We love to explore, get off the beaten track and spend time in the outdoors. As we settle into our new life here in Portugal we will share stories of the interesting walks, natural areas and other discoveries that we uncover. We’ll compile these posts on the Exploring Portugal pages which we hope over time will be a helpful resource for ideas and inspiration. The first is a short post on a stunning clifftop walk in the western Algarve.
This walk takes you from Praia do Porto de Mos to Luz along 5 kms of breathtaking clifftop vistas. We have been staying with friends in Porto de Mos so have started at Praia do Porto de Mos and continued to the Marco Geodesico da Atalaia (which is part of Portugal’s geodetic network) 4 km along the trails. Another 1 km downhill will bring you to the beachside town of Luz.
The path is well trodden and easy to follow. In the summer it is dry and dusty and there are some areas of loose gravel, but overall has good footing for walking. You begin with a steep incline but the first views from the sandstone cliffs are spectacular and well worth the effort. You can easily see from Ponta da Piedade to the east, all the way to Sagres near the far western end of the Algarve.
The middle section of the trail has moderate grades and is quite easy. There is generally a breeze to cool you down but after mid-morning, the summer heat is intense and there is no shade anywhere along the way. After climbing the final hill, the last section into Luz is a steep downhill grade.
There are signs posted all along the route reminding people of the instability of the sandstone cliffs. However judging by the number of worn paths to the edge, many people tend to take the warning for granted.
It is now the height of the tourist season but on an early morning walk you will encounter few people, mostly runners who seem to favour this trail. On the weekends there will also be mountain bikers and later in the day many profusely sweating casual walkers making the ascent in flip flops.
The views seaward are breathtaking and on a morning walk you will see many fishing boats, often surrounded by flocks of gulls. Sailboats and smaller pleasure boats also dot the azure ocean with splashes of white. Gulls, swifts, swallows and hawks soar along the cliff face while doves, magpies and hoopoes are common among the bushes and stunted trees along the path. Looking inland you can see the hills rising in the distance, many of their peaks crested with windmills.
In the cool of the morning or late afternoon the pastel colours created by the low sun are stunning. When you reach the final crest and see the dazzling white of the buildings of Luz, you will catch your breath and be thankful that you are on this special piece of coastline.