Walking in the Algarve, Portugal

A series of longer walks in the southernmost province of Portugal.

Introduction to walking in the Algarve


After walking in the hills of the Algarve for some 16 years, I judged that the time was right for me to try to set some of my routes down for others (hopefully) to follow and enjoy. I have spent much of my walking time in the company of friends in the group known as the Algarve Wednesday Walkers, founded by Maurice Clyde in 1996. I wish to pay tribute to him and to the other long-time members of the group for opening my eyes to the splendid walking opportunities afforded by this beautiful and still undervalued region of Portugal, where golf and beaches are often seen as the only attractions.

The majority of the walks are routes that I have planned and walked myself, and I have led the AWW group over nearly all of them at different times. The majority are concentrated in the east-central part of the region, this being the area with which I am most familiar, close to where I live. (As time has passed since I began this project, more routes have been added at a greater distance from my home area, including quite a number devised and led by other members of the AWW. My thanks to them for helping to add to the numbers.) They mostly fall into the category of 'moderately difficult', with distances between 13 and 24 kilometres and including at times some fairly demanding ascents. (The definitions of difficulty amongst walkers vary widely, of course, and my 'difficult' will be impossible for some and a cake-walk for others, so you need to look at the detail.)

Update, May 2020.

My collection of walks has now passed the half century, and recently, in the lockdown caused by the Covid 19 crisis, I have been bringing together notes from several more routes that have been awaiting my attention for some time. There are many more still to add - the possibilities in this region are endless. I have not yet attempted any routes east of Sao Bras de Alportel, as this is an accepted eastern limit by the Wednesday Walkers, and so I would have to walk any such routes alone. 

I should perhaps stress here that I do not revisit routes on any regular basis, and normally only if the AWW is using one at a particular time. Most routes will remain as described over many years, but events such as fires, plantations, fencing and land clearance can change the appearance of the landscape, and add many additional tracks, which can be confusing. Do please report any major changes that you encounter to me, and I will make any necessary amendments. 

At the time of writing, we are in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, and all places of refreshment have been closed for several weeks. How many will re-open when the lockdown is relaxed shortly remains to be seen, but please note that any one of the cafes mentioned may have disappeared, or still be closed, so remember to take all the refreshments you need with you.

Update, Jume 2023.

This note is partly to assure readers that this is still very much a live project, and I maintain a watching brief over it, as well as continuing to add new routes occasionally. With the pandemic behind us, we are once more able to roam freely and in as large a group as we wish. New walking groups have been springing up, and it seems that more people than ever are taking advantage of the delights this region can offer. There are also far more marked trails than at any previous time, which might suggest that a site like this one is becoming less necessary. However, many of the routes described here deviate from the marked circulars, and explore areas less walked. I believe it still has value. The Algarve Wednesday Walkers, the group that proided the original inspiration for this work, is still going strong, and has just ended its 27th year of existence - we are now into our fourth ´generation´ of walkers, though a few of us oldies hang on in there.  Join us if you wish - just give me a buzz first. 


 While I have made every effort to ensure that the details in this website are as accurate as possible, I cannot take any responsibility for accident or injury sustained while using the data. Nor can I be held responsible for changes in the landscape resulting from man-made or natural occurrences. If you require up to date information before setting out, please contact me, though I cannot guarantee to give an instant, totally accurate opinion on the state of any given route.

My Method

Each walk is described in detail, with every change of direction noted. Total distances and GPS coordinates have been calculated by measurement on Google Earth. In addition, I have created a set of GPS points for each walk. These are listed at the end of the walk description, and corresponding numbers are inserted in the text. Distances between the GPS points are recorded alongside the coordinates. 

I have also included distances along the way at frequent intervals, to assist confidence and route-finding. It is also possible, of course, to estimate distance by reference to the Google photo.

Directions are indicated where appropriate by compass sectors, though not to a fine degree. Each walk description includes a Google Earth image showing the route, with GPS points marked on it.