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Rota Vincentina, a hike to the end of Europe

The Rota Vincentina hike will introduce you to one of the best preserved coastal regions of southern Europe, over 110km/68miles through a vast region of southwest Portugal totalling over 75,000ha/185,000 acres.

This hiking path, which skirts the Vicentine coastline, combines unspoiled landscapes, authentic rural lifestyles and a remarkably mild climate.

While it is undeniably growing in renown and has ever been a favourite with the Portuguese who come here with friends and family, it is still amazingly pristine. Along the Fishing Trail, one of the two hiking trails possible with the Historic Way, it is far from rare to stumble across a completely deserted beach, whose invitation to enjoy playing at Robinson Crusoe may prove irresistible. Some of the beaches, by virtue of their spectacular schist and grauwacke cliffs, have justly earned themselves a place on the most beautiful beaches of the world lists.

On your trip, you would do well to stay at Vila Nova de Milfontes, which commands a spectacular view of the mouth of the River Mira as it runs into the Atlantic Ocean and at Zambujeira do Mar where Portugal’s surfers meet up to ride some of Europe’s biggest waves.

The Historic Way, which attracts fewer people and is more rural, is also less challenging. It takes you over hillsides, through oak and pine forests and past small villages, ideal to stop and quench your thirst. In the summer, plan well ahead and book your overnight stays because the few hotels and campsites fill up fast.

Some 6km/3.7mi from Sagrès is Cape Saint Vincent, the southwestern tip of Europe. With its iconic lighthouse on cliffs over 100m/330ft high, this landmark is the ideal way to end (or begin) what is perhaps one of the best hiking coastal trails in Europe.

Some of the most beautiful beaches of the world and Europe’s biggest waves

The author

Arthur Bacry

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The tourist attractions mentioned

Ponta de Sagres Ponta de Sagres
Ponta de Sagres
Sagres Point is partly occupied by...
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