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Summary

Self guided walking in Portugal’s hidden Algarve

A walker’s paradise with amazingly varied scenery: totally unspoilt countryside, pretty villages and beautiful beaches.

No of Nights: 7

Stay: Hotel

Grade: Easy-Moderate

Information

Eight days on Portugal's hidden Algarve, a walker's paradise with amazingly varied scenery: totally unspoilt countryside, pretty villages and beautiful beaches. You're a world away from the crowded and overdeveloped coastal resorts often associated with the Algarve. Here, from the delightful luxury Pousada in Estoi, or a more modest B&B if you prefer, you will discover the indigenous and rural character of the Eastern Algarve. Follow scenic paths through picturesque landscapes, the air heavy with the scent of wild flowers and herbs. Please note that a hire car is necessary for this holiday.

Enjoy

  • relaxed walks through stunning landscapes in areas of the Algarve unknown to most visitors
  • feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, breathing pure air heavy with the scent of herbs in landscapes filled with wild flowers
  • exploring unspoilt picturesque villages of honey-coloured stone
  • an elegant hilltop Pousada, a former palace, in the heart of rural Estoi; B&B options also available
  • sipping a glass of something cool as you watch the sun go down from the Pousada's beautiful terrace
  • excellent, authentic cuisine
  • swimming in the sea and in the hotel's pool.
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Tour review scores and score breakdown

10 / 10

Based on 3 reviews

Guest reviews are written by our customers after their tour of Portugal's hidden Algarve.

Guest reviews

  • Thank you for such a wonderful holiday. It could not have been better. The hotel was delightful with friendly staff and excellent food. The weather was sublime, warm and sunny with just a little wind to stop us getting overheated. The walking was absolutely fantastic. I have never seen more wild flowers and it was just lovely to be out in the countryside enjoying all that Spring has to offer. The organisation and attention to detail was exemplary.
    - Mary Clancy, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

  • I still see sheets of wild flowers, the empty white sandy beach stretching to infinity bordered by foamy Atlantic breakers, that wedding cake of a hotel, all pink and white sugar, the infinity pool, the incredibly comfy beds with sumptuous white sheets, the glorious walks, so carefully and brilliantly planned with lunch time restaurants popping up at just the right time! It was an unforgettable week. Thank you so much for creating this walking holiday. Perfect!
    - Annie Walter, London W6

  • A big ‘Thank you’ for a really lovely holiday. I enjoyed everything – the varied walks, the abundance of wildflowers, the excellent hotel. It all added up to a very satisfying experience and I look forward to further breaks with you.
    - Elspeth Scott, Staines, Middlesex

Itinerary

Day One
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.

Day Two
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.

Day Three
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.

Day Four
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.

Day Five
Free Day

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.

Day Six
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.

Day Seven
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.

Day Eight

Departure for Faro airport flight back home.

 

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Hotels

We highly recommend the Palacio de Estoi, a 4-star luxury hotel. This is one of Portugal's best pousadas (equivalent to a parador in Spain). It's a stunning pink roccoco pastiche, a sophisticated blend of tastefully restored Baroque palace with cutting-edge contemporary-designed accommodation. Relax in delightful gardens complete with statues and terraces of palms and orange trees. Enjoy indulging in the hotel spa and indoor and outdoor pools. The hotel is noted for excellent, authentic Portuguese cuisine and the breakfasts are arguably the best we have encountered. Rooms are large comfortable and stylish with balconies or terraces with views.

We can also arrange B&B accommodation if you prefer.

The pousada is located in the small, rural hill-top village only 10 kilometres from Faro. It’s worlds away from the traditional tourist spots and resorts of the Algarve, having only a few shops, a bank, and a sprinkling of bars and restaurants.

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Grade of the walks

The walks in our programme are moderately easy and suitable for people of average fitness.

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Tour price and costs

Price per person: from £488 per person for 2 people sharing a double or twin room for 7 nights (all rooms have a balcony); the actual price depends on type of room and season. Concessions are provided at certain times of year in Pousadas for over-50s.

Price includes:

  • Personalised itinerary
  • High-quality en-suite accommodation
  • Buffet breakfasts
  • Recommended restaurants for lunch/dinner
  • Detailed route directions, written by the founders of the company, in easy-to-handle A5 format
  • Marked up map and map case
  • Commentary notes on features of interest along the way
  • Guide to places to visit
  • Travel information
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Flights

EasyJet offers reasonable fares and departure times. We can provide you with assistance if required in booking your flights.

Please note that since some of the walks are located in rural areas without public transport, a car is necessary for this holiday. Out of the high summer season, driving is very easy and in fact a pleasure on almost empty motorways. Route-finding is also easy. The cost of car hire is not included but we can assist with booking if required.

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