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Ronan & the Rota Vicentina, Portugal

We interview Ronan, a regular client who has undertaken several hikes on the Rota Vicentina, some of them organized by S-Cape. Ronan shares his experience on this route, which is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved natural landscapes in Europe.

 

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  •  How many times have you walked on the Rota Vicentina and how many times with S-Cape?

I walked on Rota Vicentina first in 2016, then with S-Cape in 2018, 2022, and again in 2024. I was also scheduled to walk in 2020, but Covid intervened.

 

  • Can you share with us the reason why you walk the Rota Vicentina again and again?

It is a beautiful hike with fantastic scenery. Also, it's off the beaten track and not overrun by tourists. I also love the small local guesthouses and restaurants.

 

  • Is every trip different from the others?

The route has been attracting more tourists with each visit. The most noticeable difference since my earlier ones and post-Covid is that there are fewer restaurants overall and many are open for reduced hours or fewer days. Sometimes it's better to book a table in advance or dine earlier, especially if traveling solo. Also, local cafes and bars close earlier since Covid.

 

  • Do you always travel around the same dates or do you prefer to visit the area in different months to compare? Which month would you recommend to travel to Southern Portugal?

I like traveling in March-April, perfect after an Irish winter, and it's warm and sunny in Portugal.

 

  • What about the language, can you speak some Portuguese? Do they speak English? Is the communication easy?

I have very little Portuguese, but the locals have excellent English, so I've never had communication issues.

 

  • Now you're very familiar with the local dishes; can you recommend one or two dishes?

I love seafood, and there's an excellent selection of fresh seafood and vegetables in the area, my favorite being grilled sea bream. After my experience and having stopped at various cafes along the routes, I usually enjoy a pork steak sandwich or custard tart.

 

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  • Is there a must-visit place, viewpoint, restaurant, café, etc., you want to share with us and other travelers?

My favorite restaurant is Costa Alentejana in Zambujeira do Mar. There's always an opportunity to stop on the route for refreshments; I like the little café in Monte Novo, just before taking the coastal or inland route between Arrafana and Carrapateira. Also, I try to add a few extra days after walking, usually in Faro or Lisbon. I generally spend an extra day in Vils do Bispo and Sagres; the Promontory in Sagres is well worth a visit.

 

  • As a solo traveler, what does a self-guided trip mean to you? Is there anything you can highlight from the S-Cape Travel trips?

As a solo traveler, you can go at your own pace and stop to enjoy the views or for refreshments or photographs as you please. The trip notes provided by S-Cape are excellent.

 

  • Do you enjoy the small family-run accommodations we try to offer on the Rota Vicentina?

I can't fault any of the family-run accommodations - all are very clean and comfortable and provide excellent breakfasts.

 

  • And the last question, are you planning to repeat the trip again?

I think because there has always been a gap of at least two years between visits, I have never become bored with this route, so there is a good chance that I will come again in 2026.


Ronan

 

At S-cape, we organize a walking and a cycling trip along the Rota Vicentina. below you can find the details:


Hiking on the Vicentina Route, from the Alentejo to the Algarve

Mountain biking on the Vicentina Route

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