Built-in 2016, the Alvor walkways are an excellent option for those looking for a beautiful, easy walk by the sea in the Algarve. The scenery is not as spectacular as the seven hanging valleys trail, but it’s well worth going there.
In total, this route along Alvor’s walkways goes from the Três Irmãos beach to the Alvor estuary, always along the beach. It’s about 6 km, almost entirely made of footbridges, and some parts in a dirt road. Throughout the article, we will mention the trail “PR2 PRT – Ao Sabor da Maré” several times, as it is a circular trail whose route is quite similar, using large sections of the footbridges and the road.
The Alvor walkways are especially suitable for those looking for an easy, relaxing, and accessible walk in Algarve. In fact, the accessibility and ease of the route are one of the great advantages of these walkways. Another interesting feature of this area is the influence that the tides have on the landscape and how the high and low tides completely transform the experience. In this aspect, they are very similar to the Ria de Aveiro walkways.
This article will explore everything you need to know to hike the Alvor walkways, from the main highlights to all the logistical issues, difficulties, how to go, what to take, etc.
Alvor Walkways – General information
- Name: Alvor Walkways
- Start: Três irmãos beach
- End: Alvor esturary
- Distance: 6km (12km return)
- Time required: 2 hours
- Difficulty: very easy
- Max/min altitude: 0 meters
- Altitude gain: 0 meters
- Type – Linear, with a circular section
- Signalization (1-5) – 5
- Highlights: Beaches and Alvor Estuary
- Cyclable: Yes, great for bycicle rides
- Cost: free
Alvor’s walkways are the longest in the Algarve and offer the opportunity to observe the Alvor estuary, the dunes landscape, the beaches, and marshes comfortably, accessible to everyone, and with minimal interference in nature. These are one of our favorite walkways in Portugal, both for natural beauty and because they were built to improve accessibility with less interference with the environment.
There are two main entrances on the walkways of Alvor, next to 3 Irmãos beach and next to Porto do Alvor. This article will describe the route, starting at 3 Irmãos beach because it was the route we did, but it will be equally easy to do the same starting at Alvor. If you want to do PR2 PRT Ao Sabor da Maré, you should start at Alvor. It starts in Alvor, follows most of the walkways of Alvor circularly, and returns directly to the starting point, without going to the part of the walkways that goes to 3 Irmãos beach.
Before you start, don’t forget to go to 3 Irmãos beach as it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, or if you have time, you can leave it to go to the beach at the end of the tour. The route starting in this beach could not be simpler, and it follows a straight line for almost 2 km, always with the sea and the beach on our left, and tourist villas on the right.
Eventually, these walkways reach the Alvor beach area, and it is here that they join the dirt road (catching the PR2 PRT) and then crossing with several other walkways. These walkways lead to the beaches, and the estuary is the main part of Alvor. The signage is excellent, and even if it weren’t, it would be quite difficult to get lost. There are several thematic information panels along the road and walkways where you can learn more about the dunes, animals, fauna, the estuary, the salt marsh, etc.
We advise you to follow the road until it reaches the end at the lighthouse. Then you’ll have to return, and when you come back, turn left to the walkways that go into the Alvor estuary and the salt marsh. Here the walkways pass right over the marshes and depending on the tide, you can walk over water or land. For us, this is the most beautiful area of the Alvor walkways.
At the end of the walkways, we are taken back to the dirt road, now at the beginning of it. Here, if you turn left, you will go to Alvor; if you turn right, you will reach the point where you found the initial intersection between the dirt road and the footbridges that come from 3 Irmãos beach. The only way to get back to 3 Irmãos beach is through exactly the same walkways you used to come (or using the beach that runs parallel to them).
There are several alternatives to reach the same places, each one can make their own way. We emphasize that it is virtually impossible to get lost as there is always good visibility and obvious reference points. All these alternatives make it equally possible to shorten the route very easily.
The PR2 PRT – Ao sabor da maré is similar to what we’ve described, with the difference that it starts and ends in Alvor, without ever going to Três Irmãos beach. This walking trail is well marked with the usual yellow and red bars.
Is it possible to use the bicycle on Alvor walkways?
Yes, it is perfectly possible and even advisable, as it is a very pleasant ride.
The paths and walkways are great for cycling. You can see some people cycling, especially children. The roads and walkways are relatively wide enough, so as long as you are careful crossing walkers, there is no problem.
Best time to go to Alvor Walkways
You can hike this trail at any time of the year. In addition to obviously not being nice in the rain, the only caveat is that the route does not have any shades.
So, if you are thinking of walking along Alvor’s walkways during the summer, we suggest you do not do it in the hottest times and when the sun is high. A good alternative is to go for a walk in the morning and then enjoy going to the beach and maybe having lunch in one of the many restaurants along the route and in Alvor.
Who can hike the walkways?
Both the trail “Ao sabor da maré” and the footbridges at Alvor are suitable for everyone, as they do not present any technical or physical difficulties. As mentioned above, we only advise you to pay attention to the sun, as there are no shadows.
Since the route is perfectly flat, without any climb or descent, both on the footbridges and on the road, this walk can be done with children, the elderly, and even people with mobility difficulties. Alvor’s walkways are suitable for the whole family.
If you think they are too long it is always possible to return and/or take some shortcuts that make the walk shorter. You can, for example, not go to the 3 Irmães beach or use one of the shortcuts in the estuary area. These cuts and shortcuts are clearly visible and indicated, so there is no problem here.
What to bring?
Alvor’s walkways are in an area where there are plenty of cafes and restaurants so you don’t need to worry too much about what to bring. Especially in terms of food and drink.
- Water – about 1l per person should be enough, and if not you can always buy them;
- Snacks – we always take some bars in case you want to put something in your mouth.
- Comfortable walking shoes, but those who like to walk in sandals or flip-flops can do it here perfectly.
- Comfortable clothes;
- Raincoat and/ or windbreak on rainy and windy days;
- Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen in summer;
- Swimwear and towel if you want to go to the beach;
- Camera and mobile phone, as there are many opportunities to take beautiful photos. The mobile phone also to be used as GPS.
- Small backpack to carry all this;
As always, please do not make any trash. Bring back everything you take with you.
How to go to Alvor’s walkways?
Just put the 3 irmãos beach or the Alvor sports park on the map/GPs to get to the walkways. In both cases, you will have a car park, but note that it can be full in high season as this is a very busy area.
If you go to the 3 irmãs beaches, you’ll do the trail as described here; if you go to Alvor, you’ll start the same on the dirt road and then need to decide if you want to go first to the marsh area or the 3 Irmãos beach.
Where to stay when making Alvor’s walkways?
There is no shortage of accommodation near the walkways as Alvor is a very touristy village. However, it is also a central area of the Algarve, and consequently close to many other popular areas such as Portimão and Albufeira. Thus, it will probably not be necessary to book a hotel along the bridges.
In any case, if you decide to stay at Alvor, we can suggest the Luna Alvor Bay, which is right next to the Walkways, has a swimming pool and everything you need for a great stay. Alternatively, you can see here more alternatives from where to stay in Alvor.