Sheltered by the Serra do Caldeirão to the north and bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to the south, the Algarve benefits from a mild year-round climate across its diverse landscapes, providing walking trails for all levels in complete harmony with nature.
A choice destination for year-round sunshine and a true golfers’ paradise, the Algarve has also won the hearts of hiking and nature lovers.
Boasting exceptional year-round weather, southern Portugal promises visitors landscapes of all shapes and kinds, each providing an opportunity for a breath-taking walk in the heart of nature.
The hardest choice walkers will have to make is the type of walk they want to go on, from classic seaside sand dunes and cliffs to lagoons lining the coast, or heading towards the barrocal for walks through blooming orchards, nature parks, rivers, and salt marshes.
Now that you know what awaits on your holidays in the Algarve make them even more memorable by checking out our selection of the best Algarve walks and hikes, so dive in!
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
You’ll come to this almost 12 km walking trail (there and back) as you set off from the lagoon, its name giving you a taster of the breath-taking views you can expect over golden cliffs and sparkling waves. As you walk, you’ll spot limestone cliffs sculpted by the sea itself, juniper bushes, seabirds and bats thriving in karst caves. Each of the seven hanging valleys is a testament to the intense erosion responsible for carving out this section of the Algarve coast over the centuries. However, the highlight of this walking trail is a unique geological formation sure to etch itself into your memories: the Benagil cave and the beach inside it, which you can only reach by boat or swimming carefully around the coastline.
Vicentina route: walking between the land and sea
Are you ready to take on a pedestrian route that stretches over around 450 km? The Vicentina Route starts at Cabo de São Vicente, in the Algarve, and takes you all the way to Santiago do Cacém in the Alentejo. Made up of the Historical Way, the Fishermen’s Trail, and several circular routes, it’s the perfect way to explore an entirely different side to the Algarve. Here, an almost untouched coastline, vast beaches, secret coves, and inland villages all lie waiting to be discovered. A reasonably new route, it’s the perfect way to get a taste of the Algarve’s western coast on foot, either along the coastline or inland, thanks to the various paths available. Choose between the “Historical Way” (inland Algarve), the slightly more demanding “Fisherman’s Trail“, keeping the ocean always in sight, and one of the five circular trails (which are perfect for a half-day hike).
Walk through the Ludo in Faro
A city characteristic of the Algarve, Faro is the perfect starting point for hikes through the Ria Formosa Natural Park. The dirt tracks winding through the lagoons of the Ludo area take walkers past salt evaporation ponds and golf courses, even providing a touch of the exotic thanks to elegant pink flamingos. This route, which runs along the Faro beach and Quinta do Lago beach dunes, is about 7 km long, though several alternative routes are also available, which means it can be lengthened or shortened to suit any walker.
As you explore the Ludo hiking trail, take in the vegetation blooming among the dunes and do a spot of bird watching, as you may well see several species of migratory birds that like to stop here in autumn and winter.
Walks along the Guadiana River
Bordering the very East of the Algarve, the Guadiana River valley is, without a doubt, the least touristy area in the Algarve. The dark green lining the wide river that separates Portugal from neighbouring Spain forms landscapes which, untouched, provide a subtle softness. Excellent areas for adventures on foot or by mountain bike, the paths of the Great Route of the Guadiana take you through several villages that seem as though they have stopped in time. These include Castro Marim and its salt pans, Junqueira, Azinhal, Odeleite, Guerreiros do Rio and its River Museum, and Alcoutim with the ruins of its medieval castle.
A route that promises to astonish thanks to the beauty and diversity of its landscapes, it never has to end thanks to the Via Algarviana trail that can keep you heading west from Alcoutim.
The Via Algarviana; a walk through the heart of the Algarve
What if we told you that you could explore the heart of the Algarve on foot, away from the Algarve’s busy beaches and hordes of tourists? The central Algarve is, for many, the best place for a hike, providing the choice of 300 km of signposted trails that make up the Via Algarviana trail. Packed with rich history, these ancient Mozarabic paths were once used by Spanish pilgrims heading to Cabo de São Vicente. As you walk, take in the details of the landscapes that pass you by: whitewashed houses, abandoned mills, old community ovens, and artisans at work. This is the real heart of the rural, authentic Algarve!
From the Ria Formosa Natural Park to the Vicentina Coast, through the inland Algarve, wind your way through wild coves, dunes, freshwater lakes, and historic villages. The Algarve promises walking trails for hikers of all levels, so all you need to do is pick your adventure to dive into the diversity of this entirely unique region.
Then, kick back after a long day of adventuring in nature in one of our My Choice accommodations, resting up so that you can keep making memories day after day!