Jo’s Monday walk : Furnazinhas

This isn’t a walk so much as an amble into the sunny Portuguese countryside, but with the potential for a great deal more.  Furnazinhas is a small village, sometimes used for an overnight stay, at the eastern end of the Via Algarviana.  The whole walk runs from Alcoutim on the River Guadiana, the border with Spain, all the way to Cabo S. Vicente on the west coast.  You can break it down into stages, whilst taking in some of the Algarve’s most picturesque scenery.  Furnazinhas is a tranquil and lovely place to stay.  There’s a sense that time has passed the place right by.

It’s a small village and, arriving by car, we passed swiftly through it, then parked alongside the narrow roadside and walked back in.  It was one of those days that wasn’t going to plan.  I had tried and failed to join an exercise class in Tavira that morning, and plans to join Becky and Robert for lunch had fallen through.  The sun was shining brightly, so I tucked my pet lip away, and we headed for the hills.  My husband was convinced that the village would be a disappointment too, so I was wearing flip flops and intending to go to the beach afterwards.  For once, he was totally wrong.

Some places just speak to you immediately, don’t they?  As we strolled into the village, absorbing the silence, this sleepy little place was already getting under our skin.  Almost our first sighting was the signpost pointing out the PR10.  A stone slabbed lane led off through the village towards the hills beyond.  The realisation dawned that I needed my hiking boots to do this place justice.  Or at the very least, trainers.

We stopped to examine a map, and realised that we could have had two choices.  The PR9 was a circular 7.7km route, with a variety of ups and downs, while PR10 was a linear and flatter 7.8km, and a part of the Via Algarviana.  Unable to sensibly follow either, I determined to explore as much as I could of the village.  An elderly gentleman, seeing our interest, seemed happy to chat.  Before much longer he was leading us across the road, to his father’s former stables.

What a lovely surprise!  First he showed us the house where he and his wife live, when they don’t have guests for the Summer.  Then he unlocked the door of the smaller house opposite.  Steps lead down into a beautiful dining room, with a bedroom sleeping 4 above.  The old stone walls and ceilings of wood and bamboo give the place wonderful character, while spanking new bathrooms wouldn’t be out of place in a glossy magazine.  A small kitchen sits at the rear of the property, with barbecue looking onto an expanse of garden.  It had so much charm, I couldn’t stop smiling.

He explained that he’d worked in Faro until his retirement, but now he liked the peace and quiet of the countryside.  Who could blame him?  He said with a smile that he could always pop back to the city if he needed a bit more ‘life’.  Meanwhile Casa do Lavrador, the conversion of his Dad’s place, seemed to provide him with contentment and a living.

Having walked as far as I could through the village, I crossed over to explore the back streets of the opposite side.  An old lad, on a disability scooter, looked rather incongruous as he performed circuits, nodding at us as he passed.  A couple, deep in conversation on a doorstep, looked up, but scarcely paused to draw breath.  I was starting to feel hungry.  In the garden of a house set back from the street, a couple of gents were busy tucking in.  I could see no sign to indicate a restaurant, but it might well have been.

Like most Portuguese villages, there were signs of abandonment.  The young have to leave home to find work, and not everyone wants to return.  Terraces of crops and trees lined the fields behind the village.  Somebody had been hard at work.

I expect you’ve guessed that I’ll be going back, equipped with water and some proper shoes.  We may even rent the cottage and relish the peaceful life for a few days.  If that’s something you’d like to do, Casa do Lavrador is a Turismo Rural, and the phone number is +351 281 495 748.

The Via Algarviana stretches for 300km across the Algarve.  The website includes details of the trail, places to stay and a very seductive video.

Something to think about for the future?  I hope you’ll join me next time.

Many thanks to all you lovely people who follow me, and especially if you’ve shared a walk.  Please find time to read and share.  You can put the kettle on first, if you like.  I’ll wait.

……………………………………………………………………………………..

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Treat yourself to the sweet scent of rosemary and lavender.  Becky had a wonderful Easter Sunday :

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A blockbuster of a share next, from Denzil :

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No Jude this week, but Victoria does a stirling job on the Cornish coast :

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Let’s finish with a flourish (and an icecream) and go hunting Eastern Water Dragons and penguins, with Karen :

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That’s it for another week.  I think I’ll be back to sharing an English walk next Monday.  My Jo’s Monday walk page will tell you how to join in.  Please do!

131 comments

  1. I was stunned by the pdf for Via Algarviana. This is something I must experience, at least partly, when I visit Tavira in Sept. Thanks for posting!

    1. We meant to go back to Furnazinhas on our last visit in June, but it was a bit too warm. I think the little cottage would be a wonderful experience. Let me know how you get on. 🙂 🙂

      1. I am going to starting posting on my blog re the preparations my wife and I are going to make for this month-long trip. First we have to find suitable digs, then book the plane tickets, and also I have to take stick shift lessons to be able to rent a car in Tavira when I get there. If this works out, long visits may become a regular thing. I am also fascinated by the alleged legends of the Tavira castle, and will spend the next 2 months trying to learn elementary Portugese. Any advice re digs in Tavira most welcome. cheers.

      2. I will get back to you about places to stay. Long term is a different proposition and I’m not well informed. I believe there are Airbnb options and you might get useful suggestions from an estate agent. 🙂

      3. Yes we found some Airbnb places, inclduding some funky digs by the sea “corniche”. Ideally we would be like a small private house or villa maybe behind Tavira with a view of the sea in the distance away from all the tourists but within walking distance to town. We are not party animals, and prefer the quiet, and are not much into the sort of tourist scene you find in the Western Algarve, which I have been to, many years ago, with my parents.

      4. Gilly (Lucid Gypsy) stayed in an Airbnb towards the back of town and close to the railway station. You could try asking her about it. Our house is much as you describe but we don’t rent it out and I don’t know anyone on the estate who does. The agent we bought through is Land and Houses (now Yellow Homes I think, since expanding) and they or ERA might have suggestions.

      5. Thank you so much! I do hope my wife and I will get an opportunity to meet you and your husband when we come to our visit in Sept.

      6. Okay. Well, good luck with house; maybe we will be doing the same one day to our place in FLA. I will post on my blog our travel dates to Tavira, which will extend to October, so perhaps the winds will be in our a favor! In the meantime, go England on Wednesday! cheers. ps I have my email addy posted in a non scannable format in my About section. Over and out!

  2. I’ve been missing your walks and beautiful posts in my reader, Jo. I looked it up and was amazed to see that we’re actually not following you! How did that happen?! It’s not for the first time, but please don’t get any wrong ideas because I just hit the follow button. 😉
    Loved the impressions from Algarve and the very fine video. ❤

    1. No worries, Dina. I think the naughty little WP Gremlin might have had some fun with us. 🙂 🙂 This is a very lovely spot and I’m looking forward to going back there. I’m honoured that you follow, and love having your company.

  3. Such a lovely little village Jo and I just love it when a local makes a friend of you and shows you around. I think I would love to stay and sketch there and was the stunning walk in the video the one you will be going back to with your serious walking boots?

    1. Yes, and I’ll be walking some more of the route, but not all 300kms in one go. It’s near enough that we can do a section and then go home. We’ve already done some of it ‘accidentally’ with the walking group. 🙂 🙂 Thanks for your lovely company, hon!

  4. Jo as always these days I am late to comment. Thank you so much for linking back to the hike in Phoenix. Now in my defence I did lay around like a sloth in Mexico for a week before getting there. But yes like you I get rather restless.
    I do love this wee village you have taken us to this week. I also had a peek at the video of the hike through the Algarve. I don’t think I should like to tromp all 300kms but I’d have a go. Are you in? xo

    1. Absolutely, Sue, but we shall cheat and do it a bit at a time 🙂 🙂 It’s only about an hour or two from one end of the Algarve to the other by car, so we can do a chunk then return home, if we want. 🙂 We’ve already covered some of the route ‘accidentally’.

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