Guests can experience the landscape in a variety of ways, from walking along the popular trails, cycling across the rural routes that weave through the regions mountainous borders, to birdwatching, observing many rare species in their natural habitat and offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Some popular routes and activities include:
1. Via Algarviana - The Via Algarviana is a long-distance pedestrian path running from Alcoutim, in the Eastern Algarve all the way across the region to the western tip at Cape St. Vincent, near Sagres and crossing the Costa Vicentina Natural Park. The path has its origins in an old religious trail followed by pilgrims heading for the Sagres promontory, where the relics of St. Vincent were found. The 300km path is divided into 14 sections, with five new connections and 12 additional trajectories, each beginning and ending in places that offer lodging and refreshment. Everything has been planned so that hikers can adapt their journey to their own pace.
2. Vicentina Route - In spring 2012, the Algarve launched the Vicentina Route along the western coast of the region. The route runs from Santiago do Cacém in the Alentejo to Sagres in the Algarve and is integrated into the extensive European GR11 route part of the GR footpath network of paths, which will connect Sagres to St. Petersburg.
3. The Ria Formosa Nature Park is home to a variety of species, situated between the beach of Ancão and the beach of Manta Rota just off the coast from Faro and is Portugal’s largest protected coastal zone.
Ria Formosa Nature Park is ideal for hiking and boating. It is comprised of sand dunes, marsh lands, lagoons and fresh water lakes. Its diverse group of inhabitants includes birds, fish, mammals and amphibians. The park is famous for its bird watching, with many birds resting and feeding here during the winter months.
4. Costa Vicentina Natural Park, extends along the rugged western coast and is characterised by its unexplored countryside. The main attraction to this area is the natural beauty of its beaches and dramatic cliffs. An abundance of wildlife can be found in the Costa Vicentina Natural Park on the Algarve’s secret west coast.
5. The wetlands of sapal de Castro Marim, a natural habitat for a great number of animals, the Sapal de Castro Marim shelters some 153 different species throughout the year. These include flamingos, storks and redshanks. An invaluable environmental heritage, it is an outstanding site that provides shelter and breeding conditions for many species of molluscs, fish, reptiles, amphibians and crustaceans.
6. The protected sites of Fonte da Benémola and Rocha da Pena are nature conservation areas which support ecosystems of great ecological interest. The 390 hectares which make up the Fonte da Benémola area, located between Querença and Tôr, preserve a diverse range of plant life not commonly found in the rest of the Algarve, as well as exclusive and diverse species of animal life which can best be seen by walking along the banks of the Menalva Stream.
7. The Alvor Estuary, nestled between Portimão and Lagos, is the most important wetland area in Western Algarve. A lagoon complex, it covers 1,400 hectares of marsh and dunes, which makes the area an excellent place for bird watching.
8. Paul De Budens Marshland, located and integrated within the Costa Vicentina Protected Landscape Area on the Vale Barão Stream near Vila do Bispo is the Paul De Budens Marshland. This is a 134-hectare former rice paddy field which now is sanctuary to otters, tortoises, black terns and garganey ducks.
9. The Leixão Da Gaivota, located at the mouth of the Arade River, is one of the most important sites along the Algarvian coast for bird nesting. It is an islet near the coast, chosen as a nesting ground by white herons, black-winged stilts, European shags and purple herons.
10. Serras de Monchique, Espinhaço de Cão and Caldeirão. The Serra do Caldeirão is the main Algarvian range extending from the banks of the Odelouca Stream to the rugged plateaux in the North-Eastern Algarve. Acting as a gigantic amphitheatre, the Monchique, Espinhaço de Cão and Caldeirão hills form a protective barrier for the lowlands of the coastal region, providing shelter from the cold northern winds.
11. Ecovia - Ecovia is a cycling route that runs along the Algarve coast stretching across 12 counties, with a distance of 214 kilometers from Cape St. Vincent (Vila do Bispo) to Vila Real de Santo António.
12. Zip Line - Why not try the world’s only cross boarder Zip Line, a unique experience that takes participants across the Portuguese boarder into Spain along a 720 metre long zip line over the river at speeds between 70 and 80 kms per hour.