5 easy western Algarve walks
The wild western Algarve boasts a range of landscapes: undulating hills, thick forests, arid plains, and a dramatic coastline. Discover this incredible pocket of Portugal with these five easy western Algarve walks.
Luz to Burgau
There are walking trails all over the cliffs on the southern coast of the western Algarve, but among the most accessible is the path running from Luz to Burgau, two towns just a stone’s throw from Lagos. You can take the route in either direction, but we prefer heading off from Luz because of the stunning view you have over Burgau beach and the village at the end.
The path here is flat aside from one giant hill in the middle (which you can bypass by walking inland around it, if necessary). In spring, wild flowers scatter the undergrowth, and almost all year round wild thyme grows in certain patches along the trail. This walk is particularly popular so you may well pass lots of other hikers on the way.
Pontal da Carrapateira Circuit
The Rota Vicentina is a relatively new hiking trail that spans from Cabo de São Vicente, Portugal’s (and Europe’s) most south-western point, up to Santiago do Cacém. Around 400km of trail make up the route, including a number of circular paths that are perfect if you’re just stopping by in the area for a short time.
The Pontal da Carrapateira Circuit is a 10km loop near the beaches of Amado and Bordeira. Begin in the village of Carrapateira itself and follow the Rota Vicentina signs – these are a signalled by a blue and green stripe; for the circular trail you need to follow the blue indicators. Along the way, enjoy sweeping views across the rugged west coast landscape and Atlantic Ocean. There’s a bar on the cliff tops and toilets around half-way through the route that make a good stop-off for a break.
Barão de São João National Forest
The little inland village of Barão de São João has long since been a base for laid-back hippies in the Algarve, giving it a friendly, welcome, and beyond relaxed vibe. The forest next to the village sprawls across the hills and is filled with walking paths.
This walk comes in particularly handy in July and August, when the sun can often get so hot that it makes hiking completely unbearable. The trees across the forest provide ample shade, and there are very few other people in sight – another blessing the peak holidaying months. Follow the ‘Mata Nacional’ signs from the village to head into the forest. There are no official routes here so enjoy getting lost and taking in the peace and quiet.
Alvor Estuary & Boardwalk Trail
Back on the south coast, a network of boardwalks has been erected next to the village of Alvor, near Portimão. This completely flat route, referred to as the Alvor Estuary and Boardwalk Trail, follows the coastline but also the water’s edge at the nearby wetlands and lagoon, a total of around three miles if you walk the whole loop.
Here you’ll be able to spot lots of marine birds picking their way across the shallows, plus shellfish catchers looking to stock up their load. There is plenty of parking near the coast in Alvor, and you’ll find the entrance to the path next to the harbour.
Around Praia do Monte Clérigo
More magnificent beaches are found further up the west coast, in particular the handful near the village of Monte Clérigo. A series of walking paths snake across the top of the cliffs here; take your pick between north or south of Monte Clérigo beach (or do both!) to marvel at sublime coastal views.
There is another Rota Vicentina circular route here, a 14km hike, but it’s easy to simply amble around as you please too. Watch the death-defying fishermen throw their rods off the top of the cliffs from the well-developed paths to the north just above Monte Clérigo. Head south to witness giant, jagged masses of rock abandoned out to sea, and a more-often-than-not savage ocean beating up against them.
Have you been on any great western Algarve walks?