The Algarve really comes into its own in autumn. With traditional summer tourists now back home and cooler winter temperatures still way off, the region’s renowned climate can be enjoyed in a more chilled out – yet still active – ambience.
Average daily maximum temperatures are a pleasant 23 degrees centigrade at this time of the year, and there is still plenty of sunshine to enable visitors to indulge in their favourite outdoor leisure pursuits.
Autumn is, for example, the best time for birdwatching, according to Algarve Tourism, as thousands of birds fly over the region to wintering grounds in Africa. The annual Birdwatching & Nature Activities Festival in Sagres might now be over, but the migration period continues, with the Algarve home to 395 bird species, including rare species such as the Egyptian Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle.
For tourists who couldn’t make the festival but would like to spot birdlife this autumn, “must-visit hotspots for birdwatchers” include large wetland areas such as Ria Formosa, which extends for 60 kilometres along the Algarve coast, between the Manta Rota and Garrão beaches.
This bird paradise is considered one of the most important wetlands for aquatic birds, sheltering rare and threatened bird species. More than 200 bird species alone have been identified in Ria Formosa, including the Greater Flamingo and Eurasian Spoonbill.
Spectacular Walking and Cycling Trails
The picturesque Algarve scenery is also showcased in autumn along the region’s diverse and well-marked walking and cycling trails, with Algarve Tourism recommending the CyclingWalkingAlgarve.pt website as an excellent starting point.
Each recommended route is categorised by the level of difficulty, estimated completion time, and sights and landscapes along the way. The website also includes useful preparation tips on what to pack, itinerary planning tools, downloadable brochures and maps, accommodation suggestions and guided tours with recommended partner links.
The longest of these trails, the Via Algarviana, extends across the whole region from east to west, offering more than 300 kilometres of paths and covering three types of Algarve landscapes. From the start at Alcoutim, the route travels through the mountainous Serra and the countryside plains and fields of rural Barrocal, before finishing on the coast in Cape St Vincent – where the Costa Vicentina Natural Park meets the Atlantic Ocean.
The route is officially recognised as a Grande Rota, which means it is clearly marked and easily accessible. It is also divided into 14 segments of approximately 30 kilometres each, making it ideal for those who prefer to walk or cycle shorter distances or would like to focus on one area in particular.
Other recommended routes include:
Grande Rota do Guadiana – a walking and cycling trail that departs from Vila Real de Santo António to Alcoutim and follows the river Guadiana, offering stunning sights along the way including the Castro Marim castle.
Rota Vicentina – offering panoramic views over the ocean and allowing visitors to discover a more rugged and well-preserved part of the Algarve coastline.