The Rota Vicentina is a great route between Santiago do Cacém and Cape St. Vincent, with around 450 km of marked paths. It encompasses the Historical Path, the Fishermen’s Trail and various Circular Trails. The Historical Path (trail integrated in the GR 11 E9) is about 230 km long and can be done hiking or cycling. It connects Santiago do Cacém to Cape St. Vincent. This Great Trail aims to recover what would have been the route taken by pilgrims, travellers and locals across the region, as it crosses many towns and villages.
The Fishermen’s Trail goes from Porto Covo to Cape St. Vincent. Until the spring of 2019 it is expected to be extended to Lagos, in the Algarve. Nowadays the Fishermen’s Trail is located solely in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park. This natural Park is considerably diverse in natural and semi-natural landscapes. It extends 2 km into the sea, and as a result it has sandy and pebble beaches, cliffs along the shoreline and a coastal plateau broken only by the odd ravine.
The coastal landscapes sustain a considerable diversity of rare floral populations and endemic species. Out of the about 700 species of plants, 100 are endemic, rare or local. The most common trees of this region are oak species like the cork oak and the Portuguese oak. The strawberry tree, a shrub or small tree which usually grows near these oaks, is also particularly important.
Some of the watercourses in the park sustain endemic species of fish and serve as staging points for passerines. Their estuaries provide ideal conditions for juvenile marine fish and are important staging and feeding points for migrating birds. Every year between the end of summer and beginning of autumn, in the far southwest near Sagres and Cape St. Vincent, a great variety of birds gather during their migration to Africa. During these days you can spot a great number of eagles, kites, vultures, storks, and other species, as they wait for favourable winds to carry them on their journey south.
Human activity in the region is mainly concerned with agriculture, livestock, fishing and tourism. The agricultural fields grow traditional crops using traditional methods, with the exception of a growing area in the Perímetro de Rega do Mira, which uses intensive farming. The cultural heritage is also quite diversified. The Sagres Fortress is particularly noteworthy, due to its almost mythical connotation with the History of the Portuguese Discoveries.
Municipalities: Santiago do Cacém, Sines, Odemira, Aljezur, Vila do Bispo
Location: Alentejo and Algarve
Type of Trail: linear trail integrated in the Great Route 11 (GR 11 E9), connecting Sagres to St Petersburg (Russia)
Distance: 230 km
Average duration: a sector per day (12 sectors with distances between 12 km and 25 km)