This holiday is a combination of our two one weeks holidays, Tavira, Pearl of the Algarve and Delights of the Western Algarve.
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 the scenery and the silence. Experience this journey with Ramblers Walking Holidays.
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 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 Sequa, separating the two sides of the town. Narrow streets lead between whitewashed buildings, many with traditional balconies. At the centre lies the lovely Praça da Republica, bordered by trees, fountains and restaurants.
During our second week, the western Algarve offers a glorious mix of coastal, mountain and inland landscapes. The varied geology gives a rich diversity of scenery from granite mountains to dramatic limestone escarpments and sea cliffs.
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. From the historic centre of Portimão we enjoy a levada walk beside the Rio Arade, which passes through orange and lemon groves, and exploring Silves. Another day will be spent in the hills of the Serra de Monchique, offering outstanding views. 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 Portimão and Alvor en route. Lagos is a large 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 Luz to Lagos, encountering some typical Algarvian villages as we go, and head to the edge of Europe, walking in the Parque Natural de Costa Vicentina, once the last sight of land for explorers setting forth on their historic voyages.