Hiking on the coast of Portugal - Fisherman's Trail

Travel May 5, 2023

In the month of March, right after my birthday and my pseudo-mid-life-crysis-turning-thirty-moment, I decided to go on a 4-day hike in the beautiful country of Portugal. The plan was to follow The Fisherman's Trail (Trilho dos Pescadores), starting in Sagres and ending up ... well, ending up as far along the trail as possible.

Day 1

Trail map

After packing up my backpack, I went to the train station in Faro and took a train to Lagos, along with a bus that took me near Sagres, at Cabo de São Vicente. Getting there, I was greeted by the lighthouse that marks the most southwestern point of Europe. From there on, my means of transportation would resume to my trail runners and sandals, powered by my two amazing feet. 🤪

Going along the coast, I traveled around 15 km until Vila do Bispo, getting there around 6 PM in the evening. The first task was to find a place to sleep for the night, so thus the quest began. After trying multiple locations, some of them being very out of my budget, I had the good fortune to bump into two young locals who spoke English proficiently. They recommended that I try a surf house/hostel (GoodFeeling - Hostel & Guesthouse) in the nearest town of Raposeira which seemed very price-friendly. I gave them a call and they assured me that they have an extra bed, and I told them that I would arrive in the following hour. They assured me that I would only pay them 22 coins of currency (euros), and I was delighted to hear that.

With a quick pit stop at the local Lidl, I supplied my pantry with food for that night and walked about 2 km to the surf house. There I was greeted by the most welcoming people that I've seen in a while, and they took me on a tour, presenting the bunk beds, bathrooms, kitchen, and backyard (they also have a pool, wink-wink). Took my dinner on the backyard porch, the first of many consisting of sardines, an apple, a carrot, and some pastry, together with some kefir. And to finish it off, two beers.

At around 12 PM I was in my bunkbed, getting some most needed shuteye.

Day 2

Trail map

Just as the early bird gets the worm, I woke up at around 7 AM, did some morning stretching in front of the pool and, after packing my stuff, I was on my way to the next part of the trail. With a quick refill at the trusted Lidl, I decided to supply the pantry with things for two days, since I didn't know what I might find at the destination. Short pit stop at a local coffee shop, getting the breakfast of Portuguese champions, an expresso, and pastel de nata.

Let the hike begin. This one was a long one, around 20 km, and I can say that this is the moment when the coast started to reveal all of its beauty to me. The elevation was increased, with around 500m of ups and downs, a bit of fog, and beautiful scenery, that blew me away.

Towards the end, a great big hill was standing before me, blocking my view of the ocean. Taking a deep breath, I started the climb, and upon reaching the peak, the view opened, giving me a breathtaking view of the ocean. I was stunned, marveling at the wonder of the waves crashing along the cliffs, moving without care towards their end, and subduing back to form the next wave. I needed a moment then, and took more than 20 minutes to just sit there and take in the view.

the breathtaking view

With the rest of the energy that I had left, I finished the trail in the town of Carrapateira, and started the quest of the day, to find a resting place for my bones. With the help of Google Maps, I scoured the available sleeping places, going first to Carrapateria Lodge and asking the landlady for an offer. She told me that it would be 35 euros, and I thanked her kindly, with the purpose of visiting the other places and also asking for their offers. I was remiss when they told me higher prices, so I returned to the landlady, and struck a bargain using my amazing charisma skills, reaching a final price of 30 euros.

She presented me with my room and the facilities, and I got to take a much-needed shower.

Being a Sunday, everything was closed, except for the local bar from which I was able to purchase two bottles of purified ale. Looking at the map, I saw a beautiful coastline location, where I decided to eat my dinner and enjoy the view. I was not disappointed in the least. The waves were crashing, the food provided sustenance, and the beer was cold and revigorating.

Upon finishing my dinner and drinks, the sky decided to throw a wonderful show for me, with amazing colors of deep red, orange, pink, and purple. I was stunned once again.

Took a short hike in the dusk and night, circling the coastline and getting back to the city for a good night's sleep. Around 10 PM I was knocked out cold, recovering for the next day.

Day 3

Trail map

Started the day at 7:30 AM, with breakfast and coffee from the local bar, and hopped back on the trail to my next destination. Here is where the sand started to cover the trail mostly, so I had to switch gears and put on my "cauciucuri de vară", the sandals. The coastline was my friend for about half of the trail, after which I went inwards a bit, changing the scenery of the ocean for forests and sand.

After a long portion of the forest, the ocean came back to me, and I was greeted by a stony beach with smooth waves and cloudy skies.

the stony beach

The town of Arrifana was on the other side of the cliff, with a steep descent, and beautiful houses hanging on cliffs. Everything was expensive here, and I started to feel for the first time that I might fail my quest for accommodation. My luck came at the last house that I thought of visiting, which was in renovation, and the owner, that was also working at the house, recommended that I try the Arrifana Destination Hostel. Yet another surfer hostel, which also had an in-house bar and restaurant. Their price was very reasonable, offering me a bunkbed room, shower, and other facilities for the wonderful price of 22 coins of currency. I was most pleased, and after taking a hot shower, I was off to explore the town and delight in my packed dinner, to which I added a wheel of cheese. Since most bars and restaurants were open, I purchased multiple draughts of ale and enjoyed them alongside another stunning sunset (and a cat).

Back at the hostel, I explored a bit the hallways and found some beautiful art made out of recycled plastic, that was "rescued" from the ocean.

With the little energy that I had left, I joined the other travelers in the local tavern and got some time to scribble some thoughts in my journal. 9 PM o'clock finds me in bed, ready to depart to dreamland.

Day 4

Trail map

Final day. Leaving Arrifana and taking the trail along the coast (yea, again, I kno'), more sand, more sandals, hot scorching sun, and smooth breezes that blessed my skin with a much-needed tan.

Finished the trail after another 17 km, reaching the town of Aljezur. Found the fancy coffee shop of the town and enjoyed a much-needed flat white, after which the final quest began: find a way to get to Lagos in time, to catch the train leaving at 18 PM. Borrowing a marker pen from the coffee shop, I scribbled Lagos on a piece of paper and went to a road curb to try to hitch a ride. After 20 minutes and about two years of the pandemic, I was starting to think that hitchhiking was a practice of the past, but right before I could give up, a lovely couple from NYC stopped in front of me and offered me the back seat. We talked a lot about every topic conceivable, from politics and the healthcare systems of America and European countries to jobs, life, and everything related to it. They were lovely and the husband told me that his entire childhood he hitchhiked the long roads of America, getting from one place to the next. Upon reaching Lagos, I had to delight myself with a much-earned burger and some beers.

Getting to the train station, I was informed of the fact that my 18 o'clock train was subject to the ongoing strike, and my only option was the later one, from 20 PM. No problem there, just enough time for another couple of beers and some journaling. Hopped on the train and by 22 PM I was back in Faro. And thus the adventure was finalized.

In conclusion

Trilho dos Pescadores is a wonderful experience, especially in the off-season of March, when the temperature allows for an amazing experience. My key takeaways here would be the following:

  • have a pair of trekkers
  • have a pair of sandals
  • change them as soon as the terrain changes
  • buy food in anticipation, since you don't know what you might find at the destination
  • sunscreen. a lot of it
  • wear a hat
  • and other means of protection for the skin
  • you will always find a place to sleep, you just need to search for it
  • a camelback helps a lot
  • food is pretty cheap, especially from the convenience stores
  • download the maps from here
  • you can walk the trail alone
  • together with friends, it might be even cooler
  • just enjoy the moment. no headphones, turn off the internet
  • and don't rush it. soak it in. It's worth it

Finally, here are my stats from the 4-day trail that I took.

If you managed to reach this paragraph and enjoyed the read, feel free to share it or send it to a friend. And if you decide to take the trail, give me a ping. I would love to learn about your experience.


Florin Tomozei

Software Engineer and Storyteller