For many years the Algarve has been overlooked as a walking destination, but away from the tourist areas, there are miles of spectacular coastline and a huge interior that has seen very few visitors. Here walkers will find a rich variety of scenery from volcanic hills to dramatic limestone escarpments, together with diverse local flora and fauna. All this, combined with an equable climate of mild sunny winters and long hot summers, makes the Algarve an ideal walking location.
This guidebook contains detailed route descriptions for 34 full and half-day walks, with some routes detailing both a full walk as well as a shorter option. They are, for the most part, well away from the main tourist developments, and due to poor public transport you will need car to get to the start of most routes. A lot of the walks are located to the north and west of Faro, and there are very few close to the Spanish border. This is because the coast is a series of sand flats that do not lend themselves to good walking, while inland the rolling hills have very poor access. The best walking is found a good 30 miles or so from the coast around Cachopo, and these are included in the guidebook.
Many of the walks in this guidebook make use of old mule or cart tracks, which until recently were the only means of communication between villages. Underfoot the going varies; some tracks have been covered in bitumen or asphalt, others are rough and stony. The majority of the routes arent particularly strenuous, ascents of 500m being about the maximum, and none could be considered difficult. Each walk varies in length between 2.5km and 17km.
The distribution of walks in this guidebook offers a good mix of coastal, mountain and inland scenery. The majority can be tackled by anyone of average fitness, and the grading used is based on the amount of climbing involved: an easy walk is a flat walk suitable for all the family, whereas a difficult walk (there are very few) would involve a number of fairly steep ascents and descents.
Mild, sunny winters make walking ideal late September to early June. July and August are too hot (average temperature 27.5°C).
Albufeira (busy in summer), around Carvoeiro, Silves, Salir, Estoi, Tavira, Monchique, Cachopo
Not strenuous. Vary in length from 2.5km to 17km, with max ascent of 500m.
nature reserves, rural life, history, coastal paths, Foia and Picota, Palacio de Estoi, Mata Nacional (Tavira)
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