The world’s longest circular walking route is launching in this European country

The trail will cover a whopping 3,000 km and wind its way around the entire country

Josette Punter-Thomas
Contributing Writer
Landscape of the Douro river region in Portugal, showing vineyards on a sunny day
Photograph: Shutterstock

There's a good reason so many travellers flock to Portugal: it’s drenched in sun, packed with culture and it’s fairly cheap, too. 

However, most of Portugal’s tourism is concentrated on the same destinations (like Lisbon and the Algarve) at the same time of year (summer). So, in the hopes of mitigating seasonal tourism and redistributing some of its visitors to lesser-known idyllic spots, Portugal is developing a 3,000 km (1,860 mile) trail – set to be the longest circular walking route in the world. 

The route is part of a Portuguese initiative to promote ‘wellness’ and ‘health-driven’ tourism. Called the ‘Palmilhar Portugal’ project, the idea for the route came about as a solution to helping underdeveloped parts of the country benefit from tourism, particularly outside of the summer months.

Up for the challenge? The route will be walkable and cyclable, with parts of it accessible to those who are less mobile. A little something for everybody – we love to see it. 

While it could take years to be completed in full, the first part of the trail will open at the end of July in Alenquer, just north of Lisbon. Eventually, the full route will span across 90-100 districts, passing along the northern and southern borders and winding its way past vineyards, through towns and along the coastline. An app will be available to walkers, who will also receive a physical passport to be stamped along the way for mems. How cute?!

After the first part of the trail opens this summer, the following months will see routes opening in Alentejo, central Portugal and the mountainous Tras-OsMontes region. By the end of the year, it’s thought 15 routes will be open across the country. 

Did you see Italy has launched a brand-new 7-day hiking trail?

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