The scent of orange groves and pine trees accompanies you as you ramble along ancient paths fringed with abundant wild flowers, to a viewpoint where you can rest and drink in the scenery and the silence. Experience this journey with Ramblers Walking Holidays.
Tavira straddles the Rio Gilão as it meets the Atlantic Ocean and flows into the shallows of the offshore Ria Formosa Natural Park. With its ruined castle and active fishing harbour, Tavira is a labyrinth of cobbled streets, shady plazas and the most attractive of the Algarve’s coastal towns.
Our walks take us to Tavira Island in the Natural Park, taking in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and to pretty coastal villages such as Santa Luiza, Cabanas and Cacela Velha. Inland we wind our way between hills and valleys to the low peak of Zimbral, with some rewarding views. Ancient trails take us past farms, through an intricate patchwork of orange groves, olive and carob orchards. Sometimes we walk beside rivers; other times amongst the pines and cork oaks. Through most of our season we are presented with an endless and ever-changing procession of beautiful flowers.
Tavira itself is, to say the least, a very charming town. The ancient Ponta Romana spans the Rio Sequa, separating the two sides of the town. Narrow streets lead between whitewashed buildings, many with traditional balconies. At the centre lies the lovely Praça da Republica, bordered by trees, fountains and restaurants. We'll enjoy dinners at local restaurants in Tavira giving the opportunity to sample the wonderful Portuguese cuisine.
During our second week, the western Algarve offers a glorious mix of coastal, mountain and inland landscapes. The varied geology gives a rich diversity of scenery from granite mountains to dramatic limestone escarpments and sea cliffs.
We stay in two contrasting centres on Portugal’s south coast. From Portimao, where our hotel sits in the historical centre, we follow a levada alongside the Rio Arade, passing through orange and lemon groves. We walk the picturesque coast from Alvor to Portimão and up into the hills of the Serra de Monchique, which offers outstanding views. Of course there will be time to explore charming Silves too.
From Burgau a coastal path takes us to the pretty seaside town of Lagos, visiting the Ponta da Piedade (with its famous sea caves) en route, and inland tracks lead us through the villages of Barão de Sao João and Barão de São Miguel, which are characterised by their typical whitewashed houses. This is the Algarve at its most tranquil. Our walk at Sagres, the most westerly point on the Algarve,was the last sight of Europe for explorers setting forth on their voyages. Here you'll find Henry the Navigator's fortress and Cape St Vincent, with its lighthouse and breath taking views.
See where this holiday travels to.
The Hotel Santa Catarina, a 3 star hotel close to Praia da Rocha beach in Portimão, offers a bar and restaurant, and is only a 10 minute walk from Portimão marina. All rooms are en suite with TV, minibar, safety deposit box, A/C and free wifi. With the beach being so close at hand, it is perfect for an after walk dip in the sea!
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.
Located only 1km from Burgau beach the Quinta do mar da Luz offers a stunning cliff top location and wonderful views of the sea. Set in verdant lush gardens it offers a tranquil retreat after a day’s walking, where you can cool off in the outdoor pool (unheated) or relax with a drink at the bar. The bedrooms all include TVs, air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, safes and complimentary Wi-Fi. We take breakfast in the restaurant which is a great continental as well as English buffet breakfast.
From 2019, we will stay the Hotel Globo, located in the historical centre of Portimao, close to all the local facilities and sights. Rooms are all en suite with air conditioning and there is a lovely panoramic view from the breakfast room. You will also find a bar and gym/sauna on site.