFor this hike, the explanation lies in its name: 25 Fontes (25 Waterfalls). The trail takes you on a tour of 25 spectacular waterfalls on the island of Madeira, an archipelago comprising four islands off the northwest coast of Africa.

As you can imagine, this is the most popular hike in Madeira, attracting tourists from across the globe with its promise of 25 different waterfalls. The trail is suitable for all levels, continues for about 11km (about 7 miles), and can take between three and four hours to complete.

This is certainly a day hike, as the waterfalls are best enjoyed when the sun makes their waters sparkle. You should also plan to take some time to relax beside some of the waterfalls and explore the beautiful landscapes that you’ll pass through. It’s definitely worth adding a bit of extra time to your hike to soak it all in.

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Paiva Walkways

arouca-portugal-hikeThe Pavia Walkways, known as passadiços do Paiva in Portuguese, are a great way to enjoy the more rural side of Portugal. These walkways are popular among those looking to explore Portugal a little further away from the coast and take in the peaceful countryside.

The walk is 8km (5 miles) and is not too challenging for hikers. A unique feature is the wooden walkways that display the Paia River and Portuguese countryside with some breathtaking views. Located in Arouca, an area southeast of the city of Porto, this trail passes several river spots that are great for swimming in summer when the Portuguese sun is at its warmest.

As you can see, Portugal hiking trails offer a variety of short- and long-distance hiking that can be adapted to suit all levels. Whether you’re looking for spectacular hikes near Lisbon, Porto, or along the coast, the best hikes in Portugal await exploring. Another popular trail in Northern Portugal is the Camino Portugués, a Pilgrimage route leading to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. 

And, if you’re looking for hiking trails in parks like Peneda Gerês National Park, check out our article: National Parks in Portugal.

The stunning scenery in the country is one of the key drivers of Portugal’s tourism sector, which continues to flourish. With so many hiking trails, you’re surely eager to strap on your hiking boots and go on a fantastic Portugal hiking adventure! You’re guaranteed to experience one of the best hikes in Portugal, no matter which trail you choose to hike. From fresh sea air and eye-catching sites to magnificent weather and fun in the water, hiking in Portugal is an activity that engages all of your senses.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Hiking in Portugal

Yes, Portugal has some excellent hiking opportunities. The country’s hiking trail range in difficulty, meaning there is a trail for all levels. You can explore the beautiful and diverse sites Portugal has to offer through coastal walking trails, mountain hikes, and trails that take you through waterfalls and sea caves. The Serra da Estrela Natural Park, home to the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal, and Serra do Açor close by are also good options, where you’ll be starstruck by the incredible views from the top. And, if you are in the center of the country, you will find some good hiking ground in Serra de São Mamede close to the Spanish border. 

Portugal has so many amazing hikes that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Some of the country’s best hikes include the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Cabo da Roca to Azenhas do Mar Coastal Trail, Rota Vincentina, 25 Fontes Hike, and the Paiva Walkways. 

Portugal has many well-known trails. The most famous trail in the Algarve is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, while in Madeira, the 25 Fontes is the most well-known, and most beautiful hike on the island. 

Yes, the Azores is a good place to hike. The Azores has a number of circular and linear trails, such as the Pico Trail, the Caldeirão Trail, the Norte Pequeno Trail, and the Great Route of Santa Maria. 

You will find several options to do a day hike in Portugal. Discover stunning coastal trails like Rota Vicentina in the south of Portugal or explore lush landscapes in Peneda-Gerês National Park. Don’t miss iconic trails like Seven Hanging Valleys in the Algarve for breathtaking views, or, for something closer to the capital, you’ll find several treks in the Sintra Cascais Natural Park and Serra de Sintra or even in Monsanto, just outside Lisbon.

While Lisbon is known for its urban charm, nearby Sintra and Arrábida Natural Park offer fantastic hiking opportunities with trails winding through lush forests and along dramatic coastlines. Closer to the city, you also have Monsanto, an incredible forest park with walking and cycling trails, and where many locals can be seen enjoying a picnic in the summer months.

Embark on the renowned Rota Vicentina, traverse the rugged terrain of the Camino de Santiago, or challenge yourself on the historic Fishermen’s Trail for unforgettable multi-day hikes in Portugal.

You’ll find Portugal nature trails to offer everything, from mountain views to sweeping coastal walks. The Rota Vicentina, particularly the Fishermen’s Trail, is renowned for its stunning coastal views and rich cultural heritage, making it the most famous walking trail in Portugal.

Absolutely. Madeira’s diverse landscapes offer incredible hiking opportunities, from challenging mountain trails to scenic levada walks, providing unforgettable experiences for hikers of all levels.

Should you be looking for a guided Portugal trek, then you’ll find plenty of options. Portugal offers a variety of hiking tours, from the rugged trails of the Azores and Madeira to the picturesque routes of the Douro Valley, Northern Portugal, and the Algarve coast. Explore stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage on guided or self-guided adventures. Hikes in Portugal organized by tour operators usually have different difficulty level hikes to cater to varying levels of experience.

Yes, Portugal offers several long distance hike routes. One good example is the Rota Vicentina, which extends along the southwestern coast, featuring the Historical Way, a 263 km hike in between Santiago do Cacém and Cape St. Vincent, and the Fishermen’s Trail, a 226.5 km hike in the Southwest of Portugal.

Yes, hut-to-hut hiking is available in Portugal. The GR22 – Grande Rota das Aldeias Históricas (Great Route of the Historical Villages) offers this experience, connecting historic local villages in eastern Portugal and Spain with mountain huts along the way for accommodation.

To organize the best hiking trips in Portugal, start by researching popular trails like Rota Vicentina and Peneda-Gerês National Park and consider the length and difficulty of the hike that you wish to embark on. Consider hiring local guides for insider knowledge, and you’ll find many companies that provide hiking tours that could be a good option to go for. Make sure to plan for the weather and pack essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, and sturdy footwear.

If you are going on long hikes, it can be a good idea to seek advice from local authorities, such as Turismo de Portugal, from local tour operators and visit the official trial websites. There are also many interactive maps that can be useful in showing hiking routes you are on in real-time. hiking blogs and forums can be a good way to understand the difficulty level of the hike and if there is anything in particular to watch out for.

For hiking in southern Portugal, explore the stunning routes of Rota Vicentina, particularly the Fishermen’s Trail along the coast and the Historical Way inland. Additionally, don’t miss the scenic trails of the Algarve’s Serra de Monchique for diverse landscapes and breathtaking views. If you are looking for an easy hiking trail in Portugal, Monchique is a good place to start, as you can pretty much define the level of difficulty yourself.