The Algarve is the perfect region for great walks because of its fantastic scenery, unspoilt nature and the absence of big cities that can make it difficult to find natural green spaces. This article gathers the various types of trails that exist in the Algarve, providing an overview of the different walks that can be done in the region.
Route of the seven suspended valleys
The route of the seven suspended valleys in Lagoa is one of the most breath-taking in the country. With about 6 kilometres, the trail takes you across the cliffs that connect Praia da Marinha to Praia de de Vale de Centeanes. Along the way you will pass through seven suspended valleys, which is where this route’s name comes from, and by several cliffs, caves and rock formations. In addition to these natural wonders, the main attraction of the tour lies in the open blue sea that stretches to the horizon. The spectacular views you can find after every turn will make you fall in love with the Algarve and you will have a hard time resisting the temptation to photograph every inch of the trail. The 12 kilometres round trip normally take three hours to be done.
There’s an excellent hiking trip that allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery this route has to offer as well as a great cruise to the Benagil Caves.
Serra de Monchique
Serra de Monchique (Monchique Mountain) stands high above the sea and hides some of the most charming trails in the Algarve. With a different fauna and flora than the one found on the coast, and with magnificent freshwater waterfalls, this is a magical walk in which you will be able to discover some of the region’s best kept secrets. The guided Monchique walk covers a distance of 11 kilometres over three hours and includes a visit to the village of Monchique, with a 12th century church, a market and streets with the typical Portuguese sidewalk.
This course inaugurated in the summer of 2016 connects the beach of Três Irmãos to Ria de Alvor, in the municipality of Portimão, through 6 kilometres. The pathway sits at one meter above the ground and crosses the sand dunes of the beaches in the area. This route allows easy accesses to those beaches, also offering spectacular views of the coast of the Algarve. We recommend that you stroll along Alvor’s boardwalk in autumn or spring months, thus avoiding winter rain and the excessive summer heat.
Ludo is part of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve and is made of dirt roads and lagoons. The path faces the dunes of Praia de Faro and Praia da Quinta do Lago. This fantastic route crosses salt flats and golf courses, offering a beautiful trail filled with the vegetation that flourishes among the dunes of the beaches. The shortest trail is about 4 kilometres long, however there are several alternative routes that can make the total trail be 8 kilometres long. This is also a perfect place to do birdwatching because of the various bird species that flock here every year.
There is an excellent Birdwatching Walking Tour which also grants you the possibility to explore the areas of Ludo and Quinta do Lago.
One of the biggest routes in this list, and also one of the most beautiful one can do is to walk the Rota Vicentina. Unlike the other rails here indicated, Rota Vicentina travels along the west coast of Portugal, stretching from Cabo de São Vicente to Santiago do Cacém, in Alentejo, along 340 kilometres. You can choose to walk the whole trail for several days and camping along the way, but if you are not interested in spending a whole week walking you can always walk certain sections of the course during a morning or late afternoon. Rota Vicentina crosses paradisiacal beaches that are practically untouched by man, presenting a virgin clear sand and shinning waters
West Coast Walking Tour
It is precisely because Costa Vicentina is one of the richest nature places in Portugal that there are several organized tours that aim to make known the wonders of its trails. One of the most beautiful walks is the “West Coast Walking Tour “.
In this 4-5 hour tour, a guide will take you to the most amazing natural and historical sights. The guide will also offer explanations about the nature and wildlife that you will see along the course. The trip includes a picnic and is suitable for people of all ages, and it can be held at any time of the year.
Via Algarviana connects Cabo de São Vicente to Alcoutim. By cliffs, beaches and mountains, Via Algarviana shows you the Algarve over 300 kilometres. Split into 14 sectors, each beginning and ending in a village, Via Algarviana is an incredible adventure filled with the scents of the countryside and the sea breezes that rise from the beaches. As it happens with Rota Vicentina, you do not have to walk the whole thigs, as you can choose certain sections to walk for a few hours and enjoy amazing views over the ocean and mountains
In the county of Silves lies the magnificent Salgados lagoon, a place of perfect symbiosis between nature, biodiversity and Man. The Salgados boardwalk crosses was built along this magical place, giving you the opportunity to see flamingos (along with another hundred and fifty species of birds) and to enjoy the refreshing peacefulness of its paradisiacal blue waters, always having as scenery the dunes of Praia dos Salgados. The course has 5.5 kilometres in total (round trip) and takes about two hours to complete.
The Great Guadiana Route
The Great Guadiana Route begins in Vila Real de Santo António and climbs along the banks of the Guadiana River for 65 kilometres. The spectacular panoramic views will take you to beaches, mountains and valleys in what is one of the most romantic trails in the country. Along the way you can explore the charming villages that exist on the Portuguese border and where time seems to have stopped
Alte Village & Countryside
The beautiful village of Alte is entrenched in dense orchards that shield the village from the scorching summer heat. The orchards extend into the Algarve, forming dazzling trails that deserve to be explored. The Algarve Countryside Walking Trip takes about 6 hours and includes lunch and a pick-up from most hotels in the area. This is certainly the ideal tour for those looking to get to know the Algarve’s Countryside.
Trail of Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedade is one of the most beautiful areas of Lagos because of its rock formations eroded by the wind and its translucent waters. With about 5 kilometres in total (round trip), this trail will show you the spectacle of lights and colours that takes place there, as well as its mysterious caves and natural tunnels. Walk along the vertiginous cliffs of this trail and be delighted with the unparalleled view.
Trail of Praia do Barril
This trail begins at the access to the beach and stretches for 3 kilometres. This sublime course crosses the lagoons of Ria Formosa Natural Reserve to reach Praia do Barril, where it then extends to both sides of the sand: on the right side is the recovery area of the dune cord protected with palisades, and on the right side a graveyard of anchors. Overall this is a very beautiful trail that allows you to discover the fauna and flora of the region.