Praia do Carvalho in Algarve Portugal

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal: 2022 Complete Guide 

Last updated Dec 30, 2022 | Best Hiking Europe, Portugal

The Algarve coast in southern Portugal is simply breathtaking. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in all its beauty is to hike the edges of the coastline on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. You will encounter towering limestone cliffs, hidden beaches, natural caves, and turquoise waters. At the end of all your hard work, enjoy a seaside lunch watching the waves crash against the beach. Here’s what we consider the best way to do one of the most beautiful coastal hiking routes in the world!  

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Quick Overview 

  • Hiking distance one-way: 5.7 km (3.5 miles) or 11.4 km (7 miles) roundtrip 

  • Hiking time: 2 hours 20 minutes one-way or 4 hours 40 minutes roundtrip 

  • Starting point: Praia* da Marinha 

  • Ending point: Praia do Vale de Centeanes 

  • Difficulty level: moderate 

* Praia means “beach” in Portuguese 

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail Map 

Map of Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Map of Seven Hanging Valleys trail

There are several ways to accomplish this hike: 

Option 1: Start from Praia da Marinha and hike to Praia do Vale de Centeanes. Get an Uber/taxi back to the starting point or just hike back the way you came.

Option 2: Start from Praia do Vale de Centeanes and hike to Praia da Marinha. Get an Uber/taxi back to the starting point or just hike back the way you came.

What did we do? Option 1.

I loved doing the hike in this direction because you end at Praia do Vale de Centeanes, which has a lovely seaside restaurant to enjoy an al fresco lunch. The perfect way to end the hike. 

Don’t worry about getting lost on the trail. Just keep following the posts with the yellow and red horizontal bars as shown in the pic below. 

Red and yellow hiking markers on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal

Follow the red and yellow hiking markers to continue on the Seven Hanging Valleys trail

Parking for the Seven Valleys Hanging Trail 

Marinha Beach Parking Lot

Marinha Beach parking lot

There is a large parking lot at Praia da Marinha (Marinha Beach). We started the hike around 10 am and had no problem finding parking. When we returned around 4:30 pm, the parking lot was packed! 

I strongly suggest renting a car. We booked with the local company Luzcar and had a great experience. It took us about 40 minutes to drive from our Airbnb in Lagos to Marinha Beach. 

Our Step-By-Step Hiking Experience

I have broken out the Seven Hanging Valleys trail into three parts. Refer back to the map.

  • Part 1: Marinha Beach to Benagil Beach
  • Part 2: Benagil Beach to the Alfanzina Lighthouse
  • Part 3: Alfanzina Lighthouse to Vale de Centeanes Beach
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PART 1: MARINHA BEACH TO BENAGIL BEACH

Hiking Time: 1 hour 

Marinha Beach in Portugal

Marinha Beach in Portugal

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail starts at the gorgeous Marinha Beach.  There are plenty of limestone rocks jutting out of the water to give it that mesmerizing feel. 

You can access the beach via the staircase on the left of the lookout point. The trail actually starts on the right side of the lookout point, so head straight there if you want to skip the beach. 

Start of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail at Marinha Beach

Start at the right of the Marinha Beach lookout point at this sign to begin the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

As you navigate the coastline, you’ll pass by some stunning limestone arches and cave openings. 

Cool limestone arches on the Seven Valleys Hanging Trail in Portugal

Cool limestone arches on the Seven Valleys Hanging Trail in Portugal

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal

Unique cave openings on the trail

Shortly after you’ll encounter another gorgeous beach, Praia da Corredoura. Only accessible by water.

Praia da Corredoura in Portugal

Praia da Corredoura in Portugal

Before you reach Benagil Beach, you’ll pass by the opening of Benagil Cave. It’s fenced off, so you can barely see inside the cave. 

Eye or Hole of Benagil Cave as Viewed from the Top

Eye or hole of Benagil Cave as viewed from the Seven Hanging Valleys trail 

Before we did the Seven Hanging Valleys hike, we actually woke up early and kayaked on our own inside Benagil Cave. A very unique experience! If you head out around 7 am, you will have the place entirely to yourselves for at least 20 minutes before tour groups start arriving. Alternatively, you can join a Benagil Cave kayak tour. 

You can read more about our DIY kayak experience below. 

After you pass the opening of the Benagil Cave, keep following the trail along the coastline. 

Hiking on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail towards Benagil Beach

Hiking on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail towards Benagil Beach

The trail will start to wind inland until it plops you right next to O Algar restaurant. Take a left on to the road and curve your way down the road past O Pescador restaurant until you reach Benagil Beach. See the map below.

Map of how to do the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail around Benagil Beach in Portugal

Map of how to do the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail around Benagil Beach in Portugal

It may not be super obvious how to continue on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail from Benagil Beach. Walk onto the beach. As you are facing the water, there is a staircase on the right-hand side leading up to the trail. Follow it.  

Staircase leading up from Benagil Beach to continue on Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Staircase leading up from Benagil Beach to continue on Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Once you hike back to the top, you get a great view overlooking Benagil Cave and all the kayakers. 

Benagil Beach seen from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal

Benagil Beach seen from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal

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BENAGIL BEACH TO THE ALFANZINA LIGHTHOUSE

Hiking Time: 45 minutes

Hidden staircase at Praia do Carvalho in Portugal

Praia do Carvalho 

This next stretch of the hike is pretty cool. As you navigate around the curvy coastline, you will eventually reach a wide sandy beach called Praia do Carvalho. 

You walk through a hidden tunnel and down a staircase (see pic above) that has been carved out in the limestone cliff to access it. Before you know it, you pop out onto the beach. 

Hidden limestone staircase to Praia do Carvalho

Hidden entrance to limestone staircase to Praia do Carvalho

Hidden tunnel to Praia do Carvalho

Hidden tunnel to Praia do Carvalho 

The beach is relatively sheltered between the two cliffs. Some brave souls actually cliff dive at this beach. Don’t miss it! 

Praia do Carvalho in Algarve Portugal

Praia do Carvalho in Algarve Portugal

After you leave Praia do Carvalho, get ready for a baby stair master as you navigate the staircase up the cliffs. 

Stairmaster after Praia do Carvalho

Stairmaster after Praia do Carvalho

You’ll come up across some interesting arched limestone cliffs that form little caves. Now, the lighthouse will start to come into view. 

Hiking towards the lighthouse on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal

Hiking towards the lighthouse on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal

Before you reach the lighthouse, you’ll pass by another cool natural formation called Paradise Cave. 

Paradise Cave on Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Portugal

Paradise Cave on Seven Hanging Valleys trail in Portugal

A few more up and down sections and then you arrive at the lighthouse. 

Up and down sections on Seven Hanging Valleys Trail heading towards Praia do Vale de Centeanes

Up and down sections on Seven Hanging Valleys Trail heading towards Praia do Vale de Centeanes

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ALFANZINA LIGHTHOUSE TO VALE DE CENTEANES BEACH

Hiking Time: 35 minutes

Lunch Time at O Stop: 1 hr. 45 minutes 

Hiking to Praia do Vale de Centeanes on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Hiking to Praia do Vale de Centeanes on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

Continue hugging the coastline for the next 35 minutes on the well-marked trail down to your final stop, Praia do Vale de Centeanes. Pretty views but not nearly as scenic as the stretch from Marinha Beach to Praia do Carvalho.

.You’ll see the beach in the distance and then make your final descent down some steps. 

Here is why I love hiking the trail in this direction. There’s a little restaurant called O Stop that is perched up on the limestone cliffs to give you an incredible seaside view. 

Praia do Vale de Centeanes in the Algarve Portugal

Praia do Vale de Centeanes in the Algarve

Make sure to get a table closest to the sea. Order a pitcher of cold sangria to celebrate all of your hard work. 

Sangria with a view at O Stop in Algarve Portugal

Sangria with a view at O Stop in Algarve, Portugal

Then replenish all those lost calories with Grandma’s mouthwatering fish soup (sopa de piece peixe da avo), and some well-seasoned piripiri chicken. The food was much better than expected. Life is good.

Grandmas Fish Soup at O Stop in Algarve Portugal

Grandmas Fish Soup at O Stop in Algarve, Portugal

Piri piri chicken at O Stop in Algarve Portugal

Piri-piri chicken at O Stop in Algarve ,Portugal

Now if you can peel yourself off your seat, you have two options to get back. 

  1. Have the restaurant call a taxi back. We didn’t have much luck with Uber in the Algarve. 
  2. Hike back the way you came. 

Bathroom Locations

Don’t worry. You don’t have to pee behind a bush. There is a public restroom at Benagil Beach and another one at the restaurant O Stop at the end of the trail. Plan accordingly. 

Best Time to Do This Hike 

As with most hikes around the world, spring (April-May) and fall (September-November) are the best times. Summer is too hot, and the winter months are rainy and cool. We went at the end of May and had near-perfect weather. 

Start your hike early especially if you are doing the trail as an out-and-back. You’ll beat some of the heat, and it will give you plenty of time to snap photos and have a leisurely lunch. Plus, parking at Marina Beach later in the day is almost near impossible.  

We started at 10 am, hiked at a very leisurely pace, snapped a ton of photos, enjoyed a long lunch, hiked back, and were back at the car at 4:30 pm. Total of 6.5 hours. 

And since we are crazy, we had actually started our day at 7 am kayaking inside Benagil Cave before we even started the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. 

Where to Stay Near the Trail

Airbnb in Lagos, Portugal

Airbnb in Lagos, Portugal

We set up base in Lagos at an adorable Airbnb that had its own pool and was within walking distance of the iconic Ponta da Piedade. Because we stayed right outside the town of Lagos, it was incredibly affordable. The owners Laetitia and Frank are super sweet. Highly recommend. It took us 40 minutes to drive from the Airbnb to Marinha Beach. 

What to Bring on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

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TRAIL RUNNERS

The trail is well-marked, but it’s dusty and can be rocky. Wear proper shoes. I love my trail runners for these kinds of hikes. 

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WATER BOTTLE

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is not a quick 30-minute hike. You will be hiking for several hours, so make sure to bring plenty of water. 

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HAT

There is absolutely no shade. When we started the hike, it was overcast. By the time we hiked back, it was full-on sun. Your skin will cook, so bring a hat. I love my ponytail hat that does not snag my hair. 

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SUNSCREEN

Unless you want brown spots, wrinkles, and skin cancer, be smart and apply that sunscreen. My absolute favorite is Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 sunscreen. 

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BACKPACK

I always carry my Zomake bag for my “more leisurely” hikes. It carries all my essentials and folds down super small to store in my suitcase. 

Final Thoughts on the Seven Hanging Valleys Hike

We have done some pretty unique hikes throughout our travels including the Kozjak waterfall trail in Slovenia, Lion’s Head in South Africa, and the Wild Pony hike in Virginia. The Seven Hanging Valleys trail in Portugal also gets to join that list!

If you are looking for more fantastic hiking trails in Portugal, don’t miss my other hiking guides below.

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What else do you want to know about the Seven Hanging Valleys trail?

Let me know in the comments below!

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