Connection 3: Mexilhoeira Grande Train Station to the Via Algarviana (Monchique) - 25.50 km
The trail takes you from near the Algarve’s coast to the very heart of the mountains of Monchique. Besides the diversified landscapes, you can also visit Alcalar Megalithic Monument.
Connection 3: Mexilhoeira Grande Train Station to the Via Algarviana (Monchique) - 25.50 km
Location
Region: Algarve; Municipalities of Portimão and Monchique.
Accessible by car
On the EN 125, from Portimão to Mexilhoeira Grande, left at the Train Station.
Accessible by train
Stop at Mexilhoeira Grande Train Station.
Starting Point
Finishing point
Petrol station, near Largo Pé da Cruz
Type of route
Derivation of GR13, linear, general
Location
Region: Algarve; Municipalities of Portimão and Monchique.
Accessible by car
On the EN 125, from Portimão to Mexilhoeira Grande, left at the Train Station.
Accessible by train
Stop at Mexilhoeira Grande Train Station.
Starting Point
Finishing point
Petrol station, near Largo Pé da Cruz
Type of route
Derivation of GR13, linear, general
Degree of difficulty
IV - Hard
Minimum Altitude
11 m (Ribeira do Farelo - Figueira)
Maximum Altitude
415 m (Monchique)
Water available
Yes
Local corner shops
Yes
Length
25.50 km
Time required
6h30 (approx.)
Cumulative elevation gain
440 m
Cumulative elevation loss
818 m
Degree of difficulty
IV - Hard
Minimum Altitude
11 m (Ribeira do Farelo - Figueira)
Maximum Altitude
415 m (Monchique)
Water available
Yes
Local corner shops
Yes
Length
25.50 km
Time required
6h30 (approx.)
Cumulative elevation gain
440 m
Cumulative elevation loss
818 m
Description of Itinerary

This Via Algarviana connection starts at Mexilhoeira Grande train station, in the municipality of Portimão, and heads towards the village of the same name, taking hikers across the EN 125 national road.

Once in Mexilhoeira, you will go past the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and then head towards Figueira, crossing the Farelo Stream along the way. While inside this village, turn left, which will take you onto a bridge over the A22 (Via do Infante Motorway). Continue towards Vidigal, where you can choose to go on a detour of about 1 km to the right, to visit the Archaeological Monument of Alcalar.

Back on the route, keep going straight ahead, then head uphill and to the left once you find you’re nearing a dam. At the top of the hill, you’ll have a sweeping view over Fóia, the highest point in the Algarve, standing at an altitude of 902 metres, as well as the city of Portimão. This spot deserves to be enjoyed, so take a break here to delight in the cool breeze and the fresh air.

The route continues until you reach Moinho da Rocha, where it starts heading uphill towards Monchique once you near the Senhora do Verde Stream, taking you past vegetable gardens and orchards. Fóia acts as a backdrop along this part of the route, while you’ll also be able to spot some riparian vegetation and enjoy the shade down by the stream. Stop here for a short break to build your energy back up, ready to finish off the route.

This stretch of the trail is flanked by strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo), which produce the fruit from which delicious nectar of the Gods, “medronho”, is made. You’ll go through a patch of eucalyptus trees next, and then the path continues through cork oaks, which provide some shade.

At Portela da Nave, the route continues for a few metres on a paved road, then turns left onto a back road towards Monchique, taking you between neatly-kept gardens and cork oaks. The roundabout marks the end of this connection; this is the place that marks the start/end of Sector 10 of the Via Algarviana.

While you’re here, delight in some Monchique sausages finished off with a taste of “medronho” or “melosa” and a traditional pastry – you’ve more than earned it!

What will I see?

» HISTORIC, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS HERITAGE

Mexilhoeira Grande

  • Church of Mercy (16th/17th Century);
  • Main Church (16th Century);
  • Alcalar Megalithic Monument – Located about 5 km from Mexilhoeira Grande, this National Monument covers an area of 20 hectares. There are several archaeological records here, from buildings to megalithic tombs. Within the megalithic monuments, the tombs with centralised floor plans are of particular note. Pop into the Interpretive Centre to get even more insight into this ancient heritage.

Monchique

  • Our Lady at the Foot of the Cross Chapel;
  • Skirted chimneys – Typical of Monchique, their base would generally have been the same width as an entire kitchen;
  • Church of Mercy (16th Century);
  • Saint Sebastian’s Church;
  • Monchique Main Church (15th/16th Century – Chapel of the Santíssimo (17th Century);
  • Sacred Art Museum.

Note: To visit to the Sacred Art Museum, book in advance at the Monchique Civil Parish Council.

 

» NATURE

Along the way you’ll find extremely diverse vegetation, from the Mediterranean scrub growing in the barrocal – the strip of land between the coast and the hills – to the riparian galleries and forest cover of the Monchique Hills.

This range of habitats provides unique conditions for the local fauna, allowing it to become extremely diverse. Some birds are of particular note: the cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus), rock bunting (Emberiza cia), Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata), European green woodpecker (Picus viridis), European crested tit (Lophophanes cristatus) and common firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla) can be spotted throughout the year. You may also see some birds of prey such as Bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciata) and the short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) in spring and autumn.

 

» REST STOPS AND SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE ROUTE

Figueira.


» CASH MACHINE

  • Mexilhoeira Grande;
  • Monchique.
Useful contact information
  • Almargem Association: (+351) 289 412 959
  • Algarve Tourism Bureau: (+351) 289 800 403
  • Vicentina Association: (+351) 282 680 120
  • Monchique Volunteer Firefighters: (+351) 282 910 000
  • Portimão Volunteer Firefighters: (+351) 289 420 130
  • Monchique Town Hall: (+351) 282 910 200
  • Portimão Town Hall:(+351) 282 470 700
  • Alcalar Megalithic Monuments Visitor and Interpretation Centre: (+351) 282 471 410
  • Monchique Health Centre: (+351) 282 910 100
  • Mexilhoeira Grande Health Centre: (+351) 282 968 133
  • National Republican Guard - Monchique: (+351) 282 912 629
  • National Republican Guard - Portimão: (+351) 282 420 750
  • Mexilhoeira Grande Civil Parish Council: (+351) 282 968 225
  • Monchique Civil Parish Council: (+351) 282 912 871
  • Monchique Tourist Information Office: (+351) 282 911 189
  • Portimão Tourist Information Office: (+351) 282 430 165
  • “Proteção 24” Portimão Helpline: 808 282 112
  • In the event of an emergency, call 112
  • If you see a fire, call 117
Downloads
GR13 - Via Algarviana Guide: Connection 3
Track GPX: Connection 3 - Mexilhoeira Grande to Monchique
Track KML: Connection 3 - Mexilhoeira Grande to Monchique