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Best hikes in the Algarve

Best hikes in the Algarve If you thought the Algarve was just good for indulgent holidays, think again. While the beaches are tempting enough to suggest a lazy holiday, those who make the effort to explore the area will be richly rewarded.

The southern Portuguese area is home to devastatingly beautiful scenery with rustic coastline, alluring beaches, expansive countryside and distinct cultures ingrained in its fabric.

As such, the hikes it offers are an ideal way to experience the Algarve, in all but the hot summer months. If the outdoors is for you, why not see if any of the paths the TopDog Insurance team has picked out appeal.

Paderne castle trail

So important to Portuguese history is Paderne Castle that it’s said to be one of the castles on the national flag. Its history dates back to Moorish times in the 12th century, when the Algarve went under its Arabic name of Al-Gharb. The ruins of the castle, perched on top of a hill, offer an expansive view of the Algarve countryside. The two-hour, easy hike to reach it begins by following the Ribeira de Quarteira, and includes passing a famous Roman bridge that was refitted in 1771. Being near a river, there’s plenty of wildlife to be seen, including otters, bats and weasels - keep your ears and eyes open throughout.

Venta Moinhos salt marsh trail

Ideal for those who don’t like to feel too lost, this is a there-and-back trail that’s 7km with plenty of signage so walkers know they’re on the right path. Taking in the marshy lands around the charming village of Monte Francisco, the route winds its way to the Interpretation Centre of the Nature Reserve of the Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, somewhat helpfully abbreviated to RNSCMVRSA. The centre will provide all the information needed about the aquatic and other wildlife that you may spot on the two hour walk, and there’s also a picnic area - so bring along a lunch for a leisurely day out.

The Saltpans nature trail

It’s not every day you get to see natural salt production in action, so the Algarve is an ideal place to find out about the process. While it’s possible to hike around the Arraial Ferreira Neto individually, a guided walk means visitors find out about its salt production in detail. The tour begins in the traditional fishing village, with the history of its commerce explained. From June to September, the mounds of salt produced are extracted in large tanks making it the ideal time to go - though the sight of flamingos make it worth the trip any time of year.

Monchique mountain hike

The highest point in the Algarve, the market town of Monchique is a small market town with a sweeping mountain range attached. It’s a long but lovely walk to the top of Foiá, with plenty of shade, natural springs to refill water, amenities like restaurants and signage, and your route may even take you past an old convent. The climb on old donkey trails is sometimes steep, so proper walking boots are recommended. But with Foiá standing at 902m, those who take on the hike receive incredible views of surrounding towns and even the coast in return.

Carvoeiro cliff walk

Bordering the central and western part of the Algarve, Carvoeiro is a small fishing village which now equally relies on tourism. Lucky then that the nearby cliffs make for a fun and active day out. Hike for as long or little as you like, but the more time you have to explore the cliffs, the more rewarding it will be. Hidden away in some parts are algares: holes in the fragile cliffs where the sea has eroded it away (dangerous areas are fenced off, don’t worry). Elsewhere, there are caves to explore, you may see the remains of the walls of the 17th century Fort of Senhora da Conceição, and the soul-nourishing views spanning land and ocean are what holidays are all about. Highly recommended.

So whether you are looking to go off the beaten track or something else entirely on your travels, it’s good to know that TopDog Insurance are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.

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