The 9 Best Hikes In Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital and biggest city in Portugal and is one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting destinations. Located in the Iberian Peninsula, right by the Atlantic Ocean, the lovely metropolis is a center for culture, arts, education, finance, and tourism, which is why it has been designated as an alpha-level global city. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Lisbon attracts over 4 million tourists every year.
The city of Lisbon is known for a lot of things – from its world-class beaches and cultural attractions like the Belem Tower to acclaimed restaurants and top-notch shopping destinations. But something not a lot of people know is that the Portuguese capital also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Hiking in Portugal is a popular activity and from Lisbon, there are numerous hiking trails and trekking spots that are easily accessible. In fact, the city often serves as a base for those who are looking to visit well-known Portugal hiking trails.
If you want to go on a hiking adventure, Lisbon is the perfect destination for you! Regardless of your experience and skill level, you can easily find a trail that will suit your needs – whether it be day trip spots or multi-day treks some hours away from the city. Although there is only one national park in Portugal, there are plenty of other excellent destinations to trek through. Below are some of our top picks for hiking in and near Lisbon. For the best time, don’t forget to store your luggage in a Lisbon storage locker before setting out on your trip!
Our Top Hiking Trail Picks in Lisbon
Santuário da Peninha Trail
Sintra is a municipality in the Lisbon District and is one of Portugal’s most renowned tourist destinations. Known for its impressive scenery and architectural treasures, Sintra sits just around 25 kilometers outside of the city center, making it a popular day trip destination from Lisbon. Because of its location near the Serra de Sintra mountain range, this charming town has no shortage of hiking trails to suit all experience levels.
One of the easiest and loveliest trails in the region is the Santuário da Peninha trail. The distance is around 3.6 miles and the trail starts from the car park until you reach the Peninha Sanctuary. Situated at an elevation of 448 meters above sea level, this 17th-century church is believed to have been a site where the Virgin Mary once appeared. At the peak, hikers are treated to breathtaking views of Sintra and surrounding regions. The trek takes about four hours to complete and is an excellent option for a day hike from Lisbon.
Cabo da Roca-Azenhas do Mar Trail
Sintra is a treasure trove of hiking trails suitable for all levels, including beginners. For a moderately easy day hike from Lisbon, one option to consider is the Cabo da Roca-Azenhas do Mar trail. This point-to-point trail extends about 10.8 kilometers in length and offers unmatched views that the Sintra region is best known for.
The trail begins at Cabo da Roca and heads north, passing through some of Sintra’s most beautiful beaches – Praia da Ursa, Praia de Adraga, Praia Grande and Praia das Macas – and ends when you reach the seaside village of Azenhas do Mar, with rugged cliffs overlooking the ocean. This hike takes more or less 5 hours to complete.
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is often regarded as one of the best coastal hikes in Portugal, and it's easy to see why! Located in the Algarve region, this extremely popular trail covers a distance of about 11.5 kilometers (return) and takes about 6 hours to complete (back and forth). The trail’s starting point is at the Carvoeiro boardwalk and headed towards the Algar Seco, where you will find natural pools and sea caves that will leave you in awe.
While there are multiple caves throughout the hike, the true highlight here is the Benagil Beach, home to Portugal’s most popular cave – the Benagil Cave. Once you’re done admiring all the natural wonders, continue on until you reach the Praia da Marinha, which is the most beautiful beach in the region. While here, you can rest and grab a bite or something to drink before making your way back to the starting point to complete the hike.
Trail of Headlands
If you’re looking for a less crowded but equally impressive alternative to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, then the Trail of Headlands is a good option for you. Also found within the Algarve region, the trail starts at the parking lot of the Praia dos Caneiros and heads east until you reach the headlands, all the while being given absolutely stunning views of the hidden coves and oceanside cliffs. The hike has a moderate difficulty level and the total distance is about 12 kilometers back and forth, which will take about 6 hours to complete both ways.
Serra da Lousã
The Serra da Lousã is a mountain range that may be off the tourist path but definitely offers some of the best hiking in Portugal. Located near the city of Coimbra in central Portugal, the area is best known for its tiny village filled with schist houses, making you feel like you’re in a medieval world that’s far different from the rest of the country.
Getting to the Serra da Serra da Lousã is fairly easy by either car or public transportation, for the latter, you will have to take a trip from Lisbon to Coimbra via train and then ride a bus that will take you directly to Lousã. There are multiple trails to choose from but only one starting point – the 11th-century Lousã Castle – and the paths are well-marked and easy enough to follow. The most popular trail is beginner-friendly and takes a total of three hours to complete.
The Serra d’Ossa is a slightly difficult trail that’s part of the Transalentejo, an extensive network of walking paths across the Alentejo region in central Portugal. This walking trail has a total distance of about 12 kilometers (return) and can take anywhere between 5 to 7 hours to complete, depending on how many breaks you take in between.
Although the trail’s highest peak stands at only 650 meters, the uphill path is quite steep and can really hurt your legs. While it may seem daunting, the fatigue will surely be worth it once you get to take in the spectacular views of Alentejo and beyond. During your hike, history and museum lovers must be sure to take some time to visit the Aldeia de São Gregório, a historic village that has been around since the 16th century.
Paiva Walkways (Passadiços do Paiva)
If you have been looking through photos of some of Portugal’s most popular attractions, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen the Paiva Walkways. Located in the city of Aveiro, this walking trail is housed inside the Arouca Geopark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is frequented by both locals and tourists who want to witness some scenic views of the region.
Today, the Paiva Walkways is considered one of the best hikes in Portugal and has become a major tourist draw for the city. The whole hike covers a distance of 16 kilometers in total (8 kilometers per way), takes about three hours to complete (per way) and is moderately difficult given the trail’s steep angle. There is also an option to hire a taxi to take you back to the starting point to save you time and energy.
From Lisbon, the only way to get to Aveiro is to drive your own car. An easier and more convenient option would be to book one of the many hiking tours of the Paiva Walkways being offered by various tour companies.
Costa da Caparica Trail
Sitting just 20 kilometers south of Lisbon is the stunning Costa da Caparica beach, which is undoubtedly one of Portugal’s best-hidden gems. Accessible via a half-hour drive or taxi ride from the city’s historical center, this lovely beach features a 10-kilometer stretch of white sand and is surrounded by red sandstone cliffs.
Apart from its lovely coastline, the Costa da Caparica also offers one of the more scenic hikes in Portugal, which starts from Fonte da Telha up to the Lagoa de Albufeira. Although this trail is primarily used for mountain biking, more and more beachgoers have gone on to explore the trail on foot while admiring the coastal views. The Costa da Caparica trail is relatively easy, covers a total distance of around 10 kilometers (back and forth) and can take anywhere from two to three hours to accomplish.
Fisherman's Trail, Rota Vicentina
Perhaps the most prominent network of hiking trails in Portugal, the Rota Vicentina is part of every avid hiker’s bucket list. The route consists of 750 kilometers of trails zigzagging throughout the regions of Algarve and Alentejo in southwest Portugal. While there are plenty of trails to choose from, the Fisherman’s Trail is no doubt the best route to trek out of all the options.
The Fisherman’s Trail is Rota Vicentina’s coastal route and has been named by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as one of the world’s most beautiful coastal hiking trails. The point-to-point trail, which runs through the picturesque Costa Vicentina, has a total distance of 226 kilometers split into 13 sections and can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days to complete.
Easy Hikes in Lisbon
If you're a first-time hiker or someone who has little experience in trekking, there are plenty of trails that you can enjoy regardless of your fitness level. One of the easiest hikes to do from Lisbon is the Santuário da Peninha trail, found in the town of Sintra. The trail extends just under 4 miles in length and the hike can be completed within four hours.
The best part is that Sintra is only 25 kilometers outside of Lisbon, making it easily reachable via private car or public transportation. This means you can complete the trail within half a day and be back in the city before nightfall to enjoy all that Lisbon has to show after dark.
Intermediate Hikes in Lisbon
For trekkers who have moderate experience in hiking and want a bit more of a challenge, there are a number of options to choose from. One of the best trails for intermediate level hikers is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in the Algarve Region, which takes roughly 6 hours to complete.
Another option for an intermediate hike is the Trail of Headlands in the same region, which also takes about 6 hours to complete but covers a longer distance.
Difficult Hikes in Lisbon
If you're an experienced trekker looking to conquer some of the most difficult hikes in Portugal, there are several trails worth checking out. One of the more challenging hikes in Portugal is the Serra d'Ossa, which has a total distance of approximately 12 kilometers and features a steep uphill ascent. This trail is definitely more suited for hikers who have moderate to advanced skill levels and a decent physical capacity.
Another one of the most difficult and epic hikes Portugal has to offer is the famous Camino de Santiago. This renowned trail has starting points all over Europe; in Portugal, the trail starts from Lisbon and extends all the way to Santiago, covering a dizzying total distance of 640 kilometers. This hike can take weeks to complete and you need to have a high level of experience in order to accomplish the epic Camino de Santiago trail.
Best Time to Explore Portugal Hiking Trails
Hiking in Portugal is a one-of-a-kind experience and Lisbon serves as the perfect jump-off point for trekkers who want to see the natural beauty that the country boasts. While hiking in Portugal is popular any time of the year, the best time to explore its beautiful landscapes is during the autumn (late September to November) and spring (mid-March to May) seasons.