This sector intersects with the PR17 LLE – Barranco do Velho Walking Path for about 1 km, then diverges, following the Via Algarviana to the right. The route is flat to start with, taking you past the Faranhão Windmill or August Threshing Floor, from where you’ll have a panoramic view over the hills and the coastline.
This is one of those places where you just have to take a break to enjoy the view and breathe in the fresh air! It’s also worth taking a photo here – it’s certainly a view you won’t want to forget. You will then head downhill into Carrascalinho, along a very attractive ravine with lots of tree cover. Keep on through the Caldeirão Hills, through dense cork oak groves and rich Mediterranean scrubland abundant with strawberry trees, heather and French lavender.
The Stream of Rio Seco deserves a visit, where you should stop for a break and a snack, cooling off by dipping your feet in the water. This is definitely a place that you can enjoy relaxing in, and there’s a picnic table you can sit at while you eat.
This spot marks the start of the barrocal strip of land, where the landscape changes dramatically, mainly due to the presence of extensive areas of dryland farmland.
You’ll soon start noticing old drystone walls lining the paths, fencing off land around houses scattered through a dense orchard of almond trees, until you reach Salir, the main population hub in this region and the largest civil parish in the municipality of Loulé.
Salir is located on the edge of the uplands, in the transitional area between the Barrocal and the hills, on the border between the Alentejo and the Algarve.
The parish is mostly made up of farmland and forests, while also boasting invaluable historical, natural and scenic heritage. The origin of this settlement dates so far back in time that nobody can be sure who founded it, supporting the hypothesis that it was inhabited by the Celts.
Salir is a place of mysticism, where ancient Moorish legends have stood the test of time. The legends of Salir are deeply ingrained in the population, forming part of their cultural heritage.
Seek out the Legend of the Enchanted Moorish Maiden, the Moorish Maiden’s Belt and the Golden Comb. These may only be legends, but as local poet António Aleixo said:
“For a lie to be believable
And hit its mark,
A shred of truth
Must form its start”.
This is also one of the best sectors for orchid lovers, especially when they are in bloom, in the spring. If you watch out for them, they should be easy to spot.
Connection 2 can also be found in this sector, connecting the Via Algarviana to Loulé train station.
» HISTORIC, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
The Natura 2000 Network’s “Barrocal” Area (PTCON0049) is of particular importance due to its endemic flora and natural habitats.
The species of orchids that can be found here are particularly notable; they can be seen lining the paths along this route, and include: bee orchid (Ophrys apifera); yellow bee orchid (Ophrys lutea); mirror orchid (Ophrys speculum); naked man orchid (Orchis italica) and the green-winged orchid (Orchis morio).
You’ll be able to breathe in the scents of aromatic plants here, some of which even have medicinal uses, such as: rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis); Mediterranean wild thyme (Thymus capitata); Thymus mastichina; French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and green lavender (Lavandula viridis).
REST STOPS AND SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE ROUTE
The only cafés or shops along this route are at the beginning and end. As such, walkers are advised to plan ahead, taking enough food and water with them, taking into account the distance they intend to walk, the weather and the degree of difficulty of the route.
More information: Vamus Algarve