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Alvor boardwalk – a detailed walking guide

Alvor boardwalk is a wide range of wooden boardwalks built between the beach and the river banks in Alvor. It’s a great place to come for hiking or jogging. During the busy summer months, we prefer this boardwalk to other more touristy boardwalks in the Algarve e.g. the one at Ponta da Piedade in Lagos or the beautiful boardwalk in Carvoeiro.

The route overview

  • Total distance – 5 km/3,1 mi, circular route
  • Time required – 1h30min. – 2 hours
  • Difficulty – easy
  • Walking surface – boardwalk (2 km), gravel road (1,5 km), sand dunes (500 m), beach (1 km)
A little harbour in Alvor
Yachts at the harbour at the start of the circular route

If you’re a keen hiker and coming to the Algarve I can recommend the Fishermen’s Trail. It’s a multi-day route along the West Coast of the Algarve. You can walk only a part of it depending on how much time you have. The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is another spectacular route not-to-miss in the Algarve.

What is the Alvor boardwalk?

It’s a wide network of boardwalks that connects Alvor Beach with the river banks. The total distance of the boardwalks is about 6 km. Following the boardwalk you can appreciate two different sides of Alvor; its wide sandy beach and the freshwater marshes that are home to dozens of species of birds. 

The Alvor boardwalk loop trail is partly on boardwalks partly on a gravel road and partly on a beach. 

Where does the boardwalk start and finish?

The route starts and finishes at the car parking lot near the wooden fishermen’s huts. You can find the exact location on Google maps by searching Passadiços de Alvor (Alvor boardwalks). The parking lot and the start of the trail are next to Complexo Desportivo de Alvor (Alvor sports complex). 

Alya with Summer in a backpack walkng on the Alvor boardwalks
Alya and Summer on Alvor Beach walking the circular route

How difficult is the walk?

It’s an easy walk especially if you stick to the boardwalk and the gravel road skipping the dune/sand part of the loop that is about 2 km. Other than the beach part the rest of the trail can be done in a wheelchair or pushing a baby stroller. The wooden boardwalk is wide with rails and without any stairs. The only stairs you get are those leading down to the beach but even there you can go down using a ramp. The beach part on the sand is not wheelchair or baby stroller friendly.

If you want to do the entire loop with a baby/toddler you can carry him/her in a front carrier (for babies) or in a hiking carrier (for older children). We walked the loop route with our 9-months old daughter carrying her in a Deuter hiking carrier which we use a lot when we go hiking. When she was smaller we always used Ergo Baby carrier it worked the best for us (we tried 3 other carries). If you’re looking for a stroller-friendly route I can recommend the Ludo Trail or the Loulé boardwalk in Faro. It’s an easy 7-kilometers route that can be walked with a stroller.

Is the route well-marked?

The 5-kilometre loop is marked with yellow and red strips on wooden rails. You don’t have to walk the route the way it’s indicated. You can walk only on boardwalks skipping the beach part completely. The trail is marked counterclockwise but you can walk it clockwise. 

Yellow and red strips on the rails marking the loop route on the Alvor boardwalk
Yellow and red route marking on the Alvor boardwalk

How to get to the Alvor boardwalk?

The easiest way of getting to the Alvor boardwalk is by car. There is a big parking lot at the start of the route where you can leave your car. If you come for holiday renting a car is the best way to travel around Algarve. 

You can get to Alvor by bus from Lagos or Portimao.  Uber works great in the Algarve. We often used it when we moved here before we bought a car. An Uber ride from Lagos to Alvor or back costs between 17 and 20 Euros depending on the time of the day and the season.

One of the lookout points on the boardwalk in Alvor
A lookout/rest stop on the Alvor boardwalk.

When is the best time for hiking?

Mornings and evenings are the best time for walking on the boardwalks, especially during summer. There is no shade to hide hikers exposed to the sun during the entire walk. In the cooler winter months, you can do the walk any tie of the day. 

Spring is the best time season for walking on the boardwalks in Alvor. You can see river banks covered in flowers and spot many birds. 

What can you see walking on the Alvor boardwalk?

Despite the relatively short distance of the walk, the diversity of scenery and wildlife is quite impressive. The boardwalk is a great place for bird lovers. Many species of marine birds including flamingos can be seen on the banks of the Alvor River. The wildlife abundance is especially impressive during the migration period that happens every autumn and spring. 

From the Alvor beach you can see Meia Praia, the Old Town of Lagos, Praia do Camilo, and Ponta da Piedade.

Alvor boardwalk, Algarve, Portugal
The boardwalk winds between the fields and the beach near Alvor

The Alvor boardwalk route description

Alvor boardwalks route map
A map of the circular route on the Alvor boardwalk

Part 1. The boardwalk, 0 km -1,5 km.

The first part of the route is 1,5 km and is exclusively on the boardwalks with a couple of lookout points with benches and shade. The boardwalks follow the river bank and offer beautiful views of the small harbour with yachts, fields, saltwater marshall and the river. It’s a nice and easy part suitable for people in a wheelchair and with a stroller. 

Part 2. The beach part, 1,5 km – 3,5 km

At about 1,5 km the route turns right from the boardwalk to the gravel road. The first bit (about 500m) is on a steady gravel road the rest is on a sandy road. The views are beautiful, the route gets very close to the banks of the river. This part has very few people. After about 1 km the route reaches the far east corner of the Alvor Beach and continues on the beach for 1 km. That part of the beach can be reached only on foot even during the peak season there are not many people here. It’s a great place to stop for rest and a quick swim. This part is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. 

Alvor Beach view from the boardwalk
The beach part of the circular route on the Alvor boardwalk

Part 3. The gravel road, 3,5 km – 5 km.

At about 3,5 km the route turns from the beach and continues on the boardwalk. The last part of the Alvor boardwalk loop is mostly on a steady gravel road with bits here and there on the boardwalk. 

If you enjoy walking along the beach you will like the new boardwalk at Meia Praia Beach in Lagos.

Where to stay in Alvor?

Alvor is a nice small town with a long beautiful beach, many restaurants, and cafes. It’s more quiet compared to Lagos or Albufeira.

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