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Based in the historic town of Tavira, this walking trip combines scenic coastal and inland walking. The relaxed walks take you through picturesque villages and traditional fishing communities, past orchards, into the rolling Barrocal Hills and along unspoilt sandbank islands.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights premium hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip starts in the delightful town of Tavira. Our welcoming hotel is within walking distance of the old centre, restaurants and bars. Its location offers great views over the town and river from the rooftop bar and outside pool area.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Tavira at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive at Faro Airport (FAO) which is around 30 minutes' drive. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, our hotel is the prefect base from which to explore the cobbled streets on foot discovering the pretty tiled houses and there are plentiful alfresco dining options.
Marina Nova Lounge (or similar)
Today we explore the Tavira coast, walking through the old town out to the coastal marshland. This protected area forms part of Rio Formosa Estuarine National Park, a 60km strip of salt marshes, islands and lagoons stretching from Faro to the Spanish Border. Its home to an abundance of birdlife and sea life, and we'll see flamingos feeding in the shallow water.
Once we reach Pedras d\ el Rei we walk over the bridge to Ilha de Tavira. Here we walk along the unspoiled beaches, observing the wetland ecosystem and coastal habitats, past; mudflats, sea rushes and the native curry plant. Our walk continues along the beautiful Praia dos Barrills, a long white sandy beach backed by sand dunes. The most noticeable and unique feature of this beach is the anchor 'graveyard'. Dozens of anchors have been planted in the dunes, an eerie reminder of the regions once thriving tuna fishing industry. The fishermen huts have now been converted into cafes, restaurants and shops. From Terra Estreita Beach we take the boat back to the mainland, where it is a 10 minute walk back to the hotel.
There will be time this afternoon time to explore more of Tavira. Take in the view up river from the seven-arched Roman Bridge, although actually Moorish in its origin, throughout the centuries the bridge has provided vital access across the River Gilao.
Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately five hours along a flat route.
Today we drive (30 min) to the small village of Azinhal. We walk through gentle hills and low rising vegetation along the banks of Guadiana River (which marks the Spanish border) and on to the small old fashioned village of Odeleite.
From Odeleite we drive south to Castro Marim. We take some time here to wander along the walls of the Templar Castle and enjoy a coffee overlooking the river and into Spain, before travelling back to Tavira by taxi.
Today's 13 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately four-and-a-half hours with a total ascent of 170 metres and descent of 205 metres.
Today we travel by taxis from Tavira to Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bpo in the Barrocal hills north west of Tavira. The Barrocal area is the Algarve's fertile farmland situated between the coastal strip and the mountains of the Serra. We'll follow a dirt track through cork oak woodland, olive groves and citrus orchards. In the springtime wildflowers cover the fields and in autumn the area becomes a haven for birds. Today we will enjoy a picnic lunch, getting supplies in Tavira before leaving.
Tonight you could try a Cataplana, originating from southern Portugal this flavoursome dish combines a variety of seafood in an aromatic stew, cooked in a copper clam shaped pot.
Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately three-and-a-half hours with a total ascent and descent of 350 metres.
Today is a free day to relax on the local beaches or explore the region more. It is possible to take a more challenging walk along the Seven Hanging Valleys trail. Taking a taxi to Praia do Marinha and from here walking to Praia do Carvoeiro along the spectacular cliffs and coastline. At the end of the walk, you will take a boat trip to Benagil with amazing views into sea cut caves.
For an interesting insight into Portuguese traditions you could attend a Fado performance, this 30 minute show starts with a film about the history of Fado, a Portuguese traditional song, followed by guitarists and a singer performing a range of Fado songs. The tour leader will be able to advice on the best location and timings. You could also visit the Camera Obscura, housed in an old water tower close to the castle. A rotating mirror on the roof of the tower projects a telescopic view of Tavira, the guide uses the image to point out key sights and explain the history and culture of the town.
Today's optional 12 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately three-and-a-half hours.
This morning we take a short drive (30 mins) to São Brás de Alportel, the centre of the Algarve's cork production. We walk into the surrounding wooded hills past fig and olive trees and through the cork oak forests, learning about traditional production methods, there are still five operating cork factories in the area. Returning to Sao Bras there is time to stroll through the old town.
This morning we take the train to Olhao. Olhao is the Algarve's largest fishing port; we'll visit the morning fish and vegetable market before taking the small local ferry to Culatra island (30 minutes). The sand bar island of Culatra in Ria Formosa National Park is home to a small fishing community living in a cluster of low built houses and cottages. With no cars or paved roads walking around the sparsely developed island feels like stepping back in time, we'll take the wooden walkway through the sand dune system and relax on the vast empty beaches. Culatra is known for its abundant wildlife, and is a prime spot for birdwatching with a variety of seabird species. We get the boat back to the mainland from the other side of the island at Ilha do Farol (lighthouse), and travel back to our hotel.
Today's five kilometre walk is expected to take approximately one-and-a-half hours along a flat route.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Tavira.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Tavira at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Faro Airport (FAO) which is around 30 minutes' drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 40 miles
Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a trip to Portugal - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The northern high plains has both extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. The islands have very different weather patterns due to their positioning and can have sudden rain falls throughout the year so waterproofs are recommended even in the summer.
2 Pin Round
Seven Hanging Valleys walk - Transfer price about €200 for shared taxi taking four people (1 hour in the morning and another hour in the afternoon) + boat trip 60min: €25 or 90min: €30
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. It can become cool, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier, a warmer fleece is recommended as a mid layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket (you may also wish to bring waterproof trousers) -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Swimwear and towel -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Socks (liner and thicker pair)
Lightweight walking boots or study shoes are recommended and trainers / sandals for relaxing and walking around Tavira. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
One main piece of baggage and daypack a 20-30 litre day sack is recommended. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a jumper, camera, sun-cream, picnic lunch etc. On hot days you will carry fewer clothes but more drinking water.
-Sunglasses -Sun cream -Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb) -Camera -Walking poles (if you usually use them) -Personal toiletries -Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. -Insect repellent -Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) -Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre) - Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore -Lunch bag/Tupperware (for packed lunches)
Bus, Ferry, Taxi, Train
Our hotel is located in a quite hillside area of Tavira, a five minute walk from the centre. The Maria Nova Lounge offers great views over the city, both from your own private balcony and the rooftop bar. The hotel features both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, perfect for relaxing after a day of walking. A plentiful buffet breakfast will be served daily from the on-site restaurant.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
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Portugal: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
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Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
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For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
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You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
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On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.