Today’s walk from Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe strikes a perfect balance between clambering atop high cliffs and dipping down to meet pristine beaches. There’s a little more climbing involved, but the views compensate adequately!
Motivation can be hard to find on today’s walk. Not because it’s unimpressive, but on the contrary, because of the number of heavenly beaches you’ll pass along the way, each inviting you to pull over and rest a while. Beaches where you’re surrounded by an amphitheatre of cliffs on one side and an endless horizon of ocean on the other. Beaches where the waves slide across the golden sand in slow-motion. Two beaches even have waterfalls that cascade from a nearby fresh-water stream and meander lazily into the sea.
Undoubtedly the best viewpoint and beach is saved for last. From atop the high rocky headland of Ponta em Branco, you can admire the serpentine River Seixe which winds through the valley to meet the sea. A sand bar covers 4/5ths of the river-mouth to form Odeceixe Beach. You’re only 100 metres away. It feels like you could reach out and grab it… But in a cruel twist of fate it is still an 8 kilometre walk to get there via the nearest bridge!
Take advantage of the funky, beach-side, surfer café after 3.5 kilometres, and then enjoy lunch in the delightful seafood restaurant in Azenha do Mar after 10 kilometres.
There are many exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk. Additionally, some of the cliff-edges may be unstable; be careful and remain on the path.
There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a sharp left bend, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum time to see you.
Some of the path is along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.
Points of Interest
White Storks’ Nests
Another stretch of Portugal’s Coast that is famous for its white storks - or rather, the crazy positioning of their nests. These large nests cling precipitously to the cliffs, sometimes with a hundred-metre drop to the tumultuous ocean on all sides. Not a great location for a newborn stork to take its first flight! If you are visiting in spring (April/May) you are in luck as the nests may have chicks in, whereas towards the end of summer they migrate south to Africa.
The River Seixe forms the boundary between Alentejo and the Algarve. A sand-bar has formed across the mouth of the river which constitutes Odeceixe Beach, considered to be one of the Fishermen Coast’s most beautiful.
The dazzling blue-and-white windmill (Moinho) occupies a prominent position on one of the most elevated parts of Odeceixe, allowing it to catch as much wind as possible. It was constructed at the end of the 19th century and is still in full working order to mill corn and wheat, though is seldom used. From here there is a beautiful viewpoint to the lower part of the village, and through the River Seixe Valley.
Praia do Brejão
Praia do Brejão is an idyllic beach, with a waterfall that cascades down to meet the swathe of golden sand. Most locals know it as Amália Beach, for it was the favoured holiday spot for Amália Rodrigues, possibly Portugal’s most famous and well-loved Fado singer. Some of the houses in nearby Brejão Village, just a kilometre inland, bear enormous mural paintings of the singer.
Food and Drink
You will pass a beachside café after 3.6 kilometres and a restaurant in Azenha do Mar after 10 kilometres.
Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking in hot weather.
Be sure to bring plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.