In love with Portugal? Here at Start Adventure, we are well-versed in hiking trails and off-road expeditions in our delightfully sunny country. It’s true that most visitors stick to Lisbon, Porto and little else, but if you are here to chase the best trails and take in spectacular sights and nature, look no further.
If you’re alone and lonely, get in touch with Start Adventure and consider one of our trips in Portugal, like Rota das Serras. We have a policy for small groups, and will welcome you aboard 4x4s to find both hidden gems and popular destinations in the Center and North regions of Portugal (stopping for amazing food at local restaurants you just can’t find in your travel guide, and answering all your questions).
Without further ado, here are our best hiking trails in Portugal you can’t miss:
Literally called fishermen’s trail, Trilho dos Pescadores is one of the best coastal trails in Europe. It is part of Rota Vicentina, a series of pedestrian trails that contour the southwest shore of Portugal. This one specifically goes around its lower left corner — literally!
If you’re up for hiking by the sea, this is the place to do it. Trilho dos Pescadores trails always by the deep blue waves and explosions of white foam against the cliffs and rocks where flowers and herbs sway gently in the breeze.
It covers over 200km of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park. It hosts very fragile ecosystems, so be sure to stick to the designated path.
Vale do Lapedo is well-known for its important archeological discoveries, did you know? In 1998, the Lapedo child was found, a complete prehistorical skeleton of a child. It is thought that they had a Neanderthal parent and a modern human parent. You can see it in the National Museum of Archeology.
So, not only does the landscape feel ancient, with stone walls and caves hiding in the deep undergrowth, the trail provides you with wonderful fresh air besides well-kept trails, wooden walkways, benches and informative signs.
Located in the Arouca Geopark, these trails have been getting a lot of attention both in Portugal and abroad. A series of wooden walkways have been built directly on the rocky cliff of River Paiva. You will be safe as you walk immersed in nature, taking in the amazing sights and the pure air. There are waterfalls, waterways, trees and flowers, rocks and stones… and a breath-taking bridge, considered the largest suspended bridge in the World. Not for the faint of heart.
The Peneda-Gerês National Park is, or should be, worldwide famous as a natural reserve of exquisite beauty. It’s landscape is rich, and protected species of animals live here, such as wolves, eagles, deer and local breeds of horses (like the breed Garrano). For the Portuguese, it is highly regarded as a place where you can go camping or hiking and experience the wilderness.
Here, you will be able to find many trails in Gerês, and all of them are worth it — Trilho de São Bento, however, is probably the most satisfying one, taking you near lakes, hills and stunningly golden sunsets.
This route isn’t far at all from Portugal’s border with Spain, so it might be the best trail for you if you’re exploring the charming, peaceful interior region of Portugal. Castelo de Penha Garcia is an extremely old castle, dating back to the time of the Templars. It was intended to defend the Portuguese border but also to play a strategic role in what we call Reconquista, or Reconquest (a long series of battles aiming to drive Arabs out of the Iberian Peninsula).
Hiking in this part of Portugal is amazing, and most importantly, it feels like a secret. Not a lot of visitors come here by foot. You will get to enjoy ancient historical villages like no others you have seen, of cheerful-looking houses made of stone and tiles of warm colors.
Viseu is one of the best places to get to know the unique north of Portugal. Here, tradition is very much alive. Its people are warm and inviting, going about their day in what has been voted already as the best district to live in Portugal.
But Viseu is also full of nature and stunning sights if you climb up its rolling hills in this amazing hike. Trilho da Princesa da Serra, or the trail of the princess of the mountain, is made up of very old paths which go through enchanting patches of woodland, stones bridges and brooks. This part of Portugal looks like a fairy tale, and it makes up for a very satisfying hike.
What can be said about Viana do Castelo? As a district, it is way up to the north of Portugal and it’s full of forests and History. This trail in particular is made up of well-built wooden walkways that run all along a river. The water flows by mossy stones and logs and roots, and lush green branches hang over the river in a very picturesque way. There are waterfalls, and sometimes you will have to duck a low branch as you hike.
They call this place, Sistelo, the Portuguese Tibete, because of its ancient terrace cultivation, intensely green landscape and peaceful hideouts by the river. Do not miss it.
Ready to hike Portugal? Get in touch with Start Adventure and know all about our off-road expeditions around Portugal and the world. We will take you to discover the wonders of the Portuguese mountain ranges, for instance, with our special route Rota das Serras.
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