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Joe Mountain, co-owner of SandyBlue, is a keen runner having completed more than 30 marathons. These include the 250K Marathon de Sables in the Sahara Desert, the 100K Mountain Ultra in the Himalayas and 250k The Jungle Ultra in Peru. Read why he loves running in the Algarve , his top tips & routes.
Get in touch for more information - who knows, Joe might even join you for a run! Just try to keep up...
People often asked why I moved to the Algarve? Simple. The weather, the sea and the running. Here are my tips and advice on how to tackle a new running challenge during your stay in the Algarve.
With an average of more 310 days of sunshine per annum, the Algarve is officially the best destination in Europe for training, whatever the time of year.
‘Winter’ here could be classified as being December – February and even during that time, with average temperatures of 17 degrees centigrade, and clear blue skies, most days feel like a perfect day in early summer.
From March to June, you have the perfect climate for warm weather training.
July and August is not for the faint hearted. It’s hot. There's no getting away from it...it's very hot. But, for me, I love it. An hour run feels like 3 hours - sweat will literally pour off you. At the end of your run, the temptation of jumping into a pool, followed by a cold beer or chilled glass of white wine is too much for anyone to resist. Make sure to have a bottle of water with you during these months.
Then, September to November has perfect warm weather training again. With the sea at its warmest of the year, a refreshing cool down swim fully clothed is a must.
The 40km coastline all the way from Faro to Albufeira is varied and stunning. Here’s a short summary:
With the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and acres of natural beauty that is the Ria Formosa on the other, this is as close to running nirvana as you will find. You’ll also be amazed by the variety of bird life that make this area such a Mecca for bird watchers from all over the world.
Progressing from Faro, past Sao Lourenzo golf course and the wealthy estates of Quinta do Lago, you come along to the famous area describes as Ancao Beach, home to great beach restaurants and a range of water sports activities.
Then, a couple of kilometres along, you reach the awe inspiring cliffs of Vale do Lobo and home to some of the most famous beach golf holes on the planet. Vale do Lobo is the perfect place to stay if you are looking to combine running with a family holiday. Our apartments at Jardins do Golfe have it all.
Continue running along the sea front past Vale do Lobo and to your right you will see one of the most spectacular beach front villas in the world.
Running on past Vale do Lobo’s Ocean course and natural lake within a few kilometres you’ll see the jewel of the Algarve, BJ’s Oceanside – the little friendly beachside bar and restaurant run by Bex and Jay, frequented by my family and I on a daily basis. It's my usual mid-run stop off point for perfect carb loading Seafood Pasta and a carbohydrate packed Pino Grigio.
Running on past BJ’s, after a couple of kilometres, you arrive at Quarteria. With high residential sea lined buildings on the right and a welcome break of the promenade under feet, enjoy watching the Portuguese go around their daily business. Coming to the end of Quarteria, you go past the hustle and bustle of the fish market with an amazing array of the freshest fish caught that morning.
Past the fishermen huts and the fishing port, the big hotels of Vilamoura quickly appear. Running past the Tivoli hotel, you arrive at the playground of the uber rich and into the marina. It is home to some of the most amazing power boats and yachts around. To put this into context, the biggest yacht there at the moment costs a staggering €65,000 to fill up its fuel tank! The marina is a great place to run and a good few kilometres past bars and restaurants people watching, and being watched as people gaze in amazed jealousy at your physical prowess!
Past the second marina and over to Falesia beach. Back on the sand for a kilometre before climbing the short path, up onto the cliff pine – simply stunning, undulating track, with breath-taking views. The path goes for miles and miles past secret beaches and beach bars before reaching the amazing Pine Cliffs Resort and Albufeira.
Obviously you don’t have to do all the above in one go! The routes fall nicely into 5k, 10k, half marathons or whatever you feel like really. All I can say is whatever you choose, sea air is guaranteed!
There are endless tracks and paths just a few kilometres back from coastline, where you’ll feel in a different country all together. If its hill training you are looking to torture yourself with, again, you’ll be spoilt. Mountainous paths stretch for miles and miles.
Quinta do Lago has fantastically accessible paths enabling you to run past the homes of the super rich and the footballers. See and be part of how the other half live!
All of our apartments and villas are located in The Golden Triangle, with sunny pools and great comfort. They are ideally located near the finest restaurants, golf courses and tennis facilities in Europe. There really is something for all the family and this is the perfect location to combine an ideal family holiday and spoil yourself with daily runs in paradise.
I’d be happy to personally recommend routes and runs based on your level of experience and objectives. Even if it’s just 45 minutes a day before the family get up! You never know, I’ll probably join you myself!
Joe (40 ish) has been running for the last 10 years. As well as completing 30 marathons, Joe has also completed the 250k Marathon de Sables in 2007 & 2010 as well as the Himalayan 100 mile and the 230k Jungle Marathon and the 250k Jungle Ultra in Peru in May 2012. In 2021, Joe tackled a marathon in support of ReFood, alongside BJ Oceanside's J. Most recently in 2022, Joe is taking on the Marathon Des Sables.
If you want to be like Joe, and experience the wonders of running in the Algarve, explore our apartments and villas below!