Walking Holidays in Portugal

From the lush, rolling hills of the countryside to the rugged coastal cliffs and historic villages, Portugal offers an alluring tapestry for walkers s... Read more
Walking Holidays in Portugal

From the lush, rolling hills of the countryside to the rugged coastal cliffs and historic villages, Portugal offers an alluring tapestry for walkers seeking both adventure and serenity. Whether traversing the stunning terrains of the Azores and Madeira archipelagos or exploring the mainland's picturesque landscapes, each step reveals a blend of historic charm, breathtaking scenery, and warm hospitality. 





Along its serene coastline, golden beaches and the shimmering waters of the Atlantic offer a beautiful backdrop for the stunning coastal paths. The country's cities, such as Lisbon and Porto, combine historical charm with vibrant modernity, while sleepy villages nestled in the countryside exude an old-world tranquillity, inviting visitors to slow down and savour the simplicity of rural life. The magnificent island of Madeira, with its lush greenery and dramatic cliffs, stands as a testament to nature's artistry. Moreover, Portugal's beautiful walking trails wind through panoramic peaks, reaching towering heights and offering hikers stunning vistas of valleys and seas, creating an ideal haven for adventurers seeking both solace and grandeur in the country's remarkable scenery.


From the rugged mountains and lush forests of the north to the sun-kissed plains and coastal areas in the south, Portugal boasts a unique environment for various creatures to thrive. The country's varied landscape nurtures an assortment of wildlife, including the Iberian lynx, the critically endangered species that finds sanctuary in the Alentejo region, alongside the elusive Iberian wolf. Birdwatchers flock to the Ria Formosa Natural Park in the Algarve to witness the diverse avian population, while the Azores archipelago is a marine paradise, offering opportunities to spot whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. With its commitment to conservation and a range of protected areas, Portugal stands as a haven for wildlife enthusiasts seeking to witness the beauty of nature in its most unspoiled form.



Renowned for its seafood, the country's coastal location allows for an array of fresh and delicious maritime delights, from succulent grilled sardines to flavourful bacalhau (salted cod), a staple ingrained in Portuguese culinary tradition. Furthermore, Portuguese cuisine boasts an exceptional variety of pastries and desserts, notably the delectable Pastel de Nata, a creamy custard tart with a crisp pastry crust. Alongside these, hearty stews like Cozido à Portuguesa and Feijoada, and savoury sausages like chouriço and linguica, display the robust flavours that reflect the warmth and richness of Portugal's culinary heritage. 

History and Culture 

Portugal's culture is an incredible blend from a rich tapestry of traditions, art, music, and a profound sense of heritage. With a history that spans centuries, the nation bears the marks of diverse influences, from its Moorish and Roman legacies to its seafaring explorations that left an indelible mark on global history. The Portuguese people are renowned for their warmth and hospitality, embracing a way of life that cherishes family, community, and shared experiences. Fado, the soulful and emotive music genre, encapsulates the nation's deep-rooted sentiments, expressing a range of emotions from longing to joy. The country's architecture, adorned with intricate azulejos (painted tiles) and stunning historical monuments, mirrors the grandeur of its past. Traditional festivals like the lively Carnival and the solemn yet vibrant Holy Week celebrations offer a glimpse into the lively spirit and religious customs ingrained in Portuguese culture. 

Regions and Trails 


Serra de Sintra

Nestled in the heart of Portugal, Sierra de Sintra is a beautiful mountainous landscape/ This enchanting range, a mere stone's throw from Lisbon, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, cultural richness, and historical significance. The region is adorned with lush forests, verdant valleys, and rugged granite peaks, creating an otherworldly atmosphere that has inspired poets and artists for centuries. Meandering through its winding trails, encounter hidden grottoes, moss-covered boulders, and the haunting ruins of ancient castles. From the summit of its highest peaks, visitors are rewarded with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding countryside, a vantage point that crowns the region's allure. During your adventure, be sure to visit the Pena Palace, a  Romanticist castle in São Pedro that hosts beautiful gardens and stunning views of Sierra de Sintra 


WIth its perfect blend of stunning trails, delicious food and beautiful beaches, the Algarve is Portugal's southernmost region and enjoys 300 days of sunlight a year. Escape the everyday bustle of life, be enchanted by the remote and wild Atlantic coastal trails and the ‘Inner’ Algarve’s rolling hills and white painted villages. The well trodden paths of the Algarve showcase the region’s dramatic cliffs, sand dunes, hidden coves and sweeping golden beaches of the south-west coast and the contrasting interior, offering a lush green tapestry of farmland, cow meadows and forests of chestnut, eucalyptus and cork. Its incredible year-round climate lends itself to fabulous walking experiences every month. Away from the walking trails, embark on a cultural visit to nearby Lagos or take part in an array of activities such as kayaking, or surfing. 

Alto Douro

One of the world's oldest wine regions, Alto Duoro is centred on the Douro River and the perfect destination for walking fanatics. The beauty of this rural landscape, punctuated with sleepy villages, is that no matter what the season, the landscape provides entertainment. Whether it is the colourful blossoms and wild flowers which paint the hillside, or watching in fascination as the locals come together for harvesting, you will be sure to fall in love with Portuguese rural life. A place where life slows down and you can appreciate the simple things; good food, good wine and good company all within a beautiful UNESCO landscape. The natural conditions of the river valley conspire to create a unique environment for wine production that dates back over 2,000 years; hike through orchards and vineyards where you can sample the produce and spend your evenings in sleepy villages where your welcoming guest houses await with friendly faces..




Nestled in the midst of the North Atlantic Ocean, the Azores stand out as a captivating Portuguese archipelago renowned for its striking landscapes. Here, you'll encounter a tapestry of dramatic terrain, picturesque fishing villages, lush pastures, and enchanting rows of blue hydrangeas. Set your sights on the vibrant island of Sao Miguel, the heart of the Portuguese Azores. Trek to the breathtaking Sete Cidades Caldeira, home to mystical blue and green crater lakes that awe-inspire visitors.Enjoy a famous whale watching boat tour, an experience that promises remarkable encounters. Revel in the freedom to explore off the well-trodden paths with your personal rental car, allowing for unique and unbound adventures. Throughout your journey, relish stays in family-run hotels situated in Ponta Delgada, the vibrant capital of the Azores, and the captivating hot springs area of Furnas, ensuring an authentic and cosy experience.


Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is a captivating archipelago composed of four islands situated off the northwest coast of Africa. Renowned for its eponymous wine and embracing a warm, subtropical climate, Madeira offers an idyllic setting for an island walking holiday amidst its magnificent mountain trails. Delve into the awe-inspiring experience of hiking the 'Balcony Walk' connecting Pico Ruivo and Pico do Arieiro, the highest peaks on Madeira. Embrace the island's diverse regions by exploring its west, east, and central areas through a series of the finest day walks available. Traverse the picturesque Levada do Norte, the oldest and lengthiest levada on Madeira, and encounter the intriguing high-pitched houses of Santana. Ascend to the stunning Paul da Serra Plateau, positioned some 1500 metres above the coastline, offering breathtaking panoramic vistas. These adventures promise an immersive and exhilarating exploration of the island's natural wonders and diverse landscapes.

Time of Year for a Walking Holiday 


Spring (March - May) 

During Spring mainland Portugal is adorned with wild rock roses and almond blossoms, painting the hillsides with natural beauty. Rainfall decreases, and while the north still retains hints of winter, the weather becomes pleasant for walks without excessive heat.
This season also marks the migration of Whales to the Arctic, making it an excellent time to spot these majestic creatures in the Azores and Madeira.



Summer (June - August) 

Summer brings extended daylight with around 10 hours of sunshine, ideal for lengthy walks in mainland Portugal. Rainfall diminishes, yet the ocean remains cool, drawing more tourists to land-based activities.The mainland reaches temperatures up to 30°C, but the dry weather and low humidity make it bearable.Evenings, however, tend to be cooler throughout Portugal, so packing warmer clothing is advisable.

In contrast, the islands experience warmer waters due to the Gulf Stream, although cool breezes limit extended swimming. Madeira and the Azores generally have cooler weather, especially in mountainous regions, with temperatures around 18°C. 



Autumn (September - November) 

Autumn brings a golden hue to Portugal's leaves, accompanied by the delights of fresh figs and almonds. The weather remains mild and warm, offering sunny days, particularly in Madeira and the Azores, where the summer warmth lingers, allowing for continued walking opportunities. Crowds begin to disperse around September, leading to quieter trails. 



Winter (December - February) 

Winter varies across the country. Coastal areas are slightly warmer, while the north experiences cooler temperatures averaging 5°C to 9°C, dropping at night but usually without frost. The ocean's gusty winds may create a sense of colder weather. However, those willing to wrap up warm will experience hardly any crowds and pleasant, quiet walking trails.

Madeira, however, enjoys better winter weather with daytime temperatures never dropping below 17°C and the most significant number of sunny hours in the country, while other regions often contend with fog.

Difficulty of a Walking Holiday in Portugal 

Portugal has a hugely diverse range of paths and trails catering to walkers of all abilities - ranging from leisurely trails along smooth tarmac and well-trodden paths to tough, off-road routes. Less experienced walkers will enjoy the Algarve’s forgiving trails that meander along the beautiful coastline with some of the most beautiful views in Portugal.. These routes allow you to explore Portugal at your own pace, with time to enjoy the local cuisine.

For those looking to push themselves on tricky trails with tough terrains, the peaks of Madeira are home to some challenging trails that lead you through continuous climbs towards towering summits. These paths reward adventurers with breathtaking panoramic mountain views and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. This more challenging journey caters to those seeking a rigorous hiking experience, where the trail presents varying elevations and requires preparations for overnight stays at higher altitudes. Meant for experienced hikers who embrace the challenge of long, consecutive and hilly days on foot, these demanding routes may necessitate carrying a heavier backpack with overnight essentials or equipment for higher altitudes. 




Nestled within the enchanting Portuguese countryside, a collection of charming hotels awaits, serving as idyllic havens after a day of exploration. Carefully handpicked, these accommodations range from cosy 2 to 4-star retreats, chosen for their warm hospitality and strategic positioning along your cycling route. Each hotel exudes its unique character, whether nestled by serene beachfronts or holding historical significance untouched by war, offering inviting communal spaces ideal for unwinding after a day of walking adventures. These accommodations pride themselves on a hearty breakfast buffet, encompassing a diverse array of hot and cold options. From an assortment of meats, cheeses, bread, eggs, pastries, cereals, to a medley of fresh fruits, these offerings ensure a substantial and varied meal to invigorate you for the day's walking journey ahead.



Alternatives to a Walking Holiday in Spain 


Walking Holiday in Spain

Spain offers an enticing array of picturesque landscapes and terrains, perfect for diverse walking holidays. From the dramatic limestone mountains of the Costa Blanca to the stunning Picos de Europa and Majorca's Serra de Tramuntana, each region boasts unique beauty, beckoning hikers with breathtaking trails and charming villages. The historic Camino de Santiago draws pilgrims through varied terrains to Santiago de Compostela. The Picos de Europa and the Costa Blanca feature mesmerising limestone formations and captivating vistas. Meanwhile, the Canary Islands offer diverse walking experiences, from deserts in Lanzarote to volcanic terrains in La Gomera, and unique cycling adventures on Fuerteventura. Spain's diverse landscapes cater to a wide range of walking preferences, promising unforgettable holidays for nature enthusiasts and explorers.

Walking Holiday in France 

For those seeking alternatives to a walking holiday in Spain, France offers a captivating array of diverse walking experiences. In the Chamonix Valley, take in the breathtaking views of Mont Blanc, Mer de Glace, and stunning glacial lakes during a centre-based walking week. Ascend to the Aiguille du Midi on the Mont Blanc massif via a spectacular cable car and explore beautiful segments of the renowned 'Tour du Mont Blanc.' For a change of scenery, immerse yourself in the glamour and beauty of the French Riviera, ascending Cime de Baudon for panoramic views of the glistening Cote d’Azur and Maritime Alps. Dive into the splendour of the region, from the majestic gardens of Menton and the grand Prince's Palace of Monaco to the romance of Luberon and the Alpine mountains, evoking the scenes of Van Gogh's famous paintings. Delve deeper into local life by visiting bustling Provencal markets and discovering incredible Roman ruins amidst a vibrant arts culture in Arles, offering a different but equally enchanting walking experience in the heart of France.

Cycling in Portugal

For those with their heart set on Portugal, this magnificent nation has a beautiful array of cycling paths and trails for a range of abilities. Discover the serene beauty of this incredible country with a laid-back cycling holiday set at the charming eco-lodge nestled in the southern tip of Algarve. Enjoy the delightful accommodation at the eco-lodge, boasting great food and hospitable hosts. Discover a magnificent chain of coastal and inland routes, navigating a network of charming backroads and gravel forest paths. Pedal along these enchanting trails, where every turn reveals a new breathtaking vista. Witness the breathtaking sunset from Cabo Sao Vicente, a mesmerising viewpoint that stands as Europe's most south-westerly tip, and experience the historic coastal town of Lagos on your cycling adventure.

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