Fishermen's Trail men hiking

Fishermen’s Trail

Rota Vicentina

About the Fishermen’s Trail

227 km(141 mi)
Type of trail

Difficulty is highly personal. Be aware of the weather conditions as bad weather turns easier trails in difficult trails especially in the mountains.


Lodging means a mix of hotels, hostels or AirBnB’s.

Lodging, Camping
Elevation gain
2660 m(8727 ft)
Coastal, Countryside
Some of the time
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Few trails capture the imagination quite like the Fishermen’s Trail. This long-distance walk is considered one of the most beautiful coastal walks in the world according to lists by Lonely Planet and National Geographic. Forget Portugal as just a sun destination and discover it as a walking destination. Okay, walking in the sun. The trail winds along the rugged coastline where you go from fishing village to fishing village. Sometimes challenging, as you have to walk through a lot of deep sand, but with the unique and rugged nature always by your side and the wild Atlantic Ocean to your right, it’s pure enjoyment.

The Fishermen’s Trail is part of the Rota Vicentina, a hiking network of 750 kilometers through the southwest of Portugal. You’ll also find the 263-kilometer-long Historical Way, which moves inland and takes you from Santiago do Cacém to Cabo de São Vicente. Additionally, numerous circular walks can be completed in a day. This makes the region suitable for both long-distance hikers and day walkers. Here you can find the complete guide for the Fishermen’s Trail.


Elmar Teegelbeckers

Passionate hiker Elmar spends months of his time on the trail. He’s usually on the lookout for hidden gems in one of his favourite countries such as Slovenia, Switzerland and Japan. He founded in need for a community and detailed information about the trails. Before this, he worked for the Alpine asscociation in the Netherlands[ (NKBV) but lost his heart to the trails.

With this website and socials, he hopes to shape an inclusive community for hikers all over world. No matter your speed, experience or level, you can get out there to enjoy the trails and connect with the heartwarming hiking community. Life is so much better outside and he hopes to inspire hikers to take their first, or next, step on the trail.

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The Trail

The Fishermen’s Trail is perfectly suited as your first long-distance walk. The hiking trails are certainly not easy in terms of physical condition; trudging through the soft sand on sometimes long stages while carrying a backpack is a real challenge. However, the trail will not be technically difficult, and with the right mindset, anyone can hike this long-distance trail. The path has so many beautiful aspects. The culture, the food, the fellow hikers you’ll meet, and so much more.

The Fishermen’s Trail starts after a bumpy 2.5h bus ride from Lisbon northward to Sines, and from there, you can take a cab to the starting point of the trail in São Torpes. You can also hike from Sines to the starting point but you’ll walk approx 5km alongside a busy road. Stepping off the asphalt, you’ll experience the sandy trails directly on the first stages. Luckily the first stage to Porto Covo is only 10 kilometers, a small fishing village with the characteristic white-painted houses of Portugal.

The second stage takes you about 20km and eight hours of walking to the next village. The trails will lead you almost entirely over deep, sandy paths. It’s a stunning stage of this coastal trail. Hiking along the coastline over cliffs, constantly hearing the sea crashing against them. Endpoint of this stage is Vila Nova de Milfontes, a surfing hotspot with a relaxed vibe. The trail goes inland a bit for the next few stages and is less sandy which makes it much easier. The paths occasionally cross the Historical Way.

On stage five you’ll walk next to bison, zebras, and ostriches. The trail actually runs along the private zoo of Isabella dos Santos, once considered the ‘richest woman in Africa.’ The story goes that she, the daughter of the former president of Angola, a former colony of Portugal, had taken some animals with her to Portugal when she fled the country. Remarkable. Many hikers choose to hike only the first six stages to Odeceixe which makes it a perfect, bit shorter long-distance trail within a week. After this town, you’ll leave Alentejo behind as the Fishermen’s Trail continues through the Algarve. The trail goes towards the most southwestern point of mainland Europe: Cabo de Sao Vicente.

Cabo de Sao Vicente is a special place. In ancient times, Europeans thought this was the end of the world. It was even a sacred site for the Greeks, who built a temple there in honor of the god Hercules. Later, it became a lookout and lighthouse for ships from the Mediterranean Sea. Many sea battles were fought here by the British, Spanish, Portuguese, and yes, the Dutch, which we often lost. The path runs along the high cliffs to the 24-meter-high lighthouse built in 1846. Rounding the cape feels like a kind of victory. From here, it is just three days to the endpoint, Lagos.

You’ll pass now some famous surfing hotspots like Sagres, Salema, and Luz towards Lagos. This area is a bit more touristy but most tourists mainly stay around the beautiful beaches. In these last three stages, you’ll climb and descend a lot from cliff to beach to cliff. You’ll enjoy the most beautiful views from the cliffs of the coves with their white sandy beaches. You’ll end with a perfect last stretch towards the bigger town, Lagos, at the train station after a walk on the boulevard. A perfect place to relax after completing the Fishermen’s Trail!


The Fishermen’s Trail, considered as one of the best coastal tracks and hiking trails in the world knows 13 official stages. All the way from São Torpes in Alentejo till Lagos in the Algarve this coastal trail stretches 227 kilometer in total.

Official stages

Stage 1:

S. Torpes – Porto Covo, 10 km | 6 mi

Stage 2:

Porto Covo – Vila Nova de Milfontes, 20 km | 12.5 mi

Stage 3:

Vila Nova de Milfontes – Almograve, 15 km | 9.3 mi

Stage 4:

Almograve – Zambujeira do Mar, 22 km |  13.7 mi

Stage 5:

Zambujeira do Mar – Odeceixe, 19 km | 11.8 mi

Stage 6:

Odeceixe – Aljezur, 23 km | 14.3 mi

Stage 7:

Aljezur – Arrifana, 17 km |  10.5 mi

Stage 8:

Arrifana – Carrapateira, 20 km | 12.5 mi

Stage 9:

Carrapateira – Vila do Bispo, 15 km | 9.3 mi

Stage 10:

Vila do Bispo – Sagres, 20 km | 12.5 mi

Stage 11:

Sagres – Salema, 20 km | 12.5 mi

Stage 12:

Salema – Luz, 12 km | 7.5 mi

Stage 13:

Luz – Lagos, 11 km | 6.9 mi


While hiking the FIshermen’s Trail you can opt for two different types of accommodation. You can choose lodging like hostels, hotels, or AirBnB alongside the trail, which is the most popular option, or you can choose campsites. These are sometimes a bit more off the trail and they’re not after every stage. Many hikers who want to camp choose a more hybrid option of sometimes staying in the hostels. Wild camping is not permitted.

Hostels and hotels

At every stage, you’ll end at a small village with plenty of options to choose from. From luxury hotels to cozy hostels for hikers, it’s a perfect option if you want to travel a bit more lightweight on the sandy trails of the Fishermen’s Trail. Make sure you book all accommodations in advance because this trail is getting more popular every year.


It’s certainly an option to camp on the Fishermen’s Trail. Because wild camping is prohibited, you’ll need to stay on the campsites alongside or a bit further from the trail. Not every stage offers the opportunity to end at a campsite so sometimes you’ll need to stay at an accommodation or hike a bit further to the campsite.

Suggestions for the Fishermen’s Trail

Some suggestions for hostel accommodations. Not every town has a hostel, then you can always choose a hotel or Airbnb.

Porto Covo: Mute Hostel

Almograve: Beach Hostel

Zambujeira do Mar: Nature Hostel

Odeceixe: Bohemian Guesthouse

Aljezur: Amazingh Hostel

Arrifana: Destination Surf Hostel

Carrapateira: Hostel do Mar

Sagres: GoodFeeling Hostel

Best time of the year

The best time of the year to hike the Fishermen’s Trail is in spring and fall, specifically from March to May and September to November. These periods offer the most pleasant weather conditions for hiking, with milder temperatures and less rain. Both seasons also provide great opportunities for bird watching, as these are the migration periods for many birds in the region.

Summer, especially from June to August, is usually very hot and might not be the best time for hiking, as the high temperatures can make this trail less comfortable and more challenging. Also, it can be busier along the coast with many other tourists visiting this area.

In winter it’s more of a gamble. It can be quite good with sun and milder temperatures, perfect for hiking, but there’s a higher chance of rain and strong winds from the Atlantic Sea which makes it less enjoyable. Some accommodations might also close during the winter months.

Safety & Gear

In this coastal area, it’s always wise to check the weather before setting out. On the coast, the weather can change rapidly with some strong winds and rain storms. Make sure you pack good rain clothing like hardshell layers and protect your skin with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Carry enough water, especially during warmer months, as there may not be many places to refill along some parts of the trail. The Fishermen’s Trail includes sections along cliffs and rocky paths. Stay on marked trails to avoid unstable edges and loose rocks.

Good to know

The Fishermen’s Trail is a part of Portugal’s famous Rota Vicentina hiking network. Spanning 750 kilometers across Portugal’s stunning southwest, the Rota Vicentina is named one of the most beautiful coastal trails in the world. If you like a more in-land experience, you can hike on the 263-kilometer Historical Way, the other part of the Rota Vicentina hiking network, starting in Santiago do Cacém to Cabo de São Vicente. Sometimes this path will cross the Fishermen’s Trail.

You can reach the starting point of the Fishermen’s Trail: São Torpes, easiest by taking the bus from Lisbon to Sines. This takes a little over three hours, after which it’s a few kilometers by taxi to the starting point in São Torpes. You can also walk from Sines, but it takes you approximately 6 kilometers alongside a busy road. Make sure you always book the accommodations in advance because the Fishermen’s Trail is becoming one of the most popular hiking trails in Europe.

Point to point
Highest point
159m (522 ft)
Water resources
In the towns


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Rota Vicentina

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Terms of Use: important to all visitors on this website. We strive to publish high quality content and information on this website. However it’s always possible that we’re missing out on some crucial information. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps) were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. Therefore, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals hiking or following this route. Should you choose to hike this trail, this is always at your own risk. Check out our guidelines for safety hiking and Leave No Trace principles at the hiking 101 page.

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