The Algarve is a stunning area in the south of Portugal. The area is mainly known for the beautiful beaches and stunning cliffs. Exactly that, is what you will see in abundance during this beautiful hike along the coast line: The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. A couple of my 15 favourite pictures from the Algarve were shot during this hike. In this guide, I’ll explain you a bit about the trail, things you need to know about the starting and ending location and the different sights you run into on the way.
The starting point of the hike is Praia da Marinha (where they have a parking lot – so get here early and you’ll save yourself quite some additional walking). After 6km you’ll reach your final point Praia de Vale Centianes. From here, you can make the decision to walk back or to take a Uber. This is what we did (only 3 to 5 euros or so). Between Praia da Marinha and Praia de Vale Centianes you’ll also pass by Praia de Benagil, Carvalho Beach and the Alfanzina Lighthouse. We brought our swimming gear and a towel, so we were also able to relax and have a swim at one of the beaches (we did our stop at Carvalho Beach).
The hike is moderate level I would say. It hike isn’t too long, however there are some bits where you have to climb a little bit and it is not just one straight path. An additional challenge is the heat. We were here end of August and you definitely need to bring enough water!! to stay hydrated and protect yourself against the heat and start relatively early in the morning in order to not hike at the hottest point of the day and also to find a parking spot.
I wouldn’t recommend hiking on flip flops, however wearing sneakers is perfectly fine. That’s what I did too.
The location where you start the hike and one of the most stunning locations of the Algarve in general. In fact, that is one of the things I loved so much about this hike. You are visiting some locations that you would like to visit anyways when traveling in the Algarve. You can start the hike straight away or also head to Praia da Marinha itself. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that – but I would recommend doing it while you are there so there is nothing to regret later. The hiking path is found on the side of the parking lot on your right (when facing the sea). From here, the trail is marked with yellow / red marks and guides you along the coasts with every time a different view on the great rock constructions along the seaside.
As you can see, this beach is rather empty. What you’ll see here is Praia da Corredoura, which can only be reached by sea. Canoeing is a very popular thing to do in the Algarve and not just for visiting the Benagil Caves. How amazing does this look – being alone at a beach?!
Next up during the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is Praia de Benagil, known from the famous Benagil Caves. First of all, the trail will not guide you to the caves as the only way to visit the caves is by sea. However, on the first picture below you’ll see a sneak peek of the caves from the trail. The beach of Benagil is also a very popular beach. We decided to get an ice cream here to reload some energy and continue the track by walking past the cute and colourful houses of Benagil.
Praia do Carvalho or Carvalho Beach is one of the most popular beaches of the Algarve. You’ll reach the beach by passing through a tunnel and you’ll definitely be amazed by the beauty when the beach shows up. Be prepared for quite a hike up back to the trail after visiting the beach.
The next bit of the hike is marked by the Alfanzina Lighthouse. You’ll quickly see it showing up in front of you and will be able to enjoy the views from the cliffs and the view on the lighthouse. You are not able to visit the lighthouse itself as the place is fenced. There is also a parking lot next to the lighthouse, but you have to continue along the coast. The part before and after the lighthouse was most intense in our opinion as there is limited shade and the sun is burning like crazy.
The last bit of the hike brings you to Praia de Vale Centianes, the final stretch and destination of the Seven Hanging Valleys trail. You’ll pass some backyards of houses in the village Carvoeiro before you walk on to the final beach. There is a lovely beach side restaurant located at Praia de Vale Centianes called O Stop. We enjoyed an amazing and well deserved Club Sandwich here after which we ordered a Uber to head back to our first destination: Praia da Marinha.
I’m glad we took the time to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail even during our short 4 day visit to the Algarve. Being active and discovering impressive nature is a great combination if you ask me and sights such as Praia da Marinha should be on your Algarve planning anyways.
Once again, enjoy the hike and don’t forget to bring plenty of water, protect yourself for the sun and follow the yellow and red trail marks. Enjoy some lunch or food at O Stop when you arrive and take a Uber back to the starting point to save yourself some time.