15 best hiking trails in Portugal

Portugal is a hiker’s paradise, with diverse landscapes and varied terrains that enchant almost everyone – from the peaks of Serra da Estrela to the forests of the Peneda Gerês National Park, also passing through the landscapes of the Alentejo and Algarve coast.

In Portugal, we can find trails for all types of walkers, from the easier and accessible to everyone to the longer, more technical, and more challenging ones. In this guide to the best hiking trails in Portugal, we will only include one-day routes: the PR (Pequenas Rotas, which translates to Small Routes) or stages of longer multiday trails.

We also left out all trails that are basically walkways. Not that we have anything against them, but because we have an article where we exclusively explore the best walkways in Portugal. Some of these walkways could well be on this the best trails list.

In Portugal, hiking trails are an opportunity to discover breathtaking views, natural wonders, and historical monuments and, above all, to experience nature’s beauty. These Portuguese trails come from all regions of the country and feature routes with very different difficulty levels.

Best hiking trails in Portugal – Norte

PR6 TBR – Miradouros Trail, Terras do Bouro

The viewpoints trail is one of the most spectacular in the Peneda-Gerês National Park and, consequently, in the country.

It is a tough trail with more than 12 km and 800 meters of accumulated difference. However, almost all the difficulty appears at the beginning, so after the first 3 or 4 km, it is much easier and more enjoyable. Anyway, you need to have some stamina to do this hike.

Unlike many other trails in the National Park, this one does not have swimming holes, waterfalls, or other lakes. It doesn’t even introduce us to stunning forests. But, on the other hand, it takes us to places with spectacular views and several of the best viewpoints in Gerês.

Although it starts in the middle of Vila do Gerês, it is not a very popular trail, and when we did it, we saw practically no one, which is a bonus for anyone looking for moments of solitude in nature.

best hiking trails in Portugal
Viewpoint in Miradouros Trail in Gerês

PR9 MTR – Poços Verdes do Sobroso Trail, Montalegre

Also known as the Sete Lagoas do Xertelo trail, the Poços Verdes do Sobroso trail is one of the best-known and most popular trails in the Peneda Gerês National Park.

The reason is simple and obvious, the Poços Verdes (green wells) are stunning and one of the best places in Gerês to sunbathe and dive in the beautiful but icy water.

Despite the green wells being the main attraction, this trail shows us many other regional attractions, such as Fojo do Lobo do Xertelo, the vertical cube, and Vila Nova cascades.

The approximately 10 km of the circular route we suggest is almost always undulating but without significant slopes. The exception is the final climb which is quite tough.

This is one of the best trails to explore the PNPG deeper without taking too many risks. It’s all well indicated; it’s not technically difficult, and there are usually many people along it. So it is suitable for almost everyone, as long as they are used to walking.

best trails in Portugal
Poços Verdes (green wells) in Poços Verdes do Sobroso Trail – Trails in Portugal

PR5 MTR – Misarela Bridge Trail, Montalegre

Despite never actually entering the protected area of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the approximately 12 km of this trail practically always run along the “border” of the National Park.

The trail is relatively long, but it is well worth the effort as it allows us to visit the mystical Misarela bridge and the waterfalls with the same name. In addition to taking us along the old Roman road and allowing unobstructed views of the Gerês mountain range.

In addition to being long, the Misarela bridge trail is also relatively hard and presents some technical difficulties as it is not very well signposted. Therefore, we advise the use of GPS.

Although we consider it one of the best trails in Portugal, this route mainly highlights the bridge and its surroundings. So, if you are only interested in this area, you don’t need to do the entire PR5-MTR, just the first km, and then return the same way.

Check here if you want to go to the Misarela bridge or here to hike the whole trail.

Hiking in Portugal
Misarela Bridge and Waterfalls – Beautiful trails in Portugal

PR3 – MDB – Fisgas do Ermelo Trail, Mondim de Basto

  • Distance: 12.5 km;
  • Type: circular;
  • Time: about 5 hours;
  • Physical Effort: Moderate;
  • Technical difficulty: Easy;
  • Recommended for: People used to hiking or in good physical shape.
  • Points of interest: Fisgas do Ermelo waterfalls, Ermelo village
  • You can download the flyer here.

The Fisgas do Ermelo trail starts and ends in the Ermelo village, covering a little over 12 km along a circular route that takes us through several beautiful areas of the Alvão Natural Park and the Olo river valley.

The highlight of this short route is undoubtedly the Fisgas do Ermelo waterfall, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Portugal. However, Piocas de Cima (natural lagoons where you can dive in) is also a mandatory stop if you visit in summer.

The route of this trail is physically challenging because, in addition to the long distance, it also requires an accumulated elevation gain of about 600 meters. So this is a trail for regular hikers; if you’re not used to hiking, it will cost you a little.

Trails Portugal – Centro

PR3 IDN – Fossil Route, Idanha-a-Nova

  • Distance: 3 km;
  • Type: circular;
  • Time: about 1h30;
  • Physical effort: easy, despite having a tough climb;
  • Technical difficulty: Easy;
  • Recommended for: anyone without mobility problems.
  • Points of interest: Penha Garcia Castle, trace fossils, river beach, waterfall
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

The PR3 IDN – Rota dos Fosseis is the easiest trail (and the second shortest) on our best hiking trails in Portugal list; therefore, it is also one of the most accessible to everyone and a great trail for beginner hikers. But don’t let the short distance fool you; it’s also one of the trails with the most points of interest.

In just three km, we pass by fossils of prehistoric animals, a river beach, a waterfall, and a medieval castle; we cross one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal and a dam. Plus, we can still see Monsanto in the distance…

Please let us know if you know of another trail with so many points of interest concentrated in such a tiny trail. We’d really like to go there…

This is a relatively easy circular trail and even quite urban. Despite having some climbs and uneven ground, it is short and, therefore, accessible to anyone with minimal resistance and no mobility problems. The climbs are tough but so short that they shouldn’t cause any issues.

Beautiful trails in Portugal
River beach in Penha Garcia, Portugal

PR14 Arouca – Drave – The Magic Village

  • Distance: 8 km (round trip);
  • Type: linear round trip;
  • Time: about 3 hours, plus whatever time you decide to spend in Drave;
  • Physical exertion: moderated by the sun and some long climbs;
  • Technical difficulty: Easy;
  • Recommended for: anyone who is used to hiking;
  • Points of interest: Drave, the magical village; the Cascades and lagoons of Ribeira de Palhais, Regoufe;
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

The PR14 Arouca Geopark is a trail just to our liking, mountainous but not too long, with pleasant views and a wonderful end goal – Drave, the Magic Village.

Drave is an abandoned village. The last permanent inhabitant left in 2000, but the village remains quite well preserved. It has many ruins but also preserved houses.

In addition to the ultimate goal of reaching the magical village, we also pass by waterfalls and lakes where you can swim in summer and beautiful mountain landscapes. It is no coincidence that the region is called the Magic Mountains.

The approximately 4 km takes about 1h30, with some stops to rest and take pictures. It is an undulating route, with long ascents and descents that, towards the end, begin to grind. But anyone used to walking will hike this well.

Top trails in Portugal
View of Drave – The Magic Village, an abandoned village

PR5 MIR – Route of the Dunes, Mira

  • Distance: 17.5 km, but the PR5.1 is much shorter;
  • Type: circular;
  • Time: about 5 hours, plus whatever time you decide to spend on the beach;
  • Physical effort: moderate to high by sun and walking on sand;
  • Technical difficulty: Moderate;
  • Recommended for: people used to take long walks;
  • Points of interest: Fishing market, Poço da Cruz Beach, Dunes, Gândaras, Cais do Areão
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

This is a coastal trail, the first of several on this list of the best hiking trails in Portugal, but the only one of its kind in the north and center.

Officially, the trail is almost 18 km (you can cut some parts if you want); therefore, it is quite long. Plus, there are extended periods (about 5 to 6 km) without shade and in the sand, which makes it very difficult. The good news is that it is flat, making it a bit easier.

Despite being a circular trail, it practically forms the shape of 8 or two linked circles, so it’s pretty easy to do just one part, namely the circle between Praia de Mira and Poço da Cruz.

On this trail, you will walk along the beaches of Mira, see the two beautiful ones, and then follow the gândaras to Poço da Cruz. Afterward, the return is made through the no less beautiful pine forest in the Mira region. If you are thinking of traveling to Mira, see here what to do and visit in Mira.

cool trails in Portugal
Walkways in the Route of the Dunes in Mira – Best hikes in Portugal

PR2 Lamego – Port Wine Trail

  • Distance: about 8 km;
  • Type: circular;
  • Time: 3:30 to 4 hours;
  • Physical effort: moderate to high by sun and walking on sand;
  • Technical difficulty: easy;
  • Advised for: people used to take strenuous walks;
  • Points of interest: Douro river, Douro vineyards, and terraces, Six Senses Douro Valley
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

The Douro valley is one of the most beautiful regions in Portugal, and, as such, it could not fail to be represented in the best Portuguese trails.

With about 8 km, it is not a particularly long trail, but it is virtually always going up or down. And sometimes, the slopes are quite steep and under the sun, making this walk much harder than one might expect.

Starting and ending in Samodaes, Lamego, this circular route takes us from the Viewpoint of Samodaes to the Douro River and Six Senses. In between, we visit one of the most beautiful areas of the Douro wine region.

Any opportunity is a good one to enjoy the magnificent terraces of the Douro valley, but walking along the vineyards while watching the Douro meander through the valley is one of our favorites.

top hikes in Portugal
Douro vineyards in the Port Wine Trail, Portugal

PR1 – MTG – Poço do Inferno Trail, Serra da Estrela

  • Distance: 2.5 km;
  • Type: circular;
  • Time: 1h30 to 2 hours;
  • Physical effort: moderate;
  • Technical difficulty: moderate;
  • Advised for: people used to take hard walks;
  • Points of interest: Poço do Inferno Waterfall, Glacier Valley
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

The Poço do Inferno trail (PR1-MTG) is one of the most popular trails in Serra da Estrela. In addition to taking us to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Portugal, it also allows us to appreciate the Vale do Zêzere and Ribeira de Leandres.

One of the advantages of this trail is that it is only 2.5 km long, therefore very short and not very difficult. But don’t be fooled; we are in mountain territory, and there are no easy hikes here. This is a trail of moderate physical and technical difficulty.

Poço do Inferno is the highlight of the route and one of the ex-libris of Serra da Estrela, but there is more to see. Along the trail, we pass through leafy and resinous forests and steep landscapes, cross the Leandres stream, and see the Serra terraces.

Portugal’s best trails – South

Stage 2 of the Fishermen’s Route – Porto Covo to Vila Nova de Mil Fontes

  • Distance: 20 km one way – can be done in both directions;
  • Type: linear
  • Time: 7 hours, including several stops to eat, including lunch;
  • Physical Effort: Difficult due to the distance and the sun.
  • Technical difficulty: easy;
  • Recommended for: People used to long walks;
  • Points of interest: Porto Covo, Beach of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Praia do Malhão, VN de Mil Fontes.
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

The fishermen’s trail is a set of pedestrian routes that go from São Torpes to Lagos, in a total of almost 230 km, in 14 stages. One of the significant advantages of the fishermen’s trail is that it can be done partially and only as many stages as you want.

The second stage of the fishermen’s trail offers us fabulous landscapes, with incredible scenery and remarkable diversity. Nature shows all its splendor between March and June when it gives us a fantastic variety of colors, smells, and shapes.

Furthermore, both Milfontes and Porto Covo are lovely villages and tourist attractions in their own right. The route of this second stage always follows the coast through beaches, dunes, and cliffs. The highlights are the beach and island of Pessegueiro and Malhão beach. In our opinion, both are some of the best beaches in Alentejo.

See here all the information about stage 2 of the fishermen’s trail, including where to stay, where to eat, and what to expect on the walk.

Portugal's best trails - South
Island of Pessegueiro and Malhão beach IN Stage 2 of the Fishermen’s Route

Stage 5 of the Pescadores trail – Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe

  • Distance: 18.5 km one way – can be done in both directions;
  • Type: linear;
  • Time: 7 hours, including several stops to eat, including lunch;
  • Physical Effort: Difficult because of the sun, distance, and sand;
  • Technical difficulty: easy;
  • Recommended for: only for people in good physical shape or used to walking long distances;
  • Points of interest: Zambujeira do Mar, Praia do Carvalhal, Praia da Amália, Azenha do Mar, Ponta em Branco, Praia de Odeceixe;
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

The fifth stage of the fishermen’s trail is perhaps the most beautiful we know of the Vincentian route. For almost 19 km, we follow cliffs and dunes covered with vegetation until we reach several incredible beaches, such as Praia do Carvalhal, Praia da Amália, and, in the end, Praia de Odeceixe.

Along the way, we pass the natural fishing port of Azenha do Mar and the majestic Ponta na Branca, one of the most impressive views in the entire region. We suggest this stage for those who can only do one day on the Vincentian route.

It’s a tough and long step, but it’s well worth it. The altimetry graph shows that the route has several steep descents and ascents. Some of these descents are slightly technical but don’t worry, as it’s nothing out of this world.

There are also a few kilometers of sand. Unlike stages 2 and 3, they are never very long sections, but in the end, it weighs a lot. Fortunately, this trail constantly passes through absolutely stunning areas, distracting us and making the hike much more effortless.

one-day hikes in Portugal
View of Odeceixe Beach from Ponta em Branco viewpoint in Portugal

LGA PR1 – Seven Hanging Valleys, Lagoa

  • Distance: 5.7 km one way (double round trip);
  • Type: linear, with multiple start/end points;
  • Time: 3h (5 hours with return), which can be much longer if you stop at some of the many points of interest
  • Physical effort: easy to moderate by sun and distance if you take the return;
  • Technical difficulty: easy;
  • Recommended for: anyone with good mobility;
  • Points of interest: Praia da Marinha, Praia and Algar de Benagil, Cabo Carvoeiro, Leixão do Ladrão, Hanging valleys;
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

This is the only trail in the Algarve that made this list, but it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful trails in Portugal. It has everything from famous attractions, some of the best beaches in Portugal, and even a few bars and restaurants to recharge your batteries.

The trail of the seven hanging valleys is linear and relatively short but is completely full of attractions. Every moment we see another fabulous part of the Algarve coast, another beach, and another natural monument.

This route takes us from Praia da Marinha to Praia de Centeanes, always along the coast, in a continuous line of cliffs, hanging valleys, rock formations, and beaches.

As well as passing by some of the best beaches in the Algarve, the trail’s highlight is Algar de Benagil, one of Portugal’s most famous natural wonders. The route passes right next to the upper part of the Algar, and then we also pass by Benagil beach, where you can hire SUP/Kayak to go there.

Portugal's best hikes
Seven Hanging Valleys, Lagoa in Algarve, is one of the best trails in Portugal

Best hiking trails in Portugal – Madeira

PR6 Madeira – Levada from 25 sources + Levada do Risco

  • Distance: 11 km;
  • Type: circular;
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Physical effort: easy to moderate for the distance;
  • Technical difficulty: easy;
  • Recommended for: anyone who is used to walking;
  • Points of interest: Cascade das 25 Fontes, Cascade do Risco, Laurel Forest, and Access Tunnel
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

Levada das 25 Fontes is probably Madeira’s best-known and most popular. It is a practically flat walk that takes us through the Laurissilva forest until we reach one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira.

Levada do Risco is virtually in the same place in the forest but at a slightly higher altitude, leading to the no less-known Risco waterfall.

Thus, in a relatively short walk, we can visit two of the best waterfalls in Madeira, explore one of the parts of the Laurel forest, which is a UNESCO heritage site, and walk along the incredible levadas of Madeira.

Levada das 25 Fontes usually starts at the house in Rabaçal and ends at the Cascade das 25 Fontes. It is about 11 km (4.6km one way + 4.6km back and about 2 km to go to the cascade of risk) and takes about 4 hours.

Levada do Risco starts at the same place and goes to the Risco waterfall. It is also flat and is often almost parallel to the levada of the 25 fountains.

Thus, there are several connections between both levadas and between both PR 6 and 6.1. Using them allows you to turn two linear paths into a circular one and have the best of both worlds.

As an alternative to the house in Rabaçal, it is possible to start the route in the car park on the ER221 road, which connects Calheta to the ER105. It has the advantage of being practically flat, except for the connection between the levadas and the fact that we can cross one of the many tunnels that the Madeira levadas cross.

You can see all the information about this route here.

Best trails in Madeira
Levada from 25 sources in Madeira

PR8 – Madeira – Footpath of Ponta de São Lourenço

  • Distance: 6 km, round trip;
  • Type: linear, round trip;
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Physical effort: easy to moderate;
  • Technical difficulty: easy, but be careful if you have vertigo;
  • Recommended for: anyone who is used to walking;
  • Points of interest: Natural beauty of the entire region of Ponta de São Lourenço
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

The Ponta de São Lourenço footpath (PR8) is the best-known coastal trail in Madeira, but it is an entirely different kind of trek from the others on the island.

Here, the landscapes are completely different from what we are used to in the island’s interior, which is also why it is one of the best treks in Portugal.

Unlike the interior areas of the Laurel forest, at Ponta de São Lourenço, there are no trees. The wind and the earth don’t allow it. Yet, the landscape is no less spectacular.

Sometimes it reminds us of the landscapes of the fishermen’s trail, but on a completely different scale, as the ravines and rock formations are much higher.

This short, linear trail does not have long, steep sections. However, in the almost 6 km walk (3 km one way + 3 km back), we constantly go up or down, which turns out to be a little more challenging than the altimetry and distance indicated.

In any case, it is a route accessible to everyone, as long as they have mobility or acrophobia, or vertigo.

Hiking in Portugal
Footpath of Ponta de São Lourenço in Madeira

PR1 – Madeira – Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo trail

  • Distance: 7 km, round trip;
  • Type: linear;
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Physical effort: Moderate to complex due to the constant climbs and descents;
  • Technical difficulty: easy, but be careful if you have vertigo;
  • Recommended for: people used to high physical exertion or mountain hikes;
  • Points of interest: Natural beauty of the entire region and especially the peaks of Madeira;
  • You can see the complete information about this trail here.

Vereda do Areeiro is perhaps the most instagrammable trail in Madeira or even in Portugal. It connects three iconic peaks of Madeira. It starts at Pico do Areeiro and ends at Pico Ruivo, passing by Pico das Torres.

With about 7 km, it is a linear trail of medium to high difficulty. If you go back and forth, then it’s really hard. If you don’t want to go back, you can always go to Achada da Teixeira and return by taxi.

This route is really fabulous. It starts at the Pico de Areeiro Viewpoint (which in itself would be worth the effort), passes through tunnels dug in the volcanic tuffs, through the iconic steep staircase carved into the rock of Pico das Torres, and of course, the final access to Casa do Abrido in Pico Ruivo.

From the top of Pico Ruivo, on a good day, you can see everything! Curral das Freiras, Porto Santo, Desertas, Ponta de São Lourenço… It is a trail not to be missed in Madeira and Portugal.

Fantastic trails in Portugal
Pico do Areeiro in Madeira Portugal

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