On the first evening the leaders will explain more about the walking and sightseeing programme and there will be plenty of time to meet with your fellow guests.
Day 2: Scenic Coastal Walks
Both groups have a short bus journey along the coast north of Ericeira and walk back to the hotel along clifftop paths enjoying views of the usually benign but sometimes wild Atlantic.
Easier Walk: Our 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 clifftop 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 our walk in the small inland village of Quintas which has a friendly shop/café. Our 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.
Day 3: 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: We begin our 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 (and another café!) 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 our picnics. After lunch we continue our walk to Cabo da Roca where we can celebrate the lofty views above this windswept headland. 5 miles (8km) with 700ft (210m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: Our 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 clifftop 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 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.
Day 5: Free day There is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest such as Sintra.
Day 6: Sightseeing Day
Our day begins with a coach ride to the centre of Lisbon where we meet our local guide who will take 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 our 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.
Day 7: Mafra – the 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 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.