Surf or climb? Hike or camp? If you’re a ditherer who can’t settle on one weekend adventure, why not opt for all four? No need to be intimidated by the amount of gear — climbing shoes, a bodyboard and a basic camp kit is all you need.
What do I need? A simple camp kit and hiking shoes. Add a bodyboard, a wetsuit and climbing shoes to strap to your pack, with flippers stuffed inside. Maps aren’t a must — just follow the trail. It’s not super well-marked, but just keep the ocean on your left.
Best time? Any. Beware, however, that in summer, the weather is scorching and the beaches tend to be saturated with tourists.
Start from the lighthouse in Lagos. Spot the singular sea stacks scattered throughout the turquoise ocean: These crooked rocks, which jut prominently out of the water, and misshapen cliff tops were shaped by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake as the consequent tsunami transformed the Algarve coastline.
Soon you’ll pass Praia do Porto de Mós, following the cliff tops into Praia da Luz. Head through the fishing village of Burgau, pass Cabanas Velhas and walk toward the cliffs past Selma.
Shortly, you’ll be ambling into the wilderness that surrounds Praia das Furnas. If you’re feeling the heat, take a break and slip on your shoes for a scramble around.
Head on past Furnas for a late, well-earned lunch atop the cliffs of Praia do Zavial.
Spend the afternoon climbing and bodyboarding. A bouldering cave just to the left of Zavial beach is flanked by the ocean on one side, making for some incredible views when you top out.
After rocking around, unstrap your board and sluice off the sweat in the ocean. With a good long-period swell, you can find yourself tumbling and scudding along in some deep bodyboard barrels.
Although camping isn’t expressly allowed, one could stealthily bivouac around here, making sure to leave no trace.
Steam back onto the trail at sunrise. Pass Praia da Ingrina and bushwhack your way up the hill behind Barranco Beach. The path curves into farmland before re-hugging the cliff tops.
Storm on through Sagres, and keep tramping along the coast. Don’t forget to peep at the swell as you pass by Praia do Tonel and Beliche.
The path leads along wonderfully wild, craggy cliffs — a superb spectacle while surfing.
Keep striding on and you’ll be at the lighthouse at Cabo de São Vicente, or the “End of the Known World.”
Back in ancient times, this spot marked the end of the inhabited world. Beyond, the sea was thought to be teeming with seething sea serpents, filling sailors with frightful fears of sailing past the cape. Stand here on a stormy day and the howling wind combined with lashing waves recreates the unease those early sailors must have felt peering out at a spitefully frothing ocean.
After an obligatory tourist shot and a bite to eat, retrace your steps through the spicy sunshine to Beliche to get stuck in the bouldering along the beach. Post-climb, shimmy into the water to catch a few waves as the sun melts into the ocean.
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