When we get a chance to travel, we try to split our stay between city and country time. With the latter, we place a premium on walking. In Portugal’s Rota Vicentina, we hit the jackpot beyond our wildest dreams. I recognize I’m spouting cliché after cliché, but in this case, beyond a few bits of information about the area, the photographs, I hope, will tell the tale.
The Rota Vicentina is comprised of two long distance paths. One, the 100km Fisherman’s Trail, runs along Portugal’s spectacular coastline in southwest Alentejo and the Vicentina Coast Natural Park. The other, the 230 km Historical Way, runs inland through Alentejo and Algarve towns and villages and is “comprised mainly of rural trails.” [Guidebook] The excellent website for the Rota Vicentina, including information on accommodations, is here.
We did not, as many do, hike the Fisherman’s Trail from end to end, but rather had a base from which we chose a starting point each day. We also tried bits of the Historical Way. We weren’t clever enough to figure out the signage, but we did happen upon the appealing town of Aljezur. We recommend ordering the Rota Vicentina map and guidebook in the language of your choice ahead of time, else you might find yourself, as we did for the first few days, trying to decipher directions and bird names in Portuguese or French.
Our base was the peaceful, pretty Herdado do Touril, where we sat out evenings with a glass of wine, watched the pair of donkeys who were in residence, and heard cowbells clanging in nearby fields. An amazing breakfast buffet was part of the deal; for the rest we went shopping in the local markets and cooked in our quarters. From where we stayed, it was possible to walk to the coastal path without getting in a car—though we did, by car, extend our reach to explore other parts of the path.
There are too many photographs to load in a single post, so I’ve split them between two posts. A link to the second post is here. (Among the photos, you’ll see a few of white storks (cegonha branca) nesting precariously on the cliffs. They were also quite fond of nesting in transmission towers.)
The photographs, as always on the blog unless otherwise indicated, are mine.