Introducing the E9 Walking Route
The E9 is the European Atlantic and Baltic E hiking path
The European E paths are long distance hiking trails that cross all over Europe.
The E9 is 5.500 km and passes through Portugal, Spain, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland. Latvia and Estonia (and perhaps Russia?).
You will see from this map from the European Ramblers association that the E9 is an ongoing project and not one continuous path!
There is some debate about where the route officially starts at the western end. Some have written that it’s actually in Spain at Tarifa, which is the most southerly point of continental Europe.
**UPDATE! Information from this page would suggest that Tarifa is now the official starting point, if there is one!
Many others say that the start is actually at Cape St Vincent (Capo de São Vincente) which is the most South-westerly point of Portugal.
The E9 then heads north along the Rota Vicentina paths (the Historical and Fisherman’s trail) and then kind of follows various trails along the Atlantic and Baltic coast.
Some websites claim that the E9 now finishes (or starts!) in St Petersburg Russia, but I believe it’s Estonia, for now anyway. Maybe the route will continue into Russia one day.
There is a gap in the E9 around Kaliningrad, the little bit of Russia stuck between Poland and Lithuania. At time of writing the E9 officially stops at the border between the EU and Russia.
There are many sections, particularly through Portugal and Spain, that remain unfinished or don’t even exist, so there is some flexibility required by the E9 thru-hiker! The E9 seems to become more complete the further North you go.
Missing from the map photo above is the section that travels along Southern England which obviously requires a boat, but usefully the E9 starts and ends at two major ports, Plymouth and Dover.
My Plans to Walk the E9 – April 2021 onward
I am soon going to be back at Cape St Vincent to walk the Rota Vicentina.
I was last there in March 2020 and was five days into the hike before you know what happened!
I am currently living very nearby so luckily I can get to the start by bus! Portugal, as of Mid April, is still under some restrictions though, but things are opening up and I hope to start walking north soon.
Planned Route along the E9 Trail in Portugal
As we all know, the best laid plans and all that, particularly during these crazy times! I do have a plan though and it’s to start walking from the SW of Portugal and hike as much of the Atlantic Coast as possible!
I will begin at Cape St Vincent and take a combination of the Historical and Fisherman’s Trails. These go for around 260 KMs to the town of Santiago do Cacém.
From there I am not even sure which way to go as the E9 kind of stops. I could take a coastal route which follows the E1 cycle route or follow the Camino Central that continues northwards, but more inland.
I then plan to stick to the coast from Lisbon combining the route with other Caminos. The E9 doesn’t really exist again until Spain.
Crossing into Spain and searching for the E9 again
At the time of writing the Portuguese border with Spain is closed, but it should hopefully be open by the time I get there. I haven’t even worked out how long it might take to walk all of Portugal, but I think it’s around 800km, and at a very rough guess it will be around 40 days, so possibly the end of May.
I would probably walk onward to Santiago de Compostela and then try and pick up the E9 again which starts again along the north coast of Spain. It’s so hard to predict what’s going to happen of course, but that’s a rough plan for now and it would be really cool to make it to France!
E9 Trail – France and Beyond?
I may well continue along the French Atlantic coast where the E9 becomes more of a proper trail again! Beyond that, we will see, but I will endeavor to do the entire E9 by coming back to it and doing another section!
E9 Trail – Southern England
You can see from the map above that the E9 in the UK runs between Plymouth and Dover, which is actually convenient, as they are major ports to and from France.
The E9 follows the spectacular South West Coast Path, the South Downs Way and some other linking trails. I hope to do this section when I visit friends and family in the UK this year!
E9 Trail through Northern Europe
I have never been to the Baltic countries so it would be cool to do that via the E9 trail.
If you would like to follow my E9 journey then be sure to keep an eye on my Youtube and Instagram, as well as this site of course!