RSVP Magazine

Geraldine O’Callaghan Walks Her Way Around Breath Taking Portugal

Former Apprentice star Geraldine O’Callaghan takes a walk on the wild side as she explores the lesser travelled paths of Portugal…

Needing to step out of the dreary, drab, dullness of Dublin I took a cheap flight to Faro on the sunny South-West coast of Portugal and walked for four glorious days on the Rota Vicentina – a famous route that stretches from Porto Covo right down to Cape St. Vincent in Sagres at the very bottom tip of Portugal.

With just four days holidays left from work, I wanted to cover as much ground as I could. Knowing that the area has two spectacular routes, I decided to walk two days on the old historical route and two on the coastal route. It turned out to be a great decision and one that I would recommend people to check out.

The historical route is a few kilometres inland through magnificent country trails while the coastal path straddles rugged cliffs rising above the breath-taking ocean to Portugal’s Atlantic coastline with soaring and golden rock formations that are a feast for the eyes.

Speaking of feasts, one would assume that on a walking holiday you’d come back a size six. Well not me, I ate so much food if my ears could chew I’d have used them to consume more. If like me, you’re a lover of seafood then Portugal is the place for you with a plethora of beautiful fishing villages and I was lucky enough to stay in little gems like like Aljezur, Arrifana and Carapateira.

Friendliness and hospitality is also on tap in this beautiful part of the work as was demonstrated when I stayed in Hotel Pension las Dunas in November which is off season.

The owner Eduardo recommended a restaurant to me that was a distance away and he allowed me borrow his car to get there and back. The accommodation on the route is rustic and authentic with some converted fisherman’s houses where walkers are made part of the family by warm and welcoming hosts.

I walked about 25kms each day which may sound excessive but the stunning surroundings of nature were so relaxing that the distance was never an issue. Just putting one foot in front of the other and having all day to do nothing but stroll through nature and connect with myself, was like chicken soup for the soul. The only people who seem to have discovered the magic of the Rota Vicentina are the surfers who hang out all day looking like Adonis’ on the beach.

Hikers haven’t caught up just yet, so the walking trails were not too busy, leaving me to fully absorb the peace and beauty and arrive home feeling refreshed and recharged.

I made this one quick and easy for myself. I booked flights online with Aerlingus.com and had OneFootAbroad.com do the rest. They covered all my accommodations, transfers, maps, walking notes and kms per day. Packages start at €290pp ex. flights.

See more in our travel section, here. 

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