For many years the Algarve has been overlooked as a walking destination, but away from the tourist areas, there are miles of spectacular coastline and a huge interior that has seen very few visitors. Here walkers will find a rich variety of scenery from volcanic hills to dramatic limestone escarpments, together with diverse local flora and fauna. All this, combined with an equable climate of mild sunny winters and long hot summers, makes the Algarve an ideal walking location.
Walking in the Algarve contains detailed route descriptions for 34 full and half-day walks, with some routes detailing both a full walk as well as a shorter option. They are, for the most part, well away from the main tourist developments, and due to poor public transport you will need car to get to the start of most routes. A lot of the walks are located to the north and west of Faro, and there are very few close to the Spanish border. This is because the coast is a series of sand flats that do not lend themselves to good walking, while inland the rolling hills have very poor access. The best walking is found a good 30 miles or so from the coast around Cachopo, and these are included in Walking in the Algarve.
Many of the walks in Walking in the Algarve make use of old mule or cart tracks, which until recently were the only means of communication between villages. Underfoot the going varies; some tracks have been covered in bitumen or asphalt, others are rough and stony. The majority of the routes aren't particularly strenuous, ascents of 500m being about the maximum, and none could be considered difficult. Each walk varies in length between 2.5km and 17km.
The distribution of walks in Walking in the Algarve offers a good mix of coastal, mountain and inland scenery. The majority can be tackled by anyone of average fitness, and the grading used is based on the amount of climbing involved: an easy walk is a flat walk suitable for all the family, whereas a difficult walk (there are very few) would involve a number of fairly steep ascents and descents.
When to Go
Where to Stay
Geology and Scenery
Birds, Wildlife and Protected Areas
Forestry, Agriculture and the Landscape
Notes for Walkers
Walk 1 Esteveira
Walk 2 Pontal, Carrapateira and Vilharinha
Walk 3 The West Coast
Walk 4 Bensafrim
Walk 5 The Barragem da Bravura
Walk 6 The National Forest of Barão
Walk 7 The Coastal Path – Porto do Mos(lagos) to Salema
Walk 8 The Coastal Path – Salema to Sagres
Walk 9 The Slopes of Foia
Walk 10 The Monchique River
Walk 11 Picota
Walk 12 Ilha do Rosario
Walk 13 North of Silves
Walk 14 Parra
Walk 15 The Coast – Benagil to Vale de Engenho
Walk 16 Amorosa – Torre Hill Walk
Walk 17 Amorosa and Zimbreira
Walk 18 Paderne Castle, Leitão and the Serra Grande
Walk 19 Esteval dos Mouros
Walk 20 Rocha de Pena
Walk 21 Pé do Coelho
Walk 22 The Hamlets around Salir
Walk 23 Querença and the Fonte de Benemola
Walk 24 Estoi
Walk 25 Casas Baixas: D. Quixote Walk
Walk 26 Casas Baixas: Fonte da Zorra Walk
Walk 27 Casas Baixas: Montes Serranos Walk
Walk 28 Feiteira: Cerros de Sobro Walk
Walk 29 Feiteira: The Reserve
Walk 30 Feiteira: Malhanito
Walk 31 Mealha: Vale das Hortas
Walk 32 Mealha: Masmorra
Walk 33 Mealha: The Burial Chamber of Pedras Brancas
Walk 34 The Mata Nacional da Conceição and the Ribeira da Zambujosa
Appendix 1: Language
Appendix 2: Route Table
Appendix 3: Contact Details
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Julie Statham has been leading walks on the Algarve and throughout Portugal since leaving England in 1998. Julie is passionate about the environment and conservation and the potential of the Algarve for walking. She is constantly seeking new paths and trails - "it's an obsession!" Besides her walking company she also runs a walking club for residents.