Preferred Travel - Walking in the Algarve

Contributed by Preferred Travel Services

8th March, 2008 - 7 nights

12th April, 2008 - 7 nights

Day one: Transfer to the Hotel Garbe in Armacao de Pera, just 45 minutes away from Faro Airport.

Days two-seven: There are three full day walks - as each walk is split into two parts you have the flexibility of deciding for yourself how much walking you do.

Walk One - transfer by coach to Monchique town for your morning walk to Malhada (5 miles– moderately easy). This is a beautiful walk that takes you deep into the heart of countryside that sees very, very few visitors. Life continues as it has done for centuries - fields in the valley are ploughed using the family mule and those on the hillsides by hand. You will pass through ancient woodlands and cork forests where you discover mountain flora such as beautiful pink peonies and bushes of rare toothed lavender, not visible from the beach resorts below.Our afternoon walk is on the lower slopes of Mount Foia (3 miles – moderate). Your walk takes you through an ancient oak forest (the oldest on the Algarve) and eucalyptus woods to give you panoramic views down to the sea. On our return we stroll along old mule tracks to pass by the ruins of the 17th century monastery of Nossa Senhora de Desterro (Our Lady of Exile), destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.

Walk Two – transfer to Praia de Marinha for the morning walk along the cliff tops (5 miles – moderately easy). This will be a circular walk along the cliff tops where the coastline is considered to be one of the most picturesque on the Algarve. Multi-coloured cliffs, hidden sandy beaches, spectacular blow holes and the scent of wild aromatic herbs make this a walk not to be missed. Bring plenty of film for the camera as there is a view waiting to be ‘snapped’ around every corner.Transfer to Silves for our afternoon walk of the Arade and Odelouca rivers (3 miles – easy). This delightful walk follows the old levada (water channel) as it carries water around the hillsides above the banks of the Arade and Odelouca rivers, which are home to many wading birds. There are wild flowers in abundance including paper white narcissi, the beautiful rock rose and the naked man orchid. Our return is along quiet country lanes where the air is heavy with the scent of orange and lemon blossom and time just seems to stand still.

Walk Three – transfer to Barao S. Joao for the morning walk of the National Forest (5 miles – easy). In the western Algarve the National Forest is a small area of woodland where strenuous efforts are being made to preserve the indigenous vegetation. The walk passes through areas planted with umbrella pines, acacia trees and arbutus bushes. The margins of the woodlands offer panoramic views over an unspoilt countryside to the Serra of Monchique.You will then transfer to Lagos and your afternoon walk along the coastal path from Luz to Burgua (3 miles – easy). This section of coastal path is renowned not only for its views but also for being a haven for orchids – especially the bee orchid. Hidden deep in the grasses you have every chance of seeing the yellow ophrys, the sawfly ophrys and the rare Iberian mirror ophrys.If you would like to stretch your legs further, we are also offering a half day optional excursion into the Cape St Vincent Natural Park for a walk there too (5 miles – moderately easy). This is a quite beautiful walk along a section of coastline deep within the Cape St Vincent Natural Park, which remains hidden from most visitors to the Algarve. The Park has a spectacular selection of flowers which are unique to the region and this optional walk gives you the chance to discover them for yourselves, including the bright yellow flowers of asteriscus maritimus, the delicate grape hyacinth, the unusual barbary nut and the rare milky white vetch.

You will, of course, also have free time to explore Armacao de Pera, or take the weight off your feet and spend some time on the beach.

Day eight (or fifteen): free until departure to the airport for your return flight.

To book of for more information www.preferredts.com/walkalgabre.asp

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