Eastern Algarve Guided Walking Holiday

The old Anchor cemetery at the Barril beach
Duration: 7 nights
Type: European Centre Based
Walking Grade: 2 & 3
from £1,049pp £1,049pp with flights

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. We also have Guided Walking Holidays for Christmas and New Year to help you get extra warmth this coming festive season! 

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
  • 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

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
  • 7 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Our experienced leaders offer the choice of two different walks each day Choose the option which best suits your interests and fitness We provide flexible holidays. Choose easier walking one day and harder the next or just explore independently or relax around the resort Our leaders are friendly and welcoming making your holiday fun and sociable Please note: The Festive itinerary for this destination will be the same but in a different order according to local transport and holiday variances. Relax and enjoy the laidback charm of the Eastern Algarve coast and unspoilt interior on our carefully selected Guided Walks. Each day you’ll have a choice of two different walks. Easier Walks: 5 to 7 miles (8-11km) generally through gently undulating scenery. Up to 700 feet (210m) of ascent in a day. Harder Walks: 8 to 10 miles (13- 16km) with some short but steep ascents. Up to 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent in a day.

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

View on Cathedral in Old Town of Faro, Portugal


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.


We hope to see you again soon.


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


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 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!


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


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 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.


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 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.   

Rooms

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)

Facilities

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. WiFi is free to our guests in all public areas and available in all bedrooms for a small charge. 

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.

Breakfast

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

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. 
  • 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: £10 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
2019
21 Dec - 28 Dec
7 2019 Festive Itinerary £1,399 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
28 Dec - 04 Jan
7 2019 Festive Itinerary £1,399 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
2020
08 Feb - 15 Feb
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
15 Feb - 22 Feb
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
22 Feb - 29 Feb
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
29 Feb - 07 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
07 Mar - 14 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
14 Mar - 21 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
21 Mar - 28 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
28 Mar - 04 Apr
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
04 Apr - 11 Apr
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
11 Apr - 18 Apr
7 2020 Itinerary £1,049 Available Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2019
21 Dec - 28 Dec
7 2019 Festive Itinerary £949 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
28 Dec - 04 Jan
7 2019 Festive Itinerary £949 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
2020
08 Feb - 15 Feb
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
15 Feb - 22 Feb
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
22 Feb - 29 Feb
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
29 Feb - 07 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
07 Mar - 14 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
14 Mar - 21 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
21 Mar - 28 Mar
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
28 Mar - 04 Apr
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes Book Now
04 Apr - 11 Apr
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
11 Apr - 18 Apr
7 2020 Itinerary £799 Available Trip Notes 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
Duration:
7 nights
Type:
European Centre Based
Walking Grade:
2

7 nights from £1,049pp £1,049pp with flights

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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