During section 8, from Arrifana to Carrapateira, you will see more of the countryside of the Algarve and some really high cliffs. Check out my trail journal.
What is the Fishermen’s Trail?
The Fishermen’s Trail (Trilho dos Pescadores in Portuguese) is a long-distance trail in the southwestern part of Portugal. The path runs from São Torpes near Sines (Alentejo) to Lagos (Algarve) and follows the coastline. It is part of Rota Vicentina, a collection of hiking and cycling trails in this region.
The Fishermen’s Trail is 226.5 kilometers long in total and includes a total of 13 sections. In this trail journal, I’ll tell you all about my hike on the eighth section from Carrapateira to Arrifana.
Hiking from Carrapateira to Arrifana
Officially the Fishermen’s Trail runs from north to south, but I prefer to hike from south to north. This way, the sun is behind me and I’ll be able to enjoy the views much more. So I don’t hike from Arrifana to Carrapateira, but from Carrapateira to Arrifana.
After a good night’s sleep, I wake up refreshed in my hostel in Carrapateira. I really enjoyed hiking section 9 yesterday and can’t wait to get back to the trail.
I have to be patient because cafes and shops don’t open until 9 o’clock and I have to buy some food for the road. I walk through Carrapateira for a while and it is a gorgeous Portuguese village. It’s really nice to discover these kinds of places when you’re hiking a long-distance trail.
Sand, sand, sand
After I’ve done some shopping, I’m back on the trail around 9:30 am. Just after Carrapateira, I have to walk through loose sand and it’s a struggle! However, it is so scenic, so I keep taking pictures.
On the beach (Praia da Bordeira) I take off my shoes which makes hiking in the sand easier. It’s really nice to hike on bare feet and it takes about half an hour before I have crossed the entire beach.
Once I’m on the other side, I take a break to recover. Hiking in loose sand is hard! Unfortunately, the path afterward also mainly consists of loose sand and it is quite warm (about 22 degrees celcius and it’s the end of November). I really feel like I’m plodding through a big desert, this is so tough! Fortunately, I now and then have a beautiful view of the sea on my left, which makes up for the struggle.
At a certain point, the sandy trails are finally finished, but I have to climb steeply to get to a viewpoint. The view from above is beautiful, but I really need to recover. Again. I thought this section would not be this hard, haha!
Hiking in the countryside
Fortunately, the path changes after that, less loose sand and hiking gets easier. The trail goes inland now and I have the feeling that I am alone in the world. For the first time since on this trail, I even see some trees!
Not much later I see a few houses and the first hikers coming in the opposite direction. This is always a good indicator, then you know that you’re about halfway. I walk through a quiet village called Monte da Vinha.
When I walk out of the village I see a sign with bar & tapas and it is actually open. I order an ice cold Coke and look out over the beautiful hilly landscape. I also meet a few other hikers who walk the other way and we chat about this beautiful experience.
A forest fire
After 45 minutes I think it’s time to get back to the trail. I continue hiking on some unpaved roads and I am regularly passed by cars. Why is it so busy here? In the distance, I see a plume of smoke and soon a fire truck passes me. There is a small forest fire, but the plume of smoke quickly diminishes. Fortunately, they caught it early. Everything here is so dry, it hasn’t rained for weeks.
Back to the shore
Fortunately, I am quickly out of the woods and walk back to the coast. Via a steep road, I arrive at Praia do Canal and I look out over the many surfers trying to conquer the waves. I’m impressed!
Of course there is now another steep climb up and when I’m almost at the top, I meet a Polish girl who, just like me, is walking north. We continue hiking together and soon I find out that she has been using my website in preparation for her hike on the Fishermen’s Trail, what a coincidence!
We agree to eat together and I go to my accommodation. Tonight I will sleep in a hotel with a swimming pool, fancy right? It’s too cold to swim, but I relax in the rocking chair, enjoying the view.
In the evening we eat fish at the only restaurant that is open. It tastes really good! A nice end to another beautiful day on the Fishermen’s Trail.
Tomorrow would actually be my last day on the trail, but I’ve decided to hike one extra section. So I have two more days on the trail. Hiking a long-distance trail can be quite addictive!
Section 8 of the Fisherman’s Trail runs from Arrifana to Carrapateira and is 20 or 21.5 kilometers long. At Carrapateira you can choose from two different options: via the beach (20 km) or by road (21.5 km). You choose the latter when it’s high tide and the beach is impassable.
This section takes about five to six hours to hike. The hike is classified as “average”. It’s quite easy (except for the loose sand) and there is only one big climb at Praia do Canal. I personally found the stretch along the coast and over the beach at Carrapateira quite tough because of the soft sand.
On this page, you can find more information about this section and download the GPX file.
Please note: the route does not pass through the town of Arrifana but along Praia de Arrifana. These places are about two kilometers apart.
Food & drinks
During this section, you will pass through the village of Monte da Vinha. There are a few restaurants here, but they are not always open (especially not in winter). So just to be sure, take enough food with you, because you will not encounter anything else.
- Carrapateira – Alecrim: very tasty dishes and they also have various vegetarian and vegan options.
- Monte da Vinha – Barranco da Fonte: exactly halfway through the section. Small restaurant at a B&B. I was only able to get a drink here. There’s no food menu, but you can ask if they want to make you something if you’re really hungry. This was in the wintertime, in the summertime you’ll have more options.
- Praia de Arrifana – Tasca d’Arrifana: typical portuguese, mostly fish. One of the few restaurants that is open in winter.
Best time to hike this section
The best time to do this hike from Arrifana to Carrapateira is between September and June. In July and August, it can get very hot and there is hardly any shade on the way. I myself did this hike in November and it was perfect.
Public transport is very difficult during this stage. If you do need to move, Uber is the best (and cheapest) alternative.
From Aljezur there is only a bus to Carrapateira twice a week. From Aljezur there is a bus to Arrifana several times a day, but it only goes on working days (not on weekends or holidays).
Check the Eva website for routes and times. You can buy a bus ticket from the driver, make sure you have cash (small amounts, they have little change). A ticket rarely costs more than €5.
Where to stay
There are several nice places to spend the night in both Arrifana and Carrapateira. I mainly use Booking.com to make (last minute) reservations. These are a few recommendations:
- Praia de Arrifana – HI Arrifana Destination Hostel – the cheapest option, a bed in a dorm. The common areas are nice, but – from what I’ve heard – the beds and facilities aren’t great. But still fine for a night and it is right on the Fishermen’s Trail.
- Praia de Arrifana – Arrifana Destination Boutique – is right next to the hostel and is a more luxurious option. Nicely decorated rooms and fully equipped.
- Carrapateira – Hostel do Mar – nice hostel with dormitories (4 to 8 beds). Firm beds, clean facilities, nice roof terrace, and chances are you’ll meet other hikers here.
- Carrapateira – Carrapateira Lodge – private rooms in a cozy guest house.
Read more about the Fishermen’s Trail
Would you like to read more hiking journals? I also wrote a hiking report on these sections of the Fishermen’s Trail:
- Section 7: Aljezur to Arrifana
- Section 9: Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo
- Section 10: Vila do Bispo to Sagres
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Do you also feel like hiking (a section of) the Fishermen’s Trail after reading this article? Then it is useful to order this trail guide:
And order the Rother hiking guide Algarve if you want to explore more hiking trails in the Algarve.
Would you like to read more about the Algarve and Portugal? I spend several months in the Algarve almost every year, which is why you can read a lot about Portugal on this website. For example, check out these articles:
- 14 awesome things to do in Portimão
- The most beautiful places in Aljezur
- Fishermen’s Trail: the most beautiful coastal hike in Europe
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