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Pedralva to Vila do Bispo

Hiking route · Algarve
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  • Main square, Pedralva. View from Rota Vicentina Signpost
    Main square, Pedralva. View from Rota Vicentina Signpost
    Photo: Iain Grant, Macs Adventure
Leaving the sleepy village of Pedralva the route meanders gently through the countryside before descending to the coast and the remote sandy beach at Praia da Barriga. Climbing back inland, steeply at times you are treated to more coastal views before reaching Vila do Bispo.
Distance 20.2 km
6:30 h
509 m
469 m
140 m
-43 m

A short transfer (10mins) takes you to the village of Pedralva this morning, a picturesque little place lined with whitewashed houses featuring painted colourful doors.

Continue along peaceful forest tracks and through scented orchard areas. If you are travelling in spring, this area is home to an array of colour wildflowers including forget-me-nots, yellow narcissi, hyacinths and purple orchids.  After leaving the forest, head to the coast and a very worthwhile diversion off the Rota Vicentina trail to the rugged beach at Praia da Barriga, deep in the heart of the Costa Vicentina National Park. Continue into a lush forested area before catching a glimpse of the sea again as you arrive in Vila do Bispo.

Author’s recommendation

This is a pleasant walk through lovely countryside and wild areas. The remote beach at Praia da Barriga is superb and well worth spending some time exploring. There are good views down the coast to Cabo St. Vicente. The route does not follow the Rota Vicentina for the most part, so you cannot rely on the familiar striped markers today.
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Adventure Macs
Update: September 02, 2022
Highest point
140 m
Lowest point
-43 m

Track types

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Safety information

The climbs and descents on some of the hillsides are steep, and care is needed on the loose gravel. This is certainly the case on the final stretch up from the coast towards Vila do Bispo where you may be tired from the exertions of the day. The only section of the walk today where you might encounter traffic is arriving in Vila do Bispo.

Tips and hints

Points of Interest


A remote rural village, once inhabited by over 100 people fell into decline and by 2006 only nine of the homes were lived in and the others largely derelict. Today though, the village is a thriving community having been restored as a project to preserve the rural heritage and history.


Praia de Barriga 

This is a remote, unspoilt, large sandy beach surrounded by high black cliffs found at the end of a long valley. It extends southwards to the beaches of Cordoama and Castelejo.


Vila do Bispo 

A pleasant village clustered around the 16 th century church with a fine manueline door, a distinctive Portuguese late gothic style. It is also home to the Museum of Sacred Art. The village is twinned with Nishinoomote in Japan in recognition of the fact that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Japan in the 16 th century.


Food & Drink

Pedralva is a small village with a restaurant and a bar where you can stock up with food and drink depending on opening times. It may be wise to get your supplies before departure in Carrapateira. Remember to take plenty of fluids, particularly if the weather is hot. This route is quite remote and there are no opportunities for refreshment on the way.


Pedralva (51 m)
37.140578, -8.862363
37°08'26.1"N 8°51'44.5"W
29S 512223 4110476


Vila do Bispo

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – Start in the small village square with your back to the restaurants and facing the Rota Vicentina Information Board and book exhange. Continue STRAIGHT ON to walk along the gravel road leading from the village, signposted to Barranco do Zambujeiro, and following the red and white markers.

1.2 km – At a track junction BEAR RIGHT uphill, to follow the overhead lines and walk towards the wind turbines. 

1.6 km - As the path splits beside a lake, BEAR RIGHT to head climb steadily uphill for 1.5 kilometres.

3.1 km – At a track junction BEAR LEFT along the edge of the trees, towards the wind turbines and the main road.

3.6 km - As the path forks beside a wind turbine, BEAR RIGHT. At the gravel crossroads after 100 metres, continue STRAIGHT ON.

3.80 km – At the main road, cross over and BEAR RIGHT onto the sandy footpath that descends into the valley signposted to Vila do Bispo. Ignore the wide, gravel road that bears right.

4.9 km – Once over a small stream (which is probably dry) TURN LEFT and head steeply uphill following the striped markers.

5.3 km – At a track junction TURN LEFT towards the wind turbines and continue STRAIGHT ON.

6.1 km – At a fork in the track TURN RIGHT and away from the wind turbines, following the striped markers until the next junction.

6.6 km – At a wide gravel road TURN RIGHT. You are now leaving the Rota Vicentina so ignore the red and white striped marking which directs you left. After 100 metres, continue STRAIGHT ON ignoring a left turn.

7.3 km – As the gravel road bends right, and beside the last in a long row of concrete pylons, TURN LEFT onto the dirt track. There are two tracks here, so turn onto the second, broader track. This road will dip into the valley and then climb out the other side.

9.2 km – On reaching a gravel road TURN LEFT, then in 200 m BEAR RIGHT onto the second sandy coloured track, following the blue and green markings. 

9.6 km - At the crossroads on the edge of the pine forest, continue STRAIGHT ON, following the red and yellow sign to Barriga, and ignoring the green and blue left turn to Vila do Bispo. As the path splits after 100 metres, BEAR LEFT to pass through the red and yellow cross and ignore the right turn.

11.6 km – On crossing the stream (which is probably dry) you can take a detour right to visit the beach at (200 metres one-way), or TURN LEFT to begin climbing from the valley and continue to Vila do Bispo. After 900 metres, continue STRAIGHT ON, ignoring the right turn.

13.0 km – Wish a small stone post on either side of the road, TURN RIGHT from the gravel road and follow the narrow track which descends steeply into a dip, and then climbs out the other side.

13.3 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON, ignoring a right turn with a red and yellow blaze of paint. Then at a T-junction after 20 metres, TURN RIGHT to pass through a red and yellow cross and head towards the sea.

13.6 km – Where the track divides, BEAR LEFT slightly uphill and continue STRAIGHT ON the ridge with good views of the coast.

14.0 km - At the gravel crossroads with a wonderful panorama of the sea ahead, TURN LEFT sharply. Remain on this road for 1.2 kilometres ignoring all side paths.

15.2 km - Continue STRAIGHT ON as the road becomes paved, and then after 50 metres, TURN LEFT at the T-junction with a main road. This path will wind uphill heading away from the beach. Walk on the left side, facing the oncoming traffic.

16.4 km – At the T-junction beside a large, gravel car parking area, TURN LEFT. After 100 metres, BEAR RIGHT to walk along the rocky footpath that walks parallel to the road on your left. Ignore the gravel road on your right that passes through a vehicle barricade.

16.9 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON along the gravel road into the car park. After passing through the car park, and beside the picnic benches and play area on your right, continue STRAIGHT ON along the sandy footpath that skirts the edge of the woodland. Follow the red and yellow markings.

17.5 km - Just before the footpath passes through a vehicle barricade, TURN RIGHT to follow the footpath through woodland.

17.8 km - Continue STRAIGHT ON at the crossroads to continue through the woodland, parralel to the dirt road on your left.

18.0 km – Beside the derelict building, BEAR LEFT away from the two vehicle barricades and onto the dirt road. Ignore the waymarked footpath that passes around the barricade. After 50 metres, TURN LEFT along the paved road, and remain on this road for 1.1 kilometres towards Vila do Bispo.

19.1 km – At the T-junction TURN RIGHT towards the village.

19.7 km – At the roundabout, TURN RIGHT and then after 100 metres, just before the bus shelter, TURN LEFT along a narrow street. Ignore all side paths.

20.2 km – Finish in the main square beside the church. Why not grab an ice cream?


37.140578, -8.862363
37°08'26.1"N 8°51'44.5"W
29S 512223 4110476
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Sturdy footwear is essential as much of the route follows rough gravel tracks and paths. Walking poles may be desirable for the steep climbs and descents, if preferred. Headgear and sun screen are also advisable as shade is limited. Remember to carry plenty of fluids to rehydrate on the walk. One and a half litres per person is recommended on this stage. Insect repellent should be carried if you are susceptible to bites. While the weather is almost always sunny it is worth taking a waterproof just in case.

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Photos from others

20.2 km
6:30 h
509 m
469 m
Highest point
140 m

Weather at the route's trailhead


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