Tavira

Algarve Luxury Villa Holidays
Algarve Luxury Villa Holidays

View over Tavira
   

Walking Holidays in the Algarve

Of all the destinations in Western Europe, Algarve walking holidays have a particular draw. With the Moorish influence, the great history and tradition, and of course beaches and landscapes that are arguably the closest thing to paradise as the continent has to offer, there is something for everyone.

The Algarve covers more than 5000 square kilometres, but with only 400,000 inhabitants it is sparsely populated. This is one of the main reasons the region has so much to offer to those seeking peace, tranquillity, and a oneness with nature. The Algarve`s walking trails are spectacular, and although the region is a popular holiday destination in July and August, many trails are quiet for much of the year.

A great place to start hiking in the Algarve is in Monchique, nestled between the peaks of Picota and Fóia, the latter being Algarve`s highest mountain at 902m. The ascent of either will make a relaxing day`s walk, although it makes sense to drive some of the way, and there are dramatic views of the Algarve`s mountains and coastline.

Moving south from Monchique, there are fine walks through the remote and isolated foothills of the Serra de Monchique, and it is possible to reach Lagos, a pretty coastal town, in three days. This is an excellent base for walks to the Alvor Estuary, a haven for bird life and fishermen alike. The coastal path extends west, through Roman remains and lush wetlands, taking in Salema and the Cape St Vincent National Park. From here the path extends all the way along the rugged coastline to Sagres, on the south-westerly tip of Portugal.

There are some good coastal walks among the stone pines above Praia da Falesia too, between Vilamoura, Aldeia das Açoteias, and Olhos d'Água.

Faro, further east along the coast, is also a fantastic base for walking. The Seco river and Almarjao valley are both within reach from the town, and offer spectacular scenery. A walk along the river Algibre is a relaxing and dramatic introduction to the region. One clear highlight for a walking holiday in the Faro area is the Fonte de Benémola, near Querença, a listed site and a great example of the variety of landscapes Portugal has to offer. There is incredible abundance of wildlife here, and the area is little visited. For variety of landscape, great climate, and, most importantly, a relaxing walking holiday Algarve has it all.

There's a lovely clifftop walk over in the west starting at Benagil, just this side of Lagoa. Benagil is about an hour's drive from Tavira. Head west on the IP1/A22 motorway and take the Alcantarilha exit off the motorway. Then go south to join the N125. Head west on the N125 towards Porches, then follow signs to Benagil. Park outside the Restaurante O Litoral (excellent restaurant, closed on Wednesdays) and walk down the hill a little way, towards the harbour. Just in front of another restaurant on the left is a set of steps leading up to the clifftop. Veer left (away from Benagil harbour) and walk as far as you want before turning round and following the same route back. This walk gives you the classic picture-postcard views of the rugged and rocky west coast. The beauty of it being a there-and-back walk, rather than circular, is that you can make it as long or short as you want. Although it is undulating, it is not a particularly strenuous walk.

When planning your holiday give some time to researching the best kit to take with you. For much of the year the climate is hot and dry, but it can get chilly at night. Pack lightweight but warm, layered clothing, and some lightweight boots. A breathable and waterproof lining is a good idea, and here Keen footwear provide some good options. Itís important to keep hydrated, and it will be necessary to carry at least three litres of water, so a hydration bag might be a good investment.

  Countryside near Benagil
Serra de Alcaria do Cume
Near Cachopo
Clifftop walk near Benagil

 

Station Cottage, Trent Lane, Weston-on-Trent, Derby DE72 2BT
Contact: Norman or Tanya Clare, tel: 01332 705552,
All images are copyright Tanya Clare and may not be used or reproduced without permission.
a minim website