Portugal’s southwest Rota Vicentina walking trail has won a golden spot among the ‘Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe’ after receiving a seal of approval from the European Ramblers Association (ERA).
The 400km trail, which stretches from Santiago do Cacém in the Alentejo to the Algarve’s Cape St. Vincent in Sagres, had to undergo some “technical changes” to receive the certification but ultimately passed ERA’s test with flying colours.
“This is a very demanding certification process that evaluates several factors, including the quality and nature of the trails, the beauty of the landscape, safety, access, information provided to walkers and the quality of the route’s signals, among many others,” said the association that manages the trail.
Hopes are that the new quality seal will attract even more visitors.
“It is a fundamental step for the route to affirm itself internationally as a walking and nature tourism destination,” said the association, pointing out that Rota Vicentina has become the first trail to receive certification in Western Europe – all the others are located in Central or Eastern European countries like Denmark, Germany and Greece.
“This can be a huge competitive advantage for us,” the RV association added.
Rota Vicentina was launched in 2012 and extends throughout three Alentejo (Santiago do Cacém, Sines and Odemira) and two Algarve (Aljezur and Vila do Bispo) municipalities.
It provides paths both along the “surprisingly beautiful and wild Vicentina coast” as well as the “rich cultural authenticity of the inland”.
For more information on the trail, visit www.rotavicentina.com
By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]