Explore the quiet side of south-west Portugal with Inntravel
The Algarve’s more obvious attractions are well known: sun, sea and sandcastles, villas with pools and water parks galore. And while there’s nothing wrong with these, Inntravel, the Slow Holiday people, take a different approach to this beguiling corner of southwesternmost Europe. They get well off the beaten track, and use footpaths – and some wonderful places to stay – to help you discover some of Portugal’s lesser-spotted delights.
COAST OF MANY COLOURS
Inntravel are the UK’s leading provider of self-guided walking holidays. Their hotel-to-hotel route, A Coast of Many Colours, takes you across the Algarve - from its honeyed, southern coast through an agricultural heartland to the wilder, western shores - and is one of the most enticing in their entire collection.
A world away from the region’s busy resorts, you can discover for yourself the unspoiled landscapes of the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, characterised by dramatic cliffs, pristine coves and quiet, rolling pastures. The colours are many and varied: long stretches of golden sand give way to grey-and-red jagged rocks before softening to a paler orange and rose as the coastal edge turns northwards.
Inland, the green hills are home to drifts of winter blossom, plantations of quince and oranges, and flower meadows carpeted with citrus-yellow Bermuda buttercups. It all feels delightfully remote.
FROM RUINS TO RETREAT
When he first set eyes on the village of Aldeia da Pedralva, visionary developer António Ferreira saw past the deserted houses, decaying walls and neglected streets... “I discovered Aldeia da Pedralva when I was looking for a holiday house. I worked in advertising, which was very stressful. I felt tired and my health wasn’t brilliant, so I thought that renovating a holiday home would be a good project to distract me. A colleague told me to go and see Aldeia da Pedralva, an oldrural village in ruins, where he had already bought a house to rebuild.
“I went there with my wife and we instantly fell in love with the place, so much so that we actually bought three houses. It made me look at the village from a different perspective and made me realise that there must be other workaholic people like me who need to disconnect from the real world. Pedralva (pictured above) was the perfect place to make this happen – a tourist project based around nature, detoxing – and surfing. Pedralva lies in the ‘other’ Algarve, part of a Natural Park with amazing wildlife, landscapes and wild beaches. It’s a place where you really feel that time has stopped.”
Today, António’s dream has become a reality, though it remains fundamentally a traditional place at heart – the houses are simply furnished in keeping with the spirit of the original village. Thanks to the vision, passion and tireless work of one man, Aldeia da Pedralva is alive once more...
SEE FOR YOURSELF...
Choose Inntravel’s walking holiday, A Coast of Many Colours (including a night in Pedralva), to discover the Algarve’s ‘quiet side’. From £670pp, inc 7 nights’ B&B,