It’s difficult to travel from one end of the Algarve to the other without setting foot on a beach. But it’s worth trying because you’ll discover the enchanting beauty of this land, with the Atlantic Ocean always glistening in the background, always there, a stone’s throw away.
Give the beach a rest, pack your rucksack and cross the Algarve along the Via Algarviana, a 300 km footpath that begins in Alcoutim and ends at Cabo de São Vicente in Vila do Bispo, crossing several towns that still live according to the traditions of the rural world.
The Algarvian microclimate provides the perfect conditions for environmental tourism, with idyllic landscapes like the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, Ponta de Sagres, where the eastern and southern coasts meet, creating a unique marine ecosystem, the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, with its 60 km of islands and channels forming a birdwatcher’s paradise, the Reserva Natural do Sapal de Castro Marim, where you’ll find one of the largest flamingo habitats in Europe and many other places where nature remains untouched. Treat yourself to the luxury of a break from civilization.
I have been living in the mountains of the Algarve, the Malhão, for many years. From up here you get a 360° view of the Algarve and enjoy the most stunning sunrises and sunsets! As a painter, I am inspired by the undulating colours of the mountains and I love how the mountains transform into magical islands when encircled by clouds in the winter. It’s Wagnerian! Everything is in its pure state here: nature, the food and the people. Any route you take holds a delight in store, whether you head for Sítio das Éguas to taste its mouth-watering cheeses or queijinhos, Fontes Ferrenhas to buy delicious bread or to the sea to enjoy the mouth-watering seafood. Along the way you’ll find unique plants, Moorish footpaths, villages from times gone by and countless reasons to delay your journey home with names like Xarém or Medronho.
António Peixoto – Biological Farmer
Algarve. Europe’s most famous secret
You have probably heard about the Algarve. A friend may have told you about one of its magnificent beaches, maybe you’ve seen a report about its cuisine or perhaps you’ve picked up a brochure before. But there is an Algarve that you haven’t seen, tasted or explored before: it’s the Algarve that the local people know and love.
For almost three thousand years Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Maghrebins and Mauritanians did what you do – they passed through the Algarve. Until, in 1249, the Al-Gharb (“the West”) was finally taken from the Islamic world by Sancho II, who took the title of King of Portugal and the Algarve.
Since then, the pride shared by the inhabitants of the Algarve has compelled them to reveal their region’s greatest secrets to visitors – about their favorite beaches, hidden hamlets, natural walks and even recommending the best restaurants.