Day 2 of the Rota Vicentina
The Fisherman’s Trail
Vila de Nova Milfontes to Almograve 15.5 km/9.6 miles
After a substantial breakfast at our hostel in Vila de Nova Milfontes, we headed back out onto the coastal trail. We had a shorter day today, under 10 miles to Almograve.
First, we walked inland along the River Mira, away from the sea.
It’s about a 3 kilometer detour inland to cross the bridge and walk back out to the coast, which isn’t too far, but it’s for sure not the most pleasant part of the day. You’re basically walking along a highway.
From the bridge, you can see Vila de Nova Milfontes in the distance. After you cross, you walk through forest and farmland to get back out to the sea.
In the busier season, you can hop on a boat to cross the river and save yourself the detour, which could mean you reach Almograve before lunch and might consider walking a bit further.
But soon enough, we were back by the sea again and headed into the beach dunes.
It was another gorgeous day in the sunshine with spectacular sea views.
We climbed up to the cliffs above the sea again and walked the winding trail that dipped into the land and back out to the sea all morning.
The Fisherman’s Trail is quite well-marked with these blue and green striped markers. Sometimes there are red and yellow markings as well but those are a different part of the Rota Vicentina.
We were more ready with supplies on this day. We’d stopped at the store for snacks and we had extra water, which was good because we didn’t pass any open restaurants or shops all day.
The trail turned inland for a while and took us through a forest.
We also walked alongside some farmland for a stretch.
This day was going to be one of our shortest, but as we turned inland and walked along a farm, somewhere along the way I missed the clear markings and we walked inland much further than we were meant to.
We both had gotten in our groove and were just marching on forward, but in the wrong direction. When I finally realized it, we turned around and of course on the way back we noticed that there was a green and blue X indicating that we were not to go in that direction.
Since I turned our 10 mile day into a 13 mile day, it was a good thing we packed snacks.
We made it back to the sea side and walked along the coast for the rest of the day. This part of the trail had very sandy paths. For a while, Anna took off her shoes and walked barefoot. She said it made it a little easier and we had seen one other man pass us walking north in bare feet. But my ankles are so unsteady that I didn’t risk coming out of my boots.
It was a such beautiful afternoon. Heather was blooming all along this section.
One of the highlights of the Rota Vicentina is the flora on the path, but I didn’t expect there to be flowers in bloom in January.
But I was wrong. We spotted quite a few flowers along the trail.
Of course, for sure there are loads more flowers in the spring, which would be a great time to walk it.
Towards the end of our day, we reached a big wide of expanse of beach. We continued to walk along the cliff above the beach and turned back inland to reach our destination for the day: Almograve.
We were staying in a small guest house and our host’s mother was meant to meet us, but we went first for lunch at a restaurant called Churrasqueira Isa that she recommended that was right behind the guest house.
It was 2:30pm when we sat down to lunch. We ordered the special of the day, a fish called Dourada, which is sea bream. It came whole on the plate with vegetables and it was delicious. We devoured it hungrily.
While we were sitting in the restaurant after lunch, our hostess from the guest house came and found us. She treated us each to a small glass of the traditional Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherries: Ginjinha.
Then we headed off to our room for showers and naps.
We walked back down to the beach to watch the sunset before exploring Almograve’s restaurant scene.
It was another beautiful night. We kept marveling at the views and how we seemed to have them all to ourselves, sharing them with a lone fisherman or two.
We found a small place to eat, Torralta, that just had a chalkboard with what was on offer for the day. The menu was fairly meat-heavy so I explained that I don’t eat meat. I said in very broken Portuguese that I would love a big salad, and maybe some fries. A farmer who was hanging out at the restaurant helped the cook by taking our order and serving us drinks.
When he came back from the kitchen he said that the cook could make us falafel along with our other requests. He told us that she is a great cook and really she can make you whatever you want.
We really had no idea what we ended up ordering but when our food came, it was perfect. The salad was gorgeous and we ate all our fries and falafel along with it. We washed it all down with a couple of Portuguese beers (Sagres) and of course, one more shot of the local liqueur, this one homemade from the cook’s own grape skins.
So far everyone in Portugal was so friendly and welcoming.
We laughed as we fell asleep about my communicating with our impromptu waiter. Between his broken English, my broken Portuguese and a lot of hand motions, we made it work.