The Rota Vicentina is a 340km long-distance footpath which runs from Santiago do Cacém in the Alentejo to Cabo de São Vicente in the Algarve. The northern, Alentejan half has two alternative routes: Porto Côvo is the beginning of the 115km-long Trilho dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s Trail), that follows coastal tracks long used by the local fishermen. Opened in 2012, it’s relatively well marked with coloured arrows, and tracks the coast via Milfontes (a taxing first section, 20km), Almograve (15km further), Zambujeira (another 22km) and into the Algarve at Odeceixe (18km on). It’s tough going, much of it along towering cliffs, but no section is longer than 25km which means – in theory – you always have accommodation and a place to eat at the end of your day’s walk.
The inland alternative is the Caminho Histórico (Historic Way) which follows ancient pilgrimage routes from Santiago do Cacém, mostly inland, to Cabo de São Vicente. Be aware that, as with all Portuguese trails, way-marking can be sporadic and poorly maintained, so if you tackle the path, take a good map or GPS system – but it is worth the effort, as the routes embrace some of the loveliest scenery in the country. Full details are on rotavicentina.com, which also includes five shorter, circular alternatives.