Adventures in the Algarve

Natalie Gosher on 16 May 2022
The Algarve is famed for its beaches, caves and fab weather. All of these are perfect reasons to visit this region in Portugal but there are so many more!

I was lucky to receive an invite from the Algarve tourist board to visit and explore the adventurous side to the Algarve and my goodness, it was fun!

The adventure started as soon as the plane landed where I was collected from the airport and taken straight to Pedras d’el Rei, a resort made up of apartments close to Santa Luzia and Tavira. What makes this noteworthy is not only the affordable and convenient accommodation but a little bridge over the lagoon takes you to a small railway that leads to a beautiful sandy beach! This little piece of heaven has a great restaurant serving delicious seafood and cold white wine- perfect for the sunny afternoon! After re-fuelling we headed to our accommodation for our trip; Quinta Do Marco. A rural hotel, surrounded by nature. It was the perfect base for our trip.

Our first adventure was a hike along the Via Algarvinia. This long distance walk spans the Algarve from East to West. In total it is 300km long but has been split into sections allowing you to visit local establishments along the way for refreshments or a nights stay. With time of the essence we only walked around 7km but it was beautiful. Our guide was exceptionally knowledgeable on the flora and fauna in the area and I loved learning how the Cork Oak is the national tree for Portugal!

Next up was an activity I had been looking forward to since reading the itinerary- kayaking on Ria Formosa. Ria Formosa is a unique coastal lagoon and is noted as one of the 7 natural wonders of Portugal! It is a haven for wildlife and offers beautiful views from its many islands. We all set off to explore in kayaks that you can hire for tours from Faro. So much fun although I have to say, I am not a natural at it but to be honest that doesn’t matter! We paddled out and around one of the islands off the coast and explored the area before heading back in and getting back to the hotel for a rest and a glass of wine!

The next day, our adventures continued with a solar boat trip along the coast line from Portimao. I am sure you will be familiar with the golden coast of the Algarve with caves and sandy beaches galore. What I loved were the ‘secret beaches’ where you can only get to them from the sea- this would be amazing during peak summer! Our solar boat is the only 1 of its kind in the Algarve, and offered us a chance to get close to some of the caves along our route. This included the famous Benagil cave with its hole in the top and sandy beach within. This was very busy with boats, paddleboards, sea kayaks and small boats but was stunning nonetheless. After a morning on the boat we headed back for an afternoon mountain biking! This was another activity that I was particularly looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint. Our guide met us with bikes and lots of drinking water (lovely sunny day) before taking us off along a 10km route through Lagoa dos Salgados. This is a coastal lagoon with wooden walkways and sandy tracks, nothing too tough to navigate. We cycled to a beautiful beach and back. If you are a keen cyclist, the Algarve is a great destination for both road cycling and off-road routes! I am sure when we head back we will be hiring bikes and exploring the area a bit more on 2 wheels. Our day concluded with a spot of bird watching. I have unfortunately realised that this is not my forte and although I enjoyed a sit down after a busy few days, my eyes are not the best at spotting anything that’s not a seagull or a sparrow! Thankfully our guides were so knowledgeable and helped to locate some fascinating wildlife along the lagoon!

Our final activity before heading home was a different kind of adventure in the beautiful town of Olhao where we enjoyed a walking foodie tour. The narrow streets, murals, brightly painted houses and amazing seafood completely stole my heart on this last evening before heading home!

So next time you are thinking of a holiday and don’t want to travel far, the Algarve is a natural choice. Regular 2.5 hour flights from Birmingham keep it convenient and the distances to travel within this destination are manageable. All I would ask is that you don’t just head straight to the beach- be a bit adventurous!