Searching for the best hikes in Portugal? Look no further than this of 17 Top Hiking Trails in Portugal!
Portugal may be a small country, but the combination of its picturesque coastal views, lush forests, and rolling green countryside make it an incredibly scenic destination, and a favorite spot for hikers.
Whilst you may be forgiven for overlooking Portugal as one of the best hiking destinations in Europe, you may be pleasantly surprised by the diversity that this incredible country has to offer.
Hiking trails in Portugal range in length and difficulty. If you’re a well-seasoned hiker looking for a new challenge, you can pick one of the trickier routes, but there are also plenty of short and easy hikes which only take a few hours to complete.
Whether you already have a particular hiking destination in mind, or you’re simply curious about what Portugal has in store, I’ve put together this list of the best hikes in Portugal to give you some adventurous ideas for your travels to this gorgeous country.
Pssst – Before embarking on any of these exciting hikes, be sure to check out these awesome hiking apps that may come in very handy!
- 8 Most incredible hikes & hiking trails in Portugal
- Portugal Hiking Trails
- The Best Hikes in Portugal
- 1. Ponta de São Lourenço – Hikes in Madeira
- 2. The Rota Vicentina
- 3. Ribeira do Faial da Terra-São Miguel, Azores
- 4. Serra do Topo-São Jorge, Azores
- 5. Ponta da Piedade – Hiking Algarve
- 6. Santa Maria Hiking Trail in Sintra
- 7. Trilho dos Currais in Peneda-Gerês National Park
- 8. Portuguese Way (Camino de Santiago)
Before you go, be sure to plan & book your Portugal Travel Essentials:
- Search & Book flights here on Skyscanner
- Book your car rental through AutoEurope
- Search hotels here on Booking.com, or on VRBO for apartment-style stays
- Click here to browse & book bus and train tickets
- Lastly, don’t forget about travel insurance for your trip!
Pssst…Don’t forget to read our Portugal packing list post to ensure you’ve got all your travel essentials packed and ready for your holiday to Portugal. Also check out this handy backpacking checklist to ensure you have all your much needed necessities packed and ready to go for your Portugal hiking adventure!
17 Most incredible hikes & hiking trails in Portugal
To give you a well-rounded list of possible hikes in Portugal, we’ve included spots from all over the country.
Many of the top hiking areas are along the coast, where the scenic Atlantic views make for some breathtaking and equally dramatic landscapes. Inland Portugal’s hiking trails pass through rolling hills or traverse the mountains up in the north.
Most of the hiking options are public access areas, so for many there’s no need to pay for entry. As long as you figure out transportation to and from the start/finish point, you’ll be ready and set to head out hiking!
The Best Hikes in Portugal
1. Ponta de São Lourenço – Hikes in Madeira
One of the most popular hikes in all of Portugal, the Ponta de São Lourenço loop is on the island of Madeira. Famous for the stunning coastal views and rocky coastal cliffs, Madeira is extremely popular with tourists, photographers, hikers, and all-round nature lovers.
Ponta de São Lourenço is in my view one of the best hikes in Madeira. It is also super popular, so if you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to come early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
The hike itself takes about four hours for most people, with the trail taking a winding path along the rocky shoreline. Although the terrain isn’t too difficult to maneuver, what makes São Lourenço more of a challenge is exposure to the sun and windy conditions. The landscape is very open and exposed, with no shade for the duration of the hike. Certain areas of the trail are also completely unprotected from the strong Atlantic wind, which can add more of a challenge.
There’s a parking area at the beginning of the loop, but with limited amenities and services available, so you’ll want to make sure you have water and snacks along the way. Remember to bring a camera so you can get those postcard-worthy shots of the coastline! And, don’t forget the sunscreen for this stunning Madeira, Portugal hikes.
2. The Rota Vicentina
Tucked away in the south of Portugal, there’s an extensive network of hiking trails called the Rota Vicentina. These trails cross through the provinces of Alentejo and the Algarve, passing through countryside, villages, and coastlines, and is in my view one of the best walks in Portugal.
Spanning roughly 750 kilometres in total, many of these hikes are multi-day treks, which usually take most hikers somewhere between a week to two weeks to complete. If you’re looking for other Algarve hikes, many of the trails can be broken into shorter day excursions.
There are accommodation options along the Rota Vicentina including hostels, guesthouses, and campgrounds. Since it is considered “in season” in the summer, prices for food and accommodation will be higher between June to August.
The two main sections of the Rota Vicentina are known as The Historical Way and The Fisherman’s Trail. If you don’t have time for these longer treks, then rather embark on the shorter day hikes so you can still experience some of the best hikes Portugal has to offer.
3. Ribeira do Faial da Terra-São Miguel, Azores
The Azores Islands of Portugal is a simly stunning destination that everyone has to make sure to visit at some point. The hiking opportunities in the Azores are endless; these scenic islands are famous for their coastal views and lush green landscapes. Regardless if you are spending 10 days in the Azores, or only a short weekend trip, you will have to tick at least one hike off your list of things to do!
There are so many great hikes in the Azores that it’s hard to pick the best, but the Faial da Terra trail stands out for several reasons. First, it’s a good trail to take regardless of the weather; because there aren’t big vistas, you don’t need a clear day to appreciate the scenery, which is still absolutely stunning.
Second, it’s not super difficult and only takes most people about two hours. However, within those two hours, you’ll be walking along beautiful streams, past picturesque waterfalls, and around some local farms and rural orchards, truly getting a feel for the island and it’s natural beauty.
4. Serra do Topo-São Jorge, Azores
Another of the best Azores hiking trails worth mentioning is the famous Serra do Topo trail, also called the Caldeira do Santo Christo. If you’re hoping to see the stunning coastal scenery the Azores are famous for, then this is the hike for you.
The trail is about ten kilometers in length and runs a linear path beginning in the Serra do Topo park and ending at Fajã dos Cubres. The winding path follows the coastline, so be prepared for some jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic as you’re walking this trail.
About halfway through, you’ll pass by the Caldeira do Santo Christo, which is a lake formed from the caldera of a dormant volcano. It’s a perfect spot to take a break, snap some pictures, or even take a dip in the cool waters!
5. Ponta da Piedade – Hiking Algarve
Beyond the sun-kissed sands and chill beach vibes the Algarve region is so famous for, you’ll also find some of the most breathtaking coastal views in all of Portugal.
Lagos, Portugal is one of my absolute favourite places to visit in the Algarve, with its charming and historic town centre and gorgeous golden Lagos beaches, what’s not to love!
Ponta da Piedade takes the prize for the best hike in the Algarve by way of scenery. This is the spot made famous on postcards and in travel brochures, thanks to the incredible rock formations and pillars carved out by the strong Atlantic ocean.
The path begins about three kilometers south of Lagos, where there is a car park, refreshment options, and gift stalls. It takes most hikers somewhere between two and three hours to complete the trail, or longer if you decide to stop and rest to appreciate the view!
It’s a relatively smooth path, and even though the landscape is dramatic, this is a good option for a fairly easy hike in Portugal.
6. Santa Maria Hiking Trail in Sintra
In search of hiking near Lisbon? Well, just a short hour away from Lisbon is the magical town of Sintra, popular for its history, castles and palaces. Set on the edge of a mountain, the town is also surrounded with fairytale-like forests offering up several enchanted hiking trails around the city.
One of the best hiking Sintra has to offer is the Santa Maria Trail, which passes by the Moorish Castle and the Pena Palace, two of the most famous Sintra landmarks, and in fact in all of Portugal.
The trail is fairly smooth, with only a slight gradient for most of the way, but with a few steeper slopes. It’s a good walk in Portugal for families since it doesn’t take too long and isn’t overly complicated or exposed to strong winds and harsh sunlight like some other coastal hikes.
7. Trilho dos Currais in Peneda-Gerês National Park
Despite the great variety in landscape and scenery in Portugal, Peneda-Gerês is the only National Park in the country, although there are equally beautiful Natural Parks too. It’s a must-visit spot for people interested in hiking in Portugal thanks to the unique flora and fauna, as well as some spectacular views.
Trilho dos Currais is a great place to begin hiking in the park. This loop is about ten kilometres and takes most hikers between 4 and 5 hours to complete.
The path leads through forests, rocky outcrops, and past the famous granite rock formations the park is so famous for. Peneda-Gerês is well frequented by tourists, so there are lots of good accommodation options as well as shops and markets to pick up any hiking supplies you might need.
It’s a good idea to stop by the tourist office to purchase a well-marked map of all the hikes in the area so you can try out the Trilho do Currais and other great walks during your stay.
8. Portuguese Way (Camino de Santiago)
The famous Camino de Santiago has starting points all over Europe. Each path eventually leads to Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain, where legend has it the remains of St. James are buried.
In Portugal, the Camino Portugal route begins in Lisbon, which ends up being about 640 kilometers to Santiago! Although some pilgrims chose to take the entire route, a more popular place to begin is Porto, which is about 250 kilometers away north.
From Porto, you can either pick the Coastal Camino route which follows the ocean, or the Central Camino, which is the traditional route which takes a shorter amount of time to complete and travels through a series of villages, countryside and forests.
Both of these walks through Portugal are full of history and beautiful landscapes. Because they take a bit more time and planning to complete, the Camino isn’t for everyone. However, if you really want to immerse yourself in Portuguese culture and landscape, then it’s a great hike to conquer!
9. Trail of Headlands Hike in the Algarve
By Maartje & Sebastiaan and The Orange Backpack
One of the most underrated hikes in Portugal is the Trail of Headlands in the Algarve. The south of Portugal is known for its dramatic orange cliffs and the Seven Valleys Hiking Trail is the most famous hike along those cliffs. But if you’d prefer a more off the beaten path hike, you should definitely add the Trail of Headlands to your wish list.
The hike starts at the Praia do Molhe, a beach in the picturesque town of Ferragudo. It will lead you along the cliffs, where you’ll see the Ferragudo lighthouse, the stunning Algarve cliffs, small beaches and the old viewpoint Torre de Lapa. You’ll finish the hike at the beach town of Carvoeiro.
As it is a point to point trail, you could hike all the way back or take an Uber to bring you back to where you started. The hike is about 6 kilometres. Or 12 if you go all the way back as well. The trail is marked the entire way. As it’s a relatively short hike and there isn’t much climbing involved, it is doable for every fitness level.
10. Covao dos Conchos
By Izzy & Phil from The Gap Decaders
High in the rugged Serra da Estrela natural park in Portugal is the fascinating Covao dos Conchos, a man-made lake hole that is actually a bell-mouth spillway, which is connected to a vast tunnel of 1519 meters that removes water from the Ribeira das Naves to Lagoa Comprida.
Head through the traditional town of Seia in the Dao Valley (home of up and coming wines) into Portugal’s highest mountain range, to the start point of the trail, beautiful Lagoa Comprida.
The whole area around Cavao dos Conchos is a designated GeoPark, formed millions of years ago by glaciers, which have left fantastic irregular boulder fields, huge exposed slabs of rock and deep ravines to explore.
The path is well signed at the start and easy to follow. There are sections where the path is quite rocky and difficult underfoot. If you’re not a mountain goat or the ground is wet, poles would be helpful for this hike.
The hike itself is an easy linear walk, with only 173m of elevation over 8.2km. If you want to spend time exploring the boulder fields along the track and touching base at various trig points along the route before spending some time at Covao dos Conches, give yourself at least four to five hours.
11. Lagoa do Fogo hike in São Miguel, Azores
By Nicole from Wandering with a Dromomaniac
Located in the centre of the Azorean Island São Miguel, Lagoa do Fogo (Lake of Fire) is a must-do hike in Portugal and the top hike in the eastern part of Sao Miguel.
There are actually two hiking options, depending on your interests. There is a short, 30-minute hike from the top, though fairly steep, it starts from the Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo lookoff.
The more visually stunning and longer hike (approximately 4 hours out and back) starts in Praia, a 30-minute drive from the capital of Ponta Delgada. An easy linear hike, this longer hike takes you through a red cedar forest and an interesting water facility culminating at the shores of the Lake of Fire. A trail continues around a portion of the lake, giving you a variety of viewpoints but is not considered part of the main trail.
Make sure to pack a lunch and a bathing suit as this deep volcanic crater is the perfect spot to relax and take a swim, though a little chilly, it’s perfect on a hot summer day.
12. The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
By Cecilie from Worldwide Walkers
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is undoubtedly one of Portugal’s most beautiful hikes. The trail takes you past incredible cliff formations and amazing beaches in Portugal’s Algarve Coast.
The trail follows the coast from Vale Centeanes Beach to Marinha Beach. The distance is 5.7 kilometres, and it takes 2-3 hours to complete. However, since it’s a one-way hike, you must double the distance and time if you’re hiking back to the Vale Centeanes starting point.
The hike is challenging because of the constant elevation change – the trail takes you over cliffs, down to beaches, and up again. Furthermore, there is little to no coverage on the trail, which makes it extremely hot to hike during the summer months. So the best time to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is during spring or fall.
Along the hike, you’ll experience some incredible cliff formations, you pass the famous Benagil Cave, and you get to experience Marinha Beach, which is deemed one of Portugal’s most beautiful and best beaches. This hike is certainly not to be missed!
13. Levada do Caldeirão Verde walk
By Millie from Travelling Through The Trees
The Levada do Caldeirão Verde walk in Madeira is one of the very best waterfall hikes in the west of the island. It’s approximately 15km and is mostly flat, making it a popular walk for all those with reasonable fitness levels.
The route follows an aqueduct – also known as a Levada in Madeira – through woodland, underneath tunnels and past waterfalls, before reaching the most impressive fall: Caldeirão Waterfall. For those looking to extend the hike by another 6km, you can continue on and complete the Caldeirão Verde Inferno route which will take you toward another very impressive waterfall.
Regardless of which route you choose, the trail is an out-and-back walk that provides an impressive jungle landscape with sea views and, at times, also a mystical layer of cloud beneath the trail. Upon completion of the hike, you’ll find a small café selling hot drinks and homemade bakes – the honey cake uses honey from some nearby beehives and comes highly recommended!
14. Paiva Walkway
By Raluca from Travel With A Spin
Located in Arouca Geopark, Paiva Walkway makes for a great trip from Porto, just 80 km away. A few years ago, it was impracticable for common people, but in 2015 a wooden boardwalk was added. The modernized path was awarded several times at the World Travel Awards. Now, unless you have serious mobility issues, you should be able to do it.
One can enter the path from either Areinho or Espiunca. Its length exceeds 8 km one way and it takes a little under 3 hours to cross it. At the end, you can either take a taxi or return on foot. On the path, you can enjoy spectacular views of a 500m deep canyon, small waterfalls, different species of trees and even some wildlife. In summer, hikers can stop on one of the river beaches for a quick swim and sun tanning session.
The new highlight of Paiva Walkways is Arouca Bridge, located at the Areinho end. This is the longest pedestrian bridge in Europe and disputes the first place with another bridge in Nepal. The sensation of staying on the bridge, 500m in the air and seeing the valley and a waterfall beneath is pure adrenaline.
15. Praia Grande Beach & Wetland
By Morgan Fielder from Crave the Planet
The Algarve in Portugal draws people from around the world due to its perfect sandy beaches, warm weather and natural beauty. However, the popular regions can be a bit crowded for hikers used to space and freedom in Nature.
If you want to get off the beaten path and experience a more “wild” part of the Algarve easily accessed from Faro, try the Praia Grande hike near Armacao de Pera.
It’s located along the undeveloped beaches without the usual tourist traps.
This 8.5 km hike is slightly hilly in parts, meanders through sand dunes, protected wetlands and expansive beaches. It’s generally easy to hike and takes about 2 hours.
Parking is located here.
For a bite to eat, check out Carlos for delicious fish, salad and potatoes directly on the sand dune.
This hike is not stroller friendly due to the sandy beach section, but in all other areas are possible to use a stroller.
16. Pico do Arieiro – Pico Ruivo in Madeira
By Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl
The Pico do Arieiro – Pico Ruivo hike is not for the faint-hearted. This 14 km return trail has several narrow sections with the cliff edge right next to you. You should estimate approximately 6-8 hours for this hike.
The area is often covered in clouds. Try and choose a clear day to get the best views. However walking above the clouds, has its own special atmosphere as well. The terrain can be quite challenging at parts, with lots of steep steps.
Make sure you have good hiking boots and bring a torch because you will walk through 5 tunnels along the way. If you are lucky you might see some partridges next to the trail too.
You can park your car at either end of the hike. There is also a bus service between the two parking areas for people who don’t wish to hike back to their car. If you want to see the sunrise from the peak, then you could stay at the nearby camping area at Pico Ruivo. Just remember to bring all your wild camping equipment, and leave no trace.
17. Monchique to Marmelete
By Paulina from Paulina on the Road
Hiking in Portugal is the best way to explore its beauty. One of the best Portugal hiking trails one should go for is from Monchique to Marmelete. Situated in the heart of the country, Monchique is the rising region between Algarve and neighbouring Alenjento.
A pleasant hike from Miradouo da Senhora to the beautiful village of Marmelete gives the most marvellous of landscape views. A walk through the streets of Monchique, approaching the slopes of Foia, it reaches the summit with breathtaking views.
The hiking route starts with the mountain landscape of Monchique, moving towards the highest peak in Algarve, Foia. Hikers can choose to walk towards the summit or avoid it before moving downhill. On the route down to the Marmelete, the hikers can expect small hamlets, cork forests, and farms.
Tip: It is better to take the route through the summit because the panoramic view from Foia is the most stunning part of the hike.
The hike’s difficulty is moderate and it takes around 3 hours to cover the distance of 15.6 km between both the stops. To stay near the hiking trail, you can find where to stay in Algarve due to the several decent accommodation options.
Hiking & Camping Essentials
Are you planning to combine your hike through Portugal with an exciting camping adventure? Don’t forget to grab all your hiking and camping essentials:
- A hiking day backpack
- Comfy pair of men’s boots, or woman’s hiking boots
- Hiking water bottle for hydration
- A cozy men’s and woman’s windbreaker for those gusty summits
- A set of hiking poles
- Brew the perfect cuppa with these best camper coffee makers
- Lounge in comfort with these top camping chairs
- Don’t forget your camping pop up shower tent
From coastal vistas to charming inland towns, the best hikes in Portugal will allow you to experience the beauty of this small country firsthand!
Unfortunately, there is no way to include every single one of the country’s amazing hikes. However, after looking through some of the top picks, hopefully, you’re excited to head out on your own hiking adventure in Portugal.