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Loulé boardwalk: Praia do Garão to Quinta do Lago

If you’re looking for an easy picturesque walk in eastern Algarve the Loulé boardwalk is a perfect route for you. The boardwalk connects Garão Beach with Faro Beach. The trail is suitable for walking, running, or cycling. There are several beautiful beaches along the route that can be visited as a part of the walk.

What is the Loulé boardwalk?

The Loulé boardwalk is a linear wooden walkway along the coast of the Algarve region that connects Praia do Garão with Quinta do Lago. The boardwalk was inaugurated in May 2021 as a part of a project to connect the Vilamoura Marina with Faro Beach. 

The Loulé boardwalk map
The official map of the Loulé boardwalk can be found at the beginning of the trail

How long is the boardwalk?

The Loulé boardwalk is a linear 4,7 km route. It takes between 1 and 1h30min. to walk. If you walk it as a return trail it’s 9,4 km, 2-3 hours. You don’t have to walk all the way you can turn around and walk back at any point. It’s possible to extend the walk by adding the Ludo Trail at the end of the boardwalk. There are several side walkways leading to the beach which add 1-2 km extra depending on how many of them you walk.

Garão Beach, Loulé
Garão Beach, the beginning of the boardwalk

Where does the Loulé boardwalk start and finish?

The boardwalk starts at the parking lot of Praia do Garão (Garão Beach) next to Fins Restaurant and Beach bar. It finishes at Quinta do Lago, 500 m past Quinta do Lago Bridge, the point is marked on Google.maps as “Observação Aves – Ponto A”. There the boardwalk connects with the Ludo Trail. If you want you can continue walking on, it’s another 4-6 km depending on the route you choose.

It can be walked in either direction starting at Praia do Garão or at Quinta do Lago Bridge (there is a parking lot next to the bridge). 

Loulé and Ludo Trail map
A map of the Loulé boardwalk and the Ludo Trail

How difficult is the walk?

The walk is very easy and flat. I would describe it as a nice enjoyable stroll. The Loulé boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller accessible. We walked it with our 1-year-old daughter pushing her in a stroller. It’s suitable for cycling as well. 

If you’re looking for a similar trail I can suggest the Alvor boardwalk. It’s a similar walkway along the beach near Portimão.

Campbell and Summer on the Loulé boardwalk
Campbell is pushing Summer in a stroller on the Loulé boardwalk

How to get to the Loulé boardwalk?

Driving is the easiest way of getting there. For navigation, I would suggest using one of the restaurants near the boardwalk e.g. Fins Restaurant & Beach Bar or Izzy’s Beach Restaurant. There are several parking lots at Garão Beach and only one is close to the trail. Parking there is free. There are three parking areas that can fit quite a lot of cars but in the busy summer months, it will be difficult to find an open spot unless you come early in the morning. 

If you want to get there by bus it’ll be better to start the walk at Quinta do Lago. Actually, you’ll have to walk a part of the Ludo Trail first in order to get to the boardwalk which will be 2,6 km. You can get to the starting point of the Ludo Trail by bus from Faro. Buses #14,16, and 17 connect the city centre with Faro Beach. You have to get off at the Ludo stop, one stop before the beach. The bus stop is around 500 m from the trail. 

You can take an Uber to start of the Loulé boardwalk. It’ll be more expensive than a bus but might be easier as you can get to the starting point of the boardwalk. The price will depend on the distance.

The Loulé boardwalk from Fins Restaurant at Garão Beach
The view of the coast from Fins Restaurant at Garão Beach

When is the best time for walking?

The Loulé boardwalk can be walked year-round Algarve has 300 dunny days a year. One thing to consider is wind, sometimes it gets very windy on the coast. During the summer months of June, July, August, and September it’s better to walk early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat. The rest of the year you can walk it at any time. The area looks the most beautiful at sunrise or sunset. 

What is the scenery like?

The boardwalk goes along the coast with sand dunes on one side and wetlands/golf courses n the other side. From the boardwalk, you don’t get to see the beach or the sea. You can take one of the side walkways that lead to the beach to get some sea views. Along the boardwalk, you can see many salt and freshwater birds. 

You can combine the walk with tanning on the beach and swimming. There are 3 side walkways along the route that lead to the beaches.

A wooden bridge on the Loulé boardwalk
The impressive Quinta do Lago bridge at the end of the boardwalk

Loulé boardwalk route description

The boardwalk starts at Garão Beach where you can find many bars and restaurants you can have breakfast there before starting the walk. As an option you can stop for food at one of the restaurants along the route there will be several. 

For the first 2 km, the Loulé boardwalk goes along the sand dunes. 

At 600 m there is a free parking lot and a side walkway that leads to the beach and the Ancão Beach Club restaurant. It’s open from 12.30 pm. Closed on Mondays.

At 1,2 km there is a paid parking lot (free from October to May) and a side boardwalk to Ancão beach and 2 Passos Restaurant. It opens at 12.30 pm. 

After 2 km the boardwalk winds left more inland past small salt lagoons and a golf estate

Wetlands and forest along the Loulé boardwalk
The scenery in the second half of the walk

At 3 km there is a small parking lot about 400 m away from the boardwalk. 

At 4 km at Quinta do Lago Bridge (a long wooden bridge across the river), there is another parking lot. If you walk across the bridge you’ll get to Praia da Quinta do Lago and Gigi’s Beach bar. It’s open between 12 pm and 5 pm. From the bridge, it’s another 700 m to the end of the Loulé boardwalk where it connects to the Ludo Trail.

Where to stay near the boardwalk?

You can stay in Faro or in Quinta do Lago. If you’re looking for a budget place then it’s better to stay in Faro.

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