We didn’t have high expectations that cloudy morning when we woke up in Faro. But we were determined to get out of the city center and go for a walk. We’d done our research, and the Ludo Hiking Trail seemed like the best and closest option in Faro.
Fast-forward to later that day… And we found ourselves completely sold on this trail. We just HAD TO dedicate a blog post to our experience on the Ludo hike.
So here it is. Our dedication to this lovely little hiking trail in Ria Formosa National Park, only a stone’s throw away from Faro.
In this blog post, we’re going to share everything you need to know in order to hike the Ludo Trail – how to get there from Faro, how long it takes to do the hike, the distance and difficulty, and what wildlife you can expect to see on the way.
And of course, we’ll share our best moments on the trail.
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About Ludo Hiking Trail
First things first. Let’s dive into all the things you need to know about the Ludo Trail before you set out on your hike.
Ria Formosa National Park
Ludo Hiking Trail is located in Ria Formosa National Park in the Algarve region of Portugal. Ria Formosa is unique because of its wetlands, small sandbanks and islands, great beaches, and most importantly of all; because of its incredible wildlife.
You won’t find anywhere else in Portugal like Ria Formosa, and if you’re a keen bird enthusiast, then this place is an ABSOLUTE MUST-VISIT for you!
Not the biggest hiker yourself, but you still found this blog post? Worry not! Here are some fun and affordable tours you can join to see the birds in Ria Formosa National Park:
- Bike tour from Faro to Ria Formosa
- Visit Ria Formosa in a Catamaran from Faro
- Ria Formosa Birdwatching tour in solar-powered boat
How to get to Ludo Hiking Trail from Faro
The trailhead to Ludo Hiking Trail is located just behind Faro Airport, and there are 2 ways to get there.
- By bus: Take bus #14 or #16 from the Bus Terminal in Faro directly to Ludo bus stop for just €2,35 per ticket (2021 prices). It’s the second stop after the Airport. Ask the bus driver to help you get off at the right place.
- By Uber: Unfortunately, the day we went to do the Ludo Hiking Trail, the bus drivers were striking. Sooo… We eventually jumped in an Uber, which only set us back €7 per trip. So an Uber is quite affordable as well.
Ludo Hiking Trail: Time, distance & difficulty
Time: 2-3 Hours
Distance: 7 Km
The hiking trail isn’t very challenging. It’s flat the whole way. So if you’re suffering from any injuries or if you’re not that fit, then you should still be able to do this trail – or at least a part of it.
A lot of people were also bicycling the trail, so you can easily do that if you prefer not to walk. There are even bike tours at the trail.
Map over Ludo Trail
The hiking trail is a loop, and it can be divided into 3 legs.
- First leg: Ludo Trailhead to bird watching tower by São Lourenço. This part is 2,5 kilometers long.
- Second leg: São Lourenço trail to the salt flats. This part is 2 kilometers long.
- Third leg: The salt flats back to the Ludo trailhead. This part is 2,5 kilometers long.
The great thing about this hiking trail is that all the legs are different. This means you might see different wildlife and landscapes on the way.
Extra tip: Download Maps.me on your smartphone. Here you can download a free and offline map over Faro (including these walking trails!) We often use this app whenever we go hiking.
What to bring for the hike
During our hike, I kept saying to Glenn: “I wish I had some binoculars!”
I think I said it 10 times….. So obviously, bring a pair of binoculars! There are so many beautiful birds on this trail, but it can be hard to see them from a distance.
Apart from binoculars, you should bring enough water, good shoes, and pack a lunch. Maybe bring a windbreaker in case the weather starts to act up (the walking path is right next to the ocean).
Our experience hiking the Ludo Trail in Faro
So now that you’re all prepared to do this wonderful trail yourself, we want to share our experience with you. And we encourage you to return to this blog post and share your own Ludo hiking experience in the comment section below.
Now let’s get to it! This is us – hiking the Ludo Trail in Faro.
First leg: Ludo Trailhead to São Lourenço
We got dropped off at the trailhead at 10 am. I was so excited to finally start the hike ..because it had been a long morning waiting for the bus that never came (the buses were unfortunately striking that one day we decided to use them).
Anyhow. We were here now, and we were ready to enjoy a walk in nature.
The first part of the Ludo hike is a complete straight trail, which goes through the wetlands of Ria Formosa. Here we saw sooo many small birds, a ton of fish, and some herons.
But I think that my favorite part of this leg was when I saw two big Iberian Magpies (I know nothing about birds, so I obviously looked up the name when I got home). I was very impressed with their distinctive blue color, and I loved how different they were from the magpies we have at home in Denmark.
Second leg: São Lourenço to the salt flats
After walking along the straight, first part of the Ludo Trail, the road splits and leaves you with 3 options. If you go left, you enter the Quinta do Lago Boardwalk, if you go straight you walk towards a road full of golf resorts, and if you go right you follow the São Lourenço trail.
The second leg of the trail is the São Lourenço walking path, which have a golf resort on the left and the wetlands on the right. This part of the hike is completely different than the first part.
Here we saw a Hoopoe (which Glenn managed to get a great shot of! – Look at the pictures below), we also saw 2 turtles in the lake of the golf resort, and we even spotted a snake in the small forest by the wetlands. I was so excited to see a snake because it happens so rarely!
If you’re lucky, then you can also find hedgehogs and chameleons in this part of the track. Although, for obvious reasons you might need to look for a long time in order to spot a chameleon.
Third leg: Salt flats back to Ludo Trailhead
When you’re almost at the end of the São Lourenço trail, you’ll see a small road leading right. Take this road because it’ll lead you straight to the salt flats.
In this part of the trail, we saw mountains of salt. We have no clue who owns the area or what the salt is used for, but it looks really cool.
However, the best thing about this part of the trail is all the flamingos! Yup – there are flamingos in Faro. So cool!
Unfortunately, we don’t have a big camera lens to capture the birds from afar, but Glenn did his best with what he had. So beneath is a picture of a bunch of faraway flamingos in the middle of the salt flats.
After spending a long time doing some flamingo-spotting, we wrapped up the walk. We followed the road back down towards the first part of the trail, which would lead us right back to the trailhead.
All in all, a pretty amazing wildlife experience in Portugal! Who knew that so close to Faro, you can find so many animals?
Extra: Quinta do Lago Boardwalk
Can’t get enough of hiking in Faro? Luckily for you, it’s easy to extend the Ludo hike with a couple of extra kilometers.
If you turn left (instead of right) after the first leg of the hike, then you can walk the Quinta do Lago Boardwalk.
We actually spend an extra hour walking a bit of this path towards the Quinto do Lago Beach.
It’ll add about 2 kilometers to your trek in total if you decide to walk to the beach and back. You can also do the whole boardwalk, although that might take a couple of more hours.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the Ludo Hiking Trail in Faro! Did you do the hike yet? If yes, then please share your experience from the trail in the comments. If no, then don’t hesitate to ask us any questions about the trail. Happy hiking!
Check out these blog posts before your trip to Portugal: