Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching

8 Days from £869 | October

Sunshine and fantastic beaches – the Algarve is a great place for a holiday. But the eastern Algarve, with its vast wetlands which stretch from Faro to close to the border with Spain, is a nature lover’s wonderland. The system of barrier islands and peninsulas creates a variety of habitats in which wildlife, especially birds, can thrive.

In the spring, we visit the Alentejo. Inland from the coast, the Alentejo is an entirely different landscape to the Algarve, but just as enchanting. Great plains dotted with cork oaks stretch to the horizon. Protected areas, where hunting is banned and only traditional methods of agriculture are practised, have become one of the most important bird watching centres in Portugal and a perfect environment for the Great Bustard, the heaviest of flying birds.

In the autumn, the Alentejo is replaced by a walk in Portugal’s wild west at Cape St Vincent.

Your holiday hotel is on the outskirts of the historic town of Tavira. The busy market town has no less than thirty-seven churches and a lovely arched Roman bridge spanning the River Gilau. The pleasant old centre has arcades, shops and cafes.

Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 94%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

  • 7 nights hb near Tavira
  • Three included walking excursions
  • Walks accompanied by an expert birdwatcher

DAY ONE: Flight to Faro, transfer to your hotel, forty minutes away, for seven nights half board accommodation.

DAYS TWO TO SEVEN: In resort with three included walking excursions.

Walk 1: The Ria Formosa Natural Park. In the morning, transfer to the start of your walk near Faro (27 miles). The Ria Formosa nature area is one of the most important protected areas in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. You walk towards Quinta do Lago, passing salt marshes carved into a labyrinth of tidal flats, salt ponds, warm water lagoons and channels which provide shelter to many bird species, including Flamingos, Spoonbills, Storks and Hoopoes. The walk takes you through the area of Ludo, located in the middle of a complex of saltpans at the edge of the São Lorenço River, passing along salt mountains, eucalyptus and pine tree forests. The walk is level and about 4 miles. You return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Walk 2: 15-mile transfer east to the wetlands of the Castro Marim Nature Reserve, on the mouth of the river Guadiana, the natural border between this side of Portugal and Spain. From the main road near the old town of Castro Marim you do the first part of the walk next to salt marshes, saltpans and cultivated fields towards the Visitor Centre – a good area for waders, warblers and even the Little Bustard in the dry flats of the marsh. 2.2 miles, ascent/descent 30m. Short transfer to the next walk through the more industrial saltpans of Cerro do Bufo. Along this dirt road you can see waders, gulls, terns and herons on one side and ground birds in the fields on the other side. Expected birds to be seen on the day are Crested Lark, Black-winged Stilt, Flamingo, Spoonbill, Avocet, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Kentish Plover, Dartford Warbler, Stone Curlew. 3.75 miles, ascent/descent 10m.

Walk 3 (spring departures): An early start for the journey to Castro Verde in the inland province of Alentejo (83 miles). Alentejo is one of the most beautiful and sparsely populated areas of Portugal and holds one of the best-preserved steppes in Europe. The Special Protection Area of Castro Verde is full of birdlife and in the spring the fields are carpeted with wildflowers. You pass the grassland and oak woods in search of the iconic Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Bee-eaters, the first Rollers of the year, Black-eared Wheatear, Iberian Grey Shrike and raptors such as the Black-winged Kite, Booted and Short-toed Eagle, Red and Black Kite, Griffon and Black Vulture and sometimes even young Golden, Bonelli´s and Spanish Imperial Eagles. 6.8 miles, ascent/descent 200m. Depending on the day of operation, lunch is included in the Castro Verde LPN visitor centre. Time permitting, a stop will be made on the return journey in the old walled town of Mertola on the Guadiana river. Return to the hotel late afternoon.

Walk 3 (autumn departures): An early start for the 82-mile transfer to the start of today’s walk from Vila do Bispo to the lighthouse at Cabo São Vincente. It is the most south-westerly point in mainland Europe and was considered by the Romans to be the end of the known world. Our walk affords stunning views of the ocean and takes us across the Vale Santo where, in October, migrating raptors may often be seen including Booted, Short-toed and Bonelli’s Eagles, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Honey-buzzards and Black Kites, various falcons plus Black Storks. The walk is a little under 8 miles and has a few gentle inclines. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

DAY EIGHT: Free time until your departure transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 94%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

VILA GALE ALBACORA ****, Tavira (seven nights)
The hotel is situated in a protected area at the mouth of the River Gilau on the outskirts of Tavira. It is a 40-minute walk to the town centre. The hotel operates a courtesy bus during the day Wednesday to Sunday (schedule subject to change) and taxis are cheap. The hotel is built on an old tuna fishing settlement and has a tuna fishing museum. There is plenty of nearby birdlife at the saltpans and low-tide mudflats of Forte do Rato, a 10-minute walk away. The hotel has a bar, restaurant, outdoor pool, and spa area (charges apply). Wifi is free throughout the hotel. Bedrooms (converted from the old fishermen’s houses) have bath/shower and wc, hairdryer, cable TV and minibar. Prices are based on standard rooms. Rooms with river view are available on request at a supplement. (www.vilagale.com)
Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this hotel* - 92%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
Walking Holiday - Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching
Holiday code: 7WAB
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £160
River View Twin/Double Room: £44
Travel Insurance: £44.95
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

Fly FromDateDaysAirlineDep.Rtn.AvailabilityPriceFly ToSingle

Belfast IntlThu 04/10/20188Easyjet10351710Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2BFS17WABA8

BirminghamThu 04/10/20188Jet208151500Last few places909Faro160 (on request)2BHX17WABA8

BristolThu 04/10/20188Easyjet06501240Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2BRS17WABA8

CardiffThu 04/10/20188Thomson06051205Last few places889Faro160 (on request)2CWL17WABA8

Doncaster ShefThu 04/10/20188Thomson16052305Last few places909Faro160 (on request)2DSA17WABA8

DublinThu 04/10/20188Ryanair09301545Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2DUB17WABA8

East MidlandsThu 04/10/20188Ryanair15502200Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2EMA17WABA8

EdinburghThu 04/10/20188Jet206451420Last few places909Faro160 (on request)2EDI17WABA8

ExeterThu 04/10/20188Thomson07301335Last few places889Faro160 (on request)2EXT17WABA8

GlasgowThu 04/10/20188Jet206501440Last few places909Faro160 (on request)2GLA17WABA8

Leeds-BradfordThu 04/10/20188Jet208151535Last few places909Faro160 (on request)2LBA17WABA8

LiverpoolThu 04/10/20188Easyjet07001315Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2LPL17WABA8

London GatwickThu 04/10/20188Easyjet11451810Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2LGW17WABA8

LutonThu 04/10/20188Easyjet06351255Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2LTN17WABA8

ManchesterThu 04/10/20188Ryanair12302000Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2MAN17WABA8

NewcastleThu 04/10/20188Easyjet06001245Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2NCL17WABA8

SouthendThu 04/10/20188Easyjet06301255Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2SEN17WABA8

StanstedThu 04/10/20188Ryanair07101320Last few places869Faro160 (on request)2STN17WABA8

Prices shown are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms, and are subject to availability. Please refer to ‘Accommodation’ for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 21/07/2018 at 6:47:05

The Tour Leader's expert knowledge and pleasant manner contributed to the success and enjoyment of our holiday

Anon

Such a lovely, happy holiday. A great idea to have reserved tables at meal times - really got to know people.

Miss McC, Essex

Tour Leader was exceptional and went far and beyond the call of duty to make sure everyone was ok.

Miss P, Notts

Great holiday!! Excellent birds.

Mr B, W Midlands

We really enjoyed this Walking and Birdwatching holiday in Portugal. June our guide was excellent. She and her partner made sure we saw a fantastic range of birds. Her knowledge and enthusiasm was boundless. She looked after the party generally as well as being a specialist. We saw the beauty of Portugal and the spring flowers as well as the birds. Excellent!

Mr & Mrs M, Warwick

We were delighted that our 2nd PTS holiday was, if anything, better than the 1st.

Mrs F, Bristol

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Don't forget, we fly from 20 airports right across the UK.
Most of our holidays include half board as standard.
All of our holidays have included visits and tours.

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Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching 869