Adventures / Wild Swimming

Hike and Wild Swim Portugal's Setúbal Peninsula

Hike along cliff-top trails and explore remote swim spots with open-water swimming guides

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Trip Ref #10431

Adventures / Wild Swimming

Hike and Wild Swim Portugal's Setúbal Peninsula

Hike along cliff-top trails and explore remote swim spots with open-water swimming guides

DURATION

5 nights

LOCATION

Portugal

ANNUAL LEAVE

1 week off work

SEASON

Jun-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 10 people

MEETING POINT

Lisbon Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

You'll need to be a decent swimmer, happy in the water for a couple of hours a day covering between 2-3.5km with kayak and boat support

Explore the calm waters of the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park and swim around the wild rocks of Ilhéu da Anixa

Hike the iconic cliffs of Cabo Espichel and swim the magical sea caves and arches beneath

Hop in a support boat and swim the Praia da Baleeira, a secret and seldom-visited cove

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

Expert local swimming guides, plus support boat and kayak

Accommodation

5 nights in a 4-star hotel in Sesimbra

Meals

All breakfasts, lunches and refuel snacks

Transfers

To and from Lisbon Airport and everything in between

Photography

Photos and videos of each of your swims

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Lisbon Airport

15:00

Ends

Lisbon Airport

11:00

Transfers

Airport transfers are included if you arrive on the morning of Day 1 in time for the group pick up at 15:00, so please let your host know your flight times. Your trip ends back at Lisbon airport at 11:00 on Day 6, so be sure to book flights that depart no earlier than 13:00. If you're already in Lisbon, you can take the metro or a taxi to the airport to meet up with your host at the start time.

If you need to make your own way from Lisbon Airport to your base in Sesimbra, a one-way taxi from the airport will take 40-minutes and cost in the region of £30 / €35.

Travel options

There are numerous flight options to Lisbon for travellers from various major international airports.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Your hotel in Sesimbra provides a continental buffet breakfast each morning. Lunch is included on every day of the trip, with a combination of meals at local tavernas, cafes or as a picnic. This is done the Portuguese way: with a big quantity of various dishes and for the group to tuck into everything together. You will sit down for a fair amount of time for these meals, and adapt to the local pace. This is very much the local's approach to eating. Enjoy classic Portuguese dishes around the ubiquitous sardines as well as local cakes including the famous pastel de nata.

Evening meals are not included in the trip cost, allowing you to explore Sesimbra after your days out in the wilder parts of the Setúbal Peninsula. Budget around €10 for an evening meal, not including alcohol. Your hotel in Sesimbra also has an excellent restaurant if you don't fancy venturing out.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Hotel do Mar

You'll stay at Hotel do Mar in Sesimbra - a 4-star, family-run hotel with sea view balconies, a sauna, bar, restaurant and a swimming pool (if you feel you need even more swimming on this trip!). Accommodation will be in same-sex twin rooms with views over the Atlantic Ocean and a privileged location on the beachfront of Califórnia. Hotel do Mar has direct access to the beach for sunset walks and sunrise dips before the proper swims each day.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Arrive in Sesimbra

Swimming

1hr · 1.5km

Meet your host at the airport, jump in the van for an hour's drive to the fishing village of Sesimbra, and check in to your base for the trip. You’ll then head to a traditional village restaurant to meet your swim guides and fellow swimmers for a safety briefing and a chat through the adventure to come. Then it's time to get into the water for an acclimatisation swim in the bay of Sesimbra and feel the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 2

Ribeira do Cavalo Beach

Swimming

2hrs · 2.5km

Hiking

1hr · 2km · 95m up · 105m down

Kick start your first full day of swimming along the Atlantic coast from one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal - Ribeira do Cavalo. Put on your wetsuit and dive into the ocean surrounded by the imposing cliffs that dominate the landscape in this area. Swim along the coast, passing impressive sea caves that characterise this coastline. Enjoy some downtime in the afternoon before taking a short hike along the iconic Cabo Espichel - a wild and dramatic headland at the southwestern tip of the Setúbal Peninsula.

Day 3

Swim the sea caves and arches of Espichel

Swimming

2hrs · 2-3.5km

Hiking

1hr · 2km · 182m up · 30m down

Fuel up on breakfast at the hotel before heading to the southwest of Sesimbra, the most exposed area of the trip. Hop on your support boat to journey towards Praia da Baleeira where your swimming adventure starts today. Swimming here is a unique opportunity enjoyed by very few visitors to the area given the logistics and local knowledge needed. After your swim along the coast, your guides will anchor in the bay of an old fishing port. Tuck into a big traditional lunch after your swim, before heading back to the hotel via Sesimbra Castle.

Day 4

The Abandoned Cape

Swimming

2hrs · 2-3km

Hiking

1-2hrs · 3km · 130m up · 10m down

Explore the southeast coast of Sesimbra further with a long hike to Armação Bay to take in the 'Abandoned Cape' - an area of steep cliffs and a wild rocky coastline. Hike through this remote and isolated part of Portugal, taking in the surroundings before experiencing an unforgettable swim beneath the cape.

Day 5

Swimming in the Arrábida Natural Park

Swimming

2hrs · 2-3km

Hiking

1hr · 3km · 75m up · 110m down

Today you’ll explore the beautiful and calm waters of the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park. In the morning you'll will swim at Portinho da Arrábida, a beach nestled in the reserve on the Setúbal peninsula. The waters here are calm and crystalline which makes for a dreamy swim around the rock formations of Ilheu da Anixa as you cross to Praia dos Galapinhos. Settle in for lunch in Setúbal, the cuttlefish capital. In the afternoon you'll stay on dry land, exploring the area on foot with spectacular views of the coastline and the Atlantic.

Day 6

Goodbye Sesimbra

Your wild swimming odyssey had to come to an end eventually. After breakfast, your host will transfer you to the airport in Lisbon in time for your return flight home.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's available to hire?

  • Wetsuit and buoy - see optional extras for price

Please note that although there are wetsuits available through the host, we advise bringing your own. This will ensure you swim in a suit which fits correctly and will be comfortable to swim in for several days in a row.

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Main pack or suitcase
  • Daypack 20-30 litres

SWIMWEAR

  • Swimming goggles (x2)
  • Swimming wetsuit (optional, but advised)
  • Swimming hats
  • Tow float / Drybag / Swim buoy
  • Swim Earplugs (if you use them)
  • Waterproof watch (if you use it)

CLOTHES

  • Lightweight walking shoes or sandals for the hikes
  • Sunhat
  • Sweater / light fleece jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts for the hikes
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Something to sleep in

OTHER

  • Lightweight swim towel
  • Waterproof camera
  • Sunglasses
  • Suncream
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Small personal first aid kit
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Wetsuit hire

Payable Before Departure

Wetsuit hire

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (August)

Payable Before Departure

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (August)

Per Night

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (July)

Payable Before Departure

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (July)

Per Night

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (June)

Payable Before Departure

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (June)

Per Night

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (October)

Payable Before Departure

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (October)

Per Night

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (September)

Payable Before Departure

Double/twin room in Sesimbra (September)

Per Night

Single room in Sesimbra (August)

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Sesimbra (August)

Per Night

Single room in Sesimbra (July)

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Sesimbra (July)

Per Night

Single room in Sesimbra (June)

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Sesimbra (June)

Per Night

Single room in Sesimbra (October)

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Sesimbra (October)

Per Night

Single room in Sesimbra (September)

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Sesimbra (September)

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 54kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

While the hikes are manageable by anyone with basic fitness, you will need good fitness levels for the swims. We suggest that to enjoy this trip to its fullest you should be able to swim 2km in roughly a one-hour session (that's 80 lengths of a 25m pool, or 40 lengths of an Olympic sized pool) going at a steady but relatively relaxed pace. Having some confidence in open water will help, and while experienced sea swimmers will absolutely love this trip, this is also a perfect chance for anyone who swims in a pool a couple of times a week to try their first sea swimming holiday. Your host will break the group down into two ability levels to ensure each swim section is enjoyable and nobody is pushed beyond their manageable limit.

At any time you can go out to one of the support boats or take a break to feed or rest. However, you will be surprised at the distances you will be able to swim in the company of your fellow adventurers and your experienced swim guides. ​

The average water temperature for this adventure is between 20°C (68°F) and 24°C (75°F). Wetsuits are optional at this temperature. You can bring your own or hire one from your host (see kitlist and optional extras).

Click here to read a comprehensive guide on water temperature and required wetsuit thickness.

Yes, feel free to use whatever items help you to complete an enjoyable and successful swim each day. For logistical and safety reasons we only ask you to inform your guide on Day 1 if you are aiming to use any supplementary equipment.

You will be guided by two experienced and qualified swim guides throughout the week. They will be by your side for every stroke of the adventure. For each swim, the group will be split into two smaller groups based on swimming ability. At all times, with the exception of the warm-up swim on Day 1 at Funchal Lido, your swims will be accompanied by a support boat and a kayak. If at any point you need to stop to rest or refuel with a snack, your guides are on hand to assist you out of the water for as long as you need.

Your swim guides and local boat pilot will be constantly monitoring the sea conditions. If at any point the conditions are not optimal on any given day then an alternative swim spot will be chosen. As such the itinerary is subject to change.

This trip runs between June and October to make the most of the warm seas during those months. July to September are the warmest and sunniest months of the year, with average highs of 24°C (75°F), though temperatures in the early thirties are not uncommon during the summer. September and October are pleasantly quieter months on the Portuguese coast as a whole (though the remote swim spots you'll be visiting will be blissfully devoid of tourists even in the peak of the school holidays). Expect average highs of 22°C (71°F) through September and October.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

The tap water in Portugal is safe to drink. Please bring along your own reusable water bottle to fill up at the hotel and at restaurants to avoid buying single use plastic bottles.

You can leave your main luggage in your hotel room in Sesimbra for the duration of the adventure.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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