The Algarve in southern Portugal is known as Portugal’s premier tourist region, with its fantastic beaches and surfing facilities. There are two good climbing areas in this region, which are Rocha da Pena and Sagres that provide vastly contrasting styles of climbing.
The rocky outcrop of Sagres on the southwest tip of Portugal provides steep sea cliff climbing with hundreds of routes along the coast. In total there are 9 different crags that offer a mixture of trad routes (established by the British), sport routes and deep water soloing.
The trad routes are generally found at Fortaleza and Baleeira that are generally accessed by abseil. The climbing is on steep limestone rock with many of the routes in the HVS to E3 grade range though there are a few easier routes.
The main sport climbing areas are at Baleeira, Armacao Nova, Corgas, and Parede das Riscas. Armacao Nova is located in a beautiful bay with around 40 routes between F6a and F7c, including some 2-pitch routes. Corgas with its wave shaped overhang provides the hardest routes at Sagres that range from F6b to F9a. There are lots of different formations including tufas, pockets, crimps and slopers, all on good quality limestone rock. The style of climbing is from vertical technical walls to big overhangs with good holds.
However Sagres is gaining international recognition as a World class destination for Deep Water Soloing (DWS). There are two main areas; Ingrina and Ponta Garcia. Ingrina is the perfect introduction to Portuguese DWS with good quality routes and safe falling areas. Ponta Garcia is the premier DWS crag of the area with great routes on good quality rock. However the access is slightly more difficult and attention has to be paid to the tides as there is a large difference in sea height between low and high tides. Some routes can only be done at high spring tides.
Rocha da Pena is an excellent sport climbing crag on good quality limestone rock. There are nearly 100 routes here from F4 to F8a, with many routes in the F4 to F5 grade range. At an altitude of over 400m, the crag is about 2km long with many different sectors. The style of the climbing is varied with lots of different types of holds, and the limestone rock ranges from orange, and yellow to grey in colour.
Rocha da Pena is located near the small town of Salir. It is nicely situated just far enough away from the busy tourist regions of Quarteira and Albufeira, yet still quick to reach for a day’s climbing. It also has the added bonus of being only a short from the car.
The Portugal rock climbing guidebook and the Portugal Onsight rock climbing guidebook both cover the routes at Sagres and Rocha da Pena. However the Portugal rock climbing guidebook provides better coverage of the DWS routes at Sagres. Buy both of these guidebooks from our shop.
The nearest airport is at Faro, which is about one and half hours’ drive from Sagres. A hire car is essential to fully enjoy the climbing here with plenty of accommodation options along the coast.
Click on the images above to view a larger photograph, showing the excellent rock climbing and bouldering to be found in Southern Portugal.
The Portugal rock climbing guidebook covers the rock climbing at Rocha da Pena and Sagres including the DWS routes.
Buy this guidebook from our shop.