We're a family of four considering a 6-7 day trek on the Rota Vicentina through the Algarve region of southwest Portugal this June. We'd rather not have to book each stay for each town before hand for maximum flexibility. Does anyone know how prevalent quartos/rooms for rent are in the towns in that region? When we traveled this way in Croatia, local "sobes" were quite plentiful and relatively inexpensive. The towns along the part of the Rota Vicentina we're considering are Vila do Bispo, Pedralva, Carrapateira, Aljezur, Odeceixe, et al.
My friends and I are planning to do a similar trip in May and I have the exact same question about lodging. Especially if there are cheap places for students and what not. I hope we get some good answers!
The "official" word from the Rota Vicentina folks (I e-mailed through their web-site), predictably, is that they recommend booking all rooms in advance . . . when I virtually "toured" a couple of towns along the trail using google earth, I saw plenty of different options that are not listed on the official trail site.
My sense is that the lodging options shown on the web-site for the trail are participating members in the Rota Vicentina organization, likely paying to be featured on the web-site. Nothing wrong with that - someone has to pay for the upkeep of the trail. My worry is that, by booking way in advance, we won't have the opportunity to stay an extra day or two in places we find particularly interesting.
We're likely to take the chance on lodging - the virtual tour showed not only Pensao and small hotels which were not on the official list, but also "Zimmer" signs for rooms in homes. We had very good luck with the Sobes in Croatia, which leads us to believe we can make a similar thing happen in Portugal.
Still, anybody have any experience along the southwest coast of Portugal, especially along the Rota Vicentina's Historical and Fisherman's Ways?
We hiked the historical and fisherman's trail in October 2014. There were plenty of rooms available but if hiking during the busy season you would need to book in advance.
Please see my trip report posted on Fodors.com