5 Really cool outdoor things to do in The Algarve
‘What? Are you going to the Algarve?’ This question I received a lot when planning my 5-day trip to Portugal’s southernmost region. ‘Sure why not?’ my answer would be. Even though my heart goes out to cold, nordic countries, I can definitely enjoy the relaxed Mediterranean vibes. Earlier I went on outdoor adventures in San Marino and went hiking in Extremadura in Spain, for example. The Algarve in Portugal was a new destination to me and so I was looking forward to this trip quite a lot. Together with my Icelandic friend Birna, who flew over from Reykjavík for this trip, I went to the Algarve where I spent five days filled with fun and easy outdoor activities, combined with swimming pool time, nice food and enjoying the good life. Outdoor doesn’t necessarily need to be extremely active. In this blog post I’m sharing my favorite outdoor things to do in The Algarve.
1. Visit the prettiest beach in The Algarve: Praia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha is called the one of the best beaches in The Algarve with a reason. The sand has a warm gold color and the water is various shades of turquoise. The beach itself is rather crowded and so instead I decided to stay up at the cliffs and walk out east. After several hundreds of meters I had left the crowds behind and the views kept on getting better and better. This is totally what I imagined The Algarve to be. In case you do want to visit the beach, it can be reached through a steep and long stairs all the way down.
2. Explore Ria Formosa Natural Park by mountainbike
The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a labyrinth of canals and islands and a breeding area for numerous birds. Located right underneath the smoke of Faro Airport, it’s a lovely place for outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking and biking. Our tour started in the posh Quinta do Lago where the rich and famous are located, but soon we reached Ria Formosa and its unpaved trails. After about an hour on our bikes, we made it to the beach and Praia de Faro, where we met the authentic part of The Algarve and fishermen in their traditional wooden homes. Along the way we saw flamingos, tortoises and much more. Guided tours are organized by Paul from Tours & Tracks Algarve.
Also read: 11 Adventurous Algarve Tours Worth Taking
3. Hiking the Via Algarviana
The most important long distance hiking trail in The Algarve is the Via Algarviana. This 300 kilometer long trail starts at the Spanish border near Alcoutim and will take you to the most southwestern point of mainland Europe at Cabo de São Vicente. The Via Algarviana mostly covers the mountainous part of the Algarve, leading you through traditional villages. We hiked from Barranco do Velho to Salir, a 15 kilometer section. The trail is very well marked and it’s hard to head into the wrong direction. Unfortunately, we had a gloomy day so the views weren’t that awesome, yet the first impressions really made us want to explore it further in the future. ProActiveTur can help you making arrangements for hiking the Via Algarviana.
4. Enjoying the sunset
To me, sunset is one of the best moments of the day and The Algarve happens to be the perfect place for seeing them. One of the best spots I found was the tiny town of Santa Luzia, one of the prettiest villages of The Algarve. You can wander along the water for hours and there are plenty of nice and local restaurants, such as Casa de Polvo. Their fish was truly amazing!
5. Visit the southernmost point of mainland Europa
Anyone visiting The Algarve, should also pay a visit to Cabo de São Vicente. In all honesty it was quite busy and touristic, but there’s more than meets the eye. The lighthouse is the biggest attraction but when you make your way from it for a few minutes only, you have already left the crowds behind. The coastal line is pretty amazing here and since the weather can be quite unrelenting, always make sure to bring a jacket or sweater along.
Another fun thing to to
The Algarve is not just sun, beaches and parties and hidden gems can be found without too much of a problem. Diana from Portugal4U, organizes traditional tours that focus on eco and traditional Algarve life. I went along with her on a Sweet Honey tour and visited a beekeeper who told me everything about honey making and also let me taste a large variety of honey products. It definitely was a great add-on to our active program.
Conclusion about my trip to the Algarve
Even though I had a few doubts about my visit to The Algarve, I soon realized that there are still many unspoiled and little visited places can still be found. Sometimes it only takes a few steps in the other direction to instantly get you away from the crowds. My trip in The Algarve was a great way to get to know this region and filled with fun outdoor activities, combined with relaxing at the pool in Quinta do Marco and good food in local restaurants. My trip to The Algarve was offered to me by the Algarve Tourism Bureau and Sunny Cars, all opinions as always are only my own.
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