Some fine walks amongst superb scenery!
The coast and countryside of the eastern Algarve
Special Selection Hotels
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 26150
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 scent of orange groves and pine trees accompanies you as you ramble along ancient paths fringed with abundant wild flowers, to a viewpoint where you can rest and drink in beautiful scenery and the silence.
Tavira straddles the Rio Gilão as it meets the Atlantic Ocean and flows into the shallows of the offshore Ria Formosa Natural Park. With its ruined castle and active fishing harbour, Tavira is a labyrinth of cobbled streets, shady plazas and is the most attractive of the Algarve’s coastal towns.
Our walks take us to Tavira Island in the Natural Park, taking in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and to pretty coastal villages such as Santa Luiza, Cabanas and Cacela Velha. Inland we wind our way between hills and valleys to the low peak of Zimbral, with some rewarding views. Ancient trails take us past farms, through an intricate patchwork of orange groves, olive and carob orchards. Sometimes we walk beside rivers; other times amongst the pines and cork oaks. Through most of our season we are presented with an endless and ever-changing procession of beautiful flowers.
Tavira itself is, to say the least, a very charming town. The ancient Ponta Romana spans the Rio Gilao, separating the two sides of the town. Narrow streets lead between whitewashed buildings, many with traditional flower filled balconies. At the centre lies the lovely Praça da Republica, bordered by trees, fountains and restaurants. We’ll enjoy dinners at local restaurants, giving the opportunity to sample the wonderful Portuguese cuisine and wines.
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.
Our itinerary is expected to follow the daily schedule outlined below but please bare in mind that the order of the days may be amended, or walks substituted, due to weather conditions, attraction opening times, public transport timetables or changes beyond our control.
We fly from the UK to Faro, on Portugal's beautiful Algarve. A private coach transfer takes us to the hotel in Tavira. Depending on flight arrival times, we may have an orientation walk of the town before we dine at a local restaurant.
Transfer Time = 1h
Our wonderful walk today takes us through open rolling hillsides with spectacular views, allowing a tremendous appreciation for the region. We pass through fascinating villages and descend to finish in a low fertile valley of orange groves and small holdings.
Our remarkably varied walk takes us through Tavira's salt pans, which date back thousands of years to the picturesque fishing village of Santa Luzia, with its glorious waterfront.
After a well deserved coffee break, we cross over to Tavira Island and walk along the island's beach which is regarded by many as one of the finest in the world. Vast stretches of golden sand and sparkling blue waters await you before we catch the ferry back to Tavira.
We travel inland to the ancient town of S. Bras do Alportel, the centre of the Algarve's cork production. Our walk allows us to explore the rolling wooded hillsides and verdant valleys of the area, with time to also explore the charming narrow streets of the old town. Here you'll find local carob and almond cakes, which are the stars of the show!
We follow a delightful picturesque trail, much of it on a waymarked route, titled Routes and Crossroads to the Fountain. This intricate mix of paths and tracks meander through wild open hillsides, intimate small holdings and quintessential Algarve hamlets.
There will be a free day during your week in Tavira. Your group leader will confirm which day is best based on the walking programme, it can change during the season.
On your free day you will be able to have more time to explore Tavira, perhaps take the water taxi over to Tavira island for a day at the beach. Maybe take the train into Faro or perhaps visit Vila Real, on the border with Spain.
Tavira's cobbled streets, cafes, shops museums, churches and castle are good to visit or you may also want to take a boat trip.
The hotel offers an indoor and outdoor swimming pool as well as a spa, so maybe just sit back and relax at the hotel!
Our last day is spend enjoying an inland walk through one of the most beautiful and interesting valleys in the Algarve. Santa Catarina is one of the centres for the production of carob, almond, fig, olive oil and medronho and the surrounding countryside reflects this. Notice the tiny brick and tile works that we pass, whose hand-made craft dates back to before Roman times.
We say goodbye to beautiful Tavira and transfer to Faro Airport for the return flight to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
31st Oct 2021 - 7th Nov 2021 (7 Nights)
14th Nov 2021 - 21st Nov 2021 (7 Nights)
22nd Dec 2021 - 29th Dec 2021 (7 Nights)
27th Feb 2022 - 6th Mar 2022 (7 Nights)
13th Mar 2022 - 20th Mar 2022 (7 Nights)
27th Mar 2022 - 3rd Apr 2022 (7 Nights)
24th Apr 2022 - 1st May 2022 (7 Nights)
8th May 2022 - 15th May 2022 (7 Nights)
2nd Oct 2022 - 9th Oct 2022 (7 Nights)
13th Nov 2022 - 20th Nov 2022 (7 Nights)
22nd Dec 2022 - 29th Dec 2022 (7 Nights)
We fly from the UK to Faro, on Portugal's beautiful Algarve. On arrival we transfer to the hotel in Tavira. Depending on flight arrival times, we may have an orientation walk of the town before we dine at a local restaurant.
Transfer Time = 1h
During our time in Tavira, we will enjoy many picturesque and exciting walks. There will be a free day and your group leader will confirm which day is best based on the walking programme, it can change during the season. On your free day you will be able to have more time to explore Tavira, perhaps take the water taxi over to Tavira island for a day at the beach, take the train into Faro or perhaps visit Vila Real, on the border with Spain. Tavira's cobbled streets, cafes, shops museums, churches and castle are good to visit or you may also want to take a boat trip. The hotel offers an indoor and outdoor swimming pool as well as a spa, so maybe just sit back and relax at the hotel!
An example of some of the walks we may include in our programme (dependant on weather conditions and the ability of the group) are as follows:
Zimbral - Fonte Salgada - N125 Our wonderful walk today takes us through open rolling hillsides with spectacular views, allowing a tremendous appreciation for the region. We pass through fascinating villages and descend to finish in a low fertile valley of orange groves and small holdings.
Sao Bras do Alportel We travel inland to the ancient town of S. Bras do Alportel, the centre of the Algarve's cork production. Our walk allows us to explore the rolling wooded hillsides and verdant valleys of the area, with time to also explore the charming narrow streets of the old town. Here you'll find local carob and almond cakes, which are the stars of the show!
Santa Catarina, Mesquita and Bengado A very picturesque walk, much of it on a waymarked route, titled Routes and Crossroads to the Fountain. This intricate mix of paths and tracks meander through wild open hillsides, intimate small holdings and quintessential Algarve hamlets.
Santa Catarina, Ceramicas and Pego do Inferno An inland walk through one of the most beautiful and interesting valleys in the Algarve. Santa Catarina is one of the centres for the production of carob, almond, fig, olive oil and medronho and the surrounding countryside reflects this. Notice the tiny brick and tile works that we pass, whose hand-made craft dates back to before Roman times.
Manta Rota to Tavira with opt out in Cabanas A classic coastal walk following the inner shore and visiting the iconic village of Cacela Velha, with its picturesque sea views, before arriving in Cabanas. Here we take a well earned rest at one of the many cafes lining the spectacular waterfront and you can then chose to explore Cabanas further or continue with the walk to Tavira.
We say goodbye to Tavira and transfer back to Faro airport for the return flight back to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
23rd Dec 2021 - 2nd Jan 2022 (10 Nights)
23rd Dec 2022 - 2nd Jan 2023 (10 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.
Tavira is a picturesque traditional town with cobbled streets and pastel coloured buildings. This charming town is decorated with tropical palm trees and lies along the tranquil Gilao River. Although just a 5 minute stroll from Tavira's lively centre, the Maria Nova Lounge is located on a quiet hillside within the town’s limits. Close to the hotel you will find an array of winding streets and shaded squares lined with shops, cafes, bakeries and restaurants. You will also find banks, ATMs and chemists close by.
The hotel offers wonderful views over the town’s white washed buildings and the surrounding hillsides. You can take a relaxing swim in the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, set in delightful gardens. Maybe try the gym and wellness centre, the use of the facilities are free of charge, for massages you will need to book and pay extra. After a days exploration enjoy a drink in the bar and its incredible views over Tavira town.
We stay in contemporary standard twin and double bedded en suite rooms. All single rooms have two separate beds. Facilities include
Towels for use at the hotel's pool are available on site. If you wish to go to the beach, you should bring your own beach towel.
This Grade 4/Lifestyle 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 10 miles a day with ascents and descents between 200m and 300m. The Algarve doesn’t have any high mountains so ascents are gradual and the maximum altitude we will reach is 350m. In addition to the walking, this Lifestyle holiday allows us to absorb the natural surroundings, and experience local culture and of course the local cuisine.
FLEXI-Walking Our walking programme is carefully designed to offer an optional shorter route on many of the walks, giving you the flexibility of walking either the planned route or choosing a shorter distance and catching up with the group later in the day. Please see the itinerary section for more information.
On a 4/Lifestyle holiday expect to walk on average for less than 5 hours each day. Walking will be at a steady pace with ample time to rest or see the many interesting things hidden away in this little-visited countryside. Some days will have shorter routes, giving time for a little sightseeing or free time. We’ll also immerse ourselves in the local culture and wherever possible sample the local cuisine and wines.
Due to the tides and other local conditions, no two weeks walking programme can be the same, however, walks noted in the itinerary are likely to be in the week'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 one hour.
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.
If you intend joining and leaving the party in Portugal, we assume, unless you have advised us otherwise, that you will meet and leave the party at hotel. If this is not your intention, please let us know in writing at least 5 weeks before 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
Many local libraries stock a selection of travel guides and books which may offer you more information. Apart from any books available in local libraries, the internet is now an excellent resource for information about holiday destinations. You may find the below websites, books and programmes useful.
Maps of the areas we visit (1:200 000 scale) are available locally and at specialist map shops in the UK.
‘The Rough Guide to Portugal’ - Mark Ellingham, John Fisher, Graham Kenyon, Mathew Hancock and Jules Brown.
‘Portugal - A Travellers Guide’ - Susan Loundes (Thornton Cox)
‘Blue Guide: Portugal’ - Ian Robertson
Portugal Official Tourism Website: www.visitportugal.com
Portugal National Tourist office: www.portugaloffice.org.uk
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
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.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
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.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
EHIC & GHIC Cards
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 & Development 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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