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Excursions in the Algarve region of southern Portugal, a popular area for hiking on the cliffs

Photo by Daniela Giusti

The Algarve is a paradise for walkers, both for its mild climate, which allows you to go hiking practically all year round, and for the abundance of trails. If you enjoy walking and the great outdoors but have recently moved to the Algarve and don't know many people, fear not, because it's easy to join to existing groups. Hiking is extremely popular and widely practiced by both locals and foreigners.

The choice of trails in the Algarve is immense, suitable for a variety of tastes and physical conditions.

Thanks to the geographical diversity, you can walk for hours in the flat area of the lagoon around the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve or you can climb the highest peak of the Algarve, the Fóia located in the Serra de Monchique and reaching 902 m.

Here you can find a short list of suggestions, but remember that the choice is immense and these are just a few routes:

  • The path of the salt marshes around Castro Marim. Starting from Venta Moinhos, this is an easy and flat path of just over 7.5 km that winds through orchards, where you can see traditional plantations such as olive and carob trees but above all you can enjoy nature book and do a lot of bird watching . Not for nothing, this trail is also on the list of bird hot spots.

  • the Barranco dal Lajes, a rather remote circular route that starts from Cabanas de São Bras de Alportel. This route of medium difficulty, despite its relative brevity, it can take up to 3 hours to complete. It is interesting because it works in cork country, the highest quality cork in the world is actually produced here.

  • some apparently simple hikes, still in the eastern region, include the Cerro de Guilhim and the Cerro Miguel, both located near in Faro. Once you reach the top of these hills you can enjoy breathtaking views of the coast, but it will come at the price of some very steep and equally breathtaking climbs.

  • The path of the island of Culatra is instead a path that will appeal to the less athletic as it is easy and linear. The island can be reached by ferry from Olhão and once there you can enjoy the view of the ocean meeting the lagoon and kilometers of pristine dunes covered with sparse endemic vegetation.

  • Another favorite is a tour of the "cliffs, the cliffs that dominate the coastal landscape between Albufeira and Lagos. There are countless trails and all include some climbing over very rough and rocky terrain and spectacular views out to sea. The cliff paths may not be suitable for children and those with limited mobility as they can get quite strenuous, but it is well worth it. You may also have the option of heading to a secluded beach and taking a break to enjoy a well-deserved refreshing dip in the ocean.

  • Further inland you can enjoy the Paderne castle trail and you can also walk up to Fóia, the highest "mountain" in the Algarve< /strong>. Despite reaching almost 1000 metres, the Fóia trail is a gentle climb and when you reach the top you can proudly tell your friends that you have reached the summit of the Algarve.< /p>

Photo by Daniela Giusti

Further to the west is the Costa Vicentina and its natural park, one of the best preserved coasts in Europe described as one of the most wild and spectacular, where preserved nature has a strong character, creating landscapes of breathtaking majesty". Extended in the neighboring region of Alentejo, in this natural park you can find a multitude of trails to explore for an entire weekend or even an entire week.

As regards finding a company to enjoy your excursions with, for English speakers, we recommend that you consult Guided Walks - Algarve an organized group which proposes a new route every month and which can be joined by paying a fee of 5 € for each walk. Another Lagos group is Meetup, but there are many others online. When you join a group, you'll usually only find a brief description online of the selected trails, but depending on your area of interest, you can find plenty of additional information online.

In any case, keep in mind the following: although hiking can theoretically be practiced all year round, in the summer it is very hot and the best seasons for hiking are autumn and spring. It is mild enough to enjoy walking even in winter in the Algarve, but check the weather report first, because the rare rainy days in the Algarve usually occur in late autumn/early winter and the downpour can be dangerously heavy. February marks the beginning of a new hiking season, when most enthusiasts follow the flowery paths of almond trees, which are many.

From October to April it's not too hot during the day and if you leave at a decent hour in the morning you can reach your destination around lunchtime without risking sunstroke. When temperatures start to rise, it is highly recommended to leave early, reaching your destination before noon or even before 11am. Walking during the scorching July and August is not recommended, unless you want to risk severe dehydration. If you really don't want to give up hiking, you should start very early or very late (if you like night walks).

For more information on the trails, consult the official guide to visiting the Algarve, where you can find walking tours and also by bike other walking routes can be found by following this link of Visit Algarve .

For information about moving to the Algarve for a new lifestyle, write to us and we will show you a specialized agency both for the transfer of retirees and families or for the opening of businesses in Portugal.

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