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14-Night Eastern Algarve & Western Algarve Guided Walking Holiday

Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Duration: 15 nights
Type: European Centre Based
Walking Grade: 2 & 3
from £1,499pp

Two fantastic holiday destinations in one holiday! Explore the Eastern Algarve: Uncover the area's rich heritage on walks to pretty fishing harbours and tiny unspoilt villages. Discover the rich birdlife of the salt pans and the Ria Formosa. Not to mention year round sunshine, which makes this beautiful area of Portugal perfect for gentle guided walks in spring and autumn. Spain is only 40km away. Explore the Western Algarve: Discover the wild Atlantic coast with dramatic cliffs, varied landscapes and Cape St. Vincent. The national parks in this area are filled with colourful wild flowers are renowned for their bird life, including storks.

Holiday Highlights

Eastern Algarve

  • Explore the charming and historic town of Tavira
  • Discover the graveyard of anchors at Paia do Barril, a tribute to the former fishing fleet of the area
  • Ride the water taxi to Sant Luzia, and discover its dedication to fishing and family run restaurants
  • Experience the Tuna Village museum
  • Enjoy easier walking between tiny villages and along salt pans

Western Algarve

  • Stunning coastal scenery in this picturesque corner of Europe
  • Soak up the Portuguese culture in the traditional cobbled streets of Lagos
  • Uncover the paradise of green hills, wildflowers and eucalyptus trees around Monchique
  • Cape St. Vincent with its lighthouse and striking, high sea cliffs

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks with 2 options every walking day
  • All transport to and from the walks
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays' leaders
  • "With flight" holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • 14 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Transport between the two destinations
  • Half Board - continental breakfast and evening meal

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Welcome to Hotel Vila Gale Tavira. Unpack and settle in.


Our introductory walks explore the area around Tavira.

Option 1 - Pedras El-Rei to Tavira

Distance: 6½ miles (10½km)

Total ascent: minimal

In summary: Our walk starts from the resort village of Pedras El-Rei, crosses the lagoon and heads along the vast expanse of Barril Beach. We then take a water taxi back to Santa Luzia, before turning inland to return to the hotel.

Highlight: The display of anchors on Barril Beach is a spectacular reminder of the tuna fishing industry that once dominated the area. 

 

Option 2 - Livramento to Tavira

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: minimal

In summary: This walk starts a little further along the coast at a village called Livramento. The early parts of the walk explore the lagoons and saltpans of the Ria Formosa before reaching Pedras El-Rei and tracing the route of the easier party.

Highlight: The Ria Formosa is a nature park that forms an important habitat for aquatic birds - this walk provides great opportunities for birdwatchers.

 


Today we walk in the Mata Nacional de Conceição (Tavira National Forest).

Option 1 - Around the National Forest

Distance: 6½ miles (10½km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In summary: Our walk today threads in and out of the Mata Nacional de Conceição - the Tavira National Forest. We'll walk on good tracks, watching out for the plentiful wildlife as we walk.

Highlight: The walk finishes at the Quinta da Colina estate where we'll be greeted by some welcome local refreshments.

Option 2 - The Forest and Beyond

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (210m)

In summary: The harder walk explores the area surrounding the forest, visiting tiny hamlets and walking through farmland before heading into the forest, and joining the other party at Quinta da Colina for refreshments.

Highlight: Watch out for the stands of cork trees; cork from the Algarve is considered the finest in the world!


The day starts with a visit to the ruins of a once luxurious Roman villa at Milreu. One of the most important remains at the Roman presence in the Algarve, and now classified as a national monument. After spending some time at the museum, we walk through the old town of Estoi before walking in the foothills at the Serra do Caldeirã. We also visit the Rocaco Palácio of Estói. The French inspired palace and gardens was built at the end of the 19th Century for a local aristocrat of the Carvalhal family. Bought by Faro City Council in 1987. It is now a Pousada - state owned hotel.

Option 1 - Estói and Milreu

Distance: 6½ miles (10½km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In summary: Initially we walk through almond orchards and an old plant nursery before walking to an old quarry. We then head over the saddle and down to the Rio Seco, which we follow back to Estoi.

Highlight: The ruins at Milreu are considered the most important Roman presence in the Algarve.

Option 2 - Milreu and Cerro do Malhão

Distance: 8½ miles (13½km)

Total ascent: 1,200 feet (360m)

In summary: After spending time exploring the ruins at Milreu we head for the summit of Guilhim, which affords us spectacular panoramic views. We descend on quiet tracks and minor roads to Estói, where we'll have time to explore the town, the Palácio and its gardens.

Highlight: The Palácio de Estói is a rococo masterpiece, with gardens to match. 


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. Some options for your free day may include:

Day trip to Faro and the Ria Formosa: Explore the old city of Faro, the district capital of the Algarve and visit the cathedral, Gothic and Baroque in style. In the afternoon, depart from the Porto Nova; this gate is also known as Portas do Mar (Doors of the Sea) because it’s one of the sites where you can depart on a boat trip to the islands of the Ria Formosa Nature Park. You’ll be dazzled by this wonderful landscape with numerous small islands, marshes and barrier islands that separate this coastal lagoon from the sea.

Tavira: Spend the day in and around Tavira and/or go to the beach. The beach in Tavira is a ‘sandspit’ beach, separated from the mainland by the sea and has to be reached by a ferry boat or water taxi. The ferry runs seasonally from Quatro Águas about 1.5km out of Tavira - follow the signs for Ilha de Tavira. An alternative is to use the little tourist “train” which runs every hour. The circular trip lasts for approximately 40 minutes, taking you into the old town of Tavira and out along roads bordering the salt marshes.

Local information website: For information on Tavira please visit www.visitalgarve.pt


Today we have the services of a local interest guide who will join us on the coach from the hotel. Initially, we visit the whitewashed village where time has stood still at Caceia Velha. It has clifftop views over the Ria Formosa and the modern resorts to the east. Both groups finish in city of Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the Guardiana River, which forms the border with Spain. Built in 1773 by the Marquês de Pombal, it was based on the urban criteria used for the re-construction of Lisbon following the 1755 earthquake and was built on the site of a small fishing village and largely completed within 5 months. We will see remnants of the sardine and tuna fishing industry, which was once its main economic activity, before embarking on a short tour of the city.

Option 1 - Sertão

Distance: 6½ miles (10½km)

Total ascent: minimal

In summary: We walk along the coast from Altura to the small fishing village of Sertão, before entering the Mata Nacional das Dunas Litorais before ending the day in Vila Real de Santo António.

Highlight: The village of Cacela Velha, with its traditional whitewashed cottages has the feeling of a bygone age.

 

Option 2 - Vila Nova de Cacelato

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Total ascent: minimal

In summary: After a tour of Cacela Velha we walk a stretch of the Eco Via long distance cycle route through quiet hamlets and farmland. We're joined in the afternoon by the local guide as we follow the footsteps of the other party to Vila Real de Santo António.

Highlight: The fascinating history of Vila Real de Santo António brought to life by our local guide. 

 


Today's walks begin to the north and east of Tavira on the Guadiana river, the border with Spain. They finish in Alcoutim for refreshments before our return to Tavira.

Option 1 - Towards the Guadiana River

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In summary: Starting from the hamlet of Balurco Baixo we walk on well-defined tracks towards the Guadiana River and the border with Spain. We follow the river from above, returning to our start point through vineyards and orchards.

Highlight: This stretch of the river is a protected habitat, and there should be plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife.

Option 2 - Ladeiras do Pontal

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 900 feet (270m)

In summary: This walk starts from Balurco Baixo too, descending to the banks of the Guadiana river. After following the course for a short distance, we then ascend to Miradouro do Pontal for stunning views of the river, before linking with the route of the other party to return to the starting point.

Highlight: Finish the day with a well-earned drink in the border town of Alcoutim.


Transfers between hotels are via Faro airport.

Welcome to Hotel Belavista. Unpack and settle in.


Our first day of walks starts with a short coach ride to the fishing village of Burgau. This is one of the most unspoilt villages on the Algarve coast and it still retains its original charm and character.

Option 1 - Burgau to Porto de Mos

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: We walk east towards Luz where the coastal scenery changes dramatically from tall cliffs to coastal plain.  Passing along the promenade of Luz we ascend to the Watch Tower of Atalia and once more are on rugged cliffs but very easy paths before descending to the resort of Porto de Mos. 

Highlight: A great coastal introduction to the Western Algarve.

Option 2 - Burgau to Ponta da Piadade

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total ascent: 800 feet (240m)

In summary: The harder walkers follow their route from Burgau along the coast to Ponta da Piadade on foot passing through the houses then gaining the cliff paths again. There will be a little time at Ponta da Piadade before returning to the hotel.

Highlight: The magnificent sea stacks and grottos at Ponta da Piadade


Today we travel to the coast east of Luz and Lagos. 

Option 1 - Six Hanging Valleys

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: undulating

In summary: The Easier walk starts at the lighthouse of Cabo Carvoeiro, with dramatic views down to the sea. The path undulates along the cliffs, with some descent to hidden coves, and ascent to the cliff tops. 

Highlight: On this walk, you will see stacks rising from the sea, the typical geology of the Western Algarve coast.

Option 2 - Seven Hanging Valleys

Distance: 6½ miles (10km)

Total ascent: undulating

In summary: The Harder walk starts at the pretty Sentianes Beach and meanders along the tops of the amazing cliffs. We then finish at the delightful chapel of Senhora da Rocha.

Highlight: Watch out for the interesting geology, typical of the Western Algarve.


These walks explore the coast line in the Cabo de Sau Vicente Natural Park.  Figueira, which still retains its old farming atmosphere, remains virtually unspoilt and is well known for its rich variety of wild flowers and birdlife.  

Option 1 - Praia da Ingrina to Sagres

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Total ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In summary: Today, our walk starts from the beach at Ingrina. We follow the cliff top, before descending to the unspoilt Praia do Barranco. We then continue back up to the cliff top and finish our walk in Sagres.

Highlight: This section of coast is in the Park Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vincentina

Option 2 - Figueira to Sagres

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Total ascent: 900 feet (270m)

In summary: We begin our walk in the hamlet of Figueira. Our passes through countryside, sometimes with ocean views to descend to the beach at Zavial. From here we head inland to Ingrina, then follow the route of the easier group along the coast to Sagres.

Highlight: Sagres is the most south-westerly community in Europe.


Today there are no organised walks, allowing you time to explore the local area or just relax in the hotel or at the beach.

Your free day offers the chance to relax in this resort, visit Lagos by local bus and walk the town trail or take a boat trip from Luz or Lagos.

Lagos: The town is easily accessible by bus directly from outside the hotel. The town has a rich historical past.  There is a bold boulevard with marina and many shops and restaurants.  Lacobriga was the Roman name for Lagos and the Roman wall can still be seen, many parts of it original.  It became the capital of the Algarve with the Governors Palace at the headquarters of Henry’s School of Navigation.  Lagos became a key port in the slave trade from the 14th century until it was abolished in the second half of the 19th century.  Most of the city was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake but one survivor is the alter of the Chapel of St. Antony.  There are boat trips from Lagos to Ponta Piadade with its many grottos and sea cliffs to wonder at.


Today we head for the hills of the Serra de Monchique. The town of Monchique is set in a valley between the two highpoints of the Algarve, Foia and Picota at 997 and 773 metres respectively. 

Option 1 - Monchique and Caldas

Distance: 5½ miles (9km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (210m)

In summary: Our walk begins on a quiet road that winds its way into the foothills of Picota. We make our way down to the Boina river valley where we are rewarded with a marvellous panorama of the coast over the rolling hills.

Highlight: Spend a little time in the town of Monchique.

Option 2 - Carrapateira and Pontal

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Total ascent: 1,300 feet (390m)

In summary: Our route takes a track further into the foothills of Picota than the easier group, then descends into the Boina valley, ending in Caldas.

Highlight: The option to reach the summit of Picota. Well worth it for the panoramic views.


Today’s walks take us through the village of Carrapatiera and to the West Atlantic coast.

Option 1 - Carrapateira and Pontal

Distance: 5½ miles (9km)

Total ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In summary: Today, we start our circular walk in Carrapateira and follow the coastline to Praia da Bordeira. From here we will cross some boardwalk, which offer spectacular views of the coast.

Highlight: The boardwalk offering a different view of the coastline.

Option 2 - Monte Velho and Carrapateira

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (210m)

In summary: From Carrapatiera we head towards a remote hamlet called Vilarinha but before reaching it we turn off to pass the famous retreat called Monte Velho. The path ascends to a very broad ridge passing a trig point and down to the outskirts of Carrapeira.

Highlight: Monte Velho is in an idyllic spot with two small lakes. 


We hope to see you again soon.


Tavira Itinerary Map
Western Algarve Itinerary Map

Hotel Vila Galé Tavira - Eastern Algarve

The 4 star Vila Gale Tavira is a stylish hotel in a fantastic location.  Bedrooms are decorated in a contemporary Arabian style to reflect the Moorish history of the area. There is a large outdoor pool, wellness centre with an indoor pool, sauna and a range of treatments available.  The large dinning room serves an extensive buffet with a range of international and traditional Portuguese dishes.  A short walk through the narrow alleyways of the town will take you to the centre of Tavira's shops and sidewalk cafes.   

Hotel Belavista da Luz - Western Algarve

The 4-star Hotel Belavista da Luz enjoys an elevated position overlooking the coastal resort of Luz. The hotel is built in a horseshoe shape wrapped around colourful gardens and the two outdoor swimming pools.  Modern and stylish bedrooms have either a balcony or terrace and some have distant sea views.  The restaurant produce a delicious mix of meals with some traditional Portuguese dishes as well as international favourites.  A short walk down the hill you will find shops, services and the extensive beach.  

What to Bring

Essential Equipment

To enjoy walking/hiking comfortably and safely, footwear, clothing and equipment needs to be suitable for the conditions. Safety and comfort are our priorities, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities.

  • Footwear with a good grip on the sole (e.g.Vibram sole) is the key to avoiding accidents.
  • Walking/hiking boots providing ankle support and good grip are recommended (ideally worn in), and specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed, are better than a single layer (include spares).
  • Fabrics (lightweight and fast drying) designed for the outdoors are recommended.
  • Waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers.
  • Warm hat and gloves. Gaiters are an optional but useful extra.
  • Denim jeans and capes are not suitable on any walks.
  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner.
  • Thermos flask for hot drink.
  • Water bottle (at least 2 litre).
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch.
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Camera.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
11 Apr - 25 Apr 2020 Itinerary £1,499 Available Book Now

Important Information

  • Pool view: £24 per room per night
  • Double room for sole occupancy: £26 per night
  • With flight holidays include flights from Gatwick. Flight supplement from Manchester: £90
  • Independent travellers can join our transfer from Faro Airport: £16.50 single
  • Our airport taxi service operates at this resort: £71 per single taxi journey

Important Information

  • Double room from sole occupancy: £30 per night
  • Sea view: £26 per room per night
  • With flight holidays include flights from Gatwick. Flight supplement from Manchester: £90
  • Independent travellers can join our transfer from Faro Airport: £24.50 single
  • Our airport taxi service operates at his resort: £82 per single taxi journey
Duration:
15 nights
Type:
European Centre Based
Walking Grade:
2

15 nights from £1,499pp

Save up to £50 per person

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