Vale de Centeanes to Ferragudo (linear)

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This is a demanding linear coastal walk, which incorporates the six-kilometre waymarked 'Trail of the Headlands' route (Caminho dos Promontórios).

Starting at Vale de Centeanes, you begin with a steep climb onto clifftops and head west until you reach the karst landscape of Algar Seco, created from the slow deposition of marine creatures and estimated to be between 16 and 24 million years old. Descend steps and marvel at the maze of ochre-coloured rock, eroded and sculpted by rain and waves.

Join a 600-metre boardwalk to cross the Algar Seco and arrive at the Forte de Nossa Senhora de Encarnação, a small fort and chapel on the hill above the popular resort of Carvoeiro with its shops, restaurants and bars. From here, you can see all the promontories of the coastline from Carvoeiro to Sagres.

At Praia do Paraiso in Carvoeiro, pick up the Caminho dos Promontórios (the waymarks are a yellow line above a red line) and head west. Regrettably, a short section of this newly waymarked route has been closed by a landfall. No matter, the detour includes a pretty footpath through woodland to reach a hanging valley. It also means avoiding a steep descent, although unfortunately not the climb back up to the clifftops.

Despite excellent and regular waymarking, it is easy to go astray when walking these wide clifftop areas dominated by Mediterranean scrubland such as juniper trees, dwarf fan palms and kermes oak and with footpaths meandering off in all directions. Keep a lookout for waymarks and always stay clear of the cliff edge.
The natural landscape is impressive and there is ample opportunity to see (and photograph) the distinctive arches, promontories, sea stacks, caves and (fenced) sink holes.

The numerous platforms and holes in the cliffs provide resting and breeding spots for birds like the rock dove, the yellow-legged gull, cormorants, swifts and birds of prey, like the peregrine falcon and the common kestrel.

There is much more to enjoy, including the Forte de Nossa Senhora de Encarnação, a small fort and chapel just before you reach the popular resort of Carvoeiro with its shops, restaurants and bars. Just before Ferragudo, the route passes the restored 16th Century Torre de Lapa (watchtower) and the 10-metre-high Ponta do Altar Lighthouse, which was built in 1893 and was not automatised until 1983.
If the undulating route makes you weary, stop to rest of one of the frequent picnic tables and accessible coves along the way, or wait until you reach the fishing village of Ferragudo, where the impressive São João do Arade stands at the water's edge.

The walk ends at the top of steps from the beach, where it is possible to walk into Ferragudo for your return transport.

Portugal - South Portugal - Central Algarve - Lagoa


Ancient Monument, Birds, Cafe, Castle, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Great Views, Play Area, Public Transport, Restaurant, Sea, Toilets