Portugal stands out as a trekking destination thanks to its exceptionally good variety of trekking paths, both on the mainland and islands.
This year, given the pandemic we're all living through, trekking is an appealing vacation option, not only because it makes possible to escape the crowds but also because of the many previously unseen sights for many. Travelling within one's country and enjoying freedom, nature and amazing landscapes is a growing tendency.
In this article, we are sharing some tips for you to explore a different and more healthy vacation. And don't forget that Portugal is blessed with an amazing climate if you're looking to go for outdoor activities!
Before we get into tips, two concepts are important to differentiate: trekking and hiking. Generally speaking, trekking lasts longer than one day and you must sleep in the wild (but you can also camp or stays in a hostel). On the other side, hiking is more accessible, faster and it doesn’t last more than one day. Whatever option you choose, you must be well prepared with adequate shoes to prevent injuries and generous amounts of water.
Sustainable tourism destinations
The European Destinations of Excellence initiative promotes sustainable tourism development models across the EU. Portugal as three such destinations - and we added a couple more. Check them out:
Flores Island, Azores
Flores Island is located in the western group of the Azores archipelago, farthest away from mainland Portugal. It's not that much visited by tourists and it's a true paradise on Earth for nature lovers and those who enjoy walking. Flores is gifted with many rivers and waterfalls and it's also the perfect destination for skydiving lovers, canoeing and whale watching. Not to be missed are the natural pools of Santa Cruz, the beaches at Lajes das Flores and Fajã Grande, as well as swimming in Poço do Bacalhau and under the waterfalls at Ribeira Grande.
Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel, Azores
Situated opposite the town of Vila Franca do Campo, about 1 km from the coast, the islet is a result of the crater of an ancient submerged volcano, and is one of São Miguel’s main tourist attractions, particularly since an event in the Red Bull Cliff Diving world championship was held here.
Its crystal clear waters and the small but lovely beach are excellent for swimming and diving.
The village of Sistelo, close to the Peneda Gerês National Park and 90 minutes from Porto, is called “the little Portuguese Tibet”. One of the seven wonders of Portugal, Sistelo has less than 300 inhabitants.
Like the Douro Valley, the green lands of Sistelo were modelled by human hands: the plateaus are used for agriculture. In the landscape, the famous granaries stand out, which are used to store grains. Noteworthy is the viewpoint of Chã de Armada, which offers the best views of Sistelo, and if you go up the M1289 road to Padrão and Porta Cova, you may enjoy the best views of the village. Last but not least there is also the castle, protected heritage with excellent views. You can go through the Brandas de Sistelo, an 11 kilometres trail that goes through several natural sites in the region.
Paiva Walkways, Arouca
In Arouca, you can walk across an 8 kilometres wooden walkway along the river Paiva, through nature, wild waters, waterfalls, river beaches and even a suspension bridge. On your way, you will find quartz crystals on the rock walls and endangered fauna that finds sanctuary in the river margins.
Pico Ruivo, Madeira
In the archipelago of Madeira, Pico Ruivo - the highest point on the island, with 1861 meters - stands out among the many natural landscapes. The trail that connects Achada da Teixeira to Pico Ruivo, with 6 km, is notable for its beauty. Cloudy weather is a feature of this area, but when you reach the top, above the clouds, the blue sky and stunning landscape await you.
The Rota Vicentina is a set of 750 km of trails through the southwest of Portugal, in the regions of Alentejo and Algarve. The coastal route of the Rota Vicentina is also called the Fishermen's Trail and is one of the most beautiful coastal hiking routes in the world, according to Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Starting in Lagos and going east along the Algarve coast, the route goes north to the port of Sines. Some hikers go all the way, doing one of thirteen well-marked stretches a day, less than 20km each. The walk is relatively easy, often with sand. The path undulates along erosion cliffs, promontories and deserted beaches with fantastic views.
Enjoy your summer: grab your family and friends and go for an adventure! Enjoy your excellent vacation or weekend programs, always respecting nature and good hiking practices.
For companies, now that offices are re-opening all over the world, an outdoor hiking adventure can be just what you need to get your team back into that collaborative spirit after so many months apart. At Move Sports, we're experts in organising sports infilled corporate events: contact us and we'll arrange for the team building event that will turn your company's fortune around!