Coastal hiking vacation in Portugal

“A week of walking on the west coast of Portugal as part of a small group accompanied by an expert local guide. Leisurely center based and point to point walking trails along the Rota Vicentina. ”

Highlights

Vila Nova de Milfontes | River Mira | Almograve | Cabo Sardão lighthouse | Zambujeira do Mar | Odeceixe | Carrapateira | Cabo de Sao Vicente | Sagres |
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Date
Price
Basis
14 Sep 2019
US $1749
excluding flights
Full
 
26 Oct 2019
US $1749
excluding flights
8 spaces left
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09 Nov 2019
US $1649
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 09 Nov 2019 departure
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Coastal hiking vacation in Portugal

Accommodation and meals:
On this trip, we spend the nights in various locally owned hotels that employs local staff and purchase local produce whenever possible. This ensures that our money spent directly contributes to the local community. When food is not provided, our local guides will encourage and recommend clients to visit local restaurants and cafes to try local delicacies. As a seafaring nation, seafood and fish is very common in Portuguese cuisine. One local speciality from the sea is the Barnacle Perceve. Otherwise, clients can also try some good quality meat or excellent dried hams, salamis and cheese in the region.

Local culture and craft:
Though this trip is primarily focused on the scenic views, rich biodiversity and pristine beaches, there are still opportunities for clients to visit small souvenir shops, art galleries, potteries and basket makers to support local craft. Clients can take a visit to the small market town of Aljezur, which is famous for its whitewashed houses and cobbled streets and dominated by the ruins of a tenth century Moorish Castle. Definitely, our local guides will advise clients on what can be bought and what should be avoided. Products made from ivory, cactus and orchids or any leather products made from turtles, crocodiles or snakes should be avoided.

Activity:
On this trip, clients have a high chance to spot a great variety of birds and mammals along the treks. Such as Swift, Western Jackkdaw, the Peregerine falcon, Egyptian Mongoose and weasel. On the free day, clients get to choose from a number of optional activities available in the area, including surfing classes and a horse riding experience.

As a walking and trekking trip, there is little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents. Though, erosion and adjacent to popular paths is a growing issue in certain places, our local guides will ensure that clients stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. Additionally, a walking trip like this allows easy access to the local community where clients can easily interact with the locals , visit local cafes and restaurants to foster cultural exchange.

Conservation:
Since 2014, our local operator is a partner of Rota Vicentina and have been carrying out several studies on the region about the impact of walkers on these trails. As a result, they try to spread awareness on how human activity is leading to the extinction of endangered species and habitats hence, proving the need to protect these habitats of animals. Our local operator is also engaged in annual cleaning and marking events of the trails in the region to ensure that everything is of the highest quality and that visitors will enjoy using the trails.
Additionally, our local operator is committed in donating 1% of their revenue to grassroots, social and environmental groups that make a difference in their local communities, specifically projects in Portugal, India and Morocco.

Water:
Water is a really important issue with trips such as this and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

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