Councils pitch in to keep Via Algarviana alive … for now

After months of uncertainty, there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel for the Algarve’s Via Algarviana walking trail.

A crucial meeting on Monday (September 14) saw all 11 municipalities of the Algarve each agreeing to pitch in with €1,744 to keep the trail going for the next six months.

Less encouraging is the news that a new management model is still to be agreed upon between Almargem – the cash-strapped environmental association that runs the trail – and AMAL – the Algarve Municipalities Association.

The route’s coordinator Anabela Santos told the Resident at issue is “the most viable way to manage the trail”.

“Another meeting will be held with AMAL in the next month and hopefully we’ll have more to tell then,” she added.

Whether Almargem will continue to be involved, or whether AMAL will take over remains to be decided.

What is certain is that the trail – created in 2009 at the cost of €350.000 and the involving cash injections of over a million euros – now has nearly €20,000 to tide it over.

The walk’s dire financial state was made public in July, when Almargem warned that it no longer had the money to maintain it (click here

AMAL president Jorge Botelho then guaranteed that the “Via Algarviana would not be forgotten”, but its future has been put on hold due to the long summer holidays.

The 300km pedestrian route linking Sagres to Alcoutim – with an extra 500km of trails – is “very important” to the region, says Almargem, as it brings thousands of hikers to the Algarve, mostly during the low season.

Victor Guerreiro, president of the Algarve retailers association (ACRAL), said in August that the Via is “essential for the development of the Algarve’s inland areas” and that it is also important for establishing the Algarve as a premier nature tourism destination “especially in the low season”.

More information on the Via Algarviana can be found online at The route’s “new and improved” guide, launched in July, is available for free download.

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