The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 26170
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
If you are looking at this one week holiday why not make your stay two weeks by joining us on Algarve Odyssey.
The western Algarve offers a glorious mix of coastal, mountain and inland landscapes. The varied geology produces a rich diversity of scenery from granite mountains to dramatic limestone escarpments and sea cliffs, all greatly complemented by the local flora and fauna. Experience this journey with Ramblers Walking Holidays.
We stay in two contrasting centres on Portugal’s south coast. Portimão, a working town on the estuary of the Rio Arade and Lagos, a historical town where many of the voyages of discovery set sail.
We walk up the valley of the Rio Arade to historic Silves, passing through rice paddies and ancient estates with their fine houses and their orange and lemon groves. There will be time to explore the delightful old city. Another day will be spent on the most dramatic coastal walk in the country, the renowned "Seven Valleys", finishing in the coastal town of Carvoeiro. Carob and olives are cultivated on farms and small holdings, along with oranges and other citrus fruit, pomegranates, almonds and an abundance of other produce. We visit local villages where working life continues as it has for centuries.
As we head to our second centre of Lagos, we’ll enjoy a fantastic coastal walk between Alvor and Portimão en route, taking in the dramatic headland and the extensive Alvor estuary. Lagos is a bustling village with a selection of restaurants and bars to enjoy in the evenings. From here we will continue our search for the hidden gems of the Western Algarve. A coastal walk will take us from Lagos to Burgau, encountering some typical Algarve coastal villages as we go. We head to the edge of Europe, walking in the Parque Natural de Costa Vicentina, the most south-westerly point of Europe, and the last sight of land for explorers setting forth on their historic voyages.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Fly to Faro and transfer by road to Portimao, taking approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on arrival time, we may have an orientation of the town.
Transfer Time = 45m
Today's walk starts in the traditional Algarve village of Estombar. We follow the lush valley of the river Arade, visiting the Ecological Park of Fontes on the way, an attractive local beauty spot. The route itself enables us to explore this river valley following quiet tracks and winding paths so we can appreciate the diverse habitats and wildlife. We finish in peaceful Silves, ancient capital of the Algarve.
Today we offer a fantastic coastal walk, known as the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, taking in one of the most famous and dramatic sections of the Algarve coastline. Towering cliffs, sea caves and grottos, superb sandy coves and spectacular headlands including the much photographed Benagil domed caves lined with beautiful sandstone strata. All this can be seen during this picturesque walk to finish along Carvoeiro’s renowned elevated boardwalk. This walk has the accolade as one of the best trails in Europe. Opt out point is at 3.7 miles.
Today we will transfer to our next centre of Lagos. We have a full program with a fantastic coastal walk taking in the superb sandy beaches and dramatic headlands between Alvor and Portimão, including the much photographed beach at Praia da Rocha, one of the best in the Algarve. Capture the unique colours of the rock strata formed by white limestone and red sandstone, supporting a wide variety of flora. After a lunch stop, we continue by foot, along the coast. Our luggage will be taken separately by coach, and those that prefer not to walk can also take the coach transport.
We continue our coastal theme with a spectacular walk leaving our hotel and walking to Ponte de Piedade where the famous craggy sea caves are to be found and visited by many small boats carrying visitors from nearby Lagos. On this walk we follow a coastal path to Burgau. We pause on the golden beach of Porto de Mós for our mid-morning break then follow a dramatic clifftop path to Praia da Luz, a well-known and attractive coastal resort. The walk finishes in Burgau a remarkably unspoilt little village with its few narrow streets dropping down to its small beach. Opt out point are in Porto de Mós mid morning and at lunch time in Praia da Luz.
We head back inland for a walk that takes in the pretty Portuguese villages of Barão de São João and Barão de São Miguel. These charming, rural and peaceful villages are characterised by the typical white houses with a coloured band around the windows and doors. This and the traditional Algarve chimneys demonstrate the many years of Moorish occupancy of the area. Opt out point is at 5 miles in Barão S. João.
Our final day on the western Algarve fittingly culminates at Sagres and Cape S. Vincent, the most south-westerly point on the Algarve. This area of intensely dramatic cliffs, opening onto a vast horizon of sea and sky, was the last sight of Europe for the explorers setting forth on their fearsome voyages beyond the horizon. It was here that Prince Henry the Navigator established his fortress and began the “age of discoveries” sending ships to explore the world.
Today we say goodbye to the western Algarve. We transfer back to Faro Airport for our return flight back to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
16th May 2021 - 23rd May 2021 (7 Nights)
10th Oct 2021 - 17th Oct 2021 (7 Nights)
21st Nov 2021 - 28th Nov 2021 (7 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
Portimao is the largest city in the Western Algarve and was traditionally a centre for ship building, sardine fishing and fish processing. Now, its scenic promenade, historical buildings, beautiful sandy beaches with its warm waters and red cliff backdrop make Portimao an attractive tourist destination. There are many services including banks, chemists, shops, museums, tourist information office, cafes, shops, and restaurants, just a short walk from our hotel. The picturesque beaches of Praia da Rocha are a short bus ride away.
The Hotel Globo is situated in the historic centre of Portimao, close to the River Arade with an easy stroll to the town's shops, cafes and restaurants. The hotel offers a small health club with a gym, sauna and Turkish bath plus a breakfast room with a wonderful view over the town and to the river. Rooms are compact and are decorated in a contemporary style with an en suite bathroom with hairdryer. The room also has air conditioning, a safe and TV. Due to the small streets in the old part of Portimao, our bus must drop us off on the main road and we need to walk approx. 50m with our luggage.
Lagos is a historical and characterful city decorated with authentic restaurants, cobbled streets and dramatic natural scenery. It is a popular day trip destination with its picturesque sandy beaches and beautiful harbour area. There are many restaurants, cafes and bars along the main square and harbour area. There are also a variety of small supermarkets, banks with ATM's, clothing shops and a tourist office.
The four-star Aqualuz Suite Hotel is located within walking distance of Lagos, with all its amenities and a stroll from the nearest beach. The property boasts four swimming pools (inside and outside), plus a spa and gym area. Sit back with a glass in the restaurant and bar area.
We stay in one bedroom apartments with the following facilities:
There is no safe in the room but these are available on request for a one off deposit and a daily rent charge.
This Grade 4 walking holiday includes walks at a moderate pace over undulating terrain and may include an element of sightseeing as well. Walks are generally between 6 miles and 9 miles a day with ascents and descents ranging from minimal to 400m. The Algarve doesn’t have any high mountains so ascents are gradual.
FLEXI-Walking We are able to offer opt out points on most of the walks on this holiday, giving you the flexibility of walking the entire day’s route or opting out if you wish, catching up with the group later in the day.
This grade 4 holiday on the south-west coast of Portugal combines easy walking with some local sites of interest and time to absorb the natural beauty of our surroundings. We’ll also immerse ourselves in the local culture and wherever possible sample the local cuisine and wines.
Our two contrasting centres enable you to enjoy some of Portugal’s cultural and scenic highlights. Generally, we will walk at a steady pace and have plenty of time to enjoy the sights and attractions. Many spectacular views are usually seen from the top of the hills making the effort well worthwhile.
On many of the walks, there is the possibility for you to ‘op-out’ at different points, often with a café or bar to relax at and to meet the group again at the end of the walk. With these arrangements, you can walk as little or as much as you like within the day's programme.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Portugal
The currency in Portugal is the euro. You may wish to take some euro cash with you until you reach an ATM. Credit cards may not be accepted in smaller towns and rural areas.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
We fly from London to Faro airport on Portugal's Algarve coast. Transfers from Faro Airport to our hotel will be by road and will take approximately 45 minutes.
On some occasions there may be a slight delay at the airport, as we may have to wait for other regional flights to arrive before continuing on our transfer, and similarly on departure.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Regional Flights (R3). We offer regional flight options on this holiday and there will be one or two transfer vehicles between the airport and hotel to minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport on the outward or return journeys.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Portugal
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Apart from any books available in local libraries, the internet is now an excellent resource for information about holidays in Portugal. You may find the below websites and books useful.
Portugal - A Travellers’ Guide” - Susan Loundes (Thornton Cox).
“Blue Guide: Portugal” - Ian Robertson
Books:Portugal Official Tourism Website: www.visitportugal.com
Portugal National Tourist office: www.portugaloffice.org.uk
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Portugal
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Portugal.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus.
Dengue fever exists in Portugal; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
RIAS Rehabilitation and Research Centre
RIAS is a wildlife rehabilitation and research centre located in Olhao in Portugal's Algarve region. It has been operating for more than 25 years and aids the recovery and release of wild animals and birds after treatment, in the Algarve and southern Alentejo region. The centre's main priorities include the reception of injured wildlife, their treatment and eventual release back into the wild, but they also offer educational programmes to the local community.
RIAS relies on volunteers and donations. Heart & Sole is proud to help the organisation with a financial donation and to also highlight the work they do to our customers who visit this area. Some of our groups have the opportunity to visit the centre as part of a walk or you may wish to visit on your free day as you can reach the centre by train. You can find out more about their work at http://rias-aldeia.blogspot.com/
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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