We’re all spiralling headlong towards the end of the world so let’s make it fun on a Portutrail.
Our Medieval forebears thought Algarve, the south-westernmost corner of Portugal and the Old World was it for us.
Those that is who weren’t doing Celtic pagan things at the north-westernmost bit at Finesterre in Galicia post-Camino.
Now getting away from it all and out into nature is beneficial for us all.
And with experts helpguide to keep us right we’ve got a week here away from the packed beaches on a liberating Portutrail.
They recommend five minutes in nature to boost mood and self-esteem… lucky then we’ve got a whole week.
Days I’ll remember
DAY ONE: Cape St. Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente) – And, of course, the end of the world should and does have a lighthouse which has been here since 1520.
Arriving at Cabo São Vicente you can image yourself in the shoes of the pilgrims who used to finish their journey at the burial place of St Vincent.
From there, hikers can either walk from the Cape all the way to Sagres.
Or to Vila do Bispo and follow the Fishermen’s Trail.
Sagres (yes, the beer is called that too) is 6 km away, while Vila do Bispo is 10 km away.
And the trail is marked with blue and green stripes on wooden poles and rocks.
Duration: Cape St. Vincent to Sagres 1hour 30 minutes / Cape St. Vincent to Vila do Bispo 2hours 30 minutes / Challenge Level: Moderate
Hang on there
DAY TWO: Seven Hanging Valleys Trail – The trail passes through limestone cliffs, offers spectacular sea views.
And it leads walkers to hidden beaches and natural arches.
This 5.7-kilometer route connects Praia da Marinha to Praia de Vale Centeanes.
Although you can begin from either end, it’s more common to start at Praia da Marinha and head west.
Duration: This hike takes an average of 3hours and 30minutes to complete / Challenge Level: Generally considered a moderately challenging route
The joy of Foia
DAY THREE: Foia, Monchique – One of the big draws to Serra de Monchique is the nearby mountain peak of Fóia.
And at 902m high, it’s the highest point of the Algarve.
From the top you can see incredible views of the Algarve coastline including Portimão and Lagos to the south, and Cabo de São Vicente on the west.
Discover the richness of the mountain, the forest, the water and the pure air of the Algarve.
With a guided hike by Algarvian Roots or Proactivetur.
Depending on which option you chose, this guided trek also includes an experience on a potter’s wheel, a visit to an olive mill with olive oil tasting, and a soap workshop.
Duration: 8 hours / Priced from €145/£123 per person depending on which additional activities are chosen / Challenge Level: Moderate / https://algarvianroots.com/courses/through-the-mountain-valleys
Her name is Ria
DAY FOUR: Ria Formosa Natural Park – Covering over 18,000 hectares, this series of saltwater lagoons and islands is a haven for bird watchers and SPORTUGAL lovers.
Where you can see flamingos and other migratory birds.
The São Lourenço Walking Trail takes you through different habitats: marshland, scrubland, and freshwater lakes.
Meanwhile, the Marim Centre of Environmental Education Walking Trail, in Olhão, can take up to two hours.
And it covers all the habitats that can be found in the Ria Formosa Nature Park as well as Roman ruins and a tide mill.
Duration: São Lourenço Walking Trail 3hours / Marim Centre of Environmental Education Walking Trail 2hours / Challenge Level: both Moderate
Fonte of all knowledge
DAY FIVE:Fonte da Benémola Nature Reserve – One of the lesser-known natural springs, it is surrounded by 400 hectares of land.
The protected area nearby is fed by the waters of the Ribeira da Menalva and supports a large diversity of flora and fauna.
And animals such as insects, butterflies, turtles, lizards, salamanders and many more species.
Fonte Fonte da Benémola walk is easy 2.5-mile circular track in the Loulé municipality.
Duration: Up to 2 hours / Challenge Level: Easy
DAY SIX: Via Algarviana trail – The north-eastern part of the Algarve is less frequented by visitors.
But it offers a unique blend of rolling hills, traditional villages and untouched beauty.
The Via Algarviana hike spans the entire region from Alcoutim, near the Spanish border.
All the way to Cape St. Vincent on the western coast – approximately 300 kilometres in length.
However, if you’re specifically interested in the north-eastern section, you can walk from Alcoutim to Balurcos.
And see the Guadiana River, cork oak forests, traditional villages, and rich flora and fauna.
Durations: Around 1hour 45 minutes / Challenge Level: Moderate
Guadiana of honour
DAY SEVEN: A Window to the Guadiana – This trail begins in Azinhal, a typical village in the Baixo Guadiana, Eastern Algarve, and ends at Várzea das Almas.
Along this route, trekkers can stop at the towns and enjoy their traditional architecture and see incredible scenery.
Such as wetlands, dryland orchards of almond and carob trees and hills covered in cistus, gorse and lavender.
Along the riverbank, the salt marches take over the wide wetlands, and, looking south, walkers will be wowed.
With the bridge connecting Portugal and Spain near the mouth of the Guadiana.
Duration: This walk takes 2hours 30 minutes on average to complete / Challenge Level: Moderate
Where to stay?
And because our friends in the Algarve are nothing but thorough they have given us chapter and verse on the best billets.
But because we trust you to browse by yourself, we will just point you in the direction of Casa Modesta.
It is a renovated family house with views of Ria Formosa and the Atlantic Ocean..
Prices: €180/£155 per night for a room with sea-view, based on two adults sharing a room.
The Grand House Algarve, a Relais Chateaux Belle Epoque hotel in the East Algarve in the historic town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio.
Prices: €227/£195 per night for a Small Room based on two adults sharing a room.
The Praia do Canal Nature Resort, within the Vicentine Coast Natural Park of 74,000 hectares is the perfect midway point for many of the walks.
It is only a 45-minute ride from Cape St. Vincent, 45 minutes from Foia.
Or a 50-minute car ride from the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.
Prices: approx €258/£221 per night based on two adults sharing a deluxe natural park view.
While the Pure Monchique Hotel, located in Serra de Monchique Natural Park, in the Western Algarve has the beautiful Monchique flows as its backdrop.
With modern lines and décor, this luxurious boutique hotel offers 22 rooms, a thermal spa and two outdoor swimming pools.
Prices: €113/£97 per night based on two adults sharing a Classic room.