Take a walk on the wild side

Algarve Selvagem explores the inner beauty of southern Portugal and beyond.

Portugal is a stunningly beautiful and diverse country made up of a long, thin mainland and the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira. The country’s staggering 1,794km of coastline provide a vast playground for aquatic adventures, and Inside Carvoeiro met with the owner’s of Algarve Selvagem, Paulo Martins and Sandra Silva, to discover some of the tours they have on offer.

The most local and accessible of the current tours is the Alvor Kayak and Oyster tour, consisting of morning activities in the coastal gardens of Alvor. Floating in our Kayak, we passed by an area where one of our expert guides asked us to get out and go wild oyster picking with them. They located them in no time and placed them in the bag for a snack later in the morning. Proceeding out by the sandbanks, we parked up and took a walk through the marshes before continuing into the canals of the Ria Formosa lagoon to visit the oyster and clam nurseries and learn about the secrets and work of the shellfish farmers who produce these delicacies that grace our tables. As we headed back to land, we stopped off for the incredible treat of our freshly picked oysters and a cool glass of Vinho Verde. This tour has an optional lunch included, which is served overlooking the Ria in one of Alvor’s most famous tascas.

Paulo Martins is a passionate sailor, surfer, diver, fisherman and all-round outdoorsman. He’s incredibly well-travelled and loves Portugal more and more as the years go on. His love for all-things nature has pushed him to create the tour company that he runs with partner Sandra Silva. They have taken a significant amount of time and consideration in planning their routes. Through the Algarve, you can enjoy tours such as the Seven Suspended Valleys, which begins at the Alfanzina lighthouse and extends to the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha. Between cliffs and valleys of wild vegetation and pines, deserted beaches and caves of fine white sand, green and blue seas and incredible rock formations, this tour shows some of the most beautiful landscapes of the Algarve coast. Then there’s the Hiking & Gastronomy tour on the Costa Vicentina, from Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe along the coastal tracks, passing the waterfalls in the woods, on the dune lines until arriving at Ponta Branca to be faced with the beautiful scenery of the beach and coast of Odeceixe. With everyone working up a good appetite, the tour finishes with a special lunch of traditional cuisine, cooked over a wood fire.

Visitors can also walk through the Serra de Monchique and experience the freshness of its forests with its oaks, cork and chestnut trees among other species. The walk extends through the beautiful paths between the grove and terraces leading to waterfalls and the abandoned village of Barbelote. You can also spend a day in Kayak through one of the most beautiful and natural and wild beaches and the Algarve coast in the south Sagres area, from Martinhal beach, where the wild and pristine natural landscapes are fabulous. The gentle rowing allows you to enjoy the fantastic formations and colours, the wild and deserted beaches of green waters, as Costa Vicentina remains free of crowds and naturally beautiful.

Not content with exploring the Algarve and with that wanderlust still burning inside him, Paulo has spent a few years exploring the tiny former Portuguese colony of Bijagós (the Bissagos Islands), wedged between Senegal and Guinea. The company now offers a one-week sailing expedition, the Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO Heritage sailing tour. Here participants can experience the enormous diversity of the Bijagós, enjoying a new beach every morning, surfing in the mangroves, visiting several tabancas (traditional villages), fishing in different places every day and exploring the archipelago’s biodiversity. According to Paulo, Bijagós is not a monetised society and so money is rarely used.

This is a trip to the most remote places with authentic and wild islands where people can really get in touch with nature and enjoy a free way of life. Fish that are caught during the day will be served for dinner aboard or on one of the picnics on a secluded beach. Activities range from fishing, beach and forest walks, visiting canals, woods and savannahs, and the tabancas. Everything is programmed to ensure that you are always in contact with the exuberant nature of Bijagós. Travellers can observe turtles hatching in Poilão or take the optional excursion to watch the salt-water hippos on the island of Orango Grande. This tour is available from November 22 until May next year and guests will depart from the Port of Bissau, having been collected by the crew from the airport, with prices from €1,395 per person for a double cabin and single occupancy for an additional €470.

Algarve Selvagem also has available a trip to the Azores. This year, the Açores Mágico tour is running between September 17-23, with a unique programme of hiking and leisure on one of the most beautiful islands of the Azores, São Miguel, which has been one of Paulo’s favourite paradises since the 1980s. The five days of trails through the wonderful island include visits to stunning waterfalls, hidden paths, unforgettable lagoons and places of unique beauty and historical importance. Rich gastronomy, natural spas and hot baths of thermal waters and much more are available besides the Hiking Programme. With prices starting at €595, guests can enjoy six days and five nights, accommodation with breakfast, lunch, activities, all transfers on the island, all the activities, excursions and trips with dinner and guides. All external trips do not include airfares.

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Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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