Walking the Eastern Algarve Coastal Trails

Eastern Algarve Guided Walking Holiday

The old Anchor cemetery at the Barril beach
Duration: 5 nights
Type: European Centre Based
Walking Grade: 2 & 3
from £619pp without flights FLIGHTS AVAILABLE

The eastern end of the Algarve is one of the quietest parts and is still in touch with its traditional heritage. Here, secluded beaches, centuries-old towns and wildlife-rich areas are the order of the day. Exploring quiet coastal paths via traditional white-washed villages and vineyards is pure delight, especially during the cooler but generally sunny winter months. Enjoy gentle guided coastal walks, the rich bird life of the Rio Formosa salt pans and exploring a ruined Roman villa. Walks pass through pretty fishing harbours and tiny, unspoilt villages which are home to traditional coastal communities.

Holiday Highlights

  • 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
  • Visit the ruins at Milreu, considered the most important Roman presence in the Algarve.
  • See some of Portugals famous cork trees;
  • Hear about the fascinating history of Vila Real de Santo António brought to life by our local guide.

What’s included

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

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

We offer the choice of two different guided walks each day. You could choose the easier walk one day and the harder walk the next or just explore independently or relax around the resort as you wish. 

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

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, through lush woodland and farmland.

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. 

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. 


We hope to see you again soon.

Tavira 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 dining 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.   


The hotel has 268 en-suite bedrooms, which are simply decorated with a distinctive Arabian theme to reflect Tavira’s rich and fascinating history. 

All rooms have either a balcony or terrace, with either views of the central area and the swimming pool (extra surcharge) or overlooking the attractive rooftops of Tavira or over the salt pans. 

There is air conditioning which can be adjusted, flat screen TV, direct dial telephone, hairdryer, shaving point, complimentary toiletries, and a safe deposit box (extra charge). 

There is 24 hour room service and a laundry service available (extra charge)


Hotel Vila Galé has an attractive outdoor pool (unheated) in an area landscaped with attractive shrubs and potted palms. There are loungers and seating where you can have a snack or drink ordered from the nearby bar. In the large bar area there are more comfortable seats. 

The hotel has a shop that stocks English newspapers, basic toiletries, some Tavira souvenirs and beach accessories. Wi-Fi is free throughout. 

The Health Club, open from 10am until 8pm, is free to our guests and includes a tepidarium with indoor pool (naturally lit), Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, gym and some treatment rooms (extra charge for any treatments booked).

Food & Drink

Our holidays at Tavira are Half Board with continental breakfast and a 3-course evening meal.


There is an extensive selection for breakfast from a self-select buffet, including breads, pastries and cakes, cold meat and cheese, fruit, English cooked breakfast, teas and coffee.

Lunch (payable locally)

This can be bought locally from the variety of local shops/supermarkets or try visiting the daily covered market across the road from the hotel which offers a wide range of fresh and local produce from the region.

Evening meal

The three course buffet includes soup, tapas, salads, four or five hot main dishes including vegetarian options as well as a separate salad bar and side dishes served with a selection of vegetables. Every night there is a chef grilling meat. The hotel holds some themed evenings which extends to their menus. Vila Galé has its own wine estate and you can order these wines with your evening meal. They can also be purchased to take home.

Your Evenings

In Europe, our walking holidays continue into the evening. Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer whilst listening to your leaders outlining the next day's walks. One evening there’s the option to visit a Fado Museum to see an explanatory film which introduces the 12-string Portuguese guitar, before experiencing the emotion of the “Fado”.

Hotel Vila Galé Tavira - Eastern Algarve -VG_Tavira_Exteriores_11.jpg

Getting to Hotel Vila Galé Tavira - Eastern Algarve

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

Passport Requirements

You may need to renew your British passport if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Use the government website to see if your passport is valid for this holiday

EHIC cards

The UK government has officially launched the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). UK residents can now apply for one of the GHIC cards, which will gradually replace the EHIC cards as they reach their expiry dates. Every family member travelling requires a GHIC. You can make an application for yourself and on behalf of your partner and any dependent children under the age of 16. Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel. Necessary healthcare includes things like

• emergency treatment and visits to A&E
• treatment for long-term or pre-existing medical conditions
• routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
• oxygen and kidney dialysis

The public only need to apply for their free GHIC cards when their current EHIC expires. The process is likely to take two weeks. For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/.

The GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. We advise all holidaymakers to also invest in travel insurance that covers healthcare, so they are covered for other issues that may arise, as well as cancellations and lost luggage.

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. 
  • 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.
  • Camera.
  • Gaiters.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

These departure dates can be booked with flights or as land only holiday options. All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised flight prices are based on UK flights departing from London. Regional departures and/or connections to London, if available, can be requested. Cabin upgrades may also be available on request.

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
05 Nov - 10 Nov 2022
5 Itinerary £819 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
14 Jan - 19 Jan 2023
5 Itinerary £829 Trip Notes Book Now
04 Feb - 09 Feb 2023
5 Itinerary £829 Trip Notes Book Now
11 Mar - 16 Mar 2023
5 Itinerary £829 Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
05 Nov - 10 Nov 2022
5 Itinerary £619 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
14 Jan - 19 Jan 2023
5 Itinerary £619 Trip Notes Book Now
04 Feb - 09 Feb 2023
5 Itinerary £619 Trip Notes Book Now
11 Mar - 16 Mar 2023
5 Itinerary £629 Trip Notes Book Now

Important Information

  • Pool view: £12 per room per night
  • Single room: From £120 (complete holiday)
  • With flight holidays: Flights from London Gatwick to Faro included
  • Regional flight available from Manchester & Birmingham from £70pp. Other UK regional connecting flights available on request
  • Our airport taxi service operates at this resort – price per taxi: £70.
  • Independent travelers can join our transfer: From £16.50pp one way.
5 nights
European Centre Based
Walking Grade:

5 nights from £619pp
without flights

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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