On sector 10, between km 21 and 22 approximately, one of the public paths that the Via Algarviana crosses in this area has been illegally blocked. There are also dangerous dogs roaming free.
Until this problem is solved, please check the download area at the end of this page, where you can find an alternative path (GPX and KML tracks).
When you follow this alternative path, please be aware of the following:
We hope this problem will be solved soon.
(last update to this warning: 05/06/2022)
The 10th sector of the Via Algarviana begins in the city of Silves, which is bathed by the River Arade and was once the capital of the Algarve. The route starts in the beautiful historic area, next to two of the most striking and iconic monuments in this city, the Moorish castle and the old Cathedral, which were both built using red sandstone (specifically Silves sandstone).
From there, it heads towards the Monchique Hills, through citrus groves, as you would expect since Silves is known as the Capital of Oranges. You’ll soon find yourself heading deeper into the hills, where the dramatic relief of the land makes up a landscape dominated by extensive rockrose bushes and eucalyptus and pine groves. The sweeping views here give you some idea of how far this hill range stretches, the fresh air making you want to take a deep breath in, inhaling a thousand aromas and delighting in the cool breeze that sweeps over these hilltops. The flora becomes more diversified the closer you get to watercourses, where you’ll be able to spot several herbs such as French lavender and thyme, among others.
This trail will take you through the ancient farming villages of Carapinha and Romano, which now lie in ruins.
Once you’ve gone up and down several hills, the Via Algarviana approaches the Odelouca Stream, the main watercourse in this region. On its banks, close to the main tributaries that flow into it, small villages spring up, such as Zebro, Barreiro, Touril and Foz do Barreiro, where subsistence farming is still alive and well and where you’ll find cereal fields, pastures and small vineyards.
The area around the Monchique Stream is the perfect place to take a break, marking the start of an uphill hike all the way to Picota. As you follow the riverbank, the riparian vegetation becomes particularly notable, creating a landscape of unparalleled beauty. However, if you’re hiking after heavy rain, it may be difficult to make your way through this stretch, and you might need to take your boots off to stop them from getting wet.
The route starts gaining altitude and the landscape soon begins to change once again. When you get to Fonte Santa, make sure to take in the incredible, small, ancient thermal complex, where the water is 27º C and which nowadays is owned by the Municipality of Monchique.
From here, the route continues uphill, with eucalyptus trees guiding you on your way but still allowing for spectacular panoramic views over the mountains to the south and east, as well as of the coast.
As you head further and further up, you’ll go past Fornalha, Corte Grande and Portela de Monchique. Outcrops of nepheline syenite begin to appear along the way and you’ll soon arrive at Picota, the second-highest point in the Algarve (774 m). This is the perfect spot for a well-deserved rest break. This may just be one of the most beautiful places in the Algarve, providing a 360º view over the region. On clear days you can even see all the way to the Alentejo from here.
Here, you’ll feel as if all you have to do is reach out and you’ll touch the clouds themselves. As you head towards Monchique, the Via Algarviana will take you through a magnificently dense grove of tall, healthy cork trees that will make you feel like you’ve stepped straight into a fairy tale. The beauty of this place is breathtaking and when you least expect it, you’ll arrive in the town of Monchique where this sector ends.
» HISTORIC, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
Note: To visit to the Sacred Art Museum, please book in advance at the Monchique Civil Parish Council.
Monchique is part of the Natura 2000 Network (“Monchique” PTCON0037 Site), as “Monchique” Site of Community importance.
Picota Hill, which stands at 774 m, is the second-highest point in the Algarve and one of the steepest hills in the Monchique uplands, providing a privileged, panoramic view of the region. The slopes here are one of the few places where you can still see the native vegetation of the Monchique Hills. The subvolcanic eruptive mass of syenite here (foiaite) is the only one of its kind in Portugal.
The landscape is predominantly covered in forestland (cork oak groves and forests, chestnut, eucalyptus and pine forests, groves of strawberry trees and scrubland populated with heather and gorse), presenting with considerable botanical diversity, including many rare or endemic plants, including: Algerian oaks (Quercus canariensis), Centaurea fraylensis, rhododendrons (Rhododendron ponticum subsp. baeticum) and Euphorbia paniculata monchiquensis.
There are four trees classified as monumental trees in the municipality of Monchique due to their size, rarity or age: two Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla), one plane tree (Platanus hybrida) and one Algerian oak (Quercus canariensis).
Fauna of particular note here are the Iberian emerald lizard (Lacerta scheiberi) and Bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciata) along with many other forest birds.
» 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.
» CASH MACHINE
Download the files below.
And have a nice walk!