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I’ve never really been one for exercise. I’ve historically preferred things like wine, pastry and cigarettes. However, when I moved to Portugal one of the things I most looked forward to doing was finally managing to stick to a fitness regime—lots of walking, swimming and other healthy things—and it seems that, finally, I am getting towards integrating these things into my day to day life – and enjoying it too.
There are multitudes of scenic Algarve walks to choose from, taking in coastal paths, rustic villages and mountain views. For now I’ve been concentrating on the coast as I love the sea, but I plan to do a lot more Algarve walking this year, specifically of the mountain variety when my niece visits later in the year. She is undertaking the “3 peaks” challenge in the UK so needs to do a lot of mountain training and I look forward to walking the Algarve hills.
A lot of people on the forums ask about walking routes, so I thought I would detail a few that I have particularly enjoyed recently:
Conceicao to Tavira Walk: This is a short walk starting from the back of the O Pomar development on the hill down into Cabanas that follows the same route as the Ecovia Algarve cycle paths. The walk takes you over the Ria Formosa natural park when you can see lots of salt pans, storks and, if you are lucky, flamingos. At the Tavira end, the walk comes out on the road connecting the Tavira Gran Plaza shopping centre with the Vila Gale Albacora hotel. For a longer walk you can turn left here and find yourself on an Enid Bylton-esque seascape facing the Ilha de Tavira, complete with tumble-down fort. Otherwise, head right towards the shopping centre for refeshments, and onward into Tavira town centre.
Ilha de Tavira Walk: This Algarve walk requires you to arrange a cab (or willing partner) to pick you up at the other end. Take the quick ferry from the Quatro Aguas jetty to the Ilha de Tavira, head for the sea and turn right. Then walk straight for about 5km until you reach Barril Beach, complete with its huge display of anchors on the dunes. From Barril you can take the miniature train or walk another 15 mins to reach land again at Pedras D’el Rei. This walk is particularly good if you fancy some off season solitude. Between the star of the walk and Barril you sometimes don’t see a single soul. It’s like your own personal paradise island. Enjoy the walk, but please don’t tell too many people!
Manta Rota to Monte Gordo: This walk is great if you’re not sure how far you want to go, as there are plenty of stop off points, complete with food and drink available. From Manta Rota beach turn left (east.) The walk takes you past the beach resorts of Lota, Altura and Praia Verde before reaching Monte Gordo, the last beach before the Spanish border—a total of about 9km. Once at Monte Gordo there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as a train station to take you onward.
Walk from Praia de Luz to Lagos: Beginning with steep ramble up the cliff at Praia de Luz, this beautiful walk offers incredible cliff-top views stretching for miles around, as well as plenty of flowers and wildlife on the land side. Once you reach the outskirts of Lagos, you can always head inland and find a bus to take you into town if you’ve had enough of walking.
A whole load of other walks are available in this book:
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Walking hasn’t been all I have done in an attempt to stay healthy and keep off the pastel-de-nata weight recently. I’ve also been cycling, kayaking and even jumped on the Zumba bandwagon which seems to be sweeping the world. More on that soon—but don’t expect any photos of my attempts at Zumba dancing! Have a good week J