Adventure Ultra Marathon

The Best 120km Of Trail Running I’ve Ever Had: Rota Vicentina, Portugal

I head to Southwest Portugal to run along the beautiful Rota Vicentina.

It’s been claimed as one of the best coastal trails in the world – The Fisherman’s Trail – a 120km stretch of sandy Portuguese track with 4,000m of ascent/descent, winding its way through the Vicentina Coast Natural Park. The Fisherman’s Trail forms part of the Rota Vicentina, a comprehensive 450km network of walking trails in Southwest Portugal, winding its way between rural and coastal settings.

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I’ve been eyeing up the Fisherman’s Trail for around 6 months now, and finally the perfect window of opportunity presented itself. I flew to Lisbon accompanied by videographer James Hustler  who documented this mini-adventure in moving and still images. We camped our way along the route, and covered the 120km in 3 days (so around a marathon a day).

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Starting in a small town called Porto Covo, a couple of hours drive south from Lisbon, the Fishermans’s Trail hugs the silhouette and contours of the coastline all the way down to Europe’s most westerly point; Sagres.

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This maps shows the route of the Rota Vicentina; the Fisherman’s Trail highlighted in blue, and the Historic Way highlighted in green.

I have visited this stretch of coastline numerous times in the past on surf trips (and I really recommend it for this by the way!). But this time it’s different; a change of discipline and a change of pace. Running along this beautiful coastline offers up the chance to observe and soak it all up at a steady jogging speed – the atmosphere, nature, people, old fortifications, beaches, cliffs, pine forests, estuaries, villages and much, much more.

I absolutely loved this challenge, and would you believe the weather smiled with sun and 25 degrees all week!

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The Fisherman’s Trail forms part of the Rota Vicentina, a network of pathways which let you tap into around 450km of marked footpaths in SW Portugal, meandering between rural villages and landscapes to wild coastline.

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