It’s hard to imagine a more consistently Type 1 long-distance hike than the Fisherman’s Path. For 150 miles, you traipse along dramatic seaside cliffs, where every turn reveals another fantastic view or secluded cove. About every dozen kilometers, you’re treated to a brief encounter with civilization, in the form of an inoffensive village with a few restaurants, minimarket, and cheap guesthouse, and then you’re once again sent off for many more miles of uninterrupted natural splendor. There is almost no road-walking. It’s never too hot or cold. It’s so perfect, it’s almost boring. You will end up with a lot of sand in your shoes.
Every day was exactly the same: upper 40s in the morning, 60s in the afternoon, always with abundant sunshine and no rain. It’s hard to imagine why this is the low-season, but as a result, I had the trail mostly to myself and rooms were cheap. This would likely be way less pleasant in the summer.
I found something in the 20-30 euro range every night of the trip; on the lower end were private rooms with bathrooms down the hall, but I usually had access to a kitchen and laundry, and one time I got an entire house. There are also hostel beds available for 10-20 euros.
On a previous trip to Portugal, I got a 4-course meal with a bottle of wine for 5 euros. There doesn’t seem to be anything like this on the coast. Most of the seafood restaurants charge 10+ euros for the mains alone. It is fairly easy to find Indian and Nepalese food in the 7-euro/main range, as well as kebabs and omelets for far less. Bottled domestic beers are frequently just over a euro and tiny coffees run around 40 cents. The minimarkets all have bread, oats, peanuts, and raisins for cheap. (side note: back in Lisbon, there is a place next to my guesthouse with a Menu do Dia of fish, rice, salad, soup, bread, wine, and coffee for 5.50).
Next-day round-trip flights from various US cities to Lisbon are often $400 on TAP. One-way flights to Lisbon are sometimes $200, but one-way return flights can be prohibitively expensive. I’ll likely end up booking a roundtrip from Madrid for $250 and thus enter an inescapable cycle where I return to Madrid every few months on a schedule dictated by the arbitrary whims of my former selves. There are frequent, comfortable buses between Lisbon and the endpoints. I started from Sines, but this was a mistake – Porto Covo or Santiago do Cacem would be better.
A one-month, 20gb sim is 10 euros at the airport. It gives you speedy 4G on nearly every inch of this trail.
You need a vaccine card and antigen/PCR test to get into Portugal – I had picked up an antigen test in the Merida airport that got me into both Miami and Lisbon. It takes all of 5 minutes to get through the airport and there are no onerous restrictions or closures. You typically have to show your card at every hotel and restaurant. Everyone’s currently wearing masks inside and many are wearing them on the streets as well.
Day 1, Sines to Porto Covo: www.strava.com/activities/6508173589
Day 2, Porto Covo to Almograve: www.strava.com/activities/6512891016
Day 3, Almograve to Zambujeira: www.strava.com/activities/6517824410
Day 4, Zambujeira to Rogil: www.strava.com/activities/6522960176
Day 5, Rogil to Carrapateira: www.strava.com/activities/6528453740
Day 6, Carrapateira to Sagres: www.strava.com/activities/6534568117
Day 7, Sagres to Lagos: www.strava.com/activities/6539096853