Specially designed to explore the East Algarve’s countryside and the natural wonders of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, this Self-guided Walking Tour based in Tavira is a treat for those who love nature coastal hikes full of wildlife, but also inland walks in overlooked parts of the region, peaceful and rich in traditions.
Spectacular hikes in the Ria Formosa Natural Park
The charming historical town of Tavira
Typical fisherman villages and ways of life
Surprising walks in the little-visited countryside East Algarve
The amazing Portuguese gastronomy and wines
Includes all the information and services you need, from detailed route notes to a 24h hotline
The Algarve is so much more than sun and sea! In the little-visited East Algarve, it looks like time has stood still, and you’ll feel how good it is to slow down and live the good life with this carefully crafted Self-Guided Walking Tour.
Each day’s walk highlights the contrasting landscape and wildlife of the region. This tour was put together for the enjoyment of those who have a special interest in rambling and nature.
Tavira, the base of our walking tour, is a lovely and quaint old-Portuguese charm, with over 30 churches, cobbled streets, and bougainvillea lined balconies. Its castle in the historical old town, the churches, and the typical houses provide cultural interest and special charisma. The River Gilão, with a workaday fisherman’s riverfront, runs to the azure lagoons of the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Arguably the Algarve’s most charming town, in Tavira the fishing boats crowd the river Gilão and layers of history can be seen, from Phoenician excavations through Islamic-decorated doorways to Renaissance and Baroque flourishes. From the ramparts of the ruined Castle, look down over waves of triangular “hipped” roofs, spikes of lacework-white chimney pots, and the graceful domes and towers of the town’s 33 churches.
From Tavira we prepared a set of walks to show you the incredible beauty of the area, the coastal and inland nature as well as the people and their ways of living.
The East Algarve countryside shows a tranquil landscape of whitewashed villages and groves of cork and olive trees. The Self-guided walks inland meander through charming green valleys, with birdsongs as a soundtrack. You’ll see few people and find peace. Lemon and orange orchards, almond trees, olive groves, and sleepy villages… Each walk is full of colour, plants, wildlife and history and all are different with unique sights.
The Ria Formosa Natural Park covers 18,000 hectares. It’s a system of lagoons and islands and encloses a vast area of marshes, salt pans, creeks and dune islands. The barrier islands are fronted by extensive sandy beaches and quaint typical fishing villages.
The Ria Formosa Natural Park is an essential area for migrating and nesting birds. The walks on this self-guided program will take you to the Park, where there’s a huge variety of wading birds and many other species. Flamingos abound and are a feast to the eyes.
In the East Algarve the weather is good, people are friendly and welcoming, the nature is enticing, the food and wines are tasty and this program of walks is designed to give you the best of what this region has to offer, based in the charming town of Tavira. You’ll see a Portugal you’ve never imagined existed and that you’ll never forget!
Our self-guided walking tours are thoroughly designed and include all the information you need, from detailed maps and route notes to a 24h hotline. The accommodation, airport transfers, and transports are included in the walking program.
Day 1 – Arrival in Tavira
Individual arrival to Faro Airport or Faro Train station.
Day 2 – Walk Cacela Velha and Cabanas
An easy walk, close to the coast, starting in the beautiful old village of Cacela Velha, following tracks and quiet lanes to the picturesque old fishing village of Cabanas.
Here fishermen still continue their craft, mixing harmoniously with the visitors crossing to the island and the golden beaches. Here too we can rest, enjoy good food and drink whilst enjoying the sunshine by the colourful waterfront. We continue back to Tavira, through the saltpans where we may see an abundance of wild life along with the traditional craft of salt extraction.
Walking time: 4h / Distance: 14.09km; 8.76 miles / Ascent/Descent: 50m up/50m down
Day 3 – Cerâmica Walk
A beautiful walk going down a fertile valley, dotted with the occasional small family operated traditional tile factories. We pass through small holdings where vegetable plots share space with olive, carob, almond and fig trees. This rich valley also has an abundance of orange and lemon orchards whose flowers perfume the air while the profusion of wild flowers delights the eyes.
Walking time: 4.30h / Distance: 15.29km; 9.5 miles / Ascent/Descent: 100m up/225m down
Day 4 – Free Day
This is an ideal opportunity to relax and enjoy the attractions of Tavira and surroundings. You can walk/tour independently, or visit local places of interest. From Tavira, there is a wide variety of sightseeing available (we can advise and/or recommend options according to your interests). On free time keen bird-watchers may wish to visit Castro Marim in the fens and marshes of the “Reserva Natural do Sapal”, famous for their flamingos, or enjoy other local sightseeing tours.
Day 5 – Altura to Vila Real de Santo António
A very enjoyable walk along the coast to the frontier with Spain. We start in the resort village of Altura and meander along small paths through the pine woodlands and along pristine beaches until we reach the estuary of the Rio Guadiana that separates Portugal from Spain.
The walk finishes in the charming town of Vila Real de Santo António with a fascinating history and architecture.
The adventurous may wish to take the ferry across the river to the town of Ayamonte in Spain to enjoy some tapas in the many cafés of this attractive town.
Walking time: 3h / Distance: 11.04km / Ascent/Descent: 10m up / 20m down
Day 6 – Fuzeta to Tavira
A fascinating walk to the west of Tavira. We start in Tavira and end in the fishing village of Fuzeta with its bustling waterfront, crossing saltpans full of bird life, small hamlets with colourful houses and gardens, grand villas and tiny small holdings. We can stop en route at little cafés fronting the tranquil waters of the Ria or even lunch on wonderful fish and shell fish fresh in that day.
Walking time: 4h / Distance: 16.2km / Ascent/Descent: 20m up / 20m down
Day 7 – Santa Luzia & Tavira Island
A real treat as we walk along one of the finest beaches in the world and visit the small fishing village of Santa Luzia with its abundance of fishing boats bobbing in the gentle waters of the channel. Not just a day’s walking but a real day’s holiday as well!
Walking time: approx. 3.5 hrs. / Dist.: 17km/10.51mi / Ascent/Descent: 21m/-21m
Day 8 – Individual departure or extra days
Maria Nova Hotel, Tavira
Maria Nova Hotel, Tavira
Maria Nova Hotel (4****) or similar
Located a 5-minute walk from Tavira’s bustling town centre, Maria Nova Lounge Hotel – Adults Only enjoys a quiet hillside location. Its modern rooms feature a private balcony with panoramic views. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools.
Maria Nova Hotel’s rooms are decorated with tiled floors, wooden furniture, and large windows. All rooms have a minibar, satellite TV, and an en suite bathroom.
The Bar Panorâmico offers an extensive list of cocktails and stunning views over Tavira.
7 nights in a twin room for two pax (4 stars hotel)
Single supplement available with a surcharge
Extra nights available on request
7 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel
Half-board available with surcharge (buffet dinner at the hotel without drinks)
Meet & Greet Airport Transfer from airport / train station / bus station to the hotel on the first day
Transfers from the hotel to airport / train station / bus station on last day
Transports to walking/activities sites, if applicable
Your information pack includes
Emergency contact numbers
General information about your holiday and destination
List of hotel(s)
Directions for arriving at your first hotel, if applicable
Detailed maps and route notes in your own mobile with App Routes & Maps (or detailed travel documents 1x per room)
Complimentary luggage transfer if there is more than one hotel
Option of language
Trip documents can be provided in English or German.
Any services not listed as included
Flights to and from Portugal
Meals, tips/gratuities, baggage or personal insurance (except as outlined)
Admission fees to castles & attractions or events (except as outlined)
You must be adequately insured to join our Guided and Self-Guided holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday.
BeCool Travel has partnered with WorldNomads.com to keep you travelling safely. WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance is designed for independent and adventurous travellers, with coverage for overseas medical expenses, cancellation, baggage, and other expenses.
Please consult our Travel Insurance page, where you’ll be able to get more detailed info about insurance requirements and an immediate quote for your trip.