Self-guided hiking tours provide a very flexible and independent way of traveling on foot. They are less expensive than guided options, usually don't require a minimum of participants to run and are perfect for seasoned hikers who want to explore under their own steam. But even though it's self-guided, you still benefit from hassle free planning, logistics and local knowledge: accommodation, luggage transfers, route book and GPS, airport pick-up and initial briefing with local guides will be planned out and thoroughly informed to you before the start of your walking adventure.
We have several self-guided hiking tours in Portugal that you can choose from, in regions with different local cultures, gastronomy and topography - from the wine countries of Douro and Alentejo to the rugged Portuguese southwest Coast or even becoming a pilgrim in the Camino de Santiago - you can choose the most appropriate for you. It's important to choose the experience that best fits you. But you’ll never be "on your own" on a self-guided hiking tour with Live Love Hike, as we provide a series of services to support your hiking holidays. There are, however, some things you must take into consideration before opting for a self-guided hiking tour to explore Portugal.
First of all, let’s go through what’s included in our self-guided tours:
Airport pick-ups to your first hotel and drop-offs at the end of the tour are included in all standard self-guided tours.
Your bags are transported each day to the next evening’s accommodation. You’ll be carrying only the essentials with you, allowing for more relaxed and enjoyable days on the trails.
Only breakfast is included, at the hotel, unless you request otherwise. You’ll be choosing where and when to stop for all other meals - this is best suited option for when you’re on a self-guided adventure at your own pace. To help you select, our route books include suggested restaurants (our favourite) and ‘cafés’ for a stop to enjoy the local cuisine or a revitalizing espresso. Portugal lacks no options in terms of places for food and drinks, and it's no doubt one the best ways to get to know the local culture. If you choose the premium package, we'll also include daily picnic bags, that you'll be able to pick-up at the hotel and carry with you for your daily hike.
Hotels will be previously arranged for you. We work with some of the best hotels in the regions we operate, to ensure you’ll have a great quality private room waiting for you at the end of each day’s hike.
All guests receive a Live Love Hike t-shirt, buff, water bottle, hiking backpack and walking sticks, for your comfort. We make sure nothing is missing on your tour.
At the start of your tour, you'll be welcomed by a Live Love Hike representative, who'll deliver a private briefing, detailing all the information: point by point itinerary, weather forecast, suggested restaurants and points of interest along the way, emergency contacts, overall tips on safety and how to maximize your hiking experience in Portugal.
Routes, route book and GPS rental
Routes are previously planned and designed from hotel to hotel, to help you stay on track while enjoying the fascinating beauty, culture and history of your surroundings. All routes will be pre-loaded onto the Garmin GPS included in the self-guided tour’s gear. The GPS will be your prime navigation system - just follow each day’s track on your GPS to get around. In addition, a route book will be handed over to you during the briefing - it’ll contain route descriptions, maps and general information on the best things to see and do en route.
Live Love Hike app
We'll also provide all documentation and routes on our proprietary smartphone app, that'll allow you to check all the information in realtime, be in permanent contact with our guides, share your location with us and provide a navigation experience that you can follow, turn by turn, on your phone.
Hiking by yourself
Our self-guided tours have a minimum of just two travelers - means you'll be hiking with your partner or in your own small group, most of the time. It's a great option if you value independence and the ability to choose your own timing and pace. If you are looking for more social interaction and group comradery - a guided hiking tour might be a better choice for you.
More independence = less support
Unlike guided hiking tours, self-guided hiking tours do not have an accompanying support van. This means that it's your responsibility to get to the next hotel every day, even if you head into foul weather or just don't feel like walking any further. If a serious problem occurs, though, please call the emergency hotline: our staff will help as much as possible. We strongly advise you to go over our list of items to pack and bring all the necessary gear to help you overcome any sudden changes in weather.
You’ll be expected to follow a GPS track on a GARMIN portable device, which will be your main navigation system. Therefore, basic understanding or experience of GPS usage is a plus - we do, however, explain how to use the GPS's on your private briefing.
Prepare yourself in advance
To fully enjoy a multi-day hiking tour, you’ll need to be in the best possible physical and mental shape. Make sure build up your fitness by consistently walking, hiking or even running in similar conditions ( please check the selected tour’s duration, daily average mileage and altimetry). The amount of training you’ll need to do and length of time required will depend on your baseline fitness - generally three to six months of solid training is a good guideline, with 3 to 5 sessions a week. We recommend you practice hiking in different weather conditions and kinds of terrain, carrying a small backpack with hydration and snacks.
If you are a seasoned enthusiast hiker and like to explore on your own, a self-guided hiking tour may be the way to go! If you feel unsure and don't master all the points described above, a guided tour might be a better option.
If you need any help or guidance, please feel free to contact us via e-mail or using the form below:
Describe what and how you want to explore Portugal on foot and let our consultants suggest the best options for you: