Salema to Praia da Luz – a beautiful coastal route

Embarking on the captivating coastal journey from Salema to Praia da Luz unfolds as a segment of the Fishermen’s Trail, an enchanting multi-day odyssey commencing at the West Coast of Alentejo and culminating in Lagos, Southern Algarve. Spanning 12 kilometers, this trail traverses the rugged coastline, treating hikers to mesmerizing sea panoramas and awe-inspiring cliff-top views, making it an unrivaled hiking escapade in the Algarve region.

As an integral part of the Rota Vicentina, the Fishermen’s Trail is interwoven into the network of hiking routes that wind through the Alentejo and Algarve provinces.

Navigating the Salema to Praia da Luz Stroll

The trek is pleasantly moderate, featuring brief ascents and descents that pose little challenge. However, the hike’s ease is contingent on weather conditions; scorching heat or gusty winds may diminish the experience. Optimal times for the journey are when the weather is mild and calm.

Salema to Praia da Luz
Salema to Praia da Luz

Overview of the Salema to Praia da Luz Route

  • Total distance – 12 km/7.4 mi
  • Duration – 3-4 hours
  • Elevation gain – 409 m
  • Elevation loss – 420 m
  • Difficulty – easy/moderate
  • Starting point – Salema Beach
  • Ending point – Praia da Luz
  • Route – Salema – Burgau – Praia da Luz

For an alternative perspective, consider a catamaran tour from Lagos that cruises along the coastline, offering unparalleled views of the rugged terrain, natural arches, and captivating caves.

Leg 1: Salema to Burgau, 6.5 km

The trail from Salema to Burgau unveils secluded beaches, dramatic cliffs, and hidden corners, providing a less crowded and more pristine coastal experience. 

Burgau, situated midway along the trail, charms with its narrow cobbled streets, traditional white-washed houses, a picturesque beach, and a plethora of cafes and restaurants, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely lunch or coffee break. 

Leg 2: Burgau to Praia da Luz, 5.5 km

The scenery remains captivating in this segment, yet the trail is flanked by villas, houses, and apart-hotels for much of the journey from Burgau to Praia da Luz. While the beauty persists, expect a more populated environment with residences lining the coastal path. 

Ideal Timing for the Trek

The Algarve enjoys year-round sunshine, offering favorable conditions for hiking at any time. However, the peak heat in July and August demands an early morning start to conclude the trek before midday. The trail lacks shade, leaving hikers exposed to the sun throughout the entire route.

For enthusiasts of coastal routes, I highly recommend exploring the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail near Lagoa and the Trail of the Headlands near Ferragudo, both presenting some of the most breathtaking coastal vistas in the Algarve.

Versatility of the Trail

Whether from Salema to Praia da Luz or vice versa, the trail is well-marked in both directions, providing a versatile and enjoyable hiking experience. 

Starting Point: Salema Beach

Starting Point: Salema Beach
Starting Point: Salema Beach

Your journey commences at the scenic Salema Beach. Look for a prominent wooden board on the west end of the beach, providing essential trail information. To extend your adventure, consider incorporating the Sagres to Salema trail into your route.

Finishing Point: Praia da Luz Beach

The hike concludes at the captivating Praia da Luz Beach. If you’re up for more exploration, you have the option to continue walking from Praia da Luz to Lagos.

Trail Markings and Navigation

Rest assured, the Salema – Praia da Luz trail is well-marked and easy to navigate. Look out for distinctive blue and green stripes painted on various elements such as wooden poles, rocks, trees, and sidewalks throughout the trail.

Trail Highlights

Immerse yourself in the highlights along the trail, including the pristine Salema Beach adorned with charming restaurants and bars. Venture to Boca do Rio Beach, a secluded wild beach allowing overnight parking. Explore the remnants of the 17th-century Almádena Fort perched on cliffs, offering panoramic views.

Praia das Cabanas Velhas
Praia das Cabanas Velhas

Revel in the long sandy expanse of Almádena Beach, ideal to visit at low tide. Discover the allure of Praia das Cabanas Velhas, a blue-flag beach with amenities. Uncover the mysterious Praia dos Rebolos accessible only from the sea. Lounge on the bustling Burgau Beach, another blue-flag beauty. Finally, savor the tranquility of Praia da Luz, a small beach town that comes alive during the summer.

Getting to Salema

For an effortless journey to Salema, take bus #47 from Lagos bus terminal to Sagres, with a stop in Salema. The ride lasts between 33 and 39 minutes, and as of July 2022, there are four weekday buses at 9 am, 1:45 pm, 5:15 pm, and 6:30 pm, along with one weekend bus at 9 am. The fare is 3 Euros, but it’s advisable to check the website for the latest schedule and prices.

Alternatively, Uber is a convenient option for transportation in the Algarve. A ride from Lagos or nearby towns to Salema typically costs around 5 euros, contingent on the distance. Keep in mind that during peak seasons and busy hours, there might be a waiting period for an Uber car.

Returning from Praia da Luz

To return from Praia da Luz to Lagos, you can rely on the convenient public bus service. ONDA buses on line #4 operate at approximately 30-minute intervals, ensuring a swift 20-minute journey to Lagos for a ticket fare of 1.5 Euros.

Accommodations in Praia da Luz

Consider these options for a comfortable stay in Praia da Luz: Luzmar Villas, Oasis Beach Apartments, LuzBay Pool Apartments, and Luz Arte.

Places to Stay in Salema

Explore these lodging choices in Salema: Salema Eco Camp, Salema Beach Village, and Casa Da Paz.

Essentials for Your Hike

For this day hike, keep it light but essential. In summer, ensure you carry an ample water supply. Pack the following: 

  • Water bottle
  • Cap/hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Quick-dry towel (for a potential swim)
  • Small 10L backpack
  • GPS watch (if you want to track your steps, heart rate, recovery time, etc.)

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