The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is a spectacular coastal walk in the Algarve in southern Portugal. Stretching from Praia da Marinha Beach to Praia do Vale de Centeanes Beach, the trail features jaw-dropping views of the region’s rugged coast and is considered one of the best hikes in the Algarve.
The trail follows the winding edges of the famous golden Algarve cliffs and takes you through phenomenal coastal scenery with sea stacks, sinkholes and secluded beaches. Hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail was definitely one of the highlights of my Algarve itinerary and I can’t recommend it enough!
In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about hiking this trail, including where to start, the best time to hike, what you can expect to see and where to stay. I’ve also included the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail map at the end of the post.
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Type of hike: point-to-point or out-and-back
Trailhead: Praia da Marinha or Praia do Vale de Centeanes
Distance: 5.7 km (3.5 miles) point-to-point or 11.4 km (7 miles) round trip
Time: 2.5-3 hours one way or 5-6 hours round trip
How to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is a 5.7-km (3.5-mile) point-to-point hike, which means that you’ll start and end the hike in different places. Of course, you can also do it as an out-and-back hike by simply walking back the same way (11.4 km/7 miles in total).
If you choose to do it as a one-way hike, you can grab a taxi or an Uber back to your car or accommodation at the end of the hike.
The trail is well signposted and easy to follow – just look for the yellow and red markings on rocks or poles. It’s nearly impossible to get lost as you’ll be following the coastline the entire way.
There are a few ascents and descents and at one point, you might even need to use your hands to scramble up some rocks but overall it’s a relatively easy trail.
The starting point of the Seven Hanging Valleys walk can be either Praia da Marinha Beach at one end of the trail or Praia do Vale de Centeanes Beach at the opposite end. The easiest way to get to either of these beaches is by car but Praia da Marinha can also be reached by bus from Lagoa.
Now, you might be wondering which beach you should start the hike from. People have differing opinions about this but I honestly don’t think it matters which direction you hike because the views are amazing either way!
Keep in mind though that in the summer it can be difficult to find parking. Because of that, you might want to start the hike from Marinha Beach as the parking lot there is significantly bigger.
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail description
If you’re hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail from east to west, you’ll find the trailhead to the right of Praia da Marinha (if you’re facing the ocean). Above the beach, there are several lookout points offering incredible views of the jagged limestone cliffs and sea stacks rising vertically from the turquoise water.
Praia da Marinha has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, so it’s definitely worth spending some time here to enjoy its beauty. If you want to visit the beach right away, you can take the stairs down on the left side. Otherwise, you can also relax here afterwards when you finish your hike.
As you start hiking, the cliff-top trail leads you through a stunning coastal landscape characterized by natural arches, sinkholes and untouched beaches like Praia do Cão Raivoso and Praia da Corredoura.
You’ll see that most of the sinkholes are surrounded by barriers. Please respect them as they are there to prevent further erosion and keep you safe.
After about an hour of hiking, you’ll arrive at Benagil Beach. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit one of the most famous attractions in the Algarve – the Benagil Cave (Algar de Benagil). It’s a huge limestone sea cave with a hole in its ceiling and it can only be accessed by sea.
To visit this natural wonder from Benagil Beach, you can take this guided kayaking or SUP tour where you’ll also get to see other attractions along the coast.
If you’re here in the summer and want to see the cave without tourist hordes, consider taking this Benagil Cave sunrise tour instead.
To continue your Seven Hanging Valleys hike, take the stairs on the right side of Benagil Beach, which will lead you up to the top of the cliffs. Soon you’ll reach the beautiful Carvalho Beach, which you can access via a tunnel carved through the rock.
Next, the trail leads you to Alfanzina Lighthouse. At this point, you’re done with about two thirds of the hike. The rest of the trail continues to follow the edges of the cliffs and offers mesmerizing views of the dramatic coastline of the Algarve.
At the end of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, you’ll find a set of stairs leading down to Praia do Vale de Centeanes. From here, you can either hike back the same way or take a taxi/Uber.
Extend the hike to Carvoeiro
If you’re in the mood to continue hiking, you can easily extend the Seven Hanging Valleys trek to Algar Seco and Carvoeiro. This will add about 2 km (1.2 miles) to your hike (one-way).
At the magnificent Algar Seco cave system, you can explore tunnels, natural pools and windows carved into the rock by wind and waves over thousands of years. Eventually, you’ll reach the charming resort town Carvoeiro and its cliff-top boardwalk.
Best time to hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
You can hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail all year round. However, be aware that in the summer months, the days can get extremely hot. Since there’s almost no shade along the trail, you should get an early start to avoid walking in the scorching midday sun.
Summer is also when the Algarve receives the most tourists so you can expect to share the trail and the beaches with lots of people.
The best time to do the Seven Hanging Valleys trek is probably spring and fall since there are fewer tourists around, the sky is usually clear, the days are warm and you can still go swimming.
Winter is also a great time for hiking in the Algarve but there’s a higher chance of rain and cloudy skies. We did this hike in mid-December and the weather was just perfect – sunny and 17°C (63°F).
Since winter is the low season, there were only a couple of other people on the trail which allowed us to soak in the beautiful surroundings in peace and quiet. If you’re considering traveling to the region in the low season, read my post on visiting the Algarve in winter so you’re aware of the pros and cons.
Do keep in mind that hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail on a rainy day is not recommended as it gets very slippery and there’s a higher chance of rockslides.
Best places to stay near the Seven Hanging Valleys walk
The best area to stay for hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is Carvoeiro. It’s a lovely seaside town with traditional whitewashed houses, a peaceful ambience and the beautiful Praia do Carvoeiro Beach.
BUDGET: Apartamentos Solar Vale Covo
These apartments feature large rooms, a spacious garden and an outdoor pool, and are situated just a 15-minute walk from the center of Carvoeiro. It’s a great option for families or those traveling on a budget.
MID-RANGE: Castelo Guest House
This oceanfront guest house sits on top of a cliff above Carvoeiro Beach and resembles a little castle. With its stunning views of the ocean and proximity to cafes and restaurants, the location couldn’t be any better.
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail map
On this map, you can find the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail along with all the major points of interest along the way. Click on the top left corner of the map for more details.
You might also be interested in my other blog posts about Portugal:
- 5-day Algarve road trip itinerary
- Visiting the Algarve in winter: What to expect
- Best hikes in the Algarve
- 7-day Madeira itinerary
- Madeira beaches guide: from black sand to volcanic pools
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