The Algarve – A region of experiences

If you’re one of those people keen to experience something new when you go on holiday, these suggestions are for you. This invitation is for anyone who would like to get to know the Algarve in a different way: hiking the trails, exploring nature and discovering fascinating places.

Here are three highly unusual experiences that will ensure your visit to the Algarve lives on in your memory forever.

1 –  The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail

This tip is for our most adventurous readers – 5.7 km of trail. The hanging valleys are rock formations resulting from the interruption of the watercourses of streams, in areas above sea level.

You can walk the trail in both directions, starting either at Marinha Beach or Centeanes Beach. As you wind your way along the clifftops, you will see many natural arches and vertical caves called sinkholes, which are created by the eroding effects of the sea and the wind.

One of the most-visited spots is the Benagil Cave, a uniquely beautiful bell-shaped sinkhole. It can be reached by kayak or paddle board.

 The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Carvoeiro

 

Carvalho Beach is home to another of the hanging valleys, carved in shell limestone, a type of rock made up of the shells of different sea creatures. While you’re in the area, watch out for dwarf palm trees, the only palm tree of European origin, as well as Sardinian warblers, one of the bird species typically found here.

After you pass the Alfanzina Lighthouse, where you should definitely stop for a bit, you will encounter the Cabo Carvoeiro hanging valley, the one which stands out most on the landscape. Resting on natural rocky cavities, it is an excellent viewpoint from which to contemplate the sea, fauna and flora.

 

2 – Ecotourism: watching dolphins, turtles and marine birds

Watching animals in their natural habitat is one of the most appealing activities in the coastal area of the Algarve. You set off by boat from the Ria Formosa and sail several miles offshore, into the ocean.

A close encounter with dolphins is a unique experience. This is also your chance to learn about the region’s biodiversity. It is very common to catch sight of marine birds, turtles, ocean sunfish and tuna on these outings.

Many different companies organise boat trips such as these along the Algarve coast. Generally, the trip lasts around two hours and there will be a guide on board with you. You can expect to pay around €45 for an adult ticket and €35 for a child.

Ecotourism: watching dolphins, turtles and marine birds

 

3 – The Via Algarviana

This is one of the Algarve experiences that you will need the longest time to complete. The Via Algarviana is a walking and cycling route that crosses 11 Algarve municipalities. It starts in Alcoutim and finishes at Cape St Vincent.

Four particularly interesting sections are the Smugglers’ Route in Alcoutim, the Water Route in Loulé and, in Monchique, the Monumental Tree Route and the Geology Route.

Over the Via’s 300-kilometre length, you will visit the inland Algarve, go hill-walking and see a variety of plants and animals.

A warm and friendly welcome awaits in the typical inland villages, where the locals will be proud to show you their traditions, heritage and crafts. Enjoy the popular feast days and admire the handicrafts made with locally-produced materials such as wool, cotton, ceramics, cane, honey and more.

The food is varied and delicious and the local accommodation is pleasant and welcoming. You can walk through the natural surroundings, freshen up in the streams and discover windmills, menhirs, fountains and chapels. Climb up to hilltop viewpoints and photograph sublime scenery.

Via Algarviana, a walking and cycling route that crosses 11 Algarve municipalities

All of these amazing activities – and many more besides – are just a click away through our experiences area. Explore and surrender to the charms of the secrets that the Algarve has to offer you. Stay with us!

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