There’s the Algarve, and then there’s the true Algarve! A world away from the coast below, small villages in the hills above earn their living sustainably with the natural resources available to them, such as cork, strawberry liquor, honey, fish and traditional handicrafts.Farmers tend to their crops and shepherds take their sheep and goats out to quiet pastures. Experience this journey with Ramblers Walking Holidays.
Join us on this two-centre holiday which features six of the finest walking routes across the Algarve, the most westerly extension of the Grand European walking route E4/GR13. You’ll have time to stop and admire the scenery and appreciate the unhurried pace of life.
Starting in the beautiful village of Alcoutim, perched on the banks of the River Guadiana, we cross southern Portugal and finish at the dramatic cliffs of Cape Saint-Vincent, Europe’s most westerly point. In between we’ve selected the best walks which will take you through unspoilt villages and historic towns such as Messines, Alte and Silves, with their cobbled streets, Moorish influence and old world charm. The region teems with varied flora and fauna. Soaring above, you may spot peregrine falcons, kites, storks, hoopoes and if you’re lucky, the rare Bonelli’s eagle.
Days start with breakfast at our hotels and end with delicious meals at local restaurants allowing you to sample the wonderful Portuguese food and wines.
You might like to combine this holiday with the Hidden Delights of the Western Algarve and possibly Tavira, Pearl of the Algarve too.
Fly to Faro and transfer by road to Tavira, taking approximately 45 minutes. Depending on arrival time, we will have an orientation walk in the town centre before dinner in a local restaurant.
We take a scenic drive to Alcoutim along the beautiful local road as it runs alongside the edge of the Rio Guadiana. We will have a walk around this charming frontier village, which lies facing its Spanish equivalent across the river. Our walk today is called “Os encantos de Alcoutim” “The delights of Alcoutim”, with the Rio Guadiana forming the centrepiece of the walk, passing through orchards of almond, fig and olive trees. 8.5km (5 miles); 2-3 hours; Ascent 130m; Descent 170m.
Today we visit the village of Cachopo, with a brief stop at the splendid viewpoint of Alcaria do Cume. We will have time to look around Cachopo which is still a traditional working village. Our walk today on the GR13 will take us through the delightful surrounding landscape, with cork oak and strawberry trees, heathers and cistus (rockrose), as we pass small farms set amongst the cork forests. 7.5km to Cachopo with a possible extra circuit after lunch(4 miles); 2.5 - 3 hours; Ascent 230m; Descent 100m.
Today we will travel with our luggage to the village of Barranco do Velho. On the way we will stop in S. Bras de Alportel one of the main cork production centres in the region, and appreciate some of the local traditional products. Today’s walk on the GR13 will take us to the village of Salir, through rich Mediterranean vegetation, including the strawberry tree from which famous local liquor, widely appreciated by the locals, is produced. At 10km there is an opt out point for those who wish to spend some extra time in Salir, or you can continue with the full walk. We will then transfer by road to our next centre in Albufeira. 10 or 15km (6 or 9 miles); 3-4 hours; Ascent 100m, Descent 350m
Today we start in the village of Benafim and walk along the GR13 into the village of Alte, where we will have time to have a look around. Next we travel to Silves, perhaps the most historic town on the GR13, with its Moorish castle rising above the town which is set on the banks of the river Arade. Free time to appreciate the narrow cobbled streets and visit the local monuments. 6.8km (4miles); 2 hours; Ascent 75m; Descent 150m.
Today we start our walk on the hillsides above Monchique, walking down into the village. This is one of the most beautiful sections of the Via Algarviana with spectacular views and lush forests with oaks and chestnuts among the cork trees. An abundance of water makes this the greenest part of the Algarve all year round. At the end of the walk there will be time to visit Monchique and we will stop off to admire the views at the mountain of Foia, the highest point in the Algarve. Whilst our coach will take people up to the top of Roia, enthusiasts will be able to walk from Monchique. 7.7 (4-6 miles); 3-4 hours; Ascent 350m; Descent 370m.
On our final day we will walk the final section of the GR13 in the “Parque Natural Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vincentina” to the cliffs of Cabo São Vincente arriving in the village of Sagres to celebrate the end of our epic journey crossing the Algarve from east to west. 7.3 – 10.6km (4-6miles); 2 – 3.5 hours; Ascent/Descent minimal.
Free time before transfer back to the airport for flight back to the UK.
See where this holiday travels to.
Located a 5-minute walk from Tavira’s bustling town centre, Maria Nova Hotel enjoys a quiet hillside location. Its modern rooms feature a private balcony. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools. Tavira Castle is just 1,000 yards from Maria Nova Lounge Hotel, and the Tavira train station is 0.9 miles away. Ria Formosa Natural Park is 9.9 miles from the hotel. Maria Nova Lounge Hotel’s rooms are decorated with tiled floors, wooden furniture, and large windows. All rooms have a minibar, satellite TV, and an en suite bathroom. The rooms have either panoramic city or mountain views.
In 2018, we use the Hotel Forte da Oura, which is located in the touristic center of Albufeira and a few minutes away from the famous Oura Beach. Great for a family holiday or a romantic getaway, there are plenty of leisure and entertainment options in one of the most vibrant areas in the Algarve. This modern hotel has different types of apartments, comfortably furnished and equipped with kitchenettes and bathrooms, air conditioners, satellite TVs, telephones, safes and verandas. There is also a restaurant and bar, swimming pool and private parking.
From 2019 we will stay at the Velamar Boutique Hotel, located close to the delightful fishing village of Olhos D’água and a stroll from Maria Luisa beach. The hotel's breakfast room have a lovely view of the ocean, there is also an outdoor swimming pool and games room. You'll find cafes and restaurants close to the hotel and the busier tourist centre of Albufeira a few kilometers away.