Most people know Portugal for its coastal scenery, fantastic wine, and local cuisine, as well as having some of the top football (or soccer, for some people) teams of all time.
However, Portugal isn’t only the best place for football fans. It’s also a great place to go hiking. That’s because the country has spectacular trails that you shouldn’t miss. Not to mention the scenic paths that you will enjoy, regardless of your hiking expertise.
Mind you, a lot of the best spots in Portugal are places that people can only access by foot. Therefore, bringing your hiking gear with you is a must.
If you haven’t been to Portugal before and want to prepare yourself, here are seven of the best hiking practices that you need to know:
Stick to the paths
Whether it’s your first time going on a hike, your best bet to remain safe would be to stick to the paths.
The hiking trail is there to ensure that you go through the way that’s least difficult and dangerous for the most part during your hike.
Aside from that, sticking to the paths will also help protect the environment around you. If you stick to the track, flora, and fauna outside of the trail will remain undisturbed. Aside from that, the trail itself will also last longer, which means that other people will be able to use the path in the future.
Also, make sure that you have your hiking poles with you. They will help you out when you tackle rough trails and help you keep your balance and footing.
Respect the wildlife
Plenty of hiking trails in Portugal will lead you through forests and habitats of wild animals. It will be an exciting find to see animals interacting with their natural habitat, and it can be very tempting to come up close and personal with them.
However, you need to learn to control yourself. Leave these animals be and try to hush down during your hike so as not to disturb the animals.
Aside from the animals, you should also avoid disturbing the local flora. You shouldn’t try and pick up flowers you find around you or disrupt the environment in any way. You never know what you’ve disturbed by merely picking up flowers here and there.
Set camp in designated areas
Being a responsible hiker means being aware of the impact that your presence brings to your surroundings during your hike.
There are going to be times when you’ll need to set up camp. When it’s time to do that, make sure that you set up camp in the designated areas only. That’s because your tents can end up trampling over the vegetation. Aside from that, you might be disturbing the natural habitats of animals.
Setting camp in designated areas isn’t only for the betterment of the local flora and fauna, but also to keep you as safe as possible within a wild environment.
Be careful with fire
While you’re camping, make sure that you are responsible for the fire that you start.
In some regions of Portugal, summers can get dry. So if you’re camping during the hot and dry seasons of Portugal, leaving fires alone can be dangerous.
Therefore, you should ensure that you keep your fires adequately enclosed and put it out when not in use.
Properly dispose of your waste
We are all aware of the pollution plaguing our environment. And as a hiker, you should be more acquainted with just how far-reaching human waste can be. Therefore, you should know how to dispose of your waste properly.
If you’re hiking with your dog, make sure that you take care of their waste and dispose of it.
Keep water sources clean
Whenever you bathe or wash in the water sources during your hike, make sure that you are keeping them clean after you leave.
For example, you should ensure that when you defecate, keep your waste away from any natural water source by at least 200 feet.
You should also avoid washing your dishes or cutleries within water sources. Use your water supply instead.
Hire a local guide
If it’s your first time hiking in Portugal, consider hiring a local guide or going on a hiking tour instead of striking out by yourself.
Local guides will help you understand the correct way to act in certain places and know the ins and outs wherever you are. You’ll feel safer, and you won’t be creating any disturbances due to your plain ignorance.
No matter where you are, it’s crucial that you always consider how to be a responsible hiker. Since Portugal has a lot of natural sceneries that are worth the hike, you want to ensure that people from the future will still be able to see these spots. By being a responsible hiker, you get to ensure this and respect the places you go to.