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The 5 Most Scenic Hiking Routes in Portugal

Portugal has become one of Europe’s leading travel destinations for many reasons. It’s home to picturesque cities, idyllic beaches, delicious wine, and rich culture and history.

But many people may not know that Portugal is also a haven for hiking. Given its incredible variety of stunning natural landscapes, your hiking adventure in Portugal will be incredibly scenic. 

Here are some of the most scenic hiking routes in Portugal.

1. Trilho da Cidade da Calcedonia

The Fenda da Calcedonia is one of Portugal’s most fascinating natural attractions. To explore this part of the country, consider hiking the Trilho da Cidade da Calcedonia Trail, a 4.1-mile loop trail. Depending on your pace, it takes an average of two hours and thirty minutes to conquer.

Aside from the Fenda da Calcedonia, you’ll discover many historical remains along the trail. Calcedonia is a fortified settlement from the Iron Age that the Romans later occupied. Boasting an intensely granite landscape, locals consider the village of exceptional importance. 

To confuse the enemy, Calcedónia has a labyrinth of tunnels. As you hike through the area today, you will find traces of walls and ceramic fragments dating back to the early times.

Portugal hilly landscape

2. Serra de Lousã

If you want a hiking adventure full of incredible wildlife encounters, consider walking through Serra da Lousã, a charming town in Central Portugal an hour’s drive from the riverfront city of Coimbra.

The place offers a natural habitat for wild boars, deer, and other wildlife. Plus, it passes through picturesque slate villages, allowing you to peek into local life and soak up the relaxing atmosphere surrounded by stunning nature.

A haven for outdoor sports, Serra da Lousã’s highest peak is the Alto do Trevim, one of the region’s finest belvederes. Many rivers cut through its leafy glades, forming a series of riverside beaches perfect for relaxing and enjoying a refreshing dip. 

Start your journey in Candal, a beautiful village on a south-facing hill near the National Road linking Serra da Lousã to Castanheira de Pêra. Hike up the narrow streets that stop in a belvedere overlooking a stunning valley, from where you can admire the breathtaking landscape.

Get inside the village shop for some tasty snacks or shop for local handicrafts. You can also ask for information and tips about the trail or any activities in the area.

Head towards Talasnal, Casal Novo, and Chiqueiro. These villages offer the perfect place to learn more about the local culture and history. Here, you’ll find out how the local people live and get a sense of their lands. Walk through the narrow streets and venture into the surrounding paths that wind their way into a lush forest of pine trees, oaks, and chestnuts.


3. Serra de Montesinho

Portugal is home to some stunning natural parks, offering the perfect place for hiking and discovering the country’s stunning natural landscapes. One of these is Montesinho Natural Park, which has trails leading to the peak of Serra de Montesinho. The Montesinho mountain range lies in the northeast corner of Portugal, close to Braganza city.

Covering an area of 185,000 acres, the Parque Natural de Montesinho is one of Southern Europe’s best-kept secrets. As you walk towards the peak of Serra de Montesinho, you’ll pass a village with the same name. The path then goes towards the Serra Serrada Dam, crossing small trails with unusual granite rock formations. The walk goes downhill into small roads and lush oak forests.

At an altitude of 438 to 1,481 meters, the Serra de Montesinho Mountain range boasts an abundance of scenic rivers and streams running from north to south and a series of country roads taking you to some delightful villages exuding an old-world charm. 

Also called Terra Fria by the locals, Serra de Montesinho is a place that seems to have been lost in time. In villages like Rio de Onor, locals still practice pre-Christian rituals and believe in fairies, witches, and what they call the evil eye.


4. Rota Vincentina

The Algarve province in southern Portugal is one of the country’s most picturesque regions. The best way to discover its stunning landscapes is by hiking through Rota Vicentina, a vast network of hiking trails covering long-distance hiking routes, the Historical Way, and the Fisherman’s Trail, two of the country’s most scenic hiking routes. 

The Rota Vicentina also includes several short circular routes. Some of these you can incorporate into the long-distance trails if you prefer to tackle multi-day hikes. If you don’t want to walk the entire Rota Vicentina trail, consider hiking along the Fishermen’s Trail from Sagres to Lagos. These are some of the most stunning areas along the Rota Vicentina trail.

If you have the energy to hike the entire route, go for it. The journey is incredibly spectacular, with pristine beaches surrounded by rugged cliffs, charming seaside towns, and unspoiled nature.

You can also tackle the Historical Way if you prefer a quieter hike. It’s not as crowded and famous as the coastal Fishermen’s Trail. The trail takes you to quiet villages, lush forests, and hills. If you hike between April and May, the area will be more beautiful, with much of it covered in colorful flowers and trees. 

If you want to combine your hiking trip with a little luxury and leisure, consider staying in one of the elegant Portuguese vacation apartments near the Algarve. Following your outdoor excursions, these villa rentals are the ideal spot to unwind and rejuvenate, making your trip to Portugal both thrilling and comfortable.

Madeira hiking

5. 25 Fontes Hike

Levada das 25 Fontes is one of Portugal’s most popular hiking trails and a favorite among locals who are avid hikers. It’s on the island of Madeira and is about 4.3 kilometers long, taking an estimated three hours, depending on your pace. To explore Portugal’s most stunning natural landscapes, consider hiking through this trail.

Although the 25 Fontes trail is parallel to the Levada do Risco trail and shares the same starting point, it is more difficult compared to Levada do Risco. Nevertheless, the hike will take you to various places of interest and incredible scenery, making it well worth it. One of the highlights is the Ribeira da Janela valley, where you can marvel at the impressive views of the Laurissilva forest.

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