Hiking the edge of Europe in Portugal
- September 24, 2016
We walk a lot. We even hike sometimes. I would even dare to say that I have strong hiking legs. So when we had the opportunity to hike through Cascais-Sintra Natural Park with Walk Hike Portugal we couldn’t turn it down. What we didn’t know when signing up for this adventure was that we would experience a number of emotions all at the same time. Relaxation combined with stress. Joy combined with fear. Boldness combined with caution. Courage combined with timidity. But the emotion that stood out the most? Appreciation for the amazing world around us. This hike with Francisco and Teresa will be one we remember for a lifetime. Hopefully, this post inspires you to embark on a journey with this amazing team the next time you trek to Portugal.
What is Walk Hike Portugal?
The team at Walk Hike Portugal is made up of a team of 7 avid hikers, walkers, and even a wine consultant! Their hiking experiences range from day hikes to multi-day experiences focused around the Sintra/Colares region in western Portugal. From WalkHikes along the edge of Europe to WalkHikeWine adventures you can’t go wrong with this team. Next year they will be expanding to the Azores and you can bet we will be reaching out to book a multi-day experience when we make our trek out to these amazing islands in the coming year or two.
What should we bring on the hike?
- Hiking boots
- Camelback or some type of water carrier
- Hiking boots
- Hiking boots
- Hiking boots
- Hat that stays on your head no matter the wind speed
Do you see a theme here? I thought I could get by with my dingy running shoes. Wrong. A soft shoe is not the place for these hikes. Teresa and Francisco had a whole extra level of stress added because of my poor planning. They’re such good people so please just bring hiking shoes so you don’t worry them any more than they need to be.
This seems intense. How in shape do I need to be?
All depends on the level of difficulty of the hike you book. You could book an easier stroll through the forests of Sintra or a harder hike along the western european coves. We went on the “Soft Version” of the Western Europe Coves adventure and it was rated at “moderate”. If we would have had proper hiking boots (see my notes in the last section) and a camelback we would have been perfectly fine. However, because we didn’t come properly prepared and the wind was out of this world (more on that later) we struggled quite a bit. Before heading out just ask them what you will need and heed their advice. They will keep you safe no matter what, but to have the best experience you should come prepared.
Hiking on the edge of Europe
The hike we went on allowed us to walk literally on the edge of Europe. Off the main trail that is further away from the cliffs we trekked along the edge of cliffs overlooking some of the most gorgeous scenery I have ever had the fortune of laying my eyes on. The hike started off nice, flat, and easy but as you continue on there are quite a few ups and downs making the scenery more dramatic (and beautiful). The guides (in our case Teresa and Francisco) know this area backwards and forwards and will tell you all about the various scenery (and rocks!) as you move along.
For example, this massive rock below is known as the “cheese rock”.
Since the tours are all small the pace can be adjusted to your comfort giving you the unique opportunity to really enjoy everything around you. In our case the winds were crazy strong (over 30 km/h) and Francisco and Teresa altered our route quite a bit to ensure we were safe from flying off of these massive cliffs.
As we started to walk inland to avoid the wind, Francisco and Teresa continuously reassured me that they would keep us safe and lo and behold they did. Sometimes you just need a little bit of fear of flying off of a cliff to light up that courage deep down and keep moving forward. It should be noted that at no point were we actually in any danger. I’m just a scaredy-cat.
Eventually the call was made that we couldn’t continue due to the extreme winds and although we couldn’t finish our entire hike we felt a sense of accomplishment for making it as far as we did. Looking back towards the cliffs we had climbed the hubby and I hugged each other and felt a deep sense of appreciation for how amazing nature really is.
The experience with Walk Hike Portugal reignited a sense of adventure in me that I hadn’t even realized I had lost until this hike. We are looking forward to joining them in the Azores in the near future to experience these majestic islands in a different way.
– Boots not Roots
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**Special thanks to Walk Hike Portugal for hosting us on this hike. As always, my opinions expressed are 100% my own.