Posts tagged winter hiking
Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: Silves -Monchique - Marmelete

In February I embarked on a three-week-long hike across Portugal. 300 km on the Via Algarviana trail took me through some remarkable landscapes and tested my body's abilities and mind's strength.

In this article, I invite you to read about the section from Silves, through Monchique, to Marmelete. I can promise beautiful photography of some truly stunning mountain views!

I didn't plan it, but I ended up spending two days in Silves. It proved to be exactly what my body and mind needed - after the break (which was pretty active, sightseeing Silves and taking a trip to the Ocean) I felt refreshed and ready to climb the big mountains of Monchique.

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Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: From Vaqueiros to Barranco do Velho

My solo hiking adventure on the Via Algarviana trail in Portugal continues! Here comes the second part: from Vaqueiros, through Cachopo and Feiteras all the way to Barranco do Velho. 55 km through stunning mountains and tiny villages, challenging trail with stunning landscapes, with added problem of a … dog who wanted to take a long hike.

I woke up to a very cloudy and chilly day in Vaqueiros. I had my breakfast waiting in the restaurant down the street, so I packed almost wholly and walked to see what they had for me.

The day before I explained my diet issues and showed a card in Portuguese on a gluten-free diet. It's not very popular around here, and I am happy I had that card.

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Via Algarviana: All You Need to Know to Hike Across Portugal

If you are looking for a long-distance hike which provides beautiful views, cultural heritage sites, and safety - I have good news for you! Via Algarviana is a fantastic destination, and I am happy to explain why.

The Via Algarviana trail is a long-distance path stretching between the Eastern-most edge of southern Portugal, near the border with Spain, all the way to the Ocean on the other side. It crosses through the region of Algarve (hence the name) showing the interior side of this famous tourist destination.

The trail is about 300 km long and is divided into 14 official sections. Unless one is used to making long distances in a day, it takes about 3 weeks to complete. If you have more time, you can combine it with many local paths or continue along the Western shore north from Cabo de São Vicente.

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 17 & 18 | Archanes - Myrtia - Kasteli

Ahead of me were the two last days of solo hiking through Crete. After well over 200 km, I was tired but still in love with the Cretan nature. This section of E-4 trail takes one through the rural areas of central Crete, crossing olive groves, vineyards, small villages, and occasional small town. The trail became much less wild and much more paved. 

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Female & Solo on Crete: Days 15-16 | Ano Asites - Profiti Ilias - Archanes

I started the day in a very comfortable bed at the Iraklio Hotel. After a proper shower and delicious breakfast (they even had gluten-free bread!), I moved towards the bus station (on the other side of the town) to catch a bus to Ano Asites.

When I got there, I was told I was on the wrong bus station. See, there are two of them in Iraklio – the “A” for long-distance buses and the “B” for local ones. I had to get a city bus to reach the other bus station… which was just steps from my hotel. Oh, well. I was glad I made it to the bus – at the last minute!

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 9-12 Agia Roumeli - Chora Sfakion - Rodakino - Plakias

After a very nice rest day in Agia Roumeli, I was ready to move on along the E4 trail. The forecast didn’t sound good - I was getting ready for a rainy hiking. The hotel’s owner said it would be raining only in the mountains – and he was right!

At first, the trail took me to Agios Pavlos along the coast. This Byzantine chapel was a stunning shape against the raw view. Throughout my Cretan hiking, I loved seeing the tiny chapels, dotting the landscape in most surprising places.

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Days 7 & 8 Sougia - Domata - Agia Roumeli

This part of my Cretan hiking was described by the very helpful site Destination Crete as „One of Crete's most tiring and difficult routes”. Their description of the hike from Paleochora to Sougia was dead on with “the most beautiful hike on Crete” so I was really nervous about that part.

On the map it does not look all that bad. There are no high mountains, you go along the coast and there is a bit of up and down. Well, nothing unusual for a hiking trail, right? And yet…

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete: Day 6 & 7 Paleochora - Lissos - Sougia

The trek from Paleochora to Lissos was one of many on my long-term hiking trip but it is also the perfect destination for a lovely day hike. If you have the time, I highly recommend wild camping in Lissos and going back (or on) the next day – either by walking to Sougia or catching the boat/ferry (if you happen to be there in the season).

I truly believe this was the most beautiful hike I've done on Crete. 

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete. Days 3-5: Kampos - Elafonisi - Paleochora

Whenever I have to make up my mind, I spend way too much time agonizing over my options and possible consequences of each decision. But this time there was no problem.

The night before I got picked up in Kefali by the wonderful owner of a rental in Kampos. If I went by the E-4 trail, I would have to retract the exact route from the day before. Some 12 km over a paved road, mostly uphill to Kefali and then an extra 10 km to get to Moni Chrissoskalitissis. After a second-long consideration, I came to a conclusion of a big “NOPE”.

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Female & Solo Hiking on Crete. Days 1&2: Kissamos - Sirikari Gorge - Kefali

The first two days of my Cretan adventure were filled with history, sunshine, Nature, olive groves, goats, some bushwhacking… and a lot of road walking. But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

When I was planning my hiking trip to Crete, my main plan was to follow the E-4 trail. It’s one of the long European trails that span for hundreds of miles across Europe.

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