Section 9 of the Fishermen’s Trail runs from Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo and is quite tough. However, the views are amazing! This is 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 ninth stage from Vila do Bispo to Carrapateira.
Hiking from Vila do Bispo to Carrapateira
Officially, the Fishermen’s Trail runs north to south, so if you’re a purist, you’ll hike section 9 from Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo. Although I usually prefer to hike trails the way they’re meant to be, I did choose to hike this section (and some others) “the wrong way”. So I hike from south to north. This way, the sun is behind me, and I feel like I’m able to enjoy the beautiful views much more.
Back on the Fishermen’s Trail
I’m a little nervous when I get on the bus to Vila do Bispo. It has been more than ten months since I last walked an entire section of the Fishermen’s Trail (that was from Vila do Bispo to Sagres).
I have been in Lagos for three weeks already. The first week and a half I was a bit sick (I had a big cold – no covid, I did two tests before departure) and I have barely had any energy since then. Would it be smart to go hiking for three days?
I’m just going to try it and see how long my energy will last. After a 30-minute bus ride, I arrive in Vila do Bispo. When I get off the bus, I’m actually really excited, so happy to be back on the trail! I only brought a small 20-liter backpack to Portugal and not everything (clothes, toiletries, camera gear, food) fits in it. That’s why I tie my bag with food to the outside of the backpack. It doesn’t look like much, but it works. At least I have my hands free to take a lot of pictures.
Start of the trail in Vila do Bispo
The trail starts on the square next to the church and at first, I have to follow the red and white signs (the normal signs of the Fishermen’s Trail are green and blue). This section of the Fishermen’s Trail overlaps with the Historical Trail (the Rota Vicentina’s other long-distance hike) as well as the E9. Should you ever feel like a challenge, the E9 is a long-distance trail of approximately 5000 kilometers and runs from Sagres along the coast to Tallinn (Estonia). Quite the hike!
That is of course not what I intend to do today. I only have to hike 16 kilometers, a nice start. The walk in Vila do Bispo takes less than 5 minutes, then I’ve already left the village. The path initially follows the N268, but I’m hiking on a dirt road next to it, so the cars don’t bother me. The trail goes up and down a bit, which is actually great to start with.
At a certain point, there is a fork in the road and I turn left. I immediately see the familiar green-blue stripes, now I’m really back on the Fishermen’s Trail!
I walk past a few trees and suddenly see something moving behind a tree next to me. Help! It turns out to be a cow that looks at me curiously. Why did that scare me? I’m not used to anything anymore haha!
The path heads towards the coast and at times I have the feeling of being alone in the world. It’s so empty! In the distance, I see the sea glistening, and every now and then I meet other hikers who walk the Fishermen’s Trail from north to south. The views are getting better and better.
Praia da Pena Furada
Until now, the trail has been very easy and I mainly had to follow wide unpaved roads. This changes when I get to Praia da Pena Furada. The path is suddenly very narrow and makes a big drop. Due to the recent drought, it is mainly sand and loose stones, so it is very easy to slip. I’m a bit bummed that I didn’t bring my trekking poles, they would have been really useful here. Anyway, the view is phenomenal and I make it down safely. When I arrive at the beach I stop for lunch. It really is a beautiful enclosed place. 50 meters away from me sits a family, but otherwise it is completely empty.
Of course, I have to go up again and that too is a steep path with loose stones. I’m glad the mountains aren’t that high here, so before I know it I’m on top. The path meanders inland and on one of the highest hills, I stop to call my grandmother. She turned 90 today! It is very nice to see and talk to her and my mother while I am in the middle of nowhere in Portugal.
Praia do Amado
Not much later I’m on the second beach along this stage; Praia de Murracao. There are already a few vans here, apparently this is a popular place to stay for van-lifers. I walk on pretty quickly and not much later see one of the most beautiful views on this part of the trail. I overlook Praia do Amado and this is another beautiful place! The red cliffs are stunning.
A little further on I see a wooden boardwalk on a cliff that I would like to explore. On this cliff, you will find the remains of the Islamic settlement of Ponta do Castelo from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is very interesting to see that houses stood here long ago, it feels so remote!
Next to this cliff is a restaurant and since I have some time left, I have a beer here on the terrace. Beautiful view of the cliffs and it is nice and sunny. It’s so nice to be able to be outside all day in November!
From the restaurant, it is only a 20-minute walk to Carrapateira, today’s terminus. I get there just before sunset.
When I arrive into the village, I immediately see the hostel where I sleep that night. After a quick check-in (I’m really glad that can stay because I forgot to bring my passport, how stupid!) I get into my dorm. Here I meet a German woman who also walks the Fishermen’s Trail (but then from north to south).
We go out for dinner in the village with a Swiss hiker and it is really nice to share stories about hiking. Around ten o’clock I crawl into bed and fall asleep immediately. How much I’ve missed hiking all day long!
Section 9 of the Fisherman’s Trail runs from Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo and is 16 kilometers long. It will take you five to six hours. The walk is classified as “difficult” mainly because of the stretch between Carrapateira to Praia da Pena Furada. There are some nasty climbs in it where you really have to be very careful where you put your feet.
On this page, you can find more information about this section and download the GPX file.
Food & drinks
During this hike, you will not pass any village and there are virtually no facilities on the way. The only place to eat or drink something is at Praia do Amado, a few kilometers from Carrapateira.
- Carrapateira – Alecrim: very tasty dishes and they also have various vegetarian and vegan options.
- Praia do Amado – Sítio do Forno: typically Portuguese, especially nice to go for a drink.
- Vila do Bispo – Ribeira do Poço: typical portuguese, lots of fish.
Best time to hike this section
The best time to do this hike from Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo is between September and June. In July and August, it can get very hot and there is no shade. I myself did this hike in November and it was perfect.
From and to Vila do Bispo there is a bus to Sagres and Lagos several times a day. Fewer buses run on weekends.
From Aljezur there is only a bus to Carrapateira twice a week. The alternative is to use Uber and then travel to Aljezur or Vila do Bispo for better connections.
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 Carrapateira and Vila do Bispo. I mainly use Booking.com to make (last minute) reservations. These are a few recommendations:
- 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.
- Vila do Bispo – Pure Fonte Velha B&B – nicely furnished B&B with common areas in the center of Vila do Bispo.
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:
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Read more about the Algarve & Portugal
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:
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