Climb Europe - helping to plan and organize your rock climbing holiday in Portugal
Portugal is not the first place you would think of as a top rock-climbing destination and it doesn’t have any world famous climbing areas. However there are plenty of excellent rock climbing and bouldering areas, of which the majority are located near the major tourist destinations of Portugal. Therefore it is an ideal place to visit if you are looking to combine rock climbing with your general holiday, with superb beaches, surfing and World-class windsurfing spots. There is a great variety of climbing to found in Portugal from adventurous trad routes on granite in the mountains, sport climbing on limestone crags and sea cliffs, to bouldering on granite rock and deep water soloing. The rock climbing areas of Portugal can be split up into 3 areas as described below.
The northern part of Portugal is very rural, and is the location of the Serra da Estrela Mountains, the highest point in the Portugal, close to the town of Covilha. In these granite mountains there are single and multi-pitch routes offering both adventurous trad climbing and sport climbing. There is also superb bouldering found at Pedra do Urso, which is the largest bouldering area in Portugal with 1,000’s of quality problems across all grades.
To the north of Lisbon the hills of Montejunto, Reguengo do Fetal, and Serra do Sico provide several good limestone crags. These short bolted cliffs provide a good number of routes across all grades. The altitude of these places makes them perfect to escape the hot sun, as they are significantly cooler than the coast.
To the west of Lisbon are the towns of Sintra and Cascais. Around the hills of Sintra the rock climbing is on granite rock. Here there are some fantastic bolted granite slabs, which provide a great sense of exposure. High in the forest above Sintra are a series of granite bouldering areas, which provide significantly cooler climbing than the beaches a few kilometres away. At Cascais it is all about sea cliff climbing on limestone rock. This ranges from the sport climbing at Farol Da Guia to bouldering on the beach at Baia Do Mexilhoeiro.
To the south of Lisbon between the towns of Sesimbra and Setubal are 5 sport climbing areas, the largest being Fenda. Here the routes are definitely in the higher grades (mainly 7’s) on steep and overhanging walls of limestone rock.
The Algarve in southern Portugal is known as Portugal’s premier tourist region, with its fantastic beaches and surfing facilities. There are two good areas in this region that provide vastly contrasting styles of climbing. Rocha da Pena is the best crag for sport climbing and it has a wide spread of grades on good quality limestone rock. It is nicely situated just far enough away from the busy tourist regions of Quarteira and Albufeira, yet still quick to reach and is only a short walk from the car.
The rocky outcrop of Sagres on the southwest tip of Portugal, provide steep sea cliff climbing. Here there is both sport climbing and trad climbing with some multi-pitch routes as well. However Sagres is gaining international recognition as a World class destination for Deep Water Soloing (DWS), with Ponta Garcia being the premier crag.
The Rock Climbing Atlas for South Western Europe & Morocco describes the rock climbing around Lisbon and the Algarve in Portugal. This useful book describes the different crags, number of routes, style of climbing, how to get there, where to stay, and general information about the area, though it doesn't describe any individual routes. As well as Portugal, the book also includes information about France, Italy, Sardinia, Spain, Malta & Morocco.
There two guidebooks covering the best places to go rock climbing in Portugal. Buy these guidebooks from our shop.