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Salema to Praia da Luz – a beautiful coastal route

A beautiful coastal walk from Salema to Praia da Luz is one of the stages of the Fishermen’s Trail, a multi-day route that starts on the West Coast of the Alentejo region and finishes in Lagos, Southern Algarve. The Salema to Praia da Luz trail follows the rugged coastline for 12 kilometers offering offers spectacular sea scenery and breathtaking views from the top of the cliffs. It’s one of the most scenic hiking trails in the Algarve region.

The Fishermen’s Trail is a part of the Rota Vicentina, a network of hiking routes in the Alentejo and Algarve provinces.

Salema to Praia da Luz route overview

  • Total distance – 12 km/7,4 mi
  • Time – 3-4 hours
  • Accumulated ascent – 409 m
  • Accumulated descent – 420 m
  • Difficulty – easy/moderate
  • Starting point – Salema Beach
  • Finishing point – Praia da Luz
  • Walking route – Salema – Burgau – Praia da Luz

You can do a catamaran tour from Lagos along the coast past Praia da Luz, Burgau, and Salema beaches. From the sea you get the best views of the rugged coastline, natural arches, and caves.

A view of Boca do Rio beach from the cliffs
Praia da Boca do Rio is a wild beach a couple of kilometers outside of Salema

Where does the walk start?

The trail starts at Salema Beach. On the west end of the beach, you will see a big wooden board with the information on the trail. You can extend your walk by adding the Sagres to Salema trail.

Where does the hike finish?

The hike finishes at the beach in Praia da Luz. If you want you can continue walking from Praia da Luz to Lagos

How difficult is the Salema to Praia da Luz walk?

The walk is relatively easy there are many short ascents and descents but nothing very challenging. The only thing that can make the walk difficult is the weather. If it’s very hot or windy it’s not the best time for the hike.

Can the trail be walked in both direction?

Yes, the hike can be done in both directions from Salema to Praia da Luz or in the opposite direction. The route is well-marked both ways. 

Is the Salema – Praia da Luz trail well-marked?

Yes, the trail is well-marked and easy to follow. It’s marked with blue and green stripes painted on wooden poles, rocks, trees, sidewalks, etc.

A route marker of the hike from Salema to Praia da Luz
Green and blue strips mark the walking trail from Salema

When is the best time for walking?

It’s sunny in the Algarve year round so any time is good. It gets very hot in July and August. If you decide to do the hike during these two months it’s strongly recommended to start early in the morning to ensure that you’ll be done walking before midday. Some days by 9 am temperature reaches 30°C. The trail has no shade hikers exposed to the sun throughout the entire route.

If you enjoy coastal routes I can strongly recommend walking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail near Lagoa and the Trail of the Headlands near Ferragudo. Both trails offers some of the best coastal views in the Algarve.

What are the highlights of the trail?

Salema Beach is a beautiful beach with many restaurants and bars along the promenade. During the summer season, it has umbrellas and beach chairs for rent. During the off-season, it’s a very quiet beach with few people.

Boca do Rio Beach is a small wild beach with a parking lot where overnight parking is allowed.

Almádena Fort – ruins of the 17th-century fort on the top of the cliffs with great views.

Almádena Beach is a long sandy beach that is the best to visit at low tide

A sandy beach on the coastline between Salema and Burgau
A small unaccessible beach on the way from Salema to Burgau

Praia das Cabanas Velhas is a nice blue-flag beach with a restaurant, umbrellas and beach chairs. 

Praia dos Rebolos (accessible only from the sea)

Burgau Beach is another beautiful sandy blue-flag beach that gets busy during the summer season. 

Praia da Luz is a small beach town with a long beach. Just like the other two towns, it gets very busy during the season (June to September). For the rest of the year, it’s a very quiet place.

A small yellow house on the street in Burgau, Algarve
Burgau is a town half-way between Salema and Praia da Luz

How to get to Salema?

From Lagos bus terminal take bus # 47 to Sagres. It makes a stop in Salema. The journey takes between 33 and 39 minutes. As of July 2022, there are four daily buses on weekdays at 9 am, 1,45 pm, 5.15 pm, and 6.30 pm. On weekends there is only one bus at 9 am. The price is 3 Euros. Note! The itinerary and prices might change. Please, check the website for the current information.

You can use Uber to get to Salema from Lagos or any other nearby town. Uber works great in the Algarve. We often use it. Though during the peak season and busy hours you might have to wait to get a car. An Uber ride will cost you from 5 euros depending on how far you’re from Salema. 

How to get back from Praia da Luz?

Praia da Luz is connected with Lagos by a public bus line. ONDA buses line #4 run every 30 minutes or so. It takes 20 minutes to get to Lagos, the ticket is 1,5 Euros.

Salema to Praia da Luz route map

A route map of the coastal walk from Salema to Praia da Luz
The walking route from Salema to Praia da Luz through Burgau

Salema to Praia da Luz trail description 

You can walk only part of the trail e.g. from Salema to Burgau or from Burgau to Luz. If I had to choose I’d walk the first half from Salema. I enjoyed it more than the second half. 

Elevation profile of the hiking trail from Salema to Praia da Luz
The elevation profile of the walk from Salema to Praia da Luz

Part 1. Salema to Burgau, 6,5 km

The walk from Salema to Burgau takes hikers past some unspoiled beaches, picturesque cliffs with dramatic drops, and hidden corners. This part has fewer people on the trail and goes through less developed parts of the coast. 

Burgau is right in the middle of the trail. It’s a charming town with narrow cobbled streets, traditional white-washed houses, a beautiful beach, and many restaurants and cafes. It’s a good place to stop for lunch or coffee. 

Part 2. Burgau to Praia da Luz, 5,5 km

The scenery in this part of the trail is still beautiful but pretty much all the way from Burgau to Praia da Luz there are villas, houses, and apart-hotels along the coast. On your right, you have the sea and on your left houses. There are more people in this part. 

Salema Beach during the summer season
Salema Beach looked quite empty early in the morning

What to pack for the hike?

It’s a day hike so you don’t have to carry much stuff. If you walk in summer make sure that have enough water.

Places to stay in Salema

| Salema Eco Camp | Salema Beach Village | Casa Da Paz |

Places to stay in Praia da Luz

| Luzmar Villas | Oasis Beach Apartments | LuzBay Pool Apartments | Luz Arte |

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