The Via Algarviana is a Great Pedestrian Route (GR13), approximately 300 km long, for both hikers and MTB cyclists.
This trail, which starts in Alcoutim and ends at Cape St. Vincent – it can also be done in the opposite direction – crosses the whole countryside of the Algarve, from the Barrocal to the Serra, passing through villages and hamlets where many of the region’s customs and cultural traditions endure. The route is divided into 14 sections, taking into account the nature of the terrain and logistic requirements, such as lodging or meals. The stretches aren't fixed and unchangeable and can be done separately, depending on each individual’s physical ability. The Via Algarviana has comprehensive signage to help users Funcho Dam – marker posts, directional arrows and signposts, information boards and colours marking places of interest or cultural and natural heritage, support facilities, the way to go or the general direction of the trail.
The trail goes through 9 municipalities, and as you follow it you’ll be able to see five Natura 2000 Sites, two Classified Sites and one Natural Park, all clearly identified. Several threatened animal and plant species inhabit these locations – Bonelli’s eagle, the Eurasian Eagle Owl, the otter, the wildcat, orchids and narcissi. There is also an important community of native flora, including endemic species such as Bellevalia hackelii, Linaria algarviana and Thymus camphoratus, among others. Several aromatic or medicinal plants, such as thyme, Spanish lavender, fennel, rosemary, etc., can be found along the route. The natural vegetation is mainly Mediterranean, with dense cork oak forests amid a cistus undergrowth; there are also strawberry trees, dryland and citrus orchards, pine woods, and others.
The route crosses a number of streams and rivers with abundant riverine vegetation, as well as hilltops and viewpoints, and places of particular geological interest such as Silves with its grês-de-silves (Silves sandstone), Monchique with its subvolcanic eruptive syenite massif and the Barrocal with its Jurassic limestones.
The Via Algarviana is a trail rich in historical, archaeological and religious heritage, where many of the cultural values of the Algarve’s interior still thrive — from centuriesold churches, fountains, hermitages, scoopwheels and waterwheels, windmills, menhirs, museums and communal ovens, to traditional and handicraft fairs and markets, and popular and religious festivals that take place throughout the year. You can also see crafts made with different local products such as wool, linen, cotton, cane, wicker, pottery, strawberry tree fruit, honey, among many others. All of these make this a neverto-be-forgotten route.
The Via Algarviana has 7 available connections or derivations to Aljezur, Parises, Ameixial, Albufeira and to the train stations of Loulé, Mexilhoeira Grande and Lagos as well as 12 small routes, that intercept or share paths with the main axis.
There are also 4 thematic routes: the Smuggler’s Trail in Alcoutim, the Water Trail in Loulé, and the Monumental Trees Trail and the Geology Trail in Monchique. Also associated with the project are 12 small route, complementary pedestrian trails that intercept or share paths with the main axis or derivations of the Via Algarviana.
Municipalities covered: Alcoutim, Castro Marim, Tavira, São Brás de Alportel, Loulé, Silves, Monchique, Lagos and Vila do Bispo.
Location: Algarve Region
Type of trail: linear Great Route (GR), for hikers and MTB cyclists
Distance: 300 Km
Average duration: one section per day (14 sections with distances between 14,3 km and 30,19 km, corresponding to 4-8 hours of walking per day)