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Best Trails to Run in Portugal - Trail Running Guide

Written by Joaquim Anjos


Posted on March 08 2024

Portugal, a country rich in history, culture and above all stunning natural landscapes, offers trail running enthusiasts a wealth of exciting trails to explore. From north to south, from the coast to the mountains, there is a wide variety of routes that are not only beautiful but also challenging. In this article, we'll explore the wild beauty of Portugal's trails and highlight the best ones for trail running.

Want to know how to find the best trails near you? Read our blog article for tips on how to find them.



Portugal's Trails to run: Our choice

If you're planning to start your trail running adventure and explore the beautiful trails to run in Portugal, we recommend you read our article "How to start trail running".

As we mentioned earlier, Portugal is an incredibly rich country when it comes to natural beauty, so it's hard to pick just a few trails that will leave you in awe and with tears in your eyes. But here's our pick:

Trilho dos Pescadores (Rota Vicentina)

Located on the stunning Costa Vicentina, the Fishermen's Trail is a top choice among Portugal's trails for trail runners looking for an exciting coastal experience. With a combination of varied terrain, this trail offers a balanced mix of challenging climbs and steep descents. The scenery along the route varies between imposing cliffs, deserted beaches and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is considered to be of moderate difficulty, suitable for runners with some experience.

To find out how to evaluate and select trail running events, read our blog article.


Trilho da Rota das Faias (Serra da Estrela)

This trail crosses the majestic mountains of Serra da Estrela, offering runners a challenging and rewarding experience. With a mix of terrain that includes winding paths through forests and beech trees, as well as open routes with stunning views, this trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of this mountainous region. The climbs can be steep and the descents technical, making this trail suitable for intermediate to advanced trail runners.



Trilho da Lagoa das Furnas (São Miguel, Açores)

Running around the stunning Furnas Lagoon on the island of São Miguel offers a unique trail running experience. With unique volcanic views and a mix of terrain that includes winding paths through lush forests and coastal paths, this trail to run in Portugal offers an exciting challenge for trail runners. The level of difficulty is moderate, with some steep climbs and technical descents that require a variety of running skills.

Trilho da Rota das Gravuras Rupestres (Vale do Côa)

This trail to run in Portugal takes trail runners through the valleys of the Côa River, offering a unique opportunity to explore the region's fascinating prehistoric rock engravings. The terrain is varied, with winding paths that wind through deep valleys and rocky terrain. Difficulty levels range from medium to high, with some steep climbs and rough terrain requiring technical running skills.

These challenging trails are prone to injury, so it's important to read our "Essential Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries in Trail Running".



Trilho da Serra de Sintra

Discover the enchanting landscapes of the Serra de Sintra as you run along winding trails with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and historic palaces. This route offers a balanced mix of climbs and descents, with varied terrain including dirt tracks, loose stones and rocky ground. The difficulty level is considered moderate, ideal for trail runners with some experience.

Trilho da Caldeira Velha (São Miguel, Açores)

This trail invites runners to explore a lush tropical forest on the island of São Miguel in the Azores. With varied and challenging terrain, runners will make their way through dense vegetation, providing a unique running experience in the midst of unspoilt nature. The highlight of this route is the invigorating finish, where runners can enjoy a dip in the thermal waters of Caldeira Velha, a relaxing and rejuvenating moment after the challenge of the race.



Trilho dos Passadiços do Paiva (Arouca)

This linear trail along the Paiva River is a masterpiece of engineering and a trail runner's paradise. With suspended walkways winding through the river gorges, this route offers a unique blend of challenge and natural beauty. Runners are rewarded with breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs and crystal clear waters of the Paiva River, providing an unforgettable running experience in a breathtaking environment.



Trilho da Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo (Ilha de São Jorge, Açores)

This unique coastal trail in the Azores gives runners the opportunity to explore the stunning Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo. With panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, this route offers a truly exhilarating trail running experience. Runners will traverse challenging trails and pass through an isolated fajã, providing a deep connection with nature and the opportunity to discover the wild beauty of the Azorean islands.



Trilho da Serra da Freita (Arouca)

Discover the dramatic landscapes of the Serra da Freita as you run along the mountain trails that wind through this impressive region. With its varied terrain and narrow passages, this route offers a challenging experience for trail runners. Runners will have the opportunity to pass by landmarks such as the mysterious "Pedras Parideiras", adding a unique element to the running experience in this mountainous region and reinforcing its presence on the list of Portugal's best trails to run.



Trilho da Rota do Gerês (Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês)

This route offers a unique running experience in the mountains of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, one of Portugal's most important protected areas. With tranquil lakes, stunning waterfalls and breathtaking scenery, this route offers a complete immersion in the natural beauty of the region. Trail runners will have the opportunity to explore a variety of terrain, from winding tracks to rocky paths, making this a truly exciting experience for trail running enthusiasts.

Trilho do Pico do Areeiro ao Pico Ruivo (Madeira)

This challenging Portuguese trail to run offers one of the most spectacular running experiences in Madeira, taking runners through the highest mountains on the island. Starting from Pico do Areeiro, Madeira's third highest peak, you'll follow steep, rocky trails to Pico Ruivo, the highest point on the island. Along the way you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the mountains, deep valleys and the Atlantic Ocean below. This trail challenges both your stamina and running technique, but the spectacular scenery makes every step worthwhile.

The route from Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo is considered to be of high difficulty and presents several challenges, including steep, rocky terrain and irregularities in the path. In addition, altitude and weather conditions can affect the difficulty of the race and it can be one of the most difficult trails to run in Portugal to complete. It is important that runners are physically prepared and have experience of running in mountainous terrain before attempting this route.

Click here for tips on how to tackle the different types of trail running terrain.

Define Your Portuguese Trails of Choice

Portugal's trails to run offer trail running enthusiasts a variety of unique experiences, from stunning coastal landscapes to majestic mountains and fascinating river valleys. Each trail has its own unique character and challenges, allowing runners to fully immerse themselves in the richness of the Portuguese environment.

By exploring these trails, runners have the opportunity not only to challenge their physical limits, but also to connect with nature in a deep and meaningful way.

Portugal, with its geographical and cultural diversity, continues to be a destination of choice for trail runners, offering trails that promise to leave an indelible mark on the memory of those who run them.

After all, we often tend to overvalue other places when our own region has so much to offer. Take the opportunity to explore what's around you.

Need more motivation? Check out our 16-week trail running training plan.



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