Hiking the stunning Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is a not-to-miss activity in the Algarve, Portugal. The trail offers incredible coastal views in the region and takes hikers past some of the top attractions in the region such as Marinha Beach, Bengail Cave and Benagil Beach. In this post you can find all you need to know about walking this incredible trail.
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Where is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail?
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is located in the Algarve region of Portugal. The nearest towns are Armacao de Pera on the east, Carvoeiro on the west, and Lagoa on the north.
How long is the trail?
It’s a 6-kilometres linear route that can be walked in either direction: east-west or west-east. It can be walked as a return 12-kilometers hike. It takes about 2 hours to complete the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, 4 hours if you walk it to and back.
Where does the route start and end?
The Seven Hanging Valleys trail starts at the Marinha Beach, Lagoa and ends at Praia do Vale de Centianes, Carvoeiro. Most people walk it that way but there is no difference the route can be walked in either direction; east – west or west-east.
Once in Carvoeiro spend some time exploring the beautiful coastline on the town. There are many great thing to do there; you can visit the famous Algar Seco, stroll on the Carvoeiro boardwalk, and relax on the beautiful Carvoeiro Beach.
How difficult is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail?
It’s a moderate route with very few ascents and descents. It’s not suitable for young children and people suffering from vertigo. We wanted to walk it carrying our 8-months old daughter in a hiking carrier but decided not to do it in the end. There were a couple of places with steep and a bit slippery descents that would be a bit tricky to walk carrying a baby on your back. If you’re looking for a toddler-friendly hike in the Algarve we can recommend boardwalks at Ponta de Piedade in Lagos and Alvor boardwalk near Portimão. We walked both carrying our daughter in a Deuter hiking carrier and it worked great.
How to get to the trailhead?
The easiest way of getting to the trailhead of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is by car. There is a big parking lot at the start of the trail near Marinha Beach. During the summer months and on weekends the lot fills up very quickly. It’s better to arrive early enough to get a spot.
You can take an Uber from Lagoa, Carvoeiro, or Armação de Pêra.
How to get back to the car after completing the trail?
You can walk back following the same trail. The total distance of the return hike is 12 km.
If you don’t feel like walking you can take an Uber to get back to your car. A ride will cost you between 5 and 7 euros depending on the season. It’s a quick 15-minutes drive. Uber works great for short distances in the Algarve, we often use it. You will have to install an Uber App on your phone to be able to use it.
You can take a taxi back as well but it’ll be more expensive.
Is the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail marked?
The route is well-marked all the way with yellow and red markers on wooden poles, wooden rails, and rocks. It’s easy to follow.
Do I need a guide?
No, you can walk it on your own. During the summer season, there are many people on the trail.
Are there places to get food and water along the rail?
You can get food and water at one of the restaurants along the route that can be found at Praia da Marinha (down at the beach and at the parking lot), Benagil Beach, and Praia do Vale de Centianes. There is a food kiosk on the top near the parking at Praia do Carvalho. The restaurants are very busy during the summer months it might have to wait for a while to get your food. As an option you can pack food and snack with you there are a couple of picnic spots where you can stop for rest and lunch.
What is the ground like on the trail?
It’s mostly a footpath on the cliffs the ground is quite steady. There are some rocky parts but no loose rocks or slippery ground. For safety reasons, the trail is not suitable for cycling the path often goes on the edge of the cliffs.
When is the best time for walking the trail?
The weather in the Algarve is nice and sunny throughout the year. Spring is our favourite time for hiking in the Algarve. We did the famous Fishermen’s Trail and many other day hikes during the spring months. In summer it gets very hot it’s recommended to walk the trail early in the morning. The rest of the year you can walk the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail at any time.
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail route description
- Total distance – 6 km/3,7 mi one way, 12 km/7,4 mi return
- Required time – 2 hours one way, 4 hours return
- Stating point – Marinha Beach
- Finishing point – Praia do Vale de Centinanes
Part 1. Praia da Marinha to Benagil Beach
It’s the busiest and the most popular part of the trial. Many people walk only this part mainly for the great views of the Marinha Beach and the coastline that you get from the cliffs. Keep in mind that the trail doesn’t go past Marinha Beach you do get nice views of the beach from the top but if you want to visit the beach you have to do a small detour. The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail starts on the right-hand side (facing the sea) and Marinha Beach is on the left. There are signs indicating both ways.
The first part is a 2 km/1,2 mi stretch with several stunning lookout points. The route goes past the famous Benagil Cave but you don’t get to look inside the cave. There is a fence around it so that people don’t get too close to the edge. If you want to see the cave the best way is to do a kayak o SUP tour from Benagil Beach. You can do a boat tour from several towns in the Algarve e.g. Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira but to get to the beach you’ll have to swim. Boats are not allowed to stop at the beach.
Not to miss
- Marinha Beach, it is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe
- Look out points
- Mesquita Beach
- Benagil cave
- Benagil Beach
Part 2. Benagil Beach to Praia do Carvalho
A 1,5 km/1 mi stretch with more lookout points and stunning views. The trail continues along the cliffs. There are fewer people than in the first part. It’s a short stretch between two stunning beaches. If you want to chill and swim at one of the beaches along the route I’d recommend Praia do Carvalho. Marinha Beach and Benagil Beach are very busy during the season. Praia do Carvalho is quieter and in my opinion just as beautiful as the other two beaches.
Not to miss
- Benagil Beach lookout point
- Praia do Carvalho look out point
- A tunnel in the rocks with a long staircase leading down to the beach
Part 3. Praia do Carvalho to Praia do Vale de Centianes
A 2,5 km/1,5 mi stretch is the quietest part of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. The scenery is a bit different fewer pinnacles and arches and more forest. There are a couple of picnic spots with shade where you can rest. The ascent up the stairs from Praia do Carvalho is probably the toughest part of the trail though it’s not very long. If you want to buy some food there is a food kiosk in the parking lot.
Not to miss
- Cabo Carvoeiro
- Lookout points
- Alfanzina Lighthouse
- Vale Suspenso
- Praia do Vale de Centianes.
Where to stay near to the trail?
Carvoeiro is a nice beach town 8 km from Praia da Marinha. There are many accommodation options there.
- Middle price | O Quintal Guesthouse | Vale d’El Rei Hotel & Villas | Quinta Nova Vale Del Rey |
- High-end | Monte Santo Resort | Villa Welwitshia | Rocha Brava Village Resort |
What to pack for the hike?
It’s a short day hike you don’t need to pack a lot of stuff only some essentials.
- A cap is a must-have there is barely any shade on the trail
- A water bottle
- A small backpack to carry water, snack and valuables
- Comfortable shoes, you don’t need hiking shoes. Sneakers or running shoes will be fine but I wouldn’t recommend walking the trail in flip flops.
- I prefer hiking in long pants and a long-sleeve shirt for better sun protection.