Wonderful Walks this week in Spain & Portugal

the motoroamers

Wonderful Walks this week in Spain & Portugal

In this new Wonderful Walks feature, I share some of the wonderful hikes I’ll do whilst on our travels around the world. This first edition features my wonderful walks this week in Spain and Portugal. Tune in for more hikes, as they crop up in my wanderlust world.

With Myles’ mobility, hopefully only temporarily halting long hiking trails, we have agreed that I must go alone. I love to walk and whilst I would rather have my buddy with me, I do enjoy the challenge, the fresh air and the workout that walking gives me. Sometimes van life involves a lot of sitting, so for me, my yoga and walking allows me to nourish my mind and my body.

Armed with my Google Maps, where I have my ‘Shared Location’ turned on, my maps.me footpath guide and my water, I head off for a couple of hours. Over the last few weeks, whilst we’ve been travelling around Portugal and Spain, I have been privileged to have some really beautiful walks. Some have challenged me physically and mentally, others have educated me. Whilst all of them have made my camera pop beautifully.

Walks in Portugal

Over the years, we have had so many fantastic trails, especially down south along the Rocky Algarve. Although for us, the west coast holds so many beautiful secrets and has less of a touristy feel to it. Off-grid camping tends to be easier, and the walks are frequented more by hardy pilgrims looking to complete the Fisherman’s Way. Here are the strolls that I’ve loved during our 2024 trip through Portugal that includes both the Atlantic Coast and some inland delights too. With each of these hikes, I have also included places that you can stay, if travelling in your motorhome or camper to make your planning easier.

  • Comporta to Carrasqueira Fishing Village (approximately 7 miles allow 3 hours)

    Comporta is one of our favourite, off-the-beaten-track places in Portugal. The town of storks, salt, Blue Flag beaches and wine. What more could a traveller desire? In terms of walking, there’s plenty of dune walking or beach trekking to do. Although for me, the walk that is just the best (and we did it actually on bikes on this occasion) is the one to the fishing village of Carrasqueira.

    Starting at the Aire in Comporta, you can either take the road or, as our preference, walk along the salt-flats and estuary coast. After a few twists and turns, and plenty of frog photography, you will arrive at the old port. Carrasqueira is a port full of wooden pontoons stretching out to the sea, which date back to the 1950’s. Many of them look pretty hairy to walk on let alone set sail from. Although they are being repaired, bit by bit. The character and charm of this traditional corner of Portugal is undeniable, and if you love authenticity and photography, then this place is worth the walk.

  • Foz do Sizandro – Beach and Boardwalk hike – 4 miles return

    After a visit with friends to Cascais and Lisbon, we meandered up the coast for a retreat. We chose Foz do Sizandro, which has a free Aire, although little did we know what was in store. With the Aire being full, we stopped overnight in the car park, given it was out of season, and we were treated to a full frontal display from an incredible sunset.

    On top of that, the area has history to beat all history seekers. First off, it has a significant timeline back to the Napoleonic invasion in the 19th century. Although if you want to be more impressed than that, try going back as far as the Crustaceous period where dinosaurs roamed the planet. The area stretching from Peniche south to Lisbon is known as the Lusitania Basin and is well known for fossil hunters.

    Taking a walk over the bridge of the Sizandro river, which flows all the way from Torre Vedras, you can take the boardwalk above the Gold Standard, Blue Flag beach, which stretches for miles. White sands just invite you to go barefoot as you watch in admiration, the skill of the surfers trying to tame the angry Atlantic waves. Dropping down onto the beach, it is worth continuing towards the cliffs where, most unassumingly, you will find a plateau of rock and stones that are made up entirely of fossils, dating back millions of years. Heart-shaped fossils leave you spell-bound as you marvel at the history upon which your feet stand.

    Whilst this is more of a walk than a hike, I think the blend of beach, river, history and geology makes this a very special place indeed. And the fact that you can sleep to the faint sound of the crashing waves, makes it a winner for us.

  • Buçaco Forest and Palace Walk – Short, Intermediate and Long hikes available.

    As we’ve always maintained, inland of any country is so understated. No more so than in Portugal. We swapped the rugged coast and city lights of Lisbon, for rolling hills and sweeping roads, where grape vines prosper from the spring sunshine. The cork trees are replaced by forests of giant eucalyptus and we steadily climbed to where the vistas draw an intake of breath.

    Buçaco Forest is the largest in Portugal and covers 105 hectares. It’s about 30 minutes from Coimbra in the middle of Portugal. It’s unique because the forest is contained with a 3 mile wall that has a number of 17th century gates. One of which has an inscription that says “No women can enter” and “Anyone found to be harming the trees will be excommunicated”. In truth, it is more of a botanical garden than a forest, with over 250 different species from around the world. You feel like David Bellamy just wandering around these towering giants. The walk for me, started at the Porta de Sula where we could park overnight for free, with ample space for plenty of vehicles.

    Within these walls is a 17th century Convent and Palace, once used by the Royal family. These days, it is a swanky hotel, although you can still walk around the grounds. It costs €3 to enter the Convent . It’s quite unique as the internal doors and roof are made from cork. You can scale the head-mashing, spiral staircase to the bell tower, and dong the bell as a reward. My thighs took a while to recover. The walks around the estate are vast. You can walk through the forest, just around the gardens, or you can take one of the many way-marked walks up to viewing points with incredible valley vistas. It’s one of those perfect places that will satisfy those who wish to saunter, explore and seriously hike. For more detailed information on hikes that you can take in the area, check out AllTrails for maps and guides.

Walks in Spain

After the joys of Portugal, where I could add so many walking entries from our visits over the years, we headed into Spain, en route to Santander. Here are two entries to this edition of Wonderful Walks – Spain.

  • Pico Cervero, Navarredonda – Castille y Leon region Arduous 7.5 mile hike

    Crossing over the border into Spain, we stumbled across the Los pueblos más bonitos de España town of Cuidad Rodrigo. It certainly looked like a lovely place to explore, although given we had hit a travel wall and it was a regional holiday, so we decided that nature was far more what we needed. Navarredonda de la Riconada was our destination where there was a free Aire in the village. With access to walks all through the forests and up into the mountains, it called me for a hike. I had seen a route up to the Pico Cervero, a 1465m high mountain with a cross on the top. Whilst I knew I didn’t have the energy to climb to the top, I would at least get to base camp.

    The walk goes directly from the Aire, so it is easy to follow and with spring in the air, it was amazing to see nature unfurling. It was a delight for the photographer in me. Once up at the top, my maps.me app showed me plenty of ‘coming down’ options to give me a circular walk. Although, I stumbled onto a private path leading to houses. However, after already covering 4 miles, I decided to take the risk of walking on their land, as the alternative was not a favourable option with hips already crying. If you do this hike, you might need to choose a different path back down, or risk it as I did. Irrespective, it is a fabulous walk and perhaps for you, hiking to the top of the mountain is just what the doctor ordered. If so allow at least 3 hours.

  • Castilla Canal – Villamuriel nr Palencia – 5 gentle miles

    After the beautiful surprise of Valladolid, where we had some chores to do, we found ourselves at a free Aire in Villamuriel, just off the A67. Equidistant from Palencia and Valladolid, this seemingly insignificant town, offers a wonderful secret to its visitors. Not only is there a Roman bridge on entry, Napoleonic history and a fabulous, oversized church for the size of the town; it has a canal. I have to admit to being somewhat surprised that Spain has canals. In fact there are five dotted around the country, the Castilla Canal being the oldest and longest. It was built in 1753 and was the first major civil engineering project in the country. Whilst the passage of 350 boats that passed along the 120 mile (200km) canal, was a life line for the region, it also created an economic boost with the emergence of mills along its banks. Today the canal is more about recreation with its network of tow-paths and staged locks transcending the 150m height difference from end to end. Whether walking, cycling or canoeing this fabulous canal is worth exploring. Villamuriel is a great place to pick up one of your legs.

    The walk, directly from the Aire, takes you through the town, past the church, over the bridge to see one of the unique lock systems (first designed by Leonardo da Vinci) and then down the tow path. Crossing yet another bridge there is a spectacular 18th century, three-tiered lock, the engineering of which you can just marvel at. Then you return along the eastern edge of the canal back home.

    If you want to extend the walk or perhaps get the bikes out, then why not take the route north, past Palencia to Frómista where there is another impressive lock system.

So there we have it, five wonderful walks this week in Spain and Portugal. They’ve been a joy, and in some cases, stretched me physically and mentally, which I totally embrace. Here’s to the next edition of Wonderful Walks.


Published: April 28, 2024
Category: Portugal | Spain


  1. Anna i Portugal

    Wow, your images are stunning! I totally understand that the walks were lovely in so many ways. Thanks for bringing me along 🙂

    • Karen

      Ah thanks Anna so much, that means a lot. The walks were amazing, some ambles, others treks. Although all amazing in their own right. I am very happy to have you along for the ride – walk. Kx

  2. Denn Foley

    Loving this new addition Karen – finding great walks is half the reason we travel! I’ve gotten so much really useful info from your blogs, hopefully I can share the following with you, if you don’t already know this 🙂 Have you tried the (free) Komoot app and website (www.komoot.com)? One of the features that I like about it, is that you can find landmarks and can plan a route directly to include that landmark. If you plan online, you can then send it to your phone – and you can also download a local copy to your phone. Also, when I’m using my phone to navigate a route, I have it on airplane mode to save battery. Things like weather apps or Google drain your battery trying to find you. You still have a GPS signal in airplane mode though.

    • Karen

      Hi Denn, well thanks so much for the lovely feedback. I really appreciate it. I must admit to feeling really stuck and fidgety when I can’t find walks to do where we park up. So practical campsites like the one we find ourselves in Taunton, I just have to manage that frustration. Next week by the River Wye will be a totally different matter. Yes I have heard about and used briefly Komoot, although for some reason I didn’t get on with it. It was about five years ago so perhaps the software has been updated. I’ll check it out. I think Anna used it didn’t you? So thanks Denn for the reminder, I will have another look at it and see if it suits me now. Thank you. Kx


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