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The hiker’s guide to the Algarve: the best treks, trails and wilderness wanders to build into your break

The hiker’s guide to the Algarve: the best treks, trails and wilderness wanders to build into your break

The sun shining on your face, a cool, salty breeze in your hair, and magnificent scenery confronting you at every turn: the Algarve is a beautiful place, and exploring it on foot allows you to make the most of its stunning landscapes. Stretching along the southern coast of Portugal, the region is, of course, famed for its gorgeous beaches, but there are so many more diverse and compelling terrains to explore.

From towering coastal cliffs and craggy coves, to inland Mediterranean scrub forests, shaded oak woods and brightly blooming orchards. There are many wetlands too, such as those within the Vicentine Coast, the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the Ria de Alvor. These rich habitats serve as wintering and breeding grounds for dozens of different bird species, meaning a hike or ramble through them can turn into a fascinating feathered safari.

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Here we highlight just some of the wonderful wanders and invigorating climbs you can enjoy in this scenic region…

Charming villages and fragrant forests

The Rota Vicentina is a dramatic route that takes you through rugged coastal cliffs

(Algarve Tourism Bureau)

There are hundreds of designated hiking trails throughout the Algarve, taking you through a mixture of many of these different landscapes. One of the best known is the Via Algarviana: an old pilgrims’ route which extends across the whole region and connects the seaside of Cabo de São Vicente on the southwest tip with Alcoutim, nearly 200 miles inland, through craggy, mountainous terrain to the east. Of course, you don’t have to do it all; it’s broken up into sections, which will take you through charming, rural villages such as Salir, Alte and Benafim, as well as scented pine forests, along mountain ridges, and past sandy coastlines. Stop to take in the view from Picota and Fóia, the highest points of the Algarve at 774m and 902m respectively, which sit along the Serra de Monchique chain.

Another well-known trail is the Rota Vicentina,…

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