This is the beaches section, where you will walk along the vast sand dunes area of Ilha do Pessegueiro, Aivados and Malhão beaches and discover small deserted coves that will surprise you. It is a tiring walking day though, given its extension and the constant sandy terrain.
The diversity of beaches you will find just on this section is absolutely fantastic! Beaches like Aivados with pebbles shaped by the constant rough and tumble of the waves. Beaches like Faquir or Farol where lace-like sandstone dunes seem to slide down into the ocean. Sandy beaches like Malhão gently and constantly changing. Beaches such as Milfontes (which means thousand fountains), with either rivers, small streams or tiny fresh water springs fed from the hilly interior through a network of underground channels. These beaches are interspersed by ancient, dark erosion-resistant rocks that make up the cliffs and tiny islands (locally called “palheirões”) that one comes across from time to time.
The sand dunes’ biodiversity and plant life is remarkable and reaches its peak between March and June, with a vast array of amazing colours, aromas and shapes. These plants are true masters of adaptation in this hostile environment and have to put up with poor quality soil, a dry season that can last over six months and a constant buffeting by the strong, salty winds, and you will see that the most obvious adaptation is their shape. Pines, rosemary and rockrose are bent nearly horizontal and thus better adapted to these harsh conditions. Some of these plant species are endemic to this coast and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Where to start
From the market square (Largo do Mercado) head towards the fishing harbour.
Vila Nova de Milfontes
At the tourist office in the village (Rua António Mantas), going down Rua Custódio Brás Pacheco towards the river.
Rules and Recommendations
Refreshments along the way
► At km 3.5, on the beach of Ilha do Pessegueiro;
► At km 6.5, making a detour of 1.8 km to Ribeira da Azenha;
► At km 16, at the fishing harbour of Canal.
Shorten this section
Finish this walk at Canal (fishing harbour) and get a taxi to Milfontes, saving the last 3 km.
You can combine this section with the circular Routes ‘Sissal Beach’ or ‘Mediterranean ponds’.
Between the beaches of Queimado and Malhão, the path is not fully signposted. Follow the broad sand track that skirts the extensive succession of dunes, of the beaches of Aivados, Galé and Malhão, following the instructions that you find on the signs. Alternatively, and only at low tide, you can walk along the beach.
A long and tiring section!
Covering 20 km and with a sandy path, this section is long and tiring, especially if you are going to start your journey through Porto Covo. Prepare yourself well and bring at least 1.5 L of water.
Pay attention to the signage as there are intersections with several Circular Routes.