One week based in Portimão
The western Algarve is a complete contrast to the eastern Algarve, and our walks throughout this tour offer a glorious mix of coastal, mountain and inland scenery.
Our walks show the different facets of this beautiful area and its diverse landscapes.
The Western Algarve has a varied geology that helps produce a rich diversity of scenery from granitic mountains to dramatic limestone escarpments and sea cliffs. This diversity is complemented by the local flora and fauna that flourish in the equable climate of mild, sunny winters and long, hot summers. All this, combined, makes walking here fascinating.
The walks in this tour take us to all the right places so that we may discover the huge welcoming heart of the Algarve.
We will walk along “classic” sections of the Algarve coast, perfect sandy beaches and rugged headlands with rock stacks and arches including the spectacular Ponta da Piedade, just outside Lagos.
We will visit Silves, one of the oldest towns in Portugal, built in a series of terraces between the river and the castle. First settled by Phoenician traders, their riverside colony grew to become a major Roman city, and then, from the 8th century it became the Moorish capital of the Algarve. Much of this magnificent town was badly damaged by the 1755 earthquake, but reminders of its powerful past can be seen in the sandstone walls of the impressive castle, which provides fantastic views from its battlements over the surrounding countryside.
From Silves we will enjoy a walk in the soft hills to the north of the town. Another day will be spent in the verdant hills around the small town of Monchique where we will have fine views over the surrounding hillsides. Carob and olives are cultivated on farms and small holdings, along with oranges and other citrus fruit, pomegranates, almonds and an abundance of other produce. We visit local villages where working life continues as it has for centuries.
We will continue our search for the hidden gems of the Western Algarve; a coastal walk will take us from the resort of Luz to Lagos with time to visit this pretty fishing town.
Heading back inland we will have a delightful walk through some typical Algarvian villages, allowing us to see the Algarve in its most rural form.
Finally we will head to the edge of Europe; we will walk in the Parque Natural da Costa Vicentina, the most south-westerly point of Europe where there is a chance to appreciate and most certainly view the abundant bird life on one of the most important migratory routes of spring and autumn.
One of Portugal’s most historic towns, set on a headland overlooking a picturesque harbour, the port lies at the south-westernmost point of continental Europe within the boundaries of a protected natural park.
The park lends the area a wild, untamed character that helps personify Sagres as a destination steeped in myth and legend. Inexorably linked with the sea, Prince Henry the Navigator, who started Portugal’s Voyages of Discovery during the 15th century, established a school of navigation near the town.
This is one of the Algarve’s least developed regions, and in Sagres a friendly and informal atmosphere prevails, unhurried and quite charming
Possibly one of the most beautiful natural features of the Algarve coastline. The shoreline is formed of heavily weathered cliffs that have been carved into rock pillars, natural tunnels and hidden grottos. The sandstone cliffs of misshaped angles stand at stark contrast to the deep turquoises and greens of the calm seas and the entire region is simply stunning.
Monchique is a small town up in the thickly wooded mountain range separating the Algarve from Alentejo. The journey up (and down) to Monchique offers spectacular views and is totally different from coastal Algarve. The centre of the town is characterised by lots of narrow cobbled streets crisscrossing up the hillside with a spattering of cafés and restaurants. If the day is clear the view from Foia, which is 902 metres high, is fantastic - you can see from Cape St. Vincent in the west, to Faro in the east and to the Serra da Arrabida, near Lisbon, to the north!
Each day breakfast will be taken in the Hotel before leaving for the day’s program.
We will usually leave the Hotel between 9.00 am and 9.30am.
On our return to the Hotel each day we will have time to relax and change before dinner which is usually taken at 7.30pm.
Each evening the guide will give a preview of the next day’s program.
Day’s program is subject to alteration due to weather and local conditions.
Arrive Faro Airport
We’ll meet you at Faro airport and bring you to the Hotel.
Free time until evening meeting and dinner.
Today we will be walking in the area north of Silves.
This wonderful walk gives a relaxing introduction to the region as it meanders through gentle rolling hills.
Spectacular views, sheltered valleys and lunch at an old windmill with Silves and its castle laid out below us make this a day to remember.
A final section through fascinating smallholdings where local farmers tend their gardens brings us back to Silves with time to relax in the local cafés.
Today we head into the hills of the Serra de Monchique. Our walk offers panoramic views of some of the most beautiful parts of the Algarve.
The mountainous area of the Serra de Monchique stands in complete contrast to the rest of the Algarve.
This is a green wooded area, decked in cork, chestnut, pine and eucalyptus trees.
There are rivers, small streams and refreshing springs. The valley floors are rich and fertile, yielding an abundance of fruit and vegetables. It is no wonder this area is often called “the garden of the Algarve”.
The day includes time to visit the town of Monchique. Here you will discover traditional skills and handicrafts still being practiced.
The famous Medronho, distilled from the Strawberry tree, distinctive hand knitted sweaters and the unusual wooden chairs all suggest the character of this area.
Alvor and Praia da Rocha
Today we have a full programme with a fantastic coastal walk taking in the superb sandy beaches and dramatic headlands between Alvor and Portimão, including the much photographed beach at Praia da Rocha, one of the best in the Algarve.
The rock strata are particularly varied and very colourful, from white limestone to red sandstone. These different rocks support a wide variety of flora and, in spring, there are impressive displays of wild flowers.
Ponta da Piedade and Lagos
We continue our coastal theme with a spectacular walk starting from the small village and resort of Luz.
On this walk we follow a coastal path to Lagos, visiting on the way Ponta da Piedade where the famous sea caves are to be found and visited by many small boats carrying visitors from nearby Lagos.
The walk finishes in Lagos and we will have time to sightsee in this attractive town that was an important Roman settlement called 'Lacobriga'. A variety of ancient Roman & medieval ruins remain, including the old slave market.
The town centre, which is enclosed within 5th century walls offers a modern and well equipped marina that dominates the sea front and the town is now firmly positioned as a centre for tourists from all over the world.
We have an opt out at Ponte de Piedade allowing people to have a little more time to sightsee in Lagos.
Barão de São João
We head back inland for a walk that takes in the villages of Barão de São João and Barão de São Miguel.
These charming, rural and peaceful villages are characterized by the typical white houses with a coloured border around the windows and doors.
This and the traditional Algarve chimneys demonstrate the many years of Moorish occupancy of the area.
We have an opt out at lunch time allowing people to relax and explore the fascinating village of Barão S. João.
Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente
Our final day on the western Algarve fittingly culminates in Sagres, the most westerly town in the Algarve.
This area of intensely dramatic cliffs, opening onto a vast horizon of sea and sky, was the last sight of Europe for the explorers setting forth on their fearsome voyages beyond the horizon.
We will also visit today the nearby Cabo de S. Vincente whose spectacular cliffs were once believed to be the end of the world.
Free time until transfer from Portimão to Faro airport.
HOTEL SANTA CATARINA *** (or similar)
Located on the first line of Praia da Rocha, about 1km from the center of Portimão and 60km from Faro Airport, the 3 star Hotel Santa Catarina Algarve excels in the familiar environment that seeks to provide its guests. Located opposite the casino in Praia da Rocha, it is 50 meters from a wide and famous entertainment area with bars and nightclubs. The hotel is equipped with 3 elevators, one of which is panoramic. Of the 70 rooms, 33 have sea views and the remaining 37 have land views. The Hotel has two rooms equipped for the disabled and respective accesses. The city has a long history as a fishing port (the Romans already used its natural bay), having developed in the last decades, like the rest of the Algarve, as a tourist center, presenting a wide offer not only at the product level "Sun and Beach", as well as entertainment, shopping and gastronomy.
It has become a popular holiday destination due, in particular, to the famous Praia da Rocha, with beautiful golden sands, small bays and capricious rocks. Portimão is also ideal for those who enjoy fishing for large fish (eg swordfish). It also allows the practice of water sports, such as jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing and diving that receive support from the coast. At present, Praia da Rocha has entertainment throughout the season
The land only option allows you to book your own transport to and from the holiday. You will normally meet the group at the arrival airport at 12 a.m as long as you arrive there no later than the group. Similarly, on the way home you can return to the airport with the group as long as your departure time is no earlier than that of the group.
This guided tour already includes a transfer departing from Faro airport at 12 a.m. on arrival day and returning to Faro Airport at 12 a.m. on last day.
To this tour we only accept transfers departing from Faro Airport or Faro.
If you wish to stay more nights, just send us an email with your request.