The 11th section of the Fishermen’s Trail runs from Sagres to Salema. A beautiful hike through the hills, past empty farms, and hidden beaches. In this article, I’ll tell you all about this amazing hike.
What is the Fishermen’s Trail?
The Fishermen’s Trail (Trilho dos Pescadores in Portuguese) is a long-distance tail in Portugal that runs along the coast from Lagos (Algarve) to São Torpes near Sines (Alentejo). The trail is part of Rota Vicentina, a collection of hiking and cycling trails in southwest Portugal.
The Fishermen’s Trail is 226.5 kilometers long in total and includes a total of 13 sections. In this article, I’ll tell you all about the 11th section of the trail, between Sagres and Salema.
Hiking from Salema to Sagres
For logistical reasons (more buses run from Sagres to Lagos than from Salema to Lagos) I chose to walk the section the other way around, so from Salema to Sagres.
Start of the hike: Salema
When I arrive in Salema, I quickly realize that I made a mistake by starting quite late since it was already 11 in the morning. I assumed I could do the hike in five hours, but the sign about this section of the Fishermen’s Trail in Salema says that this is a difficult hike and that it takes eight hours. If it really takes me eight hours to do this, it will be dark before I arrive in Sagres. Oops!
I decide to start hiking anyway since I have a fast walking pace and I am also used to the climbs. I’m sure will be okay! The first part of the hike goes through the village of Salema and right away, this is a big climb!
Along the coast
It doesn’t take long before I leave Salema behind, and I find myself hiking along the coast. The views are stunning! The trail winds through the hills (lots of climbing and descending) and there is not another person in sight.
The trail takes me away from the coastline for a bit. And I happen to hike the wrong way twice because the GPS and the signs both are telling me something different. Luckily, I’m able to find my way back.
Then there are a lot of beautiful little beaches that you’ll see during this section of the Fishermen’s Trail. It starts with Praia das Furnas, where I see a few camper vans. Living in a camper (Van Life) is quite popular here in Portugal, although wild camping is illegal.
Yet a lot of people do it, especially at this kind of hidden beaches, which you can only get to via a dirt road. It is tolerated by the police, but I believe that this may change in the near future because there are so many campervans everywhere.
After a considerable climb, I hike on the cliffs to the next beautiful beach: Praia do Zavial. The view is truly spectacular. This is the halfway point of the hike, so I decide to take a break here and have lunch. It’s a good thing I brought enough food with me because there’s nothing I can buy along the way.
Good to know: There is a beach bar on Praia do Zavial, but it’s closed in wintertime. So if you hike this section in spring, summer, or autumn, you probably don’t need to bring your own lunch.
I continue my hike and pass a beautiful beach again: Praia da Ingrina. It’s so much fun to hike from one beach to another!
After this beach, there’s a bit of a cliff walk and that is really beautiful. At one point there is a lonely tree on a cliff and I just have to take a picture of it. It’s so scenic!
The path winds through the landscape and every now and then you’ll find yourself standing on top of a cliff. The view is gorgeous and the water is crystal clear.
The last beach in this part of the trail is Praia do Barranco and it is very popular with the “Van Life” community. I see vans from Poland, Germany, and The Netherlands.
Hiking in the countryside
From Praia do Barranco it becomes a completely different hike, I suddenly find myself hiking in the countryside. A wide path with a lot of mud and a meadow full of yellow flowers.
I pass a large empty farmhouse with lots of graffiti, including a large blue butterfly. I love it!
When I continue my hike, I suddenly hear a dog barking and some bells ringing. A shepherd is working near the trail. I don’t see him, but the ringing of the bells sounds really cool.
The sun is already starting to set, but I have a good pace, so I know I’ll make it to Sagres before dark. I can even see it!
Just before Sagres, I come across the most interesting beach in this section of the Fishermen’s Trail: Praia dos Rebolinhos. This is not a sandy beach, but a beach filled with large white stones! It’s a beautiful sight.
Not much further I get back to civilization and I cross Praia do Martinhal to get to Sagres. Because of the dunes, it has something of the Dutch Wadden Islands, and I immediately feel at home!
Luckily, I get to Sagres just in time to catch the 5:00 PM bus (the next one doesn’t leave until 6:30 PM). I’m tired, I have a little bit of sunburn, but I also feel completely satisfied. I just finished another beautiful section of the Fishermen’s Trail. And I managed to get to Sagres before dark, yes!
I would like to reflect on the fact that I actually did this hike “the wrong way”. It was a beautiful hike, but next time I would rather walk it from Sagres to Salema. This way, you have the sun on your back.
Because of the low sun, I could not always find the markings properly and I also saw less of the beautiful landscape. This was especially the case in the last kilometers when I was hiking more in the countryside.
The 11th section of the Fisherman’s Trail runs from Sagres to Salema and is 19.5 kilometers long. It takes six to eight hours. That is probably longer than you might expect, but some parts are quite tough. This makes this section classified as “very hard”. You have to climb big hills and sometimes you even have to use your hands because it’s very steep.
During this hike you will not pass through other villages, so make sure to bring enough food and water with you. There are a few beach pavilions (at Praia do Zavial and Praia da Ingrina), but these are closed in winter.
The best time to do this hike from Sagres to Salema is between September and June. In July and August, it can get very warm and there is hardly any shade on the way.
On this page, you can find more information about this section and download the gpx file.
Several buses (number 47) run daily between Lagos and Sagres. Some of these also stop in Salema. Note: This bus runs more often on weekdays than on Saturdays and Sundays, keep that in mind. Check Google Maps for the nearest bus stop and route times.
I paid € 2.80 for the Lagos – Salema ride and € 4.05 for the Sagres – Lagos ride (January 2021). You can buy a bus ticket from the driver, but make sure to bring cash. Preferably a small amount because they don’t have a lot of change.
Where to stay
Many tourists come to the Algarve every year, so there are a lot of places to stay. There is a relaxed atmosphere in both Salema and Sagres (it is not extremely busy or touristy) and there are many small-scale guesthouses and boutique hotels.
Here are some recommendations when you’d like to stay in Salema and Sagres:
- Hotel Residencial Salema – A very nice 3* hotel on the beach, right next to the trailhead in Salema.
- Salema Eco Camp – A more affordable option in Salema, but also a 20-minute walk from town, the trail, and the beach.
- Memmo Baleeira – Design Hotels – A beautiful 4* hotel, a great place if you’re looking for a luxurious night off. Also very close to the trail.
- Wavesensations – Sagres Surf House – A great hostel with private rooms and dorms. Very close to the trail.
Check Booking.com for all options, prices, and availability. It might be smart to make a reservation beforehand because some places fill up quickly, especially in the high season.
Fishermen’s Trail Journals
So far I’ve hiked 8 of the 13 sections of the Fishermen’s Trail. You might also like to read these trail journals:
- Carrapateira to Vila do Bispo | Fishermen’s Trail section 9
- Hiking from Vila do Bispo to Sagres | Fishermen’s Trail section 10
- Salema to Praia da Luz | Fishermen’s Trail section 12
Check this page if you’d like to read all my trail journals of the Fishermen’s Trail.
Read more about 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 this trail guide if you want to explore more hiking trails in the Algarve.
In the last few years, I’ve spent seven months in Lagos (the endpoint of the Fishermen’s Trail), that’s why you can read a lot about Portugal on this website. You might like to read these articles as well:
- What to do in the Algarve? 26 tips!
- The best things to do in Sagres, Portugal
- Seven Hanging Valleys Trail: the best hiking trail in the Algarve
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