If you’ve never considered Algarve as a hiking destination, you don’t know what you’re missing. Yes, the southernmost region of Portugal rhymes more with heavenly beaches than with nature walks. But the truth is that the trails and footpaths in Algarve are not only among the most beautiful in Portugal, but even in Europe. And as the sun usually shines 300 days a year in the Algarve, there’s no excuse not to hike! Wanna find out which trail to do next? Keep reading!
The 7 Hanging Valleys Trail
The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, in the municipality of Lagoa, is one of the most beautiful trails in Europe. It was even elected as “The Best Walking Destination in Europe” in the ranking promoted by the European Best Destinations in 2019, which counted on the votes of more than 28,000 travellers from 153 countries.
The 12 km route is done along the coastal cliff, between Praia da Marinha and Praia Vale de Centeanes. It offers the walker fantastic views of the Algarve coast. On the way you will literally cross seven hanging valleys. They were once associated with the mouth of a water line that plunged straight into the sea.
Nature was in no hurry to sculpt this masterpiece. Along the way you will be able to observe:
- countless cliffs
- rock formations of the most varied shapes
- curious caves
- impressive algares.
👉 Place of Departure/Arrival: Praia da Marinha or Praia Vale de Centeanes
Fonte Benémola Pedestrian Trail
The Fonte Benémola footpath is a small circular trail located in the middle of the Algarve Barrocal, in Loulé. It’s part of the Great Via Algarviana Route, which crosses the interior of Algarve, over a distance of 300 km.
But if the route is small in size (4.5 km), the same cannot be said of its beauty. Fonte Benémola has water all year round, which makes it a veritable oasis in the usually dry Algarve summer. This water abundance is due to the fact that the place is crossed by the Ribeira da Fonte Menalva and the existence of several springs. So much water is synonymous with stunning beauty and a very rich ecosystem.
Having said this, it’s not surprising that the Fonte Benémola trail is among the best trails and footpaths in Algarve. And as it is relatively short, it is simply perfect for the whole family, even for those with small children. You can reach the departure spot of the trail with the car and then leave it at the parking lot. From our Aldeia do Golfe – House C3 you will only have to drive for 30 minutes to reach your destination.
👉Place of Departure/Arrival: Fonte Benémola’s Parking Lot
Pontal da Carrapateira Trail
Looking for a walking trail in the Algarve that combines coastal landscapes with jaw-dropping rock formations and a five-star beach? Then you really must go on the Pontal da Carrapateira trail.
Pontal da Carrapateira brings together a series of geological phenomena. It also has a variety of flora and fauna worthy of a wildlife episode narrated by David Attenborough. All the adjectives that come to mind seem reductive to describe this wonder of nature. It’s dazzle after dazzle! Add to this the beauty and immensity of the sandy beach of Praia da Bordeira.
👉 Place of Departure/Arrival: Carrapateira
Monchique Mountain Waterfalls Trail
This challenging footpath starts and ends at the Miradouro da Fóia. That is the highest point in the whole of the Algarve, situated at an altitude of 900 metres. The panoramic views over the Serra de Monchique and its surroundings are just breathtaking. On days with good visibility you can see Cape St. Vincent, Faro and Serra da Arrábida.
Along the way you will cross chestnut woods, see curious rock formations and, of course, see three of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Algarve:
- Barbelote Waterfall
- Chilrão Waterfall
- Penedo do Buraco Waterfall.
👉 Place of Departure/Arrival: Miradouro da Fóia
Alvor passageways (Passadiços do Alvor) are about 6 km long, which makes them the longest walkways in the Algarve. They connect Praia dos Três Irmãos to the wonderful Ria de Alvor. You can easily reach the first beach from our Red Apartment in Portimão. It’s only 10 minutes away with the car.
Between the two beaches, the footbridges always follow the sea, along the dune cordon.They offer the walker beautiful views over the sea and the rolling dunes. Once in Ria de Alvor, the footbridges follow a myriad of dunes, small sandy beaches and salt marshes, rewarding the visitor with superb views over this natural wonder. Not to be missed!
👉 Place of Departure/Arrival: Praia dos Três Irmãos or Ria de Alvor
The Fishermen’s Trail
This authentic rollercoaster of steep ascents and descents will play you with jaw-dropping coastal landscapes, passing almost two handfuls of wonderful beaches of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, where you can go bathing during the walk.
Besides having a great beach, Salema is also one of the most chaste and passionate fishing villages in the Algarve. Take the opportunity to eat a shellfish or a fresh fish, well watered, in one of its typical restaurants. After the beating you took on the trail, you deserve it!
The Fishermen’s Trail between Sagres and Salema is linear. Given the distance and demands of the route, it’s not a good idea to do a return trip. Therefore, the best option is to take a taxi from Salema to return to Sagres. Or you can stay overnight in the region. This way you can take the next day to visit the ruins of Almádena Fort and the fishing village: Burgau.
👉 Place of Departure/Arrival: Sagres/Salema