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Posted by portugalpress on October 12, 2017

Two adventure tour companies are showcasing the best the Algarve has to offer

If you would love to get to know a different side of the Algarve, then an adventure tour is probably the best way to enjoy your time in the Western Algarve. Combining sightseeing, history, gastronomy, culture, and of course, a mandatory swim in the region’s pristine waters, visitors will have a taste of the real Algarve in a convenient – and yet adventurous – guided tour.

One company that is providing such entertainment is Sandy Toes, located near Aljezur. The brainchild of couple Christin Bauer and Anton Nicholls, the company began operating in 2013 as a holiday one-stop-shop, providing both accommodation and a wide range of activities in the Western Algarve.

The company’s philosophy, explains Anton, “is showing visitors a different side of the Algarve, really get a taste of the alternative Algarve, especially the West Coast”. As a couple who is absolutely passionate about the region, Anton and Christin’s bespoke tours are an extension of their love for the Algarve’s authenticity and unique character. “There is something special about this area that I can’t really quantify,” he says.

Having lived in the area for a few years, they created Sandy Toes when Anton stopped working as a hydrographic surveyor. “It was a natural process, the idea was always to do it,” he notes.

Offering a choice of three cottages – a three-bedroom converted barn near Bordeira and two two-bedroom houses in Aljezur –, the company also provides clients with a choice of jeep safaris, bike and walking tours, and trailriding, one of their latest additions.

“Ideally, both sides of the business go together, but not necessarily,” says Christin. The focus, she adds, is on giving guests completely tailor-made tours, which are entirely suited to their preferences and level of activity.

Welcoming a maximum of eight people at a time on each tour, Christin and Anton ask a lot of questions and send their clients a few ideas before creating a personalised package, which can last between half a day and three days. Also included in the tours is a tasty picnic with local cheese, sausages, bread and other treats, as well as a swim at a local beach for a well-rounded Algarve experience.

While these tours are available all-year-round, the couple has also found the perfect solution to fight seasonality. Not available in July and August due to the high temperatures and dusty off-roads, but perfectly suited to the Algarve’s cooler months, trailriding is becoming an increasingly popular option in Sandy Toes’ portfolio.

With a fleet of three Portuguese AJP motorcycles and a trusty Suzuki, clients are guided through the heart of the inland Algarve for a fun and adventurous day out. And while the company can provide a short training course on basic riding skills, the experience will be so much more enjoyable if the clients’ riding experience is up to par.

Much like Anton and Christin, Axel Winschuh, founder and manager of On Track Tours, in Lagos, is welcoming a wide range of clients from different nationalities since he opened his company earlier this year. Encouraged by one of his best friends, the owner of the Bom Dia boat trips, to open a business on land that could complement his ocean tours, the German native and Algarve lover decided to focus on jeep safaris.

With a fleet of three Toyota Land Cruisers, which he describes as “solid, closed vehicles”, the idea behind On Track Tours is to provide high-quality jeep safaris that showcase the best the Algarve has to offer while respecting nature and the local community.

“We thought about what people wanted to see and how to get them there comfortably, so they are not covered with dust by the end of the tour.”

From full-day tours to shorter, three-hour rides, On Track Tours provides an array of trips for a maximum of 21 people, such as their All-in-One, which combines a three-hour jeep safari with a two-hour sailing trip, courtesy of Bom Dia; or Land & Sea, which takes clients to the best locations of the Monchique mountains and the West Coast, and also includes a visit and lunch in a traditional black pig farm in Monchique.

While most of the trips include lunch – either at the Monchique farm or at a family-run West Coast restaurant –, and some of the tours provide finger food or small tapas, one thing that is always included free of charge on every tour is fresh bottled water. “We also donate €1 for every client to the local bombeiros (firefighters),” said Axel.

While the company is operating all-year-round, Axel already has plans to expand it in the near future by offering weekly trips all over Portugal for a maximum of four people. “There is so much you could do … wine tours, book nice hotels, show clients the north of the country … Portugal is a true paradise.”

By Ana Tavares



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