Imagine a red-rock desert with vibrant spring wildflowers at the edge of a deep blue sea. We found just this along the Vicentine Coast of southern Portugal, a stretch of coastline spared from development.
We stumbled upon this hike rather by accident. We were out driving from our base at Vila Nova de Milfontes, and we pulled in to Praia de Almograve to have a look around. We grabbed our daypacks and walked onto the beach.
We enjoyed the pretty scenery.
Praia de Almograve has two halves, separated by a line of rocks with a gap in between.
At the end of the beach a dusty gravel road headed southwards, on a bench above the coastal cliffs. We set out to investigate. There were some nice views of the coastline.
After about a mile the gravel road ended at a cove where there was a boatlaunch and a pile of discarded fishing gear.
A seagull looked on from a seastack.
Above the cove a singletrack hiking trail led on through the sand. We had not planned on hiking, but we had some water and snacks with us. So we decided to continue onward.
We noticed red and green markers along the trail, denoting the Rota Vicentina, a long-distance hiking trail. We were excited to be hiking a section of it.
The colors of the red rocks contrasted sharply with the blues of the sky and the sea.
The scenery was desert-like, with pretty wildflowers growing among the red rocks.
We hiked on, following the markers.
The scenery was stunning. I took quite a few pictures.
We sat down to have a snack, a drink of water, and to enjoy the views.
This section of trail ends at Farol do Cabo Sardão (Lizard Point lighthouse). We hiked back the way we came.
The scenery was equally stunning on our return hike. What a fantastic day of hiking!
The coastline of southwestern Portugal is within the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina which has protected this stretch of coast from overdevelopment.
Note that the nearby city of Sines is a grimy industrial port with a huge, stinky refinery. Outside of Sines, though, the scenery is very nice. It feels like a forgotten corner of Portugal. The nearest airports are Lisbon Portela and Faro.
The Rota Vicentina is a long-distance hiking trail that goes from Santiago do Cacém (east of Sines) to Cabo de São Vicente on the very southwestern tip of Portugal. The historical route goes inland, and the Fisherman’s Route follows the coast. The stretch we hiked, from Praia de Almograve to Farol do Cabo Sardão, is about 5 miles one-way, or about a 15 km return trip.
It was hot here even in early May. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and lots of water.
We stayed in nearby Vila Nova de Milfrontes. Read my blog post about our wonderful stay in this town.