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Hiking in Portugal



Photo: Mathias Liebing (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Portugal is a country of magnificent beauty, from its vast Atlantic coastline to its forested mountains and deep valleys. Walks in Portugal cover almost every type of landscape; you could hike through dunes one day and ramble in the mountains the next. 

Natural parks are designated regions of particularly extraordinary landscapes, rich in treasured habitats. Hikes in Portugal’s parks include exploring fens where you’ll find rare species of wading birds as well as estuaries home to flamingoes. 

Exquisite islands add to Portugal’s unforgettable trails. The Azores and Madeira archipelagoes are both Portuguese, sitting out in the wilds of the Atlantic. These island chains are volcanic, mostly lush and vibrant with extraordinary hiking opportunities. 

Portugal is a country not to be underestimated for hiking. Its incredible variation, wildlife and weather all come together to bring you back time and time again.

Top 20 best walks and hikes in Portugal

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Exploring Portugal’s natural parks

Portugal’s 30 natural parks are designated regions of special interest, biodiversity and conservation. Thanks to their status, they often contain some of the best hiking trails in Portugal and offer a vast range of landscapes to walk in. 

The Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina Natural Park is the largest coastal natural park, stretching over 60 miles (97 km) along the southwestern edge of the country. Walks along Portugal’s coastline here are rugged, alive with seabirds and include long, golden beaches and tiny coves. 

On the Spanish border to the northeast, the Serra da Malcata Natural Park has a landscape completely removed from that of the coast. Here you can hike in utter peace amongst gentle hills and wild vegetation, home to the rare Iberian lynx. 

Peneda-Gerês is the country’s only national park and exploring here will blow you away. For the best mountain hikes in Portugal, this is a great place to base yourself. The views are staggering. 

Discovering island archipelagos

The Azores is an island chain that captures the imagination from the moment you see its location. Almost 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Portugal, in the Atlantic ocean, this archipelago has a wealth of amazing hiking trails. 

There are nine islands in the Azores and you can fly or take the ferry between them. São Miguel is the main island with lush hills, high lakes and a tea plantation. Some of the islands have lava flows (fajãs) which have created flat, fertile land and are now farmed in a manner unique to the islands. 

Hike Pico’s perfectly shaped volcano, walk São Jorge’s rugged trails and see the hydrangeas in bloom across little Flores. The Azores make their own cheeses, jam and honey as well, each worth sampling from town to town. 

The Madeira archipelago is packed with walking trails as well, particularly on Madeira itself. This green, sub-tropical island has fantastic trails in mountainous terrain as well as exciting cliff top walks. Madeira is famous for its levadas, tiny canals that run along hills to distribute run-off throughout the island. Many of these have paths alongside them and you’ll find yourself amongst dense rainforest, waterfalls and stunning views.

Portugal's best walks and hikes on the map

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