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Hiking Guide to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail (Just Stunning!)

by Cecilie
Published: Last Updated on
Seven hanging valleys trail blog post header

I had very high expectations to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. And now that I’ve hiked it, I can easily tell you that I was not disappointed. Neither was my very tired legs! What a great workout!

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is hands down one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done.

Just imagine you’re walking up and down a trail that lies right next to some of Europe’s most incredible cliff formations all the while you’re passing Portugal’s best beaches. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

This hike was so incredibly beautiful that it surely needs a blog post for itself. So in this article, I’m going to tell you all about how to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail – such as how to get to the starting point, how difficult it is, and what to bring for the hike. I’m also going to share my own experience on the trail followed by a bunch of pretty pictures taken by Glenn.

Now let’s get started on this incredible hike!


About the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

All right! So you’ve decided to do this hike. Or maybe you are still considering? Either way, this section is super helpful for those who needs some basic information about the trail.

So let’s talk about where to start the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail on the Algarve Coast, how to get to the trailhead, the hike time, distance, difficulty, and what to bring for this particular hike. That way, you should be completely prepared to just put on your shoes and start hiking!

Where is the Seven Hanging Valleys starting point?

So here is the thing about the starting point of the Seven Hanging Valleys – it has two!

You can either begin the trail from Praia da Marinha or from Praia do Vale de Centeanes.

However, since this is a one-way coastal track, you either have to walk back down the same track to where you are parked, or you have to grab an Uber, or you take the local bus that follows the coastline (it only goes until Praia do Carvalho bus stop, though).

How to get to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trailhead?

  • With car & parking: The easiest way to get to the starting point of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is definitely by car. You can either park at Praia do Vale de Centeanes or Praia da Marinha – I think parking is free, if I remember correctly. There are more parking spaces available at Praia da Marinha than at Praia do Vale de Centeanes, but it’s also a more popular beach during the summer. So just try your luck.
  • With public transportation: The only way to get to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trailhead, without a car, is by bus or taxi/Uber. We took bus #107 from Portimão to Carvoeiro (you can also take it further to Praia do Vale de Centeanes). The bus cost us €3,4 per person and took 45 minutes from Portimão. Remember to bring small change if you’re taking the bus.

Seven Hanging Valleys (hike time – distance – difficulty)

Time: 6 Hours

Distance: 11,4 Km

Difficulty: Medium+

The hike time, distance, and difficulty of the Seven Hanging Valleys Track, which is listed above, is the official information about the trail. This is the go and return information, so if you only walk the trail one way and grab a taxi back, then you need to cut the kilometers and hike time in half.

Glenn and I did the hike from Carvoeiro to Praia da Marinha, which gave us about 2 extra kilometers each way. So we actually ended up hiking 15 kilometers this day (no wonder our legs were tired!)

It took us 5,5 hours to hike all the way from Carvoeiro to Praia da Marinha, but the way back only took us 2 hours. We were so overwhelmed by the beauty of the trail that we constantly stopped to take pictures – this naturally slowed us down. But on the way back, we didn’t take any pictures, plus we were in a hurry to catch the bus, so we hiked as fast as we could.

I can really recommend beginning the hike from Carvoeiro if you want a few extra kilometers in your legs, plus, you get to explore the Carvoeiro Boardwalk.

In terms of difficulty of the Seven Hanging Valleys, then you have to prepare yourself for the constant change in elevation. You’re walking up and down and in between cliffs and beaches. So keep this in mind if you have any injuries. I’d rate this hike to be challenging, meaning somewhere between medium and hard.

Seven hanging valleys trail
This is what the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail looks like most of the time
Seven Hanging Valleys trail signs
Follow these signs if you get confused about the trail

What to bring for the hike?

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a cap (We hiked in November in t-shirt and shorts!)
  • 1,5-2 Liters of water per person (you can never bring enough water on a hike!)
  • Lunch and snacks (you need to keep the energy flowing.)
  • A Camera or your phone (you’ll want to commemorate this beautiful hike with pictures.)
  • Great walking shoes or hiking sandals (I always hike in my Teva Sandals in warm weather.)

Related blog post: What to bring for a day hike?


My experience hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

All right. Now that we’ve covered all the basic information about hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, I think it’s time for me to share my own experience – and some pictures to spark your wanderlust!

1. Getting to Carvoeiro from Portimão with the local bus

At 9:15 AM, we took the local bus from Portimão towards Carvoeiro. While the bus ride went smooth and pretty fast, I thought that it couldn’t be any slower… My feet were so itchy to start hiking!

Once we arrived in Carvoeiro, I found the small town to be a pleasant surprise. There were many hotels and restaurants, plus a beautiful little beach to top it off. I could’ve easily spend a whole day chilling here if I hadn’t committed to this full day hike.

We found some stairs next to the beach and decided that these must lead up to the trail next to the coastline. And they did. So we started hiking towards the starting point of the Seven Hanging Valleys.

Seven Hanging Valleys trail from Carvoeiro
I’m superwoman – ready to take on this trail! Carvoeiro Beach is behind me

2. From Carvoeiro to the Seven Hanging Valleys Trailhead

What I didn’t anticipate was the incredible Carvoeiro Boardwalk in front of us. To think that we would have missed this if we had gone straight to Praia do Vale de Centeanes where the official trailhead starts.

The boardwalk is less than a kilometer long, yet we managed to spend a full hour exploring this place. Along the boardwalk there are 2 passages which you can enter and walk down to the cliffs. Here you’ll find several small trails that leads you upon, below, and around the cliffs. It’s so much fun! You could easily play hide and seek here.

A lot of fishermen also took advantage of the fact that you could get closer to the ocean from here. Although, there was one guy who stood on top of the cliffs, right by the boardwalk, and he was holding what must have been the longest fishing rod in the world… Just to reach the ocean it had to be at least 50 meters long! Look at the picture below, and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyways, the boardwalk eventually ended, and we continued the hike.

The next highlight of the track was when we found a table and two chairs on top of a cliff next to Vale Covo Beach. What a great place it would’ve been to have lunch! However, we were so behind schedule after playing around the cliffs at Carvoeiro boardwalk, so we hurried onto Praia do Vale de Centeanes to begin the actual trail of the Seven Hanging Valleys.

Carvoeiro boardwalk
Carvoeiro Boardwalk
Cliffs at Carvoeiro Boardwalk
Walking around the cliffs at Carvoeiro Boardwalk
Playing at the Algarve coast
Hello! I’m ant-woman
Man fishing on Algarve Coast, Portugal
Man fishing from the top of the cliffs on the Algarve coast
Praia do Vale de Centeanes in Algarve, Portugal
Beautiful Praia do Vale de Centeanes

3. Beginning the actual trail from Praia do Vale de Centeanes

Before beginning the ascent from Vale de Centeanes Beach, we spotted an official information board (and map) which announced that this was the start of the Seven Hanging Valleys trail.

It stated the following:

  • Distance: 11,4 km
  • Average duration: 6 hours
  • Level of difficulty: Medium
  • Maximum height: 45,5 meters
  • Minimum height: 7,5 meters
  • Recommended seasons: Spring and autumn

We had done our research beforehand, so we weren’t surprised by any of the information on the board -except for the fact that… the average duration said 6 hours! Oh well, we thought, we’re probably going to miss the bus ride back home to Portimão. But more about that later.

4. Hiking from Praia do Vale de Centeanes to Alfanzina Lighthouse

We began hiking. The trail twisted up and down the coastline. It was honestly tougher than we expected, and the constant change in elevation is probably why the trail is estimated to take 6 hours…

But the trail was SO beautiful. It was really hard not to stop and take pictures of the breathtaking views. Our hike was basically going like this… Walk 10 meters, take a picture, walk 10 meters, take a new picture, repeat, repeat, repeat. We got absolutely nowhere.

Be prepared for how captivating the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is. These beautiful views really makes you forget about time.

Still walking with the pace of a snail, we eventually made it to the military base with the iconic lighthouse. This is NOT the halfway point of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, but since we were hiking all the way from Carvoeiro, this was our halfway point to Marinha Beach.

This meant that Glenn and I were finally half way! So… We still had 3/4 of the hike left, and we’d already spent hours on the trail. But like I said, this coastline is just too incredible to not stop all the time. With each new bay (or “valley”), the landscape changes and the view somehow becomes even more spectacular.

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal
The hike continues
Alfanzina Lighthouse at Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Portugal
The Alfanzina Lighthouse on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
Seven Hanging Valleys in Algarve beautiful view
Lunch with a view!

5. From Alfanzina Lighthouse to the Benagil Cave

Not far from the lighthouse, we decided to stop and have lunch. The dry ham and cheese sandwich from Pingo Doce tasted much better than it actually was. But hey, when your legs are tired and your stomach is empty, everything will taste heavenly!

We continued the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail and eventually ended up at Benagil Beach. Here you have the opportunity to use a toilet (finally!), which is completely free (thank you!), and you have the option to sit down and have a drink.

For €7,5 we bought a small water, a small beer, and a large beer. The tourist prices were obvious, but at this point, an ice cold beer did wonders to our mood. After our spirits were heightened with beer, we continued the hike.

From Benagil Beach, you have to follow the road for about 100-150 meters until you reach the restaurant named “O Algar”. The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail continue just behind this eatery.

From here there is only a couple of hundred meters until the Benagil Cave. You can look down into the cave, but you don’t see much. I really think that this popular cave is much nicer to experience with a kayak or on a boat trip. Here are some tours I found that can take you to the Benagil cave:

Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The trail continues!
Cave at Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Algarve
You’ll spot many caves along the trail
Walking to Benagil Beach
Walking down to Benagil Beach
Benagil Beach at Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, Algarve
Benagil Beach
Benagil Cave from above, Algarve coast
Looking into the famous Benagil Cave from above

6. The last stretch from Benagil to Praia da Marinha

The last stretch from Benagil Cave to Praia da Marinha was just beautiful!

However, this part of the Seven Hanging Valleys Track was also the most touristic we’d experienced. It felt like waaay more people walked just this part than the rest of the hike. But to be fair, it also stretches between one of Portugal’s most popular caves and one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches.

When we finally made it to the viewpoint of Marinha Beach, we both felt so happy. There is something very satisfying about finishing a hike after 5,5 hours …Oh wait! We still had to walk all the way back…

We took a couple of moments to take in the beauty of Marinha Beach, and then we turned around and continued back down the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.

Praia da Marinha, Algarve, Portugal
Praia da Marinha – one of Portugal’s most popular beaches
finishing the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail at Praia da Marinha
I finally made it to the end! Now we just have to hike all the way back…

7. Returning back the same way to Carvoeiro (tough!)

The way back was tough because of 3 factors: 1) We wanted to take the bus back to Portimão from Carvoeiro at 5:50 PM, 2) It was already 3:30 PM!!!, 3) Our legs were really tired at this point.

However, Glenn and I are really stubborn, and we’ve hurried back down trails on several occasions! Just check out Mirador las Torres & Roy’s Peak Trail.

So we hiked as fast as we could back to Carvoeiro and made it just in time to watch a beautiful sunset at Carvoeiro Boardwalk. WOW! One of the better one’s I’ve ever seen!

At 5:40 PM, we were standing at the bus stop in Carvoeiro and waiting for the local bus to take us back to Portimão. This meant that we managed to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail from Marinha Beach to Carvoeiro in just 2 hours! *Padding myself (and Glenn) on the back*

After the bus picked us up, I was finally able to rest my tired legs while dreaming of a delicious Portuguese hot meal not too far away into the future. What a day!

Sunset at Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The sun is setting over the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
sunset at Carvoeiro boardwalk, Algarve
Me enjoying the last bit of sun at Carvoeiro Boardwalk – the hike is (finally) over!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail on the Algarve Coast. It was honestly one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on. So make sure to do this one if you’re a keen hiker and you’re in the area.

If you have any questions about the trail, then please leave them in the comment box below, and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading and happy hiking!

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1 comment

16 Of The Best Hikes in Portugal You Don’t Want to Miss Out On! | Travel-Boo Europe Travel Blog February 19, 2022 - 7:38 pm

[…] Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is undoubtedly one of Portugal’s most beautiful hikes. The trail takes you past incredible cliff […]

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