The Algarve’s landscape is greatly diverse and walking is the perfect way to immerse yourself and fully experience the Algarve’s rich nature and culture.
The Algarve has an immense number of trails to discover and with this much sunshine you are guaranteed plenty of hiking days throughout the year. Walking enthusiasts will find many routes and organised walking programmes which includes The Via Algarviana, The Rota Vicentina and The Grand Rota do Guadiana. Most importantly, the best time to do these walks would be between September and May, when the climate is most agreeable.
The Via Algarviana
The Via Algarviana is a large pedestrian route taking you through the mountainous and rural terrain of the Algarve. This route starts in Alcoutim and leads you to the “end of the earth” Cabo de São Vincente which is a prominent location due to its connection with the age of Portuguese discoveries. Definitely be sure to check out the Fortress of Sagres which was originally built in the 15th Century, if you are looking to combine your walk with history. Regardless, once you reach Cabo de São Vincente you are sure to be rewarded with the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen (overlooking spectacular cliffs which I believe is worth its weight in gold).
The route extends over the whole region with a total of 300km divided into 14 sections, which includes Serra de Monchique, Espinhaço de Cão and Caldeirão as well as the beautiful Vicentine Coast’s Natural Park. There are multiple trails to undertake which vary in difficulty and distance so you can choose to do a shorter route and still get the most out of this territory. “Via Algarviana is more than a long-distance path. Walking through it is to dive into an experience in which times passes more slowly, in which the challenge of walking is rewarded.”
The Rota Vicentina
The Rota Vicentina is a network of hiking trails in the Alentejo and Algarve regions in the south of Portugal. The Rota Vicentina route covers 400km of trails across breath-taking coastal areas so it comes as no surprise that The Fishermen’s Trail of 226km is deemed one of the most beautiful coastal walks in Europe. The trail stretches from the coastal town of Porto Covo in Alentejo to the town of Odeceixe in Algarve. The Rota Vicentina includes two long routes called The Fishermen’s Trail which is a four day walk with sections that includes going across beaches, clifftop paths and forests.
Alternatively, you can opt for the historical route that is a trail of 263km that extends through rural areas as well as villages. “In 2016 and 2020, the Historical Way of the Rota Vicentina was certified by the European wide label “Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe”, a certification from ERA – European Ramblers Association – joining the exclusive group of the best walking destinations in Europe.” This is said to be a more off the beaten road type of walk which is definitely beautiful in its own right, which I am sure stands out particularly in spring but it is arguably not as impressive as the Fishermen’s Trail which goes along the coast. Asides from both routes, there are many circular trails that are in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park.
The Grande Rota do Guadiana
The Grande Rota do Guadiana allows you discover the east side of the Algarve and extends over 78km across mountain, barrocal and coastal areas, with the Guadiana River being the star attraction which offers incredible views. It connects Vila Real de Santo António to Alcoutim and crosses Castro Marim to get to Vila Real de Santo António. It is regarded as a route where you can explore the less known areas of the Algarve.
This Route is known for its unique landscapes and historical and natural heritage, from beaches in the south to mountains in the North, near to the Guadiana River. This route can be completed by making 19 shorter pedestrian itineraries known as the “Caminhos do Guadiana” that extend over a total of 135 km, allowing you to explore the South Guadiana region and even visit the insightful Rio Museum which is dedicated to the natural heritage of the river as well as its cultural and commercial purpose. Additionally, hikers can continue their walk by embarking upon the Via Algarviana route by going from Alcoutim to Cabo de São Vicente.
For more information, please visit https://www.portuguesetrails.com/