Reader's contribution: Coastal hike Faro in January 2019

Faro Coastal hike Rico 16

Rico made the following travel report and the beautiful pictures available to us. Many many thanks!

Dear Mr. Ehlers,

Thank you for the design of your website and the many tips, suggestions and the provision of the maps. I followed your recommendation and spent a week in the Algarve from 03.01.-10-01.2019. In the following I would like to describe my impressions and share the experiences I have made:

This reader's contribution refers to the following hiking route:

General

The hike is very beautiful, varied and almost ideal in January. I had very good weather, sun all day, without just a cloud in the sky and no wind. Since the hiking route rarely runs in the shade, this hike from May to October is probably not recommended. It should be noted that it gets relatively cold from 18:00 p.m. in January and sometimes cools down to 5 - 8 ° C. The hike runs partly through pretty towns, lagoon landscape, along beaches or above the typical red sand-lime stone cliffs, which are partly overgrown with junipers, eucalyptus bushes, cork oaks, agaves, cacti. Some of the hiking trails are very narrow, so that you don't get to your destination without a few small scratches on your legs and arms. It is important to have sun protection on the face, arms and legs and, of course, the appropriate headgear as required.

Flat hiking shoes with a good profile are sufficient, hiking sticks are not required. The tour has a total of approx. 900 vertical meters, so not to be compared with the La Gomera Trail. There are no difficulties, and exposed spots on the hiking routes are also not to be expected.

There are no signposts except for the last 16 km. Every now and then a red dot or a blue arrow is recorded, partly contrary, I think a few experts have marked something here without a precise plan. You should not do without the route you have created for the ViewRanger app. Except for 3 points, this is pretty accurate and you can rely on it. Some of the paths above the rocks are very confusing and if you follow a path that runs just a few meters away from the route, you may find yourself suddenly standing on a cliff or crevice after 50 meters. If you lose your bearings, one thing is clear, we are walking from east to west and the sea is in the south. It is actually very easy to orientate yourself. The people of Portugal are very friendly, you can get very far with English. 70% of the bars are closed during this time. The area is very quiet at this time and you get the feeling that everyone, including the mountains and the sea, are taking a deep breath before the tourist storms begin in May. Sometimes you are all alone on kilometers of beaches.

You can tell that from the prices in the hotels. These fluctuated between € 32 and € 49 including breakfast, which is very good and plentiful. I always booked rooms on site, there was always capacity. Exception, the first night, I booked it out from Germany. You will pass the hotels directly along the route. I took a look at them, went out again and then requested availability and prices via Booking.com and then booked. The Booking.com app also has a great search function, in which you can see your own position on the map under the heading "Show hotels near me" and nearby hotels are displayed with a price index.

Day 1: Arrival and hike from Faro to Quarteira

I left at 9:00 am and landed at 11:00 am local time. So I was able to start the hike that very day. The airport has two exits, one when you come from the baggage carousel on the right and a fairly central one in the middle. You should take the central exit as the route goes west. Then you can follow your route, which is exactly right. At the end of the airport area you pass a barrier and then you go south along a road. This is not very busy and has an approximately 2 m wide side strip that is easy to walk on.

Across the street is a huge park with a dense pine forest. Here I am immersed in a forest on the other side and partly walked parallel to the road. However, there are no real paths in this park, but a variety of paths, you should always walk south-west and always make sure that you can still hear the parallel road, otherwise you can certainly get lost relatively quickly. The fact that there are many of these famous cork oaks is nice and you can also see the numbers on the trees when the last time cork was harvested. At the end of the street, just before a roundabout, turn right at a large iron gate. There is a sign saying "Private! No passage ”but you shouldn't be bothered by that.

Now follows a breathtaking lagoon landscape. It is also uniquely certain that the approach lights from the airport are in the middle of the lagoon. You can watch herons and cormorants hunting here. At the end of the lagoon landscape, when the gravel path ends, you come directly to a golf course. Hold here towards the water and a narrow path runs along the water. After about 8,4 km you meet an architecturally striking bar and then continue to the beach of the Atlantic Ocean, deserted and beautiful. The hiking route describes a path along the dunes, which I did not find or preferred the path on the beach. From now on you hike along the sea all the time, partly in the sand, which is more exhausting than a hiking trail, the sand is very soft and you sink deeply.

I spent the first night in Quarteira in the Hotel Altismar. I would not recommend that. I had booked this hotel for € 21 including breakfast from Germany, because I was not sure whether I would also find a room. However, this would not have been necessary since there are many free rooms.

Day 2: Quarteira - Praia de Falesia

If you follow the prescribed route on the beach to the west, you will automatically come to a vegetable market and its fish market at the end of the beach. It is worth spending a little time here, the offer is very diverse. It goes a little through the city, which is not particularly beautiful, but still gives a few impressions of the area there.

After you have passed the spacious harbor, you will pass an archaeological park (old Roman settlements or what is left of them) on the route. This is worth a little rest and for three euros entry you can take a look at this park. Then we continue across the city, past large hotel complexes, until we come to a huge parking lot. We cross a river over a long bridge and then leisurely walk through a pine forest until the Atlantic Ocean opens up. It goes above the beach on the red rocks, breathtaking views and a very beautiful landscape.

After 8,8 km I passed a beach hotel "Alfamar". It looked so inviting that I decided to stay. I liked it so much that I stayed here one night longer until Sunday. The weather was absolutely wonderful, steel blue sky, sun all day and no wind. There were free loungers by the pool, towels, large, clean rooms and friendly staff (32 € per night including a good breakfast, plus 10 € surcharge for half board, if you want it). It's worth going to the stand early in the morning and enjoying the sunrise.

Day 3: Chill out at the Hotel Alfamar

little walks on the beach

Day 4: Praia de Falesia - Albufeira

The hiking trail continues westwards directly at the hotel complex. We hike about 20 minutes above the red rocks and finally come to a small road that we walk down to the right towards the sea, from there we continue on the beach. We reach the sea via a wide, winding wooden staircase. After about 25 minutes the beach ends on a rock, there it goes up and you hike up and down the rock for 15 minutes until you come back to a beach section, that is a very nice moment on this hike. Here comes a small settlement, a small café invites you to linger. Here is a hint, the passage to the entrance to the mountain at the end of the beach is only recommended at low tide, at high tide you will get your feet wet here. We continue along the cliffs but always secured on a wooden railing. We see beautiful villas before we descend again to a stretch of beach. After the hiking route there is another ascent to the steep coast. I did not find this one. I walked back another 200 m and then north past a sports facility. There I walked through a large settlement of holiday homes and hotels and always tried to orientate myself towards the southwest and the sea. I succeeded in doing this and after about a kilometer I hit the hiking route again. This then runs for a long time on a beach.

Inevitably one arrives at Albufeira. Just a terrible city, the Playa de Ingles in Gran Canaria, that was my first impression. I decided to keep running. At the end of the beach there is a large rock, at which you keep to the right and walk up a few steep serpentines to the old town. Then there is a short walk through the old town and then to the port area, a very beautiful passage, also interesting, the many colorful, painted houses. Then it goes a little uphill and the hike runs on the steep coast. Here I found and booked a guest house called Sao Rafael Villas, Apartments & Guest House nearby, highly recommended.

Day 5: Albufeira - Armação de Pêra

In the morning you get back in where you left off. This day of hiking leads us again varied on the steep coast, through small forests, at the end with a 2 km long beach section that is not so exciting. The hotel I found is right next to the hiking route and is very nice. It's called Pestana Viking Beach & Spa Resort. A great hotel with a beautiful garden and good rooms and cost 31 € including a great breakfast. You can have dinner comfortably across the street, typical of the country or international in the hotel. There are probably a few restaurants in town as well.

Day 6: Armação de Pêra - Carvoeiro

No matter how you plan the routes, I would definitely recommend spending the night in Carvoeiro and spending an evening. This morning I started walking shortly after eight, had to marvel at an excellent sunrise on the following stretch of beach and the highlight, the trail seems to lead to nirvana on the beach, but ends on a rock with a trail that goes through a tunnel . Watch out here for falling boulders. The way through the tunnel was worth it, even if you can only walk when bent over. If you crawl out of the other end of the tunnel, a simply phenomenal bay awaits you. The whole day we continue above the rocks, sometimes a little bit inland. A huge dog is waiting for us there, guarding his property and probably being poorly fed on the side, so that a hiker becomes frightened.

We arrive at the end of a very nice little stretch of beach. Here is a little coffee that is worth lingering over. You can sit comfortably and watch the goings-on at the stand and the small boats. After a breather it goes up the mountains to the right and we walk through a small pretty place before we stab the grassland again.

At the end of the route we arrive in the small fishing village of Carvoeiro. When we walk to the central square there is a nice hotel in which I stayed on the right. This hotel has balconies facing the square and you can enjoy the hustle and bustle and the sunset and you can eat very well in the surrounding restaurants.

Day 7: Carvoeiro - Ferragudo

The next day we continue opposite the hotel, up the mountains. Again, the beautiful landscape awaits us, with sea, rock, Mediterranean vegetation, with many pines, junipers and other scrub, which scratches your legs. It goes steadily along the sea, up and down and again a wonderful path. Caution is advised in a small gorge. If you follow the route north here, the path ends at a private site. You then have to go back and take another path. However, this is not very bad, the way is a bit longer, but leads through a nice little settlement of different houses and through a very nice place. When you finally arrive in Ferragudo, you have to overcome a small stretch of beach one last time and then leave this beach shortly before a beautiful castle, high up in the city. The hiking trail or route ends at a church, but it is still a good 2,5 km from here to the Ferragudo train station. The path is not the highlight now, but gives you a typical Portuguese modern small town flair.

If you stand in front of the station, you cannot recognize it as such. From the outside, it looks like a restaurant. Anyone who still has some time, I highly recommend staying. The dishes are typical of the country and very, very good and inexpensive, even if the waiter looks a bit grumpy. Only when you walk around the building can you see a train station. However, the train came on time and the train journey to Faro worked. The journey costs € 5,90 and you pay on the train at the train attendant.

After a 1,5 hour drive you will come in Faro on. This small town is worth it and after a week of hiking and outdoors this change is very welcome. A beautiful downtown area, many shops, beautiful buildings, coffee shops, a great harbor with an old fortification. In the numerous restaurants you eat very well and you deserve that after this week. I made a crucial mistake here and booked a room near the airport that is outside by the sea. I had to go from the train station to the hotel, from the hotel in the evening Faro and then back to the hotel. A taxi ride cost € 12. It would be better to stay in a hotel between the train station and the old town and then drive to the airport the next day.

Conclusion

This tour has everything you would expect from a coastal walk. Even if you like to be lonely like me and don't want to meet anybody, you will get your money's worth here. A successful mix between loneliness, calm and civilization. In summary, a great week, a unique coast, empty beaches, friendly people, good cheap hotels, great food and millions of beautiful impressions and moments. I won't forget this week.

Rico


 

4 comments

  1. Martina
    3. February 2019

    Hello Rico, thank you for your nice and detailed report. My husband and I hiked the Amalfi Coast last year and have since been infected with the long-distance virus (-:
    Based on your report, we are now planning to fly to Portugal at the end of April Frank and hike the route described to you.
    Thank you again and best regards from Tyrol! Martina

    Reply
  2. Holger
    28 December 2019

    Hello Rico,

    I spontaneously decided to hike in the Algarve from January 16. Can you tell me what you recommend as equipment, i.e. clothing for this time of year? I will probably run your route exactly. The photos are simply convincing :). LG, Holger

    Reply
    1. Frank
      29 December 2019

      Hello Holger,
      I answer now in Rico's place, since Rico does not necessarily read as a guest author. Under the following link you can get an individual temperature forecast for your travel period (average values ​​from previous years): https://www.wetteronline.de/reiseplaner/algarve, Values ​​between 0 degrees and 21 degrees are expected for mid-January. It can be very cold, but it can also be quite warm during the day in the sun. I personally would recommend multiple layers and our packing list (https://www.wanderndeluxe.de/die-ultimative-packliste-fuers-wandern-mit-minimalem-gepaeck/) add at least one more fleece jacket or pullover.
      Regards
      Frank

      Reply
      1. Frank
        11 January 2020

        Hello Holger again,

        I decided quite spontaneously to go hiking in January - not in the Algarve but on Malta and Gozo - but the climate can be compared quite well. My experience after three days of hiking: at 14 degrees and the most beautiful sunshine, you can sometimes hike in short hiking pants. In addition to the outdoor fleece jacket, I also packed a sweater and a quilted jacket - they don't weigh much and are used in the evening.
        Have fun in the Algarve!
        Frank

        Reply

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