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How To Hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail: The Ultimate Guide


The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (Sete Vales Suspensos) is a beautiful coastal hike located in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. This half-day hike is one of the top things to do in the Algarve, with beautiful beaches, natural arches, limestone cliffs, and views of the striking Atlantic coast. No matter where you are staying in the Algarve region of Portugal, make sure to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail – The Details

Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in The AlgarveHiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in The Algarve

The Seven Hanging Valleys trail runs between the beaches of Vale Centeanes and Praia da Marinha. You can start from either end, but most hikers begin at Praia da Marinha, known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

Hugging the Atlantic Ocean with high viewpoints, beach access, and even places to enjoy food and wine, the trip starts with gorgeous views of Acro Natural, or as our guide liked to call it, Elephant Rock and Praia da Marinha Beach. It’s a moderately challenging hike, so make sure to wear good hiking shoes and carry water.

Location: Algarve, Portugal
Length: 5.7 kilometers (one way)
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 3-4 hours (one way)
Best Time to Visit: Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November)

Getting There

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail MapSeven Hanging Valleys Trail Map

By Car: From Faro, it’s about a 45-minute drive to Praia da Marinha. There’s parking available near the trailhead. Parking fills up quickly, and it is difficult to find a spot. Overflow parking lots are full of potholes and dirt roads, so be careful if you have rented a car. We nearly bottomed out, trying to get out of the parking lot.

If you drive, you will have to hike back, so make sure to factor that into your time.

Public Transport: Buses run from major towns in the Algarve to Carvoeiro. From there, you can hire a taxi, Uber, or Tuk Tuk.

From Carvoeiro, you can take a taxi to the trailhead or hike directly from the beach. The trail connects to Carvoeiro; it will just add a bit more time

We stayed at the Tivoli Carvoiero Hotel in Carvoiero, which offered free shuttles to the start of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, and we could hike the entire way back to the hotel.

What to Expect on the Seven Hanging Valleys Hike

Rock formations on the Seven Hanging Valley Trail in algarveRock formations on the Seven Hanging Valley Trail in algarve

During the Seven Hanging Valleys trail hike, you can expect to see some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. A few years ago, we hiked the Great Ocean Road in Australia and thought there could be no more beautiful place on earth. However, the Seven Hanging Valleys has a similar landscape, compacted into one small area, making it one extraordinary view after another. You’ll see high sea cliffs, hidden caves, and panoramic ocean views; this trail offers an unforgettable experience for everyone.

If you don’t want to hike the entire 5.7 km, there are parking lots dotted throughout the hike, so you can go out and see a portion of the trail and its views. So, even if you aren’t up for a hike, at least make it to one or two of the lookout points.

Looking north along the Algarve coast from the start of the seven hanging Valleys trailLooking north along the Algarve coast from the start of the seven hanging Valleys trail

It is an up-and-down climb (it’s called the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, after all), so you will be hiking up to plateaus overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and then hiking down into villages and beaches. It’s not overly difficult, but if you have mobility issues, it is a problem, and the ground is uneven.

From the parking lot of Praia da Marinha, it is even so you don’t have to climb up to start the trip. If you want to go to the beach, there is one access point and you will have to scramble down. So just remember, you will have to come back up.

Which Direction Should You Hike?

Best direction to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys TrailBest direction to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

The most picturesque part of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail begins at Praia da Marina, so we suggest starting here. Plus, if you take all day, you can end in Carvoiero to enjoy dinner, drinks or shopping.

Make sure to start early in the morning when it is cooler and less crowds.

Things to See on the Seven Hanging Valleys Hike

What to see on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail MapWhat to see on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail Map

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your adventure.

1. Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha Algarve PortugalPraia da Marinha Algarve Portugal

Praia da Marinha is the starting point for most hikers, and it is one of the most crowded places. A lot of people hike out just a short distance to view Elephant Rock and one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches from the trail before heading back. If you continue to walk you will find that the crowds thin out.

Make sure to take the time to hike out to the various viewpoints. There is beach access, and you can go down to relax on the golden sands, enjoy different views of the beach’s iconic double arch, and explore sea caves.

2. Clifftop Views

Clifftop views from the Seven Hanging Valleys TrailClifftop views from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

As you ascend from Praia da Marinha, you’ll be greeted with more striking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Trails lead out to a high plateau, offering various views of the sea arches and suggestive coastline.

3. Benagil Cave

Benagil Cave from the Seven Hanging Valleys TrailBenagil Cave from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Benagil Cave is one of the star attractions of the Algarve, and it is possible to see it from the trail through its skylight. However, there is no access to the inside, and there are ropes around it, so the view isn’t the best.

It is a popular stop on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, and there is a nearby parking lot, so people simply walk out to see it.

If you really want to see Benagil Cave, we suggest booking an organized tour by boat or kayak. The rules regarding how to see it are constantly changing, and we have covered them here. However, nobody is allowed to swim or step foot on the beach inside the cave, and only organized tours can take you. So make sure to book with a licensed guide.

4. Praia de Benagil

Praia de Benagil in AlgarvePraia de Benagil in Algarve

The next stop is Praia de Benagil. This is a great place to take a break, grab some lunch, and enjoy the beach. You will have to walk down a set of stairs to the beach and town, but the trail is well-marked with yellow and red stripes on rocks and signposts. These markers will guide you along the route. We had no trouble finding our way.

The trail is dotted with wildflowers and resilient shrubs. You may be looking down at the views of the water constantly, but make sure to look up every once in a while and keep an eye out for seabirds soaring overhead. Occasionally, you may see dolphins in the waters below. We saw them on our boat tour just a short distance offshore.

5. Farol de Alfanzina (Alfanzina Lighthouse)

Farol de Alfanzina Algarve PortugalFarol de Alfanzina Algarve Portugal

The trail from Benagil to Alfanzina Lighthouse winds along cliffs that are a bit more rugged than the rest of the trail. From Benagil, its an uphill climb up a set of stairs. As you approach Alfanzina Lighthouse, you’ll encounter lush Mediterranean vegetation and the occasional sighting of seabirds.

The lighthouse itself is perched on a high cliff and is a striking sight with its classic white tower and red roof.

This section of the trail is relatively moderate, with well-marked paths that occasionally become rocky and uneven. Along the way, hikers can expect to find numerous opportunities to pause and take in the vistas, including the rock formation at Cabo Caroeir and the famous Leixão do Ladrão.

6. Vale Centeanes Beach

Vale Centeanes Beach from the Seven Hanging Valleys TrialVale Centeanes Beach from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trial

Vale Centeanes Beach is the trail’s endpoint and an excellent place to relax, rent an umbrella, or enjoy a beer. This beautiful beach has a large sea cave, golden sand, and inviting clear waters. Towering limestone cliffs frame the beach, which offers several small caves and grottos to explore.

There is a snack bar, and tours can be booked here. Despite its natural beauty and amenities, Vale Centeanes Beach is often less crowded than some of the more famous Algarve beaches. Most people don’t make it this far on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, so it’s a good place to relax before moving on or calling a taxi.

7. Tivoli Carvoiero and Vale Covo Beach

sunset from the Tivoli Carvoeiro in algarve Portugalsunset from the Tivoli Carvoeiro in algarve Portugal

If you are staying at the Tivoli Carvoeiro like us, you can continue to walk to the hotel from the beach. You can actually walk all the way to the town of Carvoiero from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.

Vale Covo Beach is an extraordinary stop with a massive sea cave to view. There are stairs down to the beach which is only accessible at low tide.

Even if you are not staying at the Tivoli Carvoiero, you can continue to walk towards town. We saw a lot of people going through the gates for access.

8. Algar Seco

Algar Seco in algarve PortugalAlgar Seco in algarve Portugal

After another up-and-down and back-up hike, you will come to the famous rock formations of Algar Seco. This is known for views through its rock windows. The most notable is Boneca Cave, which translates to “Doll’s Cave.” This natural formation has two window-like openings that frame stunning views of the ocean. A short walkway and steps lead visitors into the cave, where they can enjoy the picturesque vistas.

9. Boardwalks

The trail can continue all along the coast, but this is a good point to just enjoy the boardwalks and views until you get to the town of Carvoeiro. The boardwalk is accessible and a beautiful way to enjoy the coastal views as you make your way to the final destination.

10. Carvoeiro

The Algarve Town of CarvoeiroThe Algarve Town of Carvoeiro

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail ended a few stops ago, but it is worth hiking on to Carvoeiro. There are plenty of dining options, such as sitting on a patio to enjoy views of the beach, eating some seafood, and sipping a cocktail.

It is also easier to hire an Uber or taxi from here. Hiking one way rather than out and back lets you see much more of the Carvoeiro Coastal Walk that continues after the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. Plus, Carvoeiro has a beach where you can enjoy a dip in the sea before heading back to your hotel.

Tips for Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Tips for hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in algarveTips for hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in algarve

Wear Proper Footwear: The trail is rocky and uneven in places. Sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good grip are essential.

Stay Hydrated: There are no facilities along the trail, so bring plenty of water and some snacks.

Sun Protection: The Algarve sun can be intense. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

Check the Weather: Avoid hiking during extreme heat or inclement weather. Avoid the trail during high winds or rain, as it can be dangerous Early mornings or late afternoons are ideal.

Respect Nature: Stick to marked paths to protect the fragile coastal environment and avoid disturbing wildlife.

Safety First: Some parts of the trail are close to cliff edges. Watch your step and keep a safe distance from the edge. Avoid venturing too close to the cliff edges, as they can be unstable. We saw a lot of people standing dangerously close to the edge.

Accommodation

View of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail from The Tivoli CarvoeiroView of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail from The Tivoli Carvoeiro

Where to Stay: The nearby towns of Carvoeiro and Lagoa offer plenty of accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts. We stayed at the Tivoli Carvoeiro, which is in an amazing location. Read more about where to stay in the Algarve at our post: Where to Stay in Algarve: 5 Best Areas To Stay

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is a must-do for anyone visiting the Algarve. With its dramatic cliffs, hidden beaches, and stunning ocean views, this trail showcases the natural beauty of Portugal’s southern coast. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a scenic walk, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail promises an unforgettable experience.

So pack your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore one of Portugal’s most beautiful coastal trails!

Plan more of your trip to Portugal and the Algarve



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