The coast and countryside of the eastern Algarve
Special Selection Hotels
13th Sep 2020 – 20th Sep 2020
- See website for other dates
Tour code: 26150
Last Modified: 3rd July 2020
See what's planned
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 the 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.
What's not included?
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. 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 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. See the Itinerary section for more information.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
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
Breakfast & Dinner
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
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.
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
Santa Luzia and Tavira Island: 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 time for coffee, 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.
Breakfast & Dinner
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
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!
Breakfast & Dinner
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
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.
Breakfast & Dinner
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
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, 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!
Breakfast & Dinner
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
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.
We say goodbye to beautiful Tavira and transfer to Faro Airport for the return flight to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
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.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
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.
Your Travel Details
We fly from the UK 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.
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.
Passports and Visas
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.
Where are we going to stay?
Maria Nova Lounge Hotel
Rua Antonio Pinheiro, 17 8800-323 Tavira Portugal
00 351 289 540 100
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. There is an indoor pool and an outdoor swimming pool, which is set in well kept gardens, a gym with a wellness centre (use of the facilities are free of charge, for massages you will need to book and pay extra), a restaurant and bar. The bar has terrific views over the town.
All rooms are en suite with WiFi, in room safe, mini-fridge, TV, furnished balcony and hairdryer. 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.
Breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday price. We will take breakfast at the hotel and dinners at local restaurants. Breakfasts will be buffet style with a variety of options. Portuguese dishes are usually created using locally sourced fresh ingredients, and usually consist of soup, meat or fish, vegetables and potatoes. Portugal is famous for its fresh fish and usually it is caught, cooked and eaten the same day! Eating in local restaurants allow us to enjoy an authentic experience and sometimes lively atmosphere in a traditional Portuguese restaurant along with local diners and the Portuguese hospitality.
Footwear & Kit List
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 & Other Information
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Maps and books about Portugal may be obtained before departure from specialist map sellers such as The Map Shop
‘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
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
Find out more
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Staying Healthy On Holiday
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. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. 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.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
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.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
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.
Staying In Touch
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.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
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.