A Guided easy walking holiday featuring the flowers and plants of this unique area. Pretty villages and footpaths taking you to parts of the Algarve most people don’t see. Wonderful plants and bushes, including a host of orchids.
The Algarve has so much to offer yet much remains hidden from those who choose to explore by car. The sheer variety of the landscapes, the historical treasures and the unique flora and fauna will reward those who come on this walking week. Beginning in the heart of the countryside near the town of Lagos (home of the explorer ‘Henry the Navigator’), we will walk along ancient tracks and footpaths taking our time to just enjoy the sheer beauty of the landscape. Our week will include days walking deep in the heart of the ‘Cape St. Vincent Natural Park’ – designated to protect the Western coastline from developers. The coastline here is simply stunning and the whole area is home to a wide variety of rare plants and birds.
£715.00 per person based on 2 people sharing. Single supplement £120
7 nights accommodation in a twin/double room with en suite facilities in 4* Albergaria in Lagos. 7 breakfasts and 2 dinners (on first and last nights), transfers to and from the airport, transport during the week by minibus and the services of a highly experienced walk leader who has extensive local and botanical knowledge. Group size 6-15 people.
The price shown does not include transport to and from the Algarve or travel insurance.
April 2nd 2016
Arrival in the Algarve and transfer to Lagos – You will meet your guide who will join you for a welcome dinner in the evening.
The Budens Wetlands. A short drive takes us to the start of our day which begins with a walk along a limestone escarpment offering good views over the countryside before dropping down to the Budens wetlands. We continue on along the coast to the fishing village of Salema. We should see all types of orchids, including bee orchids and mirror orchids, hooped petticoat narcissi, the tiny Barbary nut ‘iris’, and varieties of cistus, lavender and the Bermuda buttercup. Through the wetlands white narcissi cover the banks of the river together with irises while pyramid orchids maybe spotted along the path.
(7miles / 10.2km)
The Serra de Monchique. Here Canary oak and Lusitanian oak are common as well as cork oak and eucalyptus and orange, lemon andcherry trees. Lots of cistus, too and the arbutus bush, two types ofheather (Erica arborea &amp;amp; Erica australis) and the distinctiveMediterranean spurge. We continue to the fertile valley floor wherelocals farm using traditional methods. A walk back in time!
Esteveira Nature Reserve. Drive to the west coast and the Cape St. Vincent Natural Park where we stop for a short time in the old Moorish town of Aljezur. Continue to the tiny nature reserve perched high on the cliff tops, protecting an area of sand dunes, which is home to many rare plants including Antirrhinum majus, the ancestor of the cultivated Snapdragon, and the curious Portuguese crowberry shrub (Corema album) that is only found in an Atlantic dune habitat.
(4miles / 6.5km)
The Odelouca and Arade Rivers with a visit to the Moorish capital Silves. Drive to the hamlet of Vale de Lama to start our walk around the limestone knoll ‘Ilha do Rosario’, bounded on two sides by the Odelouca and Arade rivers. We follow an old watercourse (levada) above the rivers before completing out circuit along quiet country lanes. Beside the river we may see lavender, rosemary, the blue lithospernum, the mauve Jerusalem sage, bee orchids and the ‘naked man’ orchid. You may also see the scrambling ‘fly trap’ (Arisotolochia boetica).
(6miles / 9km)
Cape St. Vincent. We drive along the Sagres peninsula and make a short stop in the small town of Vila do Bispo for coffee and a visit to the 18th century church with its classic blue and white tiles (azulejos) and decorative fresco paintings. Continue to Cape St Vincent, where many plants are endemic, thriving in the wild windswept landscape renowned as a marvellous place for biologists. The south-facing cliff tops are notable for herbs including the wiry shrub Salsola brevifolia and rounded mounds of thyme (Thymus camphoratus), whilst the cliff slopes have more shrubby vegetation with sweet smelling senna (Coronilla valentine), the ‘cucumber plant’ (Sanguisorba minor) and the foetid rue (Ruta angustifolia).
(5 miles / 8km). A farewell dinner in the evening.
Transfers back to the airport.