The Hidden Algarve: A Walker’s Paradise
Where to Stay
We’re half-way through the first week’s walking with our group of 20. They tell us they’re having a great time and loving our base here at the Estoi Pousada. It’s rare to find a hotel where all the staff, from the management to the chambermaids, are so committed to ensuring their guests have a good time: nothing is too much trouble. The rooms are large and comfortable, all with a terrace, the public rooms situated in the former palace, splendidly opulent. Now we know what it’s like to live in a palace! The cuisine is outstanding.
We’ve designed the walks to include as much scenic variety as possible. Our first day was spent in and around Tavira, undoubtedly the most handsome town in the entire Algarve, pictorially placed in a beautiful riverside setting. Having explored twisting streets and visited the ancient castle we paused for coffee and a ‘pastel de nata’ before boarding the boats for Tavira Island.
After lunch at a beach bar we were off on a memorable walk, swinging along on firm sand, at one with the ocean, the wind the wild seabirds. Eventually, after several miles, we left our own desert island for Santa Luzia, the Algarve’s ‘octopus capital’. A short drive back to Estoi concluded our first day.
In complete contrast, our second day’s walk took us inland to an area known as the ‘Barrocal’ at the foot of the Serra do Caldeirao, a deeply rural, peaceful region with a vast range of wild flowers. Here we wandered through orchards, olive groves, meadows, on paths used for centuries leading to the fountain,the vegetable patch, the mill or the village.
From a number of viewpoints we admired extensive views over the Bengado river valley before completing our 6-mile circuit back at Fonte de Mesquita. Following a rather splendid lunch at a local restaurant, we visited Sao Bras de Alportel, walked some of the Roman road, visited the Roman museum and watched a film on the all-important cork industry.
Find out more
Details of this holiday can be viewed at http://www.country-walks.com/guided-walking-holidays-hiking-tours/algarve/