Collect your hire car (not included in the cost) for a short drive to your luxurious Pousada at Estoi. Read through your walking pack while enjoying a drink on the terrace before dinner in the excellent restaurant.
Tavira and Tavira Island: (Easy 7-miles/11 km)
An easy route down to the sea to enjoy the cry of the gull and the salt-sea spray. Visit Tavira, ‘Pearl of the Algarve’, architecturally-attractive, picturesque in a beautiful riverside setting complete with fishing boats. Twisting cobbled streets, lined with blue-and-white tiled houses, reflect Tavira’s Moorish past and there’s an ancient castle with beautiful gardens.
Take the ferry to Ilha de Tavira, the largest of the barrier islands, accessible only by boat. A memorable beach walk follows where on vast sandy beaches you are at one with the ocean, the wind, the wild seabirds, the only sound that of the waves gently lapping over soft, warm sand. Visit a tuna-fishing village in the Rio Formosa Natural Park full of colourful boats and fishermen’s huts.
Fonte de Mesquita and Sao Bras de l’Aportel: (Easy: 6 miles/9.4 km)
An easy, deeply rural route exploring a vast network of ancient paths originally constructed to lead to a well, vegetable patch, mill or a village, some dating back to Roman times. Admire ancient wells and threshing floors, cork trees, drystone walls and, in the spring, an abundance of colourful wild flowers.
Some houses tucked away in remote hamlets are very beautiful, immaculately white to reflect the heat of the sun and keep them cool inside. Some have saddle roofs for collecting rain water; others are embellished with floral and geometric motifs. Finally explore a nearby old town with narrow streets, fascinating buildings, a stretch of Roman Road and a fascinating museum.
Monte Seco Circuit: (Easy: 6 miles/9.4 km)
Set in the hills and valleys of the limestone Barrocal, this circuit is scenic at any season but particularly in spring when wild flowers carpet the ground. Paeoni and poppies populate the lower regions while hillsides abound with wild orchids. Walk among almond and olive groves, beside rivers and through tiny villages with authentic little bars. Buzzards circle the hilltops with extensive views over the valley.
There's a wonderful restaurant for lunch where you can sit out on the terrace soaking up the sun and enjoying some excellent Algarvian cuisine. Then relax back at your hotel or visit the important Roman remains at Milreu.
Today we suggest exploring the village of Estoi. Or just relax in the hotel, a wonderful location for sunbathing, swimming, reading under the arbours and lunching on the terrace with stunning views across the hills to the coast.
Or visit Faro for the day, with its unhurried, historic charm and jumble of narrow residential streets and pedestrianised shopping areas. You receive all the information you need for getting there and our notes will guide you to the excellent Archaeological Museum. Or, if you love the sea, you can take a boat trip to the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa with its wonderful bird and marine life, flowers and islands. Faro is easily accessible, being only 10 kilometres from Estoi.
The Two Rivers: Rio Guadiana and Ribeira de Odeleite: (Moderate: 10 miles/16 km)
Today, following a drive almost to the Spanish border your walk includes some of the Algarve’s best hidden secrets: rivers bordered by lush river banks and richly cultivated fields and vineyards where the only sounds you will hear are the hushed flow of the river and birdsong, even the nightingale if you are lucky! You'll find panoramic hills with extensive views and authentic little villages.
You'll reach the eastern boundary of the Algarve and the border between Portugal and Spain, walking at times only a stone’s throw from Spain. These tranquil river valleys are a very different world to much of the Algarvian coast: hidden away, silent, sparsely populated, and becoming ever more remote the farther north you travel.
Praia do Benagil to Senhora da Rocha: (Moderate: 7 miles/10.5 km).
Today explore the essence of the Algarve’s famous coastline, renowned for spectacular beaches and crumbling ochre cliffs onamented with eroded rocks, arches, grottoes and stacks. Add a sprinkling of fishing boats and you have a picture-postcard scene that couldn’t be anywhere else in the world. Don’t forget your camera!
Discover the best of this region, from a tiny fishing village to a coastal path with a wealth of wild flowers including hyacinths and orchids. Apart from a few restaurants and bars there are no other signs of development.
Departure for Faro airport flight back home.