Hiking in Portugal? What you need to know
Updated: Mar 21
The diversity of landscapes, the mild climate, a very rich history and culture are just a few of many great reasons why hiking in Portugal should be on your bucket list. This fascinating and varied country can enchant just about anyone and is especially interesting if you like to hike. However, what we are about to explain can also be of great importance to those who like to combine cultural gems with just a touch of nature. That is, if you do not want to get lost in the vast natural beauty around you.
Hiking in this one-of-a-kind destination is very different from hiking in several other European countries. The trail system is unique and may take some getting used to, which is why we like to inform you before setting out on your Portuguese adventure.
What makes the Portuguese trail system different?
The trail system is only managed locally and not on a national level, which often makes it difficult to share all information you need for your trip, as it may cover several areas. It can be more complicated to obtain the route, maps and to know the status of the route. But no worries, we’ve got you covered!
It goes without saying that our guide could accompany you, which would be the most effective and the easiest way not to get lost in the Portuguese outdoors ;-). But, if you prefer to set out on your own, you will want to consider following, useful steps.
10 useful steps to follow when planning a hike in Portugal
1. Think about what is a reasonable amount of km or miles for you to walk in a day.
2. Choose a region which fits your experience level: flat along the coast, moderate in the hills or challenging in the mountains? Or a mixture of all?
3. Find the local tourism office(s).
4. Confirm the hiking trail status at the local tourism office for every trail.
5. Make sure you know what the trail markers look like for your specific trail. We have included an overview of the trail markers for long and short distance routes (at the bottom of this article for you.
6. Download the track to your GPS or mobile phone.
7. Check the weather forecast for the area.
8. When hiking remotely in the mountains or forests, make sure somebody knows you are out hiking and give them your contact details. Take theirs too, as well as the local emergency numbers. It is always a good idea to also give someone an estimate of the time by which you expect to return to the civilized world (e.g. the hotel where you are staying).
9. In summer check the fire risk level before you start your hike.
10. Last but not least: when hiking in protected areas make sure to respect the local code of conduct of that specific area. We have made an overview for you of the most common, general guidelines in our blog Good practices when hiking in Portugal
If you like more information about what to pack for your day trip or hiking holiday, please read our blog Hiking in Portugal, what to pack?
When booking a guided or self-guided holiday with us, we will of course check the trail for you. For every tailor-made hiking holiday in Portugal and Azores which we create, we provide a completely custom-made roadbook with route notes, maps, GPS tracks, 7/7 phone assistance, and several tips and tricks. Transfers to/from your starting point, picnic lunches, other activities and services can be arranged by Explore Iberia as well. And, we also know where to find different types of authentic accommodation to suit everyone’s taste.
So, do not hesitate to contact us in case you would like more information. We are always more than happy to assist.