Now that summer’s over, it’s the perfect time to incorporate a beach into a walk, and I know just the one. Praia de Faro sits right alongside the airport, and as you land and taxi down the runway you will already have glimpsed this stretch of golden sand. Not much of a recommendation, I expect you’re thinking. But Praia de Faro has a laidback charm all its own. You reach it via a narrow causeway, on which traffic lights operate. Beware you don’t get stuck there! I recall an infamous afternoon on which we were collecting our daughter from the airport. We seemed to have lots of time in hand and I suggested a stroll on the beach first. Alas, I wasn’t the only one to have this thought. On Sunday teatime you are almost guaranteed to queue, and there is no easy escape route. By the time we made it onto the island we had to about face and join the queue to come back. My highly exasperated husband was unamused, and I was merely thankful we made it to the airport in time…just!
But don’t let this put you off. The walk I’m suggesting doesn’t require you to drive across the causeway. There is a car park before you approach the causeway, and opposite this a walking and cycle path which takes you through the salt marshes.
Proximity to the airport does, of course, mean that you can count aircraft along the way. The particular Monday on which I did this walk was in the half term holiday, soon after flight restrictions to the UK had eased. The resulting air traffic was considerable.
But it didn’t seem to perturb the waders in the least. Their focus was solely directed at the food content of the saline waters. I couldn’t help but think that the smart new bird hide was wasted effort, but it obviously complimented the extensive new boardwalk.
I had to smile at the bird keeping lookout atop the post, and his companion chameleon, but the signboards gave useful pointers as to which birds you might expect to see. In the background, the footbridge which crosses the lagoon, to access the beach.
For the moment we’ll ignore it, but if you wanted a shorter walk then this is the route to take. The footpath continues on past the golf course, bypassing the exclusive Vale de Lobo resort with its private lake and imported beach.
There is no restriction, however, on the surrounding beauty and you can pause here for as long as you like to observe the pecking and poking of the waterfowl. The path continues on for some distance around the coast, but we chose to turn inland through the landscaped gardens and unaffordable villas to rejoin the footpath and return to the bridge. Time to investigate the beach.
You can, in fact, walk the length of the beach until you find a restaurant that appeals, or spread a towel and watch the Atlantic pound to shore. It’s more boisterous here than the sheltered eastern shoreline. The damp, compacted sand is easy enough to walk on but the beach slopes away and can become hard work. The boardwalk will lead you into the heart of the community. Simple shacks with wellies by the door, each with a barbecue and many with a scooter. It’s a long ‘island’ and errands are frequently conducted this way, a bag of buns balanced on the handlebars. As the sea sparkles beneath the blue sky you can see the idyll, but the reality is much harsher. Making a living from the sea is seldom easy. Meanwhile, aircraft lower their wheels for landing as small boats zip across the water.
My fondest memory of Praia de Faro is sitting at that beachfront restaurant, while my son smiled lazily back at me. It was his last day here and I was happy to be able to grant his wish to sit beside the sea, beer in hand, and ‘chill’. But we must return to the start of our walk, crossing over the causeway on foot and along the boardwalk to our car.
The airport bus, from Faro, can also bring you out to the beach, or you can spend a pleasant afternoon ‘birding’ by the shore.
Also in seaside mode, Sarah shares a birthday jaunt to Lyme Regis :
While freedom beckons Teresa, at long last! Don’t miss walking that ‘extra’ mile with her :
Drake has a long-standing love affair with Paris :
Nothing beats a good garden, and there’s nobody better to show you around than Jude :
You will be blown away by this one. I was! Thanks, darlin’ :
Take a look at the Thames Barrier with Margaret? And a ‘not quite’ sunrise :
What does Verona mean to you? For me it’s Dire Straits ‘Romeo and Juliet’, played hauntingly as we walked the streets :
Say a wistful farewell to Autumn with Ann-Christine
Or wander the canal paths with Helen :
Thanks for all your kind wishes. The family are almost back to good health. Time to start making plans? Apologies for my somewhat haphazard approach to blogging these days. The walks are fortnightly and anything else happens when I can squeeze it in. I do, though, visit you all frequently. Take good care till the next time.