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5 Best Places To Hike In Portugal

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Situated along the Atlantic Ocean in South Western Europe, Portugal has an amazing coastal scenery to rival the best in Europe. Its sparsely settled interior provides astonishing mountainous scenery which has been barely explored by travellers.

Writers whom I know move here seeking inspiration as they work on their drafts. Creative writers are enticed by the amazing scenic environment of mountains, hills and roads and will move there for inspiration and refreshment as they are hacking away on their writing projects often taking breaks to explore various hiking trails.

Being an interesting place full of beautiful scenery here are the five top destinations you can choose from. You can visit these places at any time of the year but bear in the mind that the summers can be extremely hot. Remember always to gear up correctly according to season.

Montesinho Natural Park 

In the Northwest of Portugal's Trás-os-Montes region lies the Montesinho Natural Park with sprawling flora and fauna embedded seamlessly into the mountains and valleys. The region was separated and isolated from other parts of Portugal for many years and the natural, undisturbed environment is still evident today.

Here you are likely to be walking the hiking trails on your own. From Montesinho Village you can hike for approximately 8km to Serra de Montesinho which is the highest peak in the area. Another option would be to move into the countryside around the Dine Village and get a glimpse of the Neolithic Caves that are along this route.

Rota Vicentina 

For those longing to feel the ground with their feet, the Rota Vicentina offers a magnificent 450km hiking trail along the southwest coast of Portugal. Certified as among the best trails in Europe it offers mind boggling scenery which is highly preserved and offers a calm natural atmosphere. The other northern parts are vast with two suitable options for exploration. One is the Historical way that meanders and weaves through the villages and plains or the Fisherman's Trail that offers a trail parallel to the coastline.

The Algarve 

The stunning beaches in the southern region attract a high number of tourists as beach enthusiasts flock here notwithstanding the sun. The Algarve does not only offer beaches but also an opportunity for a cultural tour in the nearby historic towns.

Taking a 300km hike through Algarviana is the best option for those looking for something unique. Staring at Alcoutim, this trails passes though the northern villages ending at Cabo de São Vicente offering a route rarely explored. As you move across this hike trail you will experience the historic cultural towns of Serra da Monchique and Silves in addition to getting a spectacular view of the tall mountain peaks.

Parque Nacional de Penada-Gerês 

Geres, as it is simply known, is the only protected area designed as a national park endowed with exuberant vegetation and wildlife. It is placed in the northwest sharing the border with Spain. Hiking through the vast 703-sq-km land is not the only activity. For those with enough energy and enthusiasm there is canyoning, canoeing, biking, horse riding, camping and kayaking opportunities in a low key area that does not attract much attention as other European destinations.

There are many trails across the region meaning you have a wide variety of hiking trails to explore in the hills. The Trilho da Cidade da Calcedónia route which begins at Campo de Gerês and leads you back there is a four hour hike you can try. You can also move up to Pedra Bela, near Gerês village and have a spectacular view of the area below. The rugged mountains, waterfalls and dams are just some of the amazing scenery you will experience as you explore the various shaded trails.

Madeira 

Madeira is located across Africa's northwest coast and is a bit different form the rest of Portugal. Though the main island is known as a comprehensive full package tourist destination, the volcanic nature of this region gives way to soaring peaks that make it a perfect place for hiking.

If you want to stay over night during your hike, see our useful article on tents for greatest comfort.

Most of the top hiking routes revolve around Pico Ruivo which is above 1,800 metres from sea level. One option is the moderate three hours 8km route ascending the Pico Ruiva from there taking a long descent to the Ilha village. Alternatively visit a waterfall by hiking on the Levada route by moving to Rabacal then descending downhill to see the picturesque waterfall.

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