- Name Via Algarviana (GR13)
- Length of trail 300 km, 186 miles
- Length in days 14 days
- Start of trail Alcoutim
- End of trail Cabo de São Vicente
- Traildino grading EW, Easy walk, nature trail
Alcoutim – Cabo Santo Vincent, Algarve, 300 km, 14 days
The Algarve is a popular holiday destination in the South of Portugal. It differs from the Mediterranean in the influence of the Atlantic.
The Via Algarviana is a popular trail. It runs inland, not along the coastline.
The trail starts at the Spanish border in the village of Alcoutim. The first half of the trail runs through rather depopulated hills and villages. The second half of the trail is nearer to the popular tourist destinations along the coast. The villages the trail passes thrive on tourism and the hills gradually flatten out. During the last stage, the ocean is approaching from both sides, the landscape drastically changes to open grassland and the walk ends in Cape São Vicente.
The area is still full of remains of the old rural life. When you pay attention, you will find many traces of old farms, bakeries, even bath houses. Nowadays, large areas consist of Eucalyptus plantations, thriving on the poor grounds. Wind farms are another obvious or obtrusive new element in the landscape. You will have to deal with that.
Still, there is so much to enjoy. In March and April the air is saturated with Nightingales‘ songs and Citrus smell. Best time to walk is October till May. June to September is too hot. In autumn, the fields will turn green with the first rains. In spring flowers and weeds break out everywhere.
The trail is very well marked (as of 2017), better than almost any other trail in Europe. On the airport of Faro you can obtain a free copy of the guidebook and maps. Otherwise, download them from the trail’s website.
The trail is easy, consisting of small roads, gravel tracks and paths. Main challenge are some very long stages between villages. Alternatively carry a tent; good camping spots are easy to find. Or improvise a little with busses and taxi’s. In the villages, ask for lodging. There are more opportunities than those popping up on the Internet.
- Nanda December 2015
- Rate 9
- Positive Beautiful views, small villages, friendly people, easy going paths, good signing.
- John P February 2016
- Rate 7
- Positive The path has good way-marking and takes you through a part of the Algarve less visited by tourists. There are hills, and eucalyptus and pine trees, Mediterranean scrub and little towns with cobbled streets. It is an excellent walk in winter when footpaths in more northerly and easterly parts of Europe are affected by rain and snow, I would not do it in the heat of summer.
- Negative The scenery is pleasant rather than dramatic.
- Oranginas, hiking trails Europe March 2011
- Rate 9
- Positive Well marked trail through the original Algarve, far away from the tourist-coast. If you want to prepare your trail contact Almargem: to save and support the original Algarve, with her partially abandoned villages, the original architecture (water wheels, fountains, ovens), walled almond- and olive groves, cork oaks, the great panorama’s from the hilltops.
- Negative In case of rain the water level of the rivers can be very high. So, ask the locals.
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