On Foot within the Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve shouldn’t be someplace you’d usually consider as mountaineering vacation spot – guests often keep near the coast subsequent to its in depth sandy seashores. However inland, the land begins to rise, cork forests changing golf programs and the local weather turns into cooler and moister. This makes for excellent strolling nation and there’s even an extended distance path, the By way of Algarviana or GR13.

It runs from East to West, for about 300km, beginning at Alcoutim on the border with Spain and ending up on the Atlantic. To do the whole thing takes round 14 days and there are a lot of facet trails to discover. Monchique, on the finish of the 10th stage, has simply added 5 new walks, two linked to the By way of Algarviana and three shorter routes. I’m going to pattern one in every of these after which stroll the following GR13 Stage.


One other Portuguese long-distance route is the Rota Vincentina, with one path, the Fishermen’s Path, hugging the coast. It begins in Alentejo, to the North, then enters the Algarve and goes down previous Cabo de S.Vicente and finishes in Lagos. In contrast to the By way of Algarviana, this has rugged cliffs, secluded bays and ruined fortresses, with the foaming Atlantic a continuing companion. Once I walked this final time, probably the most spectacular part was shrouded in cloud, so it’s time to revisit.

PR7 MCQ – Percurso das Hortas (Vegetable Backyard Path) eight.2 km, three hours

I arrive in Monchique from a sunny coast to rain showers. The city has a pleasant previous quarter, slim streets and pastel-painted homes. The trail leads downhill out of the city and crosses vegetable gardens – in December there’s solely cabbage. Nonetheless, the orange timber are stuffed with fruit and later I choose tree strawberries, those they use to make the native “medronho” hearth water.


Above the fields are forests of previous oak timber, their bark stripped for cork, one of many essential industries right here. When the cloud clears there are tantalising views down the valley to the coast and above, at 750m, the Picota hill dominates the city. I’m taking a round route and again on the outskirts there’s an outside communal laundry, nonetheless in use in the present day. My garments have additionally had a soaking and I’m glad for some shelter.

By way of Algarviana Part 11: Monchique to Marmelete, 14.70km, four hours

The solar is out as I begin the climb by the slim streets of the previous city in the direction of the Nossa Senhora do Desterro Convent. This has lengthy been deserted however is now being refurbished by the native council. The trail crosses a copious oak forest earlier than taking a paved street to the summit of Mt Fóia, the very best level of the Algarve at 902m. Judging by the cafes and present retailers right here, this can be a coach tripper’s delight however in the present day it’s utterly quiet.


From right here it’s downhill by a valley lined with deserted terraces and ruined farmhouses. This was as soon as a thriving agricultural space however today life is less complicated working for tourism. The route leads previous the small mountain villages of Vale da Moita, Barbelote and Porta da Horta earlier than arriving at Madrinha, a location for wind generators. Considerable oak forests result in the village of Marmelete, the place there’s a museum devoted to the manufacturing of “medronho”. I get to pattern the uncooked spirit and a milder model blended with honey.

Rota Vicentina Amoreira to Arrifana, 13km, four hours

I begin on the headland overlooking Praia do Amoreira, surfers already out within the bay. The solar is shining, not like the final time after I battled by a fierce Atlantic storm. Tall cliffs overlook the ocean earlier than I drop all the way down to the lengthy seashore at Monte Clérigo, with a cluster of fishermen’s homes. It’s a pretty spot, not not like the far west of Cornwall.

The trail climbs again on the cliffs to the ruins of the Arrifana Ribat, an Islamic fortress constructed by warrior monks within the 12th century. It’s a wild spot, excellent for non secular contemplation while watching the coast. After this, the primary path diverts inland, however I observe a harder path by the coast, difficult in dangerous climate. Overlooking Arrifana seashore is one other fort, my remaining vacation spot. It was inbuilt 1635 by the Portuguese however an earthquake in 1722 despatched half of it into the ocean. Subsequent to it’s a pleasant seafood restaurant, O Paulo.


GO: EasyJet flies direct to Faro from London airports.

STAY: Villa Termal das Caldas de Monchique is a spa resort simply exterior city.

The Lodge Vicentina, in Aljezur, is correct on the Fishermen’s Path.

Lodge Faro is close to the previous centre and has a very good restaurant.

EAT: Restaurante A Charrete serves hearty conventional meals in Monchique.

A Tasco do Petrol, simply exterior Marmalette, is fashionable with locals.

O Paulo is a superb seafood restaurant perched on the cliff overlooking Arrifana.

INFO: By way of Algarviana has particulars of all of the strolling routes.

Rota Vicentina has particulars of all of the levels of the Fishermen’s Path.

Go to Algarve has details about the area.

Go to Portugal has details about the nation.

 Francisco Simões, from Algarvian Roots, is a educated information to the area.

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