A bus will pick up guests at Lisbon Airport meeting the flight at 10.50 AM and transfer them to the hotel at Ericeira (about 45 minutes). If you are already in Lisbon it is possible to reach Ericeira by local bus from Campo Grande (about 1 hour 15 minutes).
The afternoon is free to explore the charming town of Ericeira with its cobblestone streets and white-washed buildings. You may want to sample some Portuguese "petiscos" (sea-food snacks) as you watch the surfers. Dinner at the hotel is included.
Day 2: Saturday
Most of the day is free to explore. The HF leaders arrive in the afternoon and later in the day hold a briefing where they explain the walking and sightseeing programme. There is time to meet with your fellow guests over a drink before dinner.
Day 3: Scenic Coastal Walks
The group divides into two - those who want an easy walk and those who want one that is a little more challenging. Both groups have a short bus journey along the coast north of Ericeira and walk back to the hotel along cliff-top paths enjoying views of the usually benign but sometimes wild Atlantic.
Easier Walk: This walk will start in the small village of Ribamar with its narrow streets and small cafés. We walk down to the sea and follow a cliff-top path, passing dramatic cliffs, ruined forts and sandy beaches. We stop at a popular surfing beach for refreshment before continuing on the coastal path into Ericeira passing the harbour and fishing boats. 6 miles (9.5km) with 400ft (120m) of ascent.
Harder walk: We travel a little further to start this walk in the small inland village of Quintas. The walk will take us through quiet farmland along sandy tracks and paths and into the village of Ribamar, where we pick up the route of the easier walk. 9 miles (14.5km) with 600ft (180m) of ascent.
Mafra – the Royal Hunting
Grounds, Palace and Monastery
Today’s walks give us the chance to visit Mafra Tapada, the former royal hunting grounds adjoining Mafra Palace. We follow good trails in the rolling hills of this entirely walled protected landscape with a chance of spotting wild boar and deer. In the afternoon a short coach journey takes us to Mafra town where we visit the former royal palace and the monastery, a huge 18th century edifice reflecting the past glory of Portugal’s rich kingdom. This is the most important baroque monument in Portugal.
Easier Walk: Our circular trail in the hunting grounds follows a quiet track with wooded sections giving welcome shade. We pass a preserved lime kiln and visit the former royal stables, coach houses and a dining house once frequented by royal hunting parties. 6 miles (9.5km) with 700ft (210m) of ascent.
Our circular trail in the hunting grounds is
similar to but a little longer than the
easier walk. We follow a quiet track with
wooded sections, passing the preserved lime
kiln and visiting the former royal stables,
coach houses and dining house. 7 miles (11km) with 960ft (290m) of ascent.
4: Rural villages and archaeological museum
Today we travel about 10 miles south of Ericeira to walk in rolling countryside, explore typical Estremadura villages and, if you wish, visit a superb archaeological museum.
Easier Walk: Our walk begins near Alvarinhos and takes us to the archaeological museum near Odrinhas where there is the option of a guided tour of the museum with its extensive collection of locally found Roman artifacts. We continue along quiet tracks and paths which take us to a remote hillside with abundant wild flowers. We visit Cabrela with its typical village café and ancient wells before continuing our circuit which ends in the small town of Odrinhas. 6 miles (10km) with 530ft (160m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: We pass the archaeological museum (which we may have time to visit later) and walk to Odrinhas for a morning coffee. Our route takes us along tracks and a quiet road to Cabrela village with its typical village café and ancient wells. We descend into the valley and walk beside the Cabrela river before heading up to the ruined, deserted and isolated village of Broas. After exploring Broas we walk through Almorquim village and then make our way back to the archaeological museum and the end of the walk at Odrinhas. 8 miles (13km) with 900ft (270m) of ascent.
5: Free day
is an ideal opportunity to relax around the
hotel, enjoy the spa, walk independently or visit local
places of interest. There will be an
optional excursion to Sintra, a UNESCO site
with a fairytale landscape of mist-soaked
forests, turreted palaces and castle ruins.
Aside from the amazing palace, it is the
gardens here that are the most fantastic.
Here, you can wander on footpaths through
willows and ferns, fragrant camelias and
wisteria amid which are statues of lions and
nymphs. There are hidden follies and
grottoes, fountains and lakes covered with
Day 6: Sightseeing Day The day begins with a coach ride to the centre of Lisbon where we meet our local guide who takes us around the principal attractions, historic buildings and places of interest in the city centre. There will also be time to explore, shop or have lunch before taking the coach down the River Tagus to Belem. Here our guide will show us some of the places which represent Portugal’s proud and exciting maritime history and discoveries. Be sure to make a quick stop at a "pastelerias" to sample a "pastel de nata" a small custard tart with a caramelised top. This is one of the classic specialties of Portuguese cuisine.
Day 7: Walking to Cabo da Roca Today both groups travel south of Ericeira to walk to Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of mainland Europe.
Easier Walk: Begin the day exploring the authentically Portuguese village of Almocageme with its cafés and supermarket. We walk down a quiet road to Praia da Adraga with its sandy beach and dramatic cliffs before making our way up a track to view a cliff-top blowhole – a deep fissure in the rocky cliff where waves create a water spout. We continue up a quiet track to the charming village of Ulgeira where we can enjoy a picnic. After lunch we continue our walk to Cabo da Roca where we enjoy the lofty views above this windswept headland. 5 miles (8km) with 700ft (210m) of ascent.
This walk begins at Rodizio near Colares and
takes us through dunes to see the remains of
a recently excavated Roman sanctuary, then
we walk along a cliff-top path to the huge
beach of Praia Grande. We continue high
above the waves and take a sandy path down
to Adraga beach. We detour to view the
cliff-top blowhole and take a quiet track to
Ulgeira where we can explore before
continuing our walk to Cabo da Roca on the
route of the easier walk. 8 miles (13km)
with 1,200ft (360m) of ascent.
Day 8: Depart A bus transfer will return guests to Lisbon Airport at approximately 1 PM.
Easier walks - 4 - 6 miles on good paths with up to 700 ft of ascent.
Harder walks - 5 - 9 miles on good paths with some rougher sections and up to 1200 feet of ascent.