Having moved from our former home in Tenerife to Portugal earlier in the year, Andy and I have been landed with another tough Inntravel assignment this week... checking out some of their walking routes in some particularly lovely corners of the Algarve. Someone’s got to do it, right?
What has been surprising here – a revelation, almost – has been the diversity of the walking routes and countryside, as well as the range of wildlife... from the very moment an eagle nearly flew into the side of the car as we reached Monchique!
We expected the coastal walks to have similar ingredients – stunning beaches, hidden coves, sparkling sea, superb views – and we weren’t disappointed. But all the routes we've walked have been surprisingly different; with one having surreal rock formations, another being like a mini Sahara with a sea lagoon, and yet another being around salt marshes where flamingos, egrets and heron were as common as pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
Anyway, we’re too busy walking to write much more here, so I thought I’d let some of my photos do the talking...
This was the kind of vibrant coastal scene that greeted us earlier in the week. These rock formations were close to Marinha beach on a route which passed cut-off coves with golden sand where the only sunbathers were some rather smug-looking seagulls.
Descending to Carreagem – a wilder beach this time. The steps, made from recycled plastic apparently, were convenient for getting down to this beach on the south-west coast. Getting back up was a bit of a huff and puff, but it was worth the effort.
The salt marshes at Alvor turned out to be a real highlight – probably because we got there later than planned, which meant the light being cast by the setting sun was just magical. It gave the flamingos an unusual camouflage against their pink surroundings, too.
Everything felt soft and dreamy, and there was birdlife galore. A lovely walk, and very undemanding at only 7km in length.
The lagoon at Bordeira was quite a spot: a huge expanse of sand dunes with wooden walkways leading to viewpoints. An epic beach, and nearly empty.
This route from Figuera passed through low bushes with leaves that were so shiny they looked wet. They had a scent as intoxicating as an expensive perfume. A walker we met identified the plants as a cistus.
The fishing villages along the coast – such as lovely Benagil – provide some tempting options in terms of lunchtime nourishment.
Inland, the citrus groves provide an additional splash of colour
It’s always a bonus to come across a traditional local bar for some post-walk refreshment.
This sunset view near Alvor provided another beautiful end to a fulfilling day spent along the walking trails of the quiet Algarve.