I’m often asked if it’s possible to enjoy the Algarve and its natural beauty without the use of a car. My walk today gives you one example of how to do just that. In much of the Eastern Algarve the railway tracks run quite close to the shoreline. As well as a hands free ride through pleasant countryside and that age old delight of peering into passing gardens, you can hop off the train and pursue a gentle walk. After my brief absence, I’m taking it slowly.
The place I’ve chosen to start is Fuseta, a very laidback town 10km east of Olhão, with an active fishing fleet and a natural harbour. You can easily while away an hour or two here and I’ll give you some thoughts on how later, but first let’s catch that train. There are two railway stations in Fuseta, though I’ve only just discovered tiny Fuseta ‘A’. It’s at the top of a hill, behind the restaurants at the western edge of town. If this doesn’t appeal, Fuseta-Moncarapacho, the main station at the eastern end of town, will serve you just as well for the purposes of this walk.
Fuseta ‘A’ station
A relic from the past
The station at Luz de Tavira
It’s only a couple of stops from Fuseta to Luz de Tavira, a sleepy little spot if ever there was one. Dismounting from the train you cross directly over the railway tracks. A word of warning- there is no official gated crossing, but it’s a very flat area and you can see far along the track in both directions, so please do look both ways. Safely over, turn right at the first corner and follow a leafy lane, passing a couple of country homes. Prickly pear and almond blossom will vie for your attention in this early stage of the year.
Bear left and soon a glimmer of water will appear on the horizon. You are joining a stretch of the Ecovia Litoral, a cycle track which threads its way along the Algarve coastline, but which in many places makes for relaxed and enjoyable walking.
Often times the boats are marooned on these tidal mud flats, beautiful in their ugliness. If you are lucky the tide might be in. In any case, the sea will glitter in the distance. The ruins of a defence tower, Torre d’Aires, are largely ignored, lost in the pellucid landscape.
Along this shoreline, an elevated bungalow with a lovely tumble of garden calls to me, though my more pragmatic other half reminds me that mosquitos will be a severe nuisance in summer. This is the heart of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, and a winter haven for migrating birds.
Just past the midway point to Fuseta you will find a cafe, O Conquistador. Virtuously I did not sample them (I was to have a substantial lunch at the end of my walk) but the cakes did look extremely appealing. Following an arrow the path now crosses through the salt marshes, with Fuseta and a towering mound of salt on the horizon and butter yellow oxalis rippling at your feet.
I am delighted to observe, busily guzzling in the briney water, a large flock of flamingos. Their overhead flight makes a lovely ending to my walk.
And no, I didn’t manage to capture them, unless you wish to see a very blurred tail feather or three. But I can share that I ate at Crispins, almost impossible to miss as you walk back into town. The quayside makes a pleasant after dinner stroll, leading as it does to an expanse of river beach. Grab a bench and gaze out to sea, or watch the locals playing boules behind the green. In warm weather you can ferry across to Armona and an endless expanse of beach. Make sure to carry water with you as you are unlikely to find it at this end of the island.
Feeling like something a tiny bit more strenuous? You can climb up through the narrow streets, for a closer look at Igreja Matriz, the Mother Church. Notice the red lighthouse in the bell tower. Legend has it that many years ago, during a mighty storm, the women of Fuseta lit an enormous bonfire in the churchyard, the highest point of the village, to guide their fishermen husbands home. The men were guided safely back by the distant light and the image of Our Lady of Carmel, on June 16th, an event still celebrated every year.
It has its gritty areas but Fuseta is quite an interesting town. This video gives a fairly realistic view of it.
I hope you enjoyed my walk. I do try to include the details you would need if you found yourself in the area, but I can highly recommend Becky’s blog as a walking resource. Based at Olhão, she covers much the same territory as I do, with the very useful addition of an interactive map.
Sorry that I’m overdue in sharing some of these walks, but I do like to step back from the blog sometimes, especially here in the Algarve. I don’t stop walking but I do just relax into glorious scenery and good companionship. Many thanks to you all for your patience and support.
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Miriam shares a charming place and a snippet of Australian history :
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Marsha has a tendency to cheat a bit, but look out for those Monarch butterflies :
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Nobody does a garden justice quite so well as Jude. As a bonus, two gems, one old, one new :
Garden Portrait: Scotney Castle
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Yikes! It was snowing at home when I received this from Elaine :
A wintery walk beside Loch Achray
And Irene’s post looked even colder! Go and say ‘hi’ and warm her up :
To the Top of a Dune
If that’s not cold enough for you, Hiking Maine is sharing some stunning ice formations :
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Finishing here in the Algarve, Becky shares one of her passions :
The Olhanese architectural promenade
I hope to share another walk with you next Monday but I’m not making a full return to blogging just yet. Take care of yourselves, and enjoy your walking, whenever and wherever you can.