Fishermens Trail etappe 12 - Salema - Praia da Luz

Salema to Praia da Luz | Fishermen’s Trail section 12

Section 12 of the Fishermen’s Trail leads from Salema to Praia da Luz through a ruin of a medieval fort and the village of Burgau. 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) is a long-distance hike in Portugal and 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 the southwest of 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 beautiful hike from Salema to Praia da Luz. This is the twelfth section of the Fishermen’s Trail.

Hiking from Salema to Praia da Luz

I really loved my previous hike on the Fishermen’s Trail (Praia da Luz to Lagos), so I decided it was time to hike another section. This time, I hike from the village of Salema to Praia da Luz.


To hike the section from Salema to Praia da Luz, I have to take the bus from my home in Lagos to the trailhead in Salema. It’s Sunday and the bus only goes twice a day (morning and evening), so I’m happy when I get on the bus. After a 30-minute bus ride (the bus is almost empty), I arrive in the village of Salema.

It is very small, so after only taking a few steps, I am already on the beach and back on the Fishermen’s Trail! There are many surfers who also want to start their Sunday morning healthy. It’s always fun to watch them prepare. Right next to the surfers, there are some fishermen having a nice chat on the beach. The fishing boats are right there on the beach dan their gear is everywhere. A beautiful sight.

Starting point of the Fishermen's Trail in Salema
Salema is the starting point of section 12.

It is time to start my hike and I walk through a narrow street full of white houses before I leave Salema.

Hiking in Salema
I love these streets.

After about a kilometer, I leave the paved road and climb up the hill. The view of Salema is beautiful!

View of Salema
The view of Salema is beautiful!
Co on the Fishermens Trail near Salema
Hi, it’s me!

After this, I continue the trail to Praia da Boca do Rio.

Marking of the Fishermen's Trail
Sometimes you have to pay close attention to find the marker of the Fishermen’s Trail.
Fishermen's Trail from Salema

All by myself in a medieval fortress!

Once there, I soon lose sight of the Fishermen’s Trail markings. Now what? All I know is that I have to go back up the hill on the other side of the beach. The only problem: there is a river between the beach and the hill I have to climb (hence the name “Rio”). After a while, I see some kind of dam made of stones and that’s where I want to cross the river.

Crossing the river at Praia da Boca do Rio
This is where I cross the river at Praia da Boca do Rio.

To be on the safe side, I put my camera, phone, and wallet in a dry bag. It would be just like me to slip and fall into the water. Fortunately, I come across dry and I can continue with the trail. The climb up is a bit tough (with some loose stones here and there), but the view of Praia da Boca do Rio is beautiful.

View of Praia da Boca do Rio
Praia da Boca do Rio.

After walking for a few minutes, there’s a big surprise: on top of the hill is a ruin of a medieval fortress! It is called Forte de Almádena and was built in 1632 to protect the local fishermen from the pirates.

It’s so awesome to explore, you can just walk in and around it. I am the only one there. I don’t remember the last time (or ever?) I walked through a fortress on my own, this is so cool!

Forte de Almádena between Salema and Burgau
Forte de Almádena
Forte de Almádena between Salema and Burgau


After Forte de Almádena I continue my way on the Fishermen’s Trail. This is also a beautiful section! The views are beautiful and the trail is easy to follow. Every now and then I pass a large villa (it would be awesome to rent one of those with a group someday!) And I also pass the beautiful beach Praia das Cabanas Velhas.

Praia das Cabanas Velhas
Praia das Cabanas Velhas.

On the way to the village of Burgau, the landscape seems to get rougher and it is a bit more climbing and descending, but I love it! I realize all too well how good I have it here in Portugal, being able to explore the Algarve like this.

Burgau is a very cute fishing village full of white houses and narrow streets. The Fishermen’s Trail leads you right through this. You really have to pay attention and try to find the markings.

There are quite a few restaurants in Burgau, but they look kind of crowded, so I keep on hiking.


From Burgau, it is not that far to Praia da Luz, which is the end of this section. It is a beautiful part of the trail, with many beautiful views. Now and then, I even see some cacti and a palm tree.

Fishermens Trail between Burgau en Luz
Fishermens Trail between Burgau en Luz

Luz is a bit of a luxury resort town in the Algarve, here are quite a few villas. It’s so different from Burgau! But if you look closely you can still see something of old Luz, such as the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz de Lagos.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz de Lagos in Luz
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz de Lagos in Luz.

I get a sandwich and an iced coffee at the supermarket and enjoy my lunch at Praia da Luz. I am already looking forward to the next section of the Fishermen’s Trail!

Practical information

Section 12 of the Fisherman’s Trail runs from Salema to Praia da Luz and is 12 kilometers long (7.5 miles). It will take you about four hours. There are some climbs and the trail has some loose stones here and there. So it is not an easy walk (not difficult either, I would rate it “average”).

There are a few places along the way where you can eat and drink, namely in Salema, Burgau and Luz. So you don’t have to bring a lot of snacks.

The best time of year to hike this section from Salema to Praia da Luz is between September and June. In July and August, it can get very hot and there is hardly any shade along the trail.

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, stopping halfway 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 a one-way ticket from Lagos to Salema (December 2020). You can pay this in cash from the bus driver. Try to pay the exact amount. The driver has spare change, but not much.

Where to stay

Many tourists come to the Algarve every year, so there are a lot of places to stay. Salema is a nice little village (and therefore a bit quieter) and Luz is quite busy, full of restaurants and cafes.

I always use if I want to book something for 1 or 2 nights and Airbnb if I need accommodation for a longer period of time.

Read more

Would you like to hike (a section of) the Fisherman’s Trail after reading this article? Then it is useful to order this trail guide:

Portugal’s Rota Vicentina

And order this trail guide if you want to explore more hiking trails in the Algarve.

Would you like to read more about Portugal? Check out one of these articles:

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As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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