Fisherman’s trail (Rota Vicentina): Almograve – Vila Nova de Milfontes – Porto Covo

The last day for me on the trail had arrived – a total of 175km in a little more than 5 days. While there were still two stages to go (35km in total), my plan was to do a double today and move on to visit Lisbon and Sintra before heading home to spend time with Alex.

The first stage to Vila Nova de Milfontes went pretty quick. It’s just 15km and mostly on solid hiking path’. In fact, you get to the city already after 11km (so a bit more than 2h), but on the wrong side of the river. The ferry service wasn’t operating and hence left me no choice but to walk the 4km across the bridge further up the river.

Weather was still good though with a few more clouds. Rain was forecast for the coming days – an extra motivation to get the trip wrapped up. Rain is very much-needed, as the country already faces water shortages with reservoir levels running very low. A theme that echoed in several places i visited.

I reached Vila Nova right on time for lunch though I somehow managed to sit down in probably the only restaurant that wouldn’t serve food on that fine Sunday. Instead the waiter was busy grilling fish for himself in front of my nose. Well, I had my own food anyway ;o)

The final 20km stretch to Porto Covo was slow. The path was now mainly sand again. About two hours after Vila Nova I met a hikers going the opposite direction. It was now after 3pm and when they told me they had left Porto Covo 10am I figured I am in for a long day. However, the path soon improved as it led don from the cliffs onto the beach. On the wet bits you can walk pretty well actually.

Here I met a fellow hiker also Porto Covo bound. His name is Alex and he is from Sheffield where he deals in clothing though aims at minimising the time in England and rather prefers to spend time in cheaper places – sounds familiar.

Different to most hikers (e.g. 90% German & early 20’s), he is in my age category and has seen a few things in life. We had a rather entertaining and at times pretty deep conversation about life, relationships and the pros & cons of our lifestyle. Glad to have met him. He will be a few more weeks in Portugal – general direction of travel being North towards Porto.

After a short visit to a fortress on the way, we reached Porto Covo by 6pm – a pretty little town right on the sea. We checked into the hostel (‘Ahoy’), which had been recommended to us. Nikolai runs it and is super helpful setting you up and giving you some good tips. We were hungry and hit town for a bit of food (and, of course, a football game in the background). With us was a french fellow (Hughes from near Paris) who also stayed in Ahoy and so yet again the evening turned out pretty entertaining and let the pain in the feet disappear as if by magic.

And here I was. End of the trail. It was beautiful and one of the most scenic routes I have come across. Many amazing people, some interesting new knowledge and a good break from the troubles i encountered the last week. Buen camino!

Here the whole route from Cabo de Sao Vicente – 175km away

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