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Team Members on Tour: Coastal Hiking in the Algarve

Claudia discovers the fabulous Portugal
Two hikers toast on the beach

I usually prefer hiking in the mountains, but why not try something different for a change? Coastal hiking in the Algarve​​​​​​​ sounds great! And a bit of sun and sea will surely do us good after this long and rainy winter that just won't end.

Two hikers toast on the beach

The Algarve is the most popular holiday region in Portugal for a reason - it's like one postcard view after another. The west is wild and untamed, while the east is simply stunning with endless stretches of secluded sandy beaches.

Despite the many tourists, there are hiking trails where you can be almost entirely on your own.

You can actually hike along the Algarve throughout the year. However, since you're exposed to the scorching sun for most of the route, the summer months are almost certainly too hot. For those looking to escape the cold winter, the mild temperatures in the Algarve are a true blessing: You can enjoy hiking from as early as January. However, the most beautiful months are probably from March to May, as it's not too hot, and the entire landscape is in full bloom.

Faro, here we come!

Even as you approach Faro, you are treated to a breathtaking view of the diverse and stunning coastline, which consists of two distinct sections. The area extending from Sagres to Faro in the west, known as the 'Rocky Algarve,' is characterized by its rugged high cliffs adorned with peculiar formations of yellow-red limestone and sandstone rocks. It also boasts vast dune landscapes and concealed coves. On the other hand, from Faro to Tavira, the coastline is affectionately dubbed the 'Sandy Algarve.' This stretch features magnificent, lengthy sandy beaches, expansive lagoon landscapes, and the awe-inspiring natural wonder of the 'Ria Formosa' national park. This region includes sand dunes, headlands, tidal flats, marshes, and the intricate estuaries of numerous small rivers.

At the very beginning of the tour, you get to enjoy the luxury of spending three nights in Lagos. It's a wonderful way to arrive, settle in, and not have to pack your bags right away, providing an excellent introduction to the hiking vacation. The Hotel Marina Rio, managed with great attention to detail by an Austrian, offers a comfortable stay. Its location is ideal, with a fantastic view of the marina and just a short walk from the historic center. The breakfast buffet is excellent, and a rooftop pool at the hotel invites you to cool off and relax after your hikes while offering a wonderful panoramic view of the harbor and the city.

Reception Hall of the Hotel Marina Rio

The fabulous Lagos

Lagos is arguably one of the most beautiful coastal towns in the Algarve. An ancient port city with a Mediterranean ambiance, lively activities at the harbor, and many gorgeous sandy beaches close to the center. You'll find numerous cafes and a variety of highly recommended restaurants offering exceptional local cuisine, featuring excellent Portuguese fish specialties. The many small shops invite you to stroll and shop.

Church in Lagos

Hiking on the first three days

The first three hiking stages lead along the impressive rocky coastline. On the very first day, the friendly Richie, a native Brit, picks us up from the hotel with the Eurohike bus and takes us to the vicinity of Sagres, the westernmost point of Europe. The coastal and cliff path of the Fishermen's Trail leads us through numerous small, secluded coves, along rocky and sandy cliff paths, and across vast, solitary plateaus. The ascents to the cliffs and plateaus are always rewarded with fantastic views, with one photo hotspot following another!

Hiker on the beach of Martinhal

Enjoying the capital of the Algarve

From now on, it's flat! Our legs are a bit tired, as the first three stages were quite challenging. We thoroughly enjoy the short stage to Faro as we hike through the famous National Park 'Ria Formosa' on specially constructed wooden boardwalks, designed to protect the vegetation. This unique lagoon landscape is impressive, and we admire various waterbirds until we finally reach 'Praia de Faro.' Here, we enjoy watching the beachgoers and the countless kitesurfers who find excellent conditions while sipping a cool Sagres beer at the popular Wax Bar.

Today, we've had our fill of hiking, so we decide to take a bus ride to Faro, allowing us more time to explore the capital of the Algarve. Our hotel is perfectly situated by the small marina, providing picturesque views of the lagoon and the offshore islands, and the city center is conveniently adjacent to the hotel. Faro is a city that often goes unnoticed by many tourists, typically serving as a mere transit point.

However, Faro has so much to offer and exudes a delightful, refreshingly unassuming charm that immediately captivates us. The cathedral's bell tower stands out as the ideal spot for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city, the lagoon, and the expansive sea beyond. We are particularly intrigued by the abundance of stork nests scattered throughout the city.

Prior to our vacation, we wisely booked an additional night in Faro, a decision that we do not regret in the least. We highly recommend a boat excursion to one of the islands on the opposite side of the lagoon. With a convenient Hop-On-Hop-Off ticket, we leisurely explore all the islands. We opt to venture to the 'deserted island,' Ilha Deserta, where we revel in a tranquil afternoon amidst extensive sand dunes, pristine sandy beaches, and a superb restaurant serving exceptional seafood.

By train to Fuzeta

Today, the nostalgia train takes us to Fuzeta. The journey from Faro to Fuzeta is considered one of the most beautiful sections on the 'Linha do Algarve,' the main railway line of the Algarve. Fuzeta is a charming, small, and very traditional fishing village situated right within the lagoon and the Ria Formosa National Park. We hike past the salt ponds and can even observe a few flamingos! In the hinterland, lemon and orange trees stretch as far as the eye can see, filling the air with their delightful scent. An elderly lady tending her garden even gifts us some massive, freshly picked lemons, a truly touching gesture!

It's worth noting the hospitality here in the Algarve; the people are exceptionally friendly and always ready for a bit of banter. Of course, this is especially delightful for a holiday guest.

One of the highlights of the day is the leisurely train ride to 'Ilha de Tavira' and the 5 km hike along the nearly deserted, stunning sandy beach. Here, you can't resist taking off your hiking boots and walking barefoot—a delightful and liberating sensation! We collect massive scallop shells, which are abundant along the shoreline. The sea is a mesmerizing turquoise, and although the Atlantic's temperatures are known to never truly exceed 20 degrees, we dare to take a plunge. We're quite warm from the hike, and the cold water pleasantly tingles on our skin, providing a refreshing feeling!

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights on the second hike is the famous Ponta da Piedade, a cape formed by rugged rocks and eroded yellow-red sandstone cliffs. We walk along kilometer-long boardwalks, passing Caribbean-like coves with turquoise blue waters, making it a magical experience despite the many tourists!

A spectacular stretch of coastline, passing by lighthouses, sea caves, karst formations, and numerous bathing coves, awaits us on the stage towards Albufeira. After the popular and bustling coastal town of Carvoeiro, we hike on a beautiful wooden panoramic trail, enjoying fantastic views of the coast and the sea. We conclude our daily stage at one of the world's most beautiful beaches, Praia da Marinha, which we reach by descending a staircase and end our day before being transferred to the vibrant Albufeira.

Onwards to Tavira

The ferry transports us to the center of Tavira, where we spend the final two nights at the centrally located Maria Nova Lounge Hotel. Tavira is undoubtedly one of the most charming places in the Algarve, perfect for those seeking relaxation as well as active holidaymakers. We stroll through the lovely whitewashed streets and alleys, cross the ancient Roman bridge, and ascend the fortress with its delightful flower garden.

The last hike mostly follows the beach, through pine forests, and takes us all the way to the Spanish border. From the picturesque town of Vila Real de Santo António, we return to Tavira by train. The train journey is yet another concluding highlight: endless orange and lemon orchards, vast salt ponds with thousands of flamingos, and finally, the entrance into Tavira, where we can savor a magnificent view of the fortress and the old town.

Hiker at the bridge to Ilha de Tavira


Once more, we indulge in a fantastic restaurant near the Roman bridge, savoring the famous national dish 'Bacalhau,' as we reflect on a fantastic and incredibly diverse hiking vacation with Eurohike. We traversed the Algarve coast from west to east, experiencing its most beautiful stretches and spectacular panoramas in April's summer-like temperatures. How much we'd love to stay here and continue hiking... Portugal, we'll be back!

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