Experience hiking one of the most beautiful coastal trails in all of Europe. Welcome to Portugal’s Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos.) This is a 6 km (3.7 mile) dreamy stretch between the pristine Praia da Marinha Beach and the captivating Praia de Vale Centianes Beach. The tranquil turquoise waters, dramatic cliffscapes, and nature’s rock artistry will guide your steps. Let me share with you everything you need to know to experience one of Mother Nature’s gems!
Where does the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail begin and how long will it take to complete?
Seven Hanging Valleys is a linear trail that can be hiked in either direction. You can choose to begin the hike at Praia de Marinha or at Praia de Vale Centianes. Put either location into Google Maps to drive or Uber there. Upon arrival, you will easily see the parking lot in view. At Praia de Marinha, while facing the ocean, walk to your right, towards the picnic tables, and just beyond them you can see the start of the trail. At Praia de Vale Centianes, after you park, you will see a long set of stairs across the street at a large apartment/hotel complex. You will need to begin the trail by walking up that long flight of stairs.
Additionally, there are options to complete only portions of the route, as well. There are access points at Benagil and Carvalho beaches that allow a phased visit to each of the segments of the hike.
You can view the map for a better look at the route here.
It is estimated to take about 3 hours to hike the entire trail in one direction or around 6 hours for a roundtrip hike. (Of course, this will vary) This estimate was accurate for my best friend and I. Even with stopping to enjoy the views and to take a lot of photos, we were able to hike the trail one way in exactly 3 hours.
Due to our limited time in the Algarve region, we chose to Uber from our ending point at Praia de Marinha back to Benagil Beach (5€ Uber) for lunch at Casa Lamy and then we ordered another Uber to take us to our car at Praia de Vale Centianes Beach (another 5€ Uber). How you wish to walk along the route is entirely up to you. There is no wrong way to enjoy such beauty.
What about parking?
Parking is available. As mentioned above, the best place to park is at either starting point of the trail. We parked and began walking at Praia de Vale Centianes Beach. In early October, we were the first car in the parking lot at 7:30 a.m. Many prefer to begin the hike at Praia de Marinha because the parking lot is much larger. Since you are hiking the same trail, either starting point will have the same stunning views. Tip: Many hikers select their starting point based on the sun’s position, deciding whether they want to face the sun as they hike or have the sun behind them.
Car services like Uber are also widely used. Our experiences with Uber went very smoothly during our trip.
Public transportation is available, but it is much more cumbersome to get to where you need to go. Choose your starting point and do a quick search in Google Maps to see the routes offered. The availability may vary according to season.
If possible, I highly recommend renting a car while exploring the Algarve region. We were so glad that we did! It made getting around much easier and it was very affordable.
When is the best time to complete the Seven Hanging Valleys hike?
The best time to complete this hike is early in the morning, especially in the summer months. In October, we began at 7:30 am and when we finished at 10:30 am it was already very warm and sunny. We were glad that we began early in the day. Also, please keep in mind the shade available is very minimal along the trail.
The best time of year to hike the trail would be in the autumn and spring seasons, as summer is very hot and crowded. Winter is also a great time to hike. You may encounter cooler weather and more precipitation, but don’t let that stop you! The crowds are low and I am sure the views are still amazing.
* Don’t forget to check to see if local establishments are open or if they have special hours during the off-season.
What will I need to hike this trail?
Here are some suggestions:
- A small backpack
- Sturdy shoes such as trail running shoes, sneakers with good grip, or hiking boots (Tip: Sandals are not preferred)
- A hat and sunglasses
- Comfortable hiking attire for the season (Tip: A long-sleeved shirt for sun protection is a great idea all year round)
- Plenty of water. I know it’s heavy, but pack extra!
- Sandwiches or a light snack in case the restaurants are overcrowded or you want a snack along the way
- Toilet paper and a plastic bag for trash (Just in case, fingers crossed, you won’t need it)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Bathing suit, sandals, towel if you wish to swim at one of the beaches
- Fully charged phone for: photos, trail map or to contact Uber/Bolt
- Rain gear (Check forecast)
- Hiking pole **
**I think most people can manage this coastal trail/walk without a hiking pole, as much of the terrain is fairly flat. Be aware there are a few steep areas, so if you think you may need extra support, bring a foldable hiking pole, just in case.
It’s hot. Can I please hike the trail in sandals?
Being a Floridian at heart, I am one who will wear sandals and open-toe shoes on any occasion possible. I almost wore my Birkenstocks on this trail and I am so glad that I didn’t. I wore my ON sneakers that had very good grip and it was a lifesaver on the parts of the trail that were a little steep to climb up and down.
*If you insist on wearing sandals, please wear a good pair of hiking sandals such as the Teva brand.
Is the trail marked well? Will I get lost?
Yes, the trail is marked well in most areas. You will see signposts (wooden poles) with yellow and red lines painted on them. (See the photo below.) Sometimes the lines are also painted on the large trail rocks, as well.
My experience was that even if we felt unsure of the trail, it didn’t take long to find our way. Especially, because the trail follows the coastline.
Additionally, there are maps of the route at each major access point along the trail. Also, don’t be scared to ask locals or other passersby. Everyone was kind and helpful during our trip to the Algarve region.
What is the difficulty of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail?
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is labeled moderately difficult. The highest point is 45.50 meters (150 feet) and the lowest point on the trail is 7.50 meters (25 feet). Although the trail has many flat areas, there are multiple parts of the trail where you must climb up or down some steep paths with loose rocks. These areas may be challenging for the elderly or for younger children.
If you are traveling with someone who is hesitant about their physical capabilities, then I would recommend packing a hiking pole or trekking pole, just in case. Many of them can be folded for compact travel.
What about walking the trail with small children?
Every family is a unique blend of personalities and dynamics. Isn’t that the beauty of it? You know your family’s pace and enthusiasm best. While some families might find joy in completing the entire trail, others may prefer customizing the route.
I will offer this- if I were to take my two kiddos, aged 5 and 10, especially during the warm summer months, I’d probably opt for a portion of the hike. My youngest little adventurer might find the full hike a tad too long. One of the most picturesque segments, Praia de Marinha Beach to Benagil Beach, which spans around an hour, would be our pick. Remember, if you feel the need to wrap up your hike early, a convenient Uber from each access point is just a tap away. Get creative while keeping your family’s rhythm in mind.
- This trail isn’t stroller-friendly. Carriers are your best companions for the littlest ones.
- Safety first! While parts of the trail are safeguarded with rope, it’s essential to keep an eye on the youngest ones, especially near cliff edges.
Are there restrooms and restaurants along the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail?
Absolutely! But a few things to remember: The time of day you choose to hike and whether you’re visiting during the bustling peak season or the calmer off-season can make a difference in your dining options. Many of the local restaurants sync their hours with the season’s rhythm. Sometimes, they might open early but only offer drinks until their kitchens are all set to serve lunch, others may only open in the evenings and serve dinner. Definitely stay flexible. During peak season, be aware that there will most likely be a wait for a table. This is also why you may want to consider packing a nice picnic lunch to eat along the trail.
Praia de Marinha Beach: We saw a few vendors and food trucks at 11:00 a.m. during our Saturday visit. Plus, a nice area to sit with picnic tables. If you walk down the steps to the beach (you can find the stairs on the left if you are facing the ocean), there is a little cafe that you can eat at. There are also restrooms down the stairs, but beware there are a lot of stairs! 🙂
Benagil Beach: This area looked to have the most restaurant options. We ate at Casa Lamy and I highly recommend it. We were lucky and got a table right away. The view was amazing, the food was delicious and the staff was very kind. There were at least 3 other surrounding restaurants to choose from. We used the restroom at Casa Lamy, so unfortunately, I can’t recall if there are public facilities at this particular beach.
Praia do Carvalho Beach: At this location, there are no restaurants, but there is a small food kiosk. I believe there were no public restrooms either.
Praia de Vale Centianes Beach: There is a nice waterfront restaurant called O Stop. Also, a few other restaurants within a 5-10 minute walk of the beach. You will find bathroom facilities at this beach.
*Please note that there are no public bathrooms along the actual trail in between the access points listed above.
Any other helpful information I need to know?
- If you hike the entire trail, there are picnic tables and a few benches along the way.
- Make sure your phone is well charged or bring a battery pack. You do not want to miss the beautiful photo ops at every turn.
- If in doubt of which direction to go, ask someone along the trail for help or a nice local. We had a local kindly help us when we were deciding where the trail continued at Benagil Beach.
- Be mindful of the wooden fence posts and roped-off areas along the trail. This is to protect anyone from falling alongside a cliff or near a sinkhole.
- Be sure to take any trash with you when you leave.
- If you are driving, arrive early to ensure a parking spot.
- Tip: Enjoy the trail with fewer people earlier in the day for a more serene experience.
- Most importantly, relax and enjoy the spectacular views! The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail will undoubtedly leave you with memories you will cherish for a lifetime!
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Disclaimer: Please know that while I pour my heart and soul into providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, the world has its way of changing. The details and insights shared here were accurate at the time of penning them down. However, in time, some specifics might shift. Always double-check before making any plans. Safe travels and warm wishes.