Travel Guide

The Rota Vicentina – a 2022 detailed information

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The Rota Vicentina is a community of mountaineering trails within the Alentejo and Algarve provinces within the south of Portugal. The community contains two long-distance routes the Fisherman’s Path and the Historic Means, and several other day-hikes a few of which may be included in one of many long-distance routes. We’ve walked each multi-day routes of the Rota Vicentina in addition to a few of the short-distance hikes. On this publish, we describe completely different route choices, value, transportation, and lodging choices on the Rota Vicentina.

Zambujeira do Mar, a stop on the coastal trail of the Rota Vicentina
Zambujeira do Mar, one of many cities on the coastal route of the Rota Vicentina

Sensible data for strolling the Rota Vicentina

The Fishermen’s Path and the Historic Means can be walked in both course; south to north or north to south.

All routes are well-marked; the coastal route is marked with blue and inexperienced stripes, the inland route is marked with white and pink stripes. All trails are straightforward to observe you don’t want a map or a GPS.

Nearly each city on the Rota Vicentina has ATMs, outlets, eating places, and lodges.

YouTube video thumbnail for the Rota Vicentina trail
Our detailed video on strolling the Rota Vicentina in Portugal

Summer time is a really busy time for this space with July and August being the height season in case you do the trek throughout these months it’s higher to ebook lodging prematurely.

Examine-in in most lodges/hostels is after Three pm you’ll need to kill a while in a restaurant or café whereas ready for check-in.

There may be often nothing on the route between the cities it’s important to carry sufficient water to final you for the day and perhaps some snacks or sandwiches.

Faucet water in Portugal is drinkable we didn’t purchase bottled water.

On Sundays outlets in small cities are closed to get meals consuming out is the one possibility. Supermarkets are all the time open.

I’d suggest shopping for a neighborhood SIM card it’s very handy to have a telephone quantity to have the ability to contact a resort or to make use of Google Maps to seek out your lodging place. We had a MEO SIM card – a 10-day package deal with 3Gb and lots of minutes of native telephone requires 10 Euro. You should purchase it in telephone outlets, some supermarkets, and kiosks.

The route may be simply carried out by yourself with no information or a tour; it’s well-marked, there’s sufficient infrastructure within the cities, it’s not tough to ebook lodging or to rearrange baggage switch by your self.

A trail map of the Rota Vicentina
A map of various trails of the Rota Vicentina, Portugal

Rota Vicentina completely different route choices

As I already talked about there are two long-distance trails and lots of circuit routes/day hikes many of the brief routes may be included into one of many multi-day trails.

Totally different routes of the Rota Vicentina

Title The Historic Means The Fishermen’s Path Day hikes (round routes)
Start line Santiago do Cacém S.Torpes Seaside (Porto Covo) Totally different factors alongside
the Vicentina Coast
Ending level Odeceixe Lagos Totally different factors alongside
the Vicentina Coast
Complete distance 120 km/74 mi 230 km/143 mi 265 km/164 mi
(24 trails)
Variety of days 6 days 11-13 days 1 day
Totally different mountaineering trails on the Rota Vicentina

The Historic Means

  • Complete distance – 120 km/74 mi
  • Variety of days – 6 days
  • Start line – Santiago do Cacém
  • Ending level – Odeceixe
  • Route marking – pink & white markers

The Historic Means has considerably fewer hikers than the Coastal route. We noticed between 2 and 5 hikers a day on this route. Total the realm is just not touristy in comparison with the coast that’s simply 20 km away. Consequently lodging choices are fairly restricted. There are not any hostels or campsites on the Historic Means. The one campsite and a hostel on the route are in Odeceixe. Lodging works out costlier right here than on the Fishermen’s Path. Most locations don’t have a kitchen so you possibly can’t actually cook dinner in order for you a correct meal, not only a sandwich it’s important to eat in a restaurant or bar. Consuming out on this a part of the Rota Vicentina is cheaper than alongside the coast eating places cater for locals not for vacationers. You will get a set menu for 6-7 Euro, a dish for 5-6 Euro, a cup of espresso for 0,60 Euro, and so forth.

The surroundings on the Historic Means is sweet and peaceable with a number of strolling by way of the fields (in case you stroll it in April-Might it is going to be lined in flowers), a little bit of forest, and numerous hills. It’s the route with essentially the most ascents and descents although nothing could be very steep or lengthy. Total the Historic Means is a pleasant path to stroll if you wish to see off-the-beaten-path areas in southern Portugal. In our opinion, the surroundings is just not as spectacular as alongside the coast.

For those who’re planning to stroll the Historic Means you possibly can obtain our free PDF file with strolling levels and locations to remain on the route.

Wheat fields on the Historical Way of the Rota Vicentina
Wheatfields and hills – a typical surroundings n the Historic Means of the Rota Vicentina

The Fishermen’s Path

  • Complete distance – 230 km/143 mi
  • Variety of days – 11-13 days
  • Start line – S.Torpes Seaside, Porto Covo
  • Ending level – Lagos
  • Route marking – blue & inexperienced markers

The Fishermen’s Path (the Coastal route) of the Rota Vicentina is a well-liked route with many day walkers and weekend teams. The path goes by way of the touristy elements of the Alentejo and Algarve areas. In addition to hikers within the season, there are lots of holidaymakers. For those who stroll this route throughout the summer time months you’ll see many individuals. It’s extremely really useful to ebook lodging on the route beforehand.

The Fishermen’s Path has extra lodging choices and campsites as a result of it’s a in style summer time vacation vacation spot. It’s potential to seek out price range locations to remain. Consuming out on this path is costlier in comparison with the Historic Means. For a set meal in a restaurant (Menu do Dia), you pay 25-30 Euro for 2 individuals vs 15-20 Euro on the Historic Means. You’ll be able to cut back your meals bills in case you keep in locations with a kitchen and cook dinner your self. Each city on the path has a grocery store or at the least a grocery retailer.

The a part of the Fishermen’s Path from Odeceixe to Lagos is just not as busy because the half from Corto Covo to Odeceixe. Most individuals end strolling in Odeceixe most likely as a result of it was the tip of the route earlier than it was prolonged first to Cabo de S.Vicente (Sagres) and later to Lagos.

The surroundings on this route is really spectacular; rugged cliffs, sandy seashores, turquoise water, picturesque bays, hidden caves, breathtaking lookout factors, and charming cities. For those who ask me I’d positively select the Fishermen‘s Path over the Historic Means.

For those who’re planning to stroll the Fishermen’s Path you possibly can obtain our free PDF file that features strolling levels and locations to remain alongside the route.

A lighthouse at Cabo Sardão on the Costa Vicentina in Portugal
The lighthouse at Cabo Sardão on the Fishermen’s Path of the Rota Vicentina

Day hikes on the Rota Vicentina

There are 24 brief mountaineering trails on the Rota Vicentina with a complete distance of 265 km/164 mi. Distances of the day hikes fluctuate from brief 4-5-kilometers trails to 12-16-kilometers routes. All day hikes are round routes. You don’t have to fret about getting again to your automobile or your resort after ending a hike. Many round routes are partly included in one of many lengthy trails. We haven’t walked any of the 24 trails but however now dwelling in Lagos we’re planning to start out mountaineering them with a view to put together for strolling the Portuguese Camino de Santiago with our 7-months previous daughter. The day mountaineering trails are indicated with pink and yellow markers.

The day trails provide a mix of coastal and forest/fields surroundings. You’ll be able to simply incorporate a few day hikes in a street journey or a seaside vacation in southern Portugal.

The way to mix the paths?

You’ll be able to stroll all the Fishermen’s Path or the Historic Route individually, you possibly can stroll solely elements of the routes, or mix them. The 2 routes merge in Odeceixe.

Possibility 1. Porto Covo – Odeceixe – Santiago do Cacém. You stroll on the Fishermen’s Path from Porto Covo to Odeceixe. From Odeceixe as a substitute of constant alongside the coast, observe the Historic Means and stroll to Santiago do Cacém. This manner you mix each nation and seaside surroundings and get to see completely different elements of the Alentejo area. The entire distance of this route possibility is 196 km/121 mi. To finish it you want 10 days. The route may be walked both manner beginning in Porto Covo or in Santiago do Cacém.

Possibility 2. Santiago do Cacém – Odeceixe – Lagos. You stroll the Historic Means from Santiago do Cacém to Odeceixe and from there proceed on the Fishermen’s Path by way of Cabo de S.Vicente to Lagos. The entire distance of this route is 274 km/170 mi. You want 13-14 days to finish it. It may be walked both manner. You’ll be able to reduce it shorter in case you don’t have sufficient time to finish the route.

You’ll be able to stroll any stage of the 2 routes individually as a day hike or you possibly can select a few levels and do a 2 or 3-day hike.

There’s a nice possibility for individuals who wish to mix two out of doors actions (mountaineering and browsing) and benefit from the sea as a lot as potential. You’ll be able to begin strolling in Porto Covo and end in Arrifana. The place you possibly can keep in a surf hostel hire a board or take a few classes. Days wanted – 6, complete distance – 118 km.

A beautiful forest on the Rota Vicentina in Portugal
Lush inexperienced forest on the Historic Means of the Rota Vicentina

 The price of strolling the Rota Vicentina

The Algarve and Alentejo provinces are very fashionable summer time vacation locations which suggests within the peak season, between June and September the coast will get very busy and lodging costs enhance considerably. How a lot cash you’ll spend strolling Rota Vicentina is dependent upon if you go. For those who stroll throughout the low season, between November and March it is going to be the most affordable, the bordering season, October, April, and Might are costlier. The summer time months from June to September is the costliest interval. We walked the Rota Vicentina in Might and did discover lodging costs being fairly excessive in some in style touristy locations.

On common you’ll spend 35-40 Euro per particular person per day on the Rota Vicentina. It contains lodging (a room for 2 individuals or a dorm mattress in a hostel), meals, and transport. For those who’re going to make use of a baggage switch service it’s important to add 15 Euro per day further.

Lodging

Lodging is the primary expense on the Rota Vicentina. Relying on the kind of locations you’ll pay between 10 Euro (tenting) and 30 Euro (a room in a resort) per particular person.

Tenting is the most affordable possibility although not each city on the route has a campsite. Even in case you like tenting you’ll have to remain generally indoors. Costs for tenting are between 6 and 10 Euro per particular person per day relying on the season. A disadvantage of tenting is that it’s important to carry your tenting gear (tent, sleeping bag, pad, cooking stuff, and so forth.) which provides important weight to your backpack.

Hostels are the most affordable indoor lodging possibility on the Rota Vicentina. Identical to with tenting, not each city on the path has one. On the Fishermen’s Path there are hostels however not on the Historic Means. A mattress in a dormitory prices between 15 and 20 Euros per particular person relying on the season. In July, August, and September the costs are at their highest. The bottom costs are throughout the offseason; from November to March.

Resorts/guesthouses are the most well-liked lodging kind on the path. Costs fluctuate between 40 and 60 Euros for a double room. We had one or two locations the place we paid round 30 Euro per two individuals. In the course of the low season, you’ll discover extra locations providing rooms on this value vary.

Meals

Consuming out

Consuming out on the eating places on the Rota Vicentina was fairly costly in comparison with another areas in Portugal that we traveled. Even in the identical space, there was a big value distinction between locations positioned inland and seaside cities. Put together to pay 10 Euros for a dish, plus 2-Four Euros further in case you order drinks, bread, espresso, and so forth. Our common invoice was about 30 Euros for 2 individuals after we went out for dinner. For those who order a sandwich (Tosta Mista) and a espresso or a cool drink it’ll value round Three Euros.

Portugal has one of many least expensive espresso in Europe; Espresso prices 0,60-0,70 Euro, espresso with milk (type of cappuccino) – 1-1,2 Euro. For those who order Americano you’ll pay about 1 Euro for it, cappuccino is sort of costly about 2 Euros on common and it’s not like a traditional cappuccino it’s extra like Latte with chocolate. Café com Leite (espresso with milk) is way nearer to the Italian cappuccino.

Purchasing

The most affordable meals possibility is to purchase stuff in a store and make your individual meals. To have the ability to cook dinner it’s important to keep in locations with a kitchen in any other case you’ll be restricted to consuming sandwiches. Purchasing will value you between 7 and 10 Euros per particular person to purchase meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Larger supermarkets have cafes or canteens the place you should purchase a well-priced meal, a sandwich, or a pastry.

Transport

Nearly each city on the Rota Vicentina may be reached by public transport. A bus from Lisbon to one of many beginning factors (Porto Covo or Santiago do Cacém) prices between 15 and 20 Euros a method. Getting from Lagos or Odeceixe to Lisbon will value you 20 Euros. Buses between the cities on the route value between Three and seven Euro relying on the gap.

Primarily based on all these I’d counsel an estimated price range of 20-25 Euros per particular person per day in case you’re planning to camp (when potential) and make your individual meals; 35-40 Euros per particular person if staying indoors (hostels and price range rooms) and cooking for your self more often than not and from 45 Euros if staying indoors and consuming out at the least as soon as a day.

Cape Saint Vincent lighthouse, Rota Vicentina, Portugal
The lighthouse at Cabo de São Vicente in Portugal

The most effective season for strolling the Rota Vicentina

Summer time generally (July and August particularly) is the busiest season within the south of Portugal with the most individuals and the best costs. It will get very popular within the south of Portugal day temperatures go over 30°C. For those who resolve to stroll the route in the summertime months it’s really useful to start out strolling early within the morning with a view to be completed earlier than it will get too sizzling. Reserving lodging on the Rota Vicentina prematurely is a must-do in the summertime.

Border season (April-Might and October) is an ideal time for strolling the Rota Vicentina; there are considerably fewer individuals than in the summertime. It’s heat however not too sizzling, lodging is cheaper, and also you don’t need to ebook it months prematurely. We actually like mountaineering in Portugal within the spring the surroundings could be very stunning this time of the yr.

Low season (November-March) is nice if you wish to have a solitary and quiet stroll with only a few vacationers. Climate-wise it doesn’t get actually chilly on the Vicentina Coast and within the Algarve. The typical temperatures in winter are between 13°C and 16°C but it surely may rain fairly a bit in November and December. The wind could be a downside as effectively. As for lodging costs, they’re at their lowest (excluding Christmas and New Yr) so you will get a very nice place for not costly.

Journey insurance coverage. Mountaineering like some other out of doors exercise entails a danger of getting injured, sick or shedding gear, and so forth., it’s all the time really useful to have journey insurance coverage. The Rota Vicentina is just not a high-altitude trek within the wilderness. It’s nonetheless a bodily difficult experience that entails strolling 20-25 km every day with a backpack. Something from a small damage like blisters to a knee or shin break up can occur on the route. It’s essential to ensure it is possible for you to to get medical help any time you want it. If in case you have a European Well being Insurance coverage card you don’t want some other medical insurance coverage for Portugal.

Baggage switch service on the route

It’s potential to rearrange a baggage switch on the Rota Vicentina. For those who don’t wish to stroll carrying a giant backpack with all of your stuff it may be transferred daily between your lodging locations. You’ll be able to stroll with a small day pack carrying solely worthwhile, water, and snacks.

Vicentina Transfers is the corporate that gives baggage supply service on the path. The value is 15€ per baggage merchandise per stage. The burden restrict is 20 kg per baggage. It’s a door-to-door service your backpack is picked up within the morning (round 9 am) on the reception and delivered to the following place.

Lodging on the route

Each city on the Rota Vicentina has lodges and guesthouses, some extra in style touristy locations have hostels. A lot of the locations may be booked on-line by way of reserving websites. Some areas have extra lodging choices some much less. On the Historic Means, there are not many locations to remain. The route goes by way of not touristy areas of the Alentejo area. On the Fishermen’s Path, there are extra lodging choices together with hostels and campsites, particularly in some cities similar to Sagres or Lagos. In the course of the peak summer time season, it’s extremely really useful to ebook your lodging on the Rota Vicentina a few months prematurely.

If you wish to make your individual meals it’s higher to keep in hostels or hire flats to have entry to the kitchen. For those who keep in lodges/visitor homes you’ll have to purchase ready-made meals or eat at eating places.

On the Fishermen’s Path campsites may be present in Porto Covo, Zambujeira do Mar, Vila Nova de Milfontes, Odeceixe, Aljezur, and Sagres. All campsites are usually not removed from the route. On the Historic Means, there is just one campsite in Odeceixe. On the stretch between Santiago do Cacém and S.Teotónio there are not any locations to camp solely indoor lodging choices.

The way to get to the Rota Vicentina?

Most cities on the Rota Vicentina have direct buses to Lisbon. It’s very straightforward to get from the capital to the path and again.

Getting from Lisbon to Santiago do Cacém, the Historic Means

There are a number of every day buses from Lisbon Sete Rios bus station to Santiago do Cacém, the journey takes 2 hours, value 14 Euro. For those who’re planning to start out strolling on the identical day it’s higher to take the earliest bus that leaves at 7.30am. You should purchase tickets and make sure the departure time on the Rede Expressos web site.

Getting from Lisbon to Porto Covo, the Fishermen’s Path

As of March 2022, there are Four every day buses from Lisbon to Porto Covo. Three buses depart from Sete Rios bus station and 1 from Oriente station. The journey takes between 2 and three hours. The value is 16 Euro.

Getting again to Lisbon from Odeceixe and Lagos

There are buses from Odeceixe (Historic Means) and Lagos (Fishermen’s Path) to Lisbon. There are Three buses from Odeceixe to Lisbon (Sete Rios), the drive takes 3h30min., value is 18,5 Euro. From Lagos, there are lots of buses to each bus stations in Lisbon: Sete Rios and Oriente. The usual value is 20 Euro, generally you will get a ticket with a reduction of 12 Euro. The journey takes Four hours. You’ll be able to verify the itinerary and purchase tickets on-line.

Excursions and actions within the Algarve

If after ending the route you continue to have a while to spend within the space there are some superb locations to see within the Algarve. Doing a kayak or a ship tour is a good possibility to find the unimaginable great thing about the area:

Storks on the cliffs along the Rota Vicentina
Storks within the nest on the sting of the cliff on the coastal route

The Rota Vicentina vs the Camino de Santiago

We met many individuals on the Camino de Santiago that wish to do Rota Vicentina and one other manner round. We determined to match each primarily based on our strolling experience. We’ve walked 7 completely different routes of the Camino de Santiago; French Camino, Portuguese Camino, Camino Primitivo, Camino del Norte, Vía de la Plata, Camino Finisterre, and Camino Inglés. And two routes of the Rota Vicentina; the Fishermen’s Path and the Historic Means. I’ll examine the surroundings, the associated fee, and the services on the Camino and on the Rota Vicentina.

Surroundings

It’s a tricky selection however we’re each arms for the Fishermen’s Path we each love the ocean it’s not typically when all the route follows the shoreline; dramatic cliffs, pristine seashores, hidden bays – all these sound like an ideal vacation path. You do get sea surroundings on the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino and on the Northern Camino as effectively.

Price

The Rota Vicentina is certainly costlier than the Camino de Santiago. The principle reason is lodging there are not any albergues for pilgrims on the route solely hostels and lodges (some cities have campsites). You pay for lodging between 15 and 20 Euro pp. relying on the season and kind of lodging you select. Tenting will value you between 6 and 10 Euro pp. once more the season is a crucial issue and also you’ll have to hold tenting gear with you.

Like some other seaside vacation vacation spot the realm is costlier than the remainder of Portugal not solely lodging however meals costs as effectively. On the Camino, you will get Menu del Dia (Menu do Dia in Portuguese) for 7-10 Euro on the Fishermen’s Path you pay the identical for one dish.  On the inland a part of the Historic Means consuming out is considerably cheaper you will get a menu for 6-7 Euro or a sandwich for 1-2 Euro.

Services

Each Rota Vicentina and Camino are well-marked you don’t actually need GPS or a map to observe the route. As I already talked about there are not any albergues on the Rota Vicentina however there’s lodging in each city on the route in addition to ATMs, eating places, and outlets – principally all one wants to finish the route.

Strolling floor

In contrast to on some Camino routes on the Rota Vicentina you hardly stroll on the street or asphalt, more often than not it’s a footpath or a gravel street which is significantly better for strolling it’s not as arduous in your ft as asphalt.

Ultimate ideas

I might say the Rota Vicentina, particularly the Fishermen’s Path is extra of a vacation trek that has nothing to do with the pilgrimage. If you wish to hike for a few days or every week and mix the stroll with a seaside vacation the Rota Vicentina is the right possibility. For those who’re looking for a non secular or cultural experience (structure,  historic cities, and so forth.) somewhat stroll one of many Camino routes.

Advisable books and guidebooks

Rota Vicentina planning sources

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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