Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching

8 Days from £889 | April, October 889

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* - 97%
* 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. 27-mile transfer to the start of your walk near Faro.  The Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the most important protected areas in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.  The walk takes you west through the area of Ludo, a complex of salt pans at the edge of the São Lourenço River and then on towards Quinta do Lago passing by the salt mountains, and eucalyptus and pine tree woods. Heading back eastward you pass salt marshes carved into a labyrinth of tidal flats, salt ponds, warm water lagoons and channels which provide shelter to many bird species, including Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, White Storks and Hoopoes. Turning south you take the boardwalk and bridge to Praia de Faro where the walk ends.  5 miles with a short climb at the start of the walk.

Walk 2: Castro Marim. 15-mile transfer east to the wetlands of the Castro Marim Nature Reserve, at the mouth of the River Guadiana, the natural border between Portugal and Spain. This walk is in two parts. The first part is 3.75 miles on a flat but sometimes rutted track next to the industrial saltpans of Cerro do Bufo. You can expect to see waders, gulls, terns and herons on the saltpans and White Storks, wagtails and larks in the fields on the other side. Birds to be seen on the walk might include Crested Lark, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo, Spoonbill, Avocet, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Kentish Plover and Collared Pratincole.  After a break in the nearby town of Castro Marim (notable for its 13th-century castle) the second part starts at the west side of Monte Gordo through the Mata Nacional das Dunas de Vila Real Santo António, a forest of maritime pines and home to species such as Iberian Green Woodpecker, Crested Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper. The walk is level and about 1.5 miles.

Walk 3: (Spring departures) Baixo Alentejo. Transfer 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 is one of the best-preserved pseudo-steppe landscapes in Europe. The Special Protection Area of Castro Verde is full of birdlife and in the spring the fields are carpeted with wildflowers. You will pass by grassland and oak woods in search of the iconic Great & Little Bustards, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Bee-eaters, Black-eared Wheatear, Iberian Grey Shrike and raptors such as the Black-winged Kite, Booted & Short-toed Eagle, Red & Black Kites, Griffon & Black Vulture and sometimes even Golden, Bonelli´s or Spanish Imperial Eagles. The first walk begins at the Hermitage of Nossa Senhora de Aracelis, one of the highest points in the region, from where there is a magnificent view over the plains and to the distant hills of Alcaria and Sao Barão. 3.5 miles, mostly downhill. After a break at the Environmental Education Centre of Vale Goncalinho, there is a short 2-mile walk.

Walk 3: (Autumn departures). Cape St Vincent. 82-mile transfer to the start of the walk from Vila do Bispo towards 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. The walk takes you along part of the Via Algarviana into the Sudoeste Alentejano and Costa Vicentina Natural Park and finishes in the Vale Santo, one of the area’s most interesting locations for birdwatching.  In October, migrating raptors may often be seen here including Booted, Short-toed and Bonelli’s Eagles, Griffon & Egyptian Vultures and Black Kites. With them, Black Storks may also sometimes be seen. At this time of year, the area also supports a flock of 50 or more Red-billed Choughs. The walk is a little under 7 miles and has a few gentle inclines. From the cliffs here you should see passing Gannets and perhaps Cory’s Shearwaters.

Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 97%
* 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* - 94%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
Walking Holiday - Portugal – Walking & Birdwatching
Holiday code: 7WAB
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £200
River View Twin/Double Room: £56
River View: £56
Travel Insurance: £59.95
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

Fly FromDateDaysAirlineDep.Rtn.AvailabilityPriceFly ToSingle

Belfast IntlThu 16/04/20208Easyjet10351710Places Available889Faro20013BFS17WABC3

Belfast IntlThu 01/10/20208Easyjet10351710Places Available899Faro20047BFS17WABC4

BirminghamThu 16/04/20208Jet210151500Places Available929Faro20013BHX17WABC3

BirminghamThu 01/10/20208Jet208151500Places Available939Faro20047BHX17WABC4

BristolThu 16/04/20208Easyjet06501240Places Available889Faro20013BRS17WABC3

BristolThu 01/10/20208Easyjet06501240Places Available899Faro20047BRS17WABC4

CardiffThu 01/10/20208Thomson06051205Places Available939Faro20047CWL17WABC4

DublinThu 16/04/20208Ryanair09301545Places Available889Faro20013DUB17WABC3

DublinThu 01/10/20208Ryanair09301545Places Available899Faro20047DUB17WABC4

East MidlandsThu 16/04/20208Ryanair15502200Places Available889Faro20013EMA17WABC3

East MidlandsThu 01/10/20208Ryanair15502200Places Available899Faro20047EMA17WABC4

EdinburghThu 16/04/20208Jet208251600Places Available929Faro20013EDI17WABC3

EdinburghThu 01/10/20208Jet208201420Places Available939Faro20047EDI17WABC4

GlasgowThu 16/04/20208Jet208401450Places Available929Faro20013GLA17WABC3

GlasgowThu 01/10/20208Jet206501440Places Available939Faro20047GLA17WABC4

Leeds-BradfordThu 16/04/20208Ryanair19451920Places Available889Faro20013LBA17WABC3

Leeds-BradfordThu 01/10/20208Ryanair19451920Places Available899Faro20047LBA17WABC4

LiverpoolThu 16/04/20208Easyjet07001315Places Available889Faro20013LPL17WABC3

LiverpoolThu 01/10/20208Easyjet07001315Places Available899Faro20047LPL17WABC4

London GatwickThu 16/04/20208Easyjet08051410Places Available889Faro20013LGW17WABC3

London GatwickThu 01/10/20208Easyjet08051410Places Available899Faro20047LGW17WABC4

LutonThu 16/04/20208Easyjet06351255Places Available889Faro20013LTN17WABC3

LutonThu 01/10/20208Easyjet06351255Places Available899Faro20047LTN17WABC4

ManchesterThu 16/04/20208Ryanair12302000Places Available889Faro20013MAN17WABC3

ManchesterThu 01/10/20208Ryanair12302000Places Available899Faro20047MAN17WABC4

NewcastleThu 16/04/20208Jet209001640Places Available929Faro20013NCL17WABC3

NewcastleThu 01/10/20208Easyjet06001245Places Available899Faro20047NCL17WABC4

SouthendThu 16/04/20208Easyjet06301255Places Available889Faro20013SEN17WABC3

SouthendThu 01/10/20208Easyjet06301255Places Available899Faro20047SEN17WABC4

StanstedThu 16/04/20208Ryanair07101320Places Available889Faro20013STN17WABC3

StanstedThu 01/10/20208Ryanair07101320Places Available899Faro20047STN17WABC4

Prices shown include carriage of one piece of hold luggage per person (maximum size and weights vary). Prices include return transfers between airport and hotel and are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms. Please refer to 'Accommodation' for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. All flight details are provisional and subject to confirmation when known. All holidays are subject to minimum numbers and are subject to availability. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 18/01/2020 at 9:47:06

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