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Seven Days, Seven Walks in the Algarve

Seven Days, Seven Walks in the Algarve

Autumn is the perfect season to discover Algarve with its favourable temperatures, making it ideal for exploring the region. Blessed with a stunning coastline, as well as hilly and softly contoured mainland, this part of Portugal offers fantastic hiking trails to suit all ages.

Hiking builds muscle, boosts your brainpower, and activates happiness hormones. Outdoor exercise is incredibly important for mental and physical health, and even five minutes in nature can boost your mood and self-esteem, according to helpguide.

From family-friendly walks to more challenging hikes, here’s a guide to the seven best day hikes and walks you can embark on in the region.

Cape St. Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente) – This is the most southwestern point of continental Europe and is a significant landmark with striking cliffs and an iconic lighthouse, which has existed on the Cape since 1520. Arriving at Cabo São Vicente you can image yourself in the shoes of the pilgrims who used to finish their journey at the burial place of St Vincent.
From there, hikers can either walk from the Cape all the way to Sagres, or to Vila do Bispo and follow the Fishermen’s Trail, a part of the Rota Vicentina network that connects Cape St.Vincent with both towns. Sagres is 6 km away, while Vila do Bispo is 10 km away. For ease, the trail is marked with blue and green stripes on wooden poles and rocks.
Duration: Cape St. Vincent to Sagres 1hour 30 minutes / Cape St. Vincent to Vila do Bispo 2hours 30 minutes / Challenge Level: Moderate

Seven Hanging Valleys Trail - The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is considered as one of the most beautiful hikes in Europe and has long been the most famous and popular of the Algarve hikes, encompassing some of the region’s most stunning scenery. The trail passes through limestone cliffs, offers spectacular sea views, and leads walkers to hidden beaches and natural arches. This 5.7-kilometer route connects Praia da Marinha to Praia de Vale Centeanes. Although you can begin from either end, it’s more common to start at Praia da Marinha and head west.
Duration: This hike takes an average of 3hours and 30minutes to complete / Challenge Level: Generally considered a moderately challenging route


Fóia, Monchique – One of the big draws to Serra de Monchique is the nearby mountain peak of Fóia, and at 902m high, it’s the highest point of the Algarve. From the top you can see incredible views of the Algarve coastline including Portimão and Lagos to the South, and Cabo de São Vicente on the West. Discover the richness of the mountain, the forest, the water and the pure air of the Algarve with a guided hike by Algarvian Roots or Proactivetur. Depending on which option you chose, this guided trek also includes an experience on a potter’s wheel, a visit to an olive mill with olive oil tasting, and a soap workshop.
Duration: 8 hours / Priced from €145/£123 per person depending on which additional activities are chosen / Challenge Level: Moderate /

Ria Formosa Natural Park - Covering over 18,000 hectares, this is a series of saltwater lagoons and islands. It’s a haven for bird watchers, where you can see flamingos and other migratory birds. There are various walking paths, allowing you to choose a route that suits your pace. The São Lourenço Walking Trail is about three hours long, and is perfect due to its different habitats: marshland, scrubland, and freshwater lakes.
Meanwhile, the Marim Centre of Environmental Education Walking Trail, located in Olhão, can take up to two hours and is ideal for families as not only is it easy to do but also covers all the habitats that can be found in the Ria Formosa Nature Park as well as Roman ruins and a tide mill. Duration: São Lourenço Walking Trail 3hours / Marim Centre of Environmental Education Walking Trail 2hours / Challenge Level: both Moderate

Fonte da Benémola Nature Reserve - Fonte da Benémola is one of the lesser known natural springs. Surrounded by 400 hectares of land, the protected area nearby is fed by the waters of the Ribeira da Menalva, enriching an important ecological system and supporting a large diversity of flora and fauna, and animals such as insects, butterflies, turtles, lizards, salamanders and many more species. Fonte Fonte da Benémola walk is easy 2.5-mile circular track in the Loulé municipality and makes for a picture-perfect day out with the family.
Duration: Up to 2 hours / Challenge Level: Easy

Via Algarviana trail - The north-eastern part of the Algarve is less frequented by visitors, but offers a unique blend of rolling hills, traditional villages and untouched natural beauty. The Via Algarviana hike spans the entire region from Alcoutim, near the Spanish border, all the way to Cape St. Vincent on the western coast - approximately 300 kilometres in length. However, if you’re specifically interested in the north-eastern section, you can walk from Alcoutim to Balurcos, and experience views of the Guadiana River, cork oak forests, traditional villages, and rich flora and fauna.
Durations: Around 1hour 45 minutes / Challenge Level: Moderate

A Window to the Guadiana - This trail begins in Azinhal, a typical village in the Baixo Guadiana, Eastern Algarve, and ends at Várzea das Almas. Along this route, trekkers will experience views of the Guadiana River, can stop at the towns and their traditional architecture, and see incredible scenery such as wetlands, dryland orchards of almond and carob trees and hills covered in cistus, gorse and lavender. Along the riverbank, the salt marches take over the wide wetlands, and, looking south, walkers will be wowed with the bridge connecting Portugal and Spain, near the mouth of the Guadiana.
Duration: This walk takes 2hours 30 minutes on average to complete / Challenge Level: Moderate

Where to stay?
Casa Modesta is a family house that has been beautifully renovated and offers views of Ria Formosa and the Atlantic Ocean. For those wanting to experience a stay surrounded by nature and wildlife, Casa Modesta is a rural hotel with a distinct contemporary Portuguese edge. Care has also been taken to create an environmentally friendly development with the use of sustainable measures like natural ventilation, wastewater reuse and farm to table concept as they grow their own produce to use in their Mediterranean inspire cuisine. And it is perfectly located in Quatrim do Sul, in the heart of the Ria Formosa Nature Park, and just four miles from Olhão city centre.
Prices: €180/£155 per night for a Room with sea-view, based on two adults sharing a room /

Grand House Algarve is a Relais Châteaux Belle Epoque hotel in the East Algarve, nestled in the historic town of Vila Real de Santo António. Bringing with it a revival of the splendour of the Roaring Twenties and the country’s rich past with the architectural details and furniture featuring art deco and colonial touches, this hotel is perfect for those who want to stay somewhere glam after enduring a long day hiking.
Prices: €227/£195 per night for a Small Room based on two adults sharing a room /

Praia do Canal Nature Resort, located within the Vicentine Coast Natural Park of 74,000 hectares of rolling hills, marshland, imposing cliffs, rocky coves and broad beaches, takes connecting with the outdoors to a whole new level. The resort also caters to those seeking to relax and restore body and mind, and has a multitude of treatments and therapies available for those wishing to pamper themselves after a hike. It also focuses on nature and sustainability, with dishes even being sourced from the local area. And this resort is the perfect mid-way point for many of the walks listed above; only a 45-minute ride from Cape St. Vincent, 45 minutes from Foia or a 50-minute car ride from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.
Prices: approx €258/£221 per night based on two adults sharing a deluxe natural park view /

Pure Monchique Hotel is located in Serra de Monchique Natural Park, in the Western Algarve, and has a privileged location with stunning views overlooking the mountains and the valley. Along its 39 hectares, guests can walk different pedestrian paths, enjoy several green areas and streams where the world-famous water of Monchique flows. With modern lines and décor, this luxurious boutique hotel offers 22 rooms, a Thermal Spa and two outdoor swimming pools.
Prices: €113/£97 per night based on two adults sharing a Classic room /