This connection starts at the entrance to Ameixial, in front of the cemetery, and heads towards Corte do Ouro, past Ameixial Main Church, turning right then heading straight ahead. When it starts nearing the football pitch, it intersects with the PR1 LLE – Ameixial Walking Path, splitting off from it soon after, with the short distance path turning off to the right and the connection heading straight ahead.
Go down to the Vascãozinho Stream Valley and cross the stream, following the main path. You will soon find signs to Anta do Alagar (Alagar Dolmen) on the right; the perfect place for a short stop.
As you make your way back to the main path, carry on straight ahead, towards Corte do Ouro. As you reach the village, the route intersects with the PR2 LLE – Corte do Ouro Walking Path near the old primary school. At the following junction, the PR2 LLE turns to the right while the connection keeps on straight ahead, through the village.
Turn down the dirt track and keep on until you reach the Pé do Corso Fountain, where this route intersects with the PR2 LLE once again, all the way to Beringel Dolmen. At the junction, the PR2 LLE turns left and the connection right. About 100 m later, the path crosses the Corte Stream.
Go up a hill to Cerro dos Aflitos, one of the highest points in this region, standing at 502 m above sea level. You’ll be able to see Parolinhos from here, to the south; a small upland village surrounded by a dense cork oak forest.
The route goes past Parolinhos, joining the main path that connects this village to Figueirinha. The path will once again take you along a ridge, separating several valleys and ravines until you get to Figueirinha. However, 50 m before you reach the village the route turns to the right, towards Pero Ponto. It then changes direction once again, turning left, in a south-westerly direction, down a trail that heads down to Feital Gorge.
You’ll now find yourself walking along a narrow trail used mainly by local shepherds and farmers, meandering through the countryside for almost 2 km. This path takes you past small traditional gardens and across narrow streams until you finally reach the paved road that leads to Vale da Rosa. Once you reach the junction, take the PR8 LLE – Vale da Rosa until you reach Vale Luís Neto, which is where the two routes diverge. While the PR8 LLE continues to Cortiçadas, the connection heads south, crossing the Netos Valleys Gorge and the stream flowing through it.
The point where you cross the stream is also where you’ll find an uphill stretch which, although short, is the steepest on this entire route. Once you’re up the hill, keep following the main path southwards and you’ll soon come across the PR5 LLE – Montes Novos.
The route now heads towards the abandoned village of Pêro d’Elvas, taking you right past its ruins and down to the river valley. Cross the stream when you get to it, and follow it along a v-shaped valley until just before you reach National Road 124. Before you reach it, however, cross the stream and head slightly uphill to find the road.
Once you’re at the road, the route turns left and then right after 50 m, down a slope overlooking Odeleite Stream. After approximately 200 m, you’ll come to a junction and Sector 5 of the GR13 – Via Algarviana. Here the PR5 LLE heads to the left, and the GR13 – Via Algarviana right, towards Barranco do Velho. It’s about 2 km from this point to the village, where Sector 5 ends and Sector 6 of this long distance path begins.
WARNING: Some of the watercourses may have a high volume of water in the rainy season, making them difficult to cross. Before starting this route, please check with members of the local population that it is safe to do so.
» HISTORIC, ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
Barranco do Velho
This connection leads hikers into the Caldeirão Hills themselves, allowing them to get closer to the area’s rich natural heritage. Part of this route will take youalong ridges that provide breathtaking views over mountainous landscapes, making it all the easier to spot some of the birds of prey that call these uplands home. Some of the most notable birds of prey include Bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciata), the short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) and even the more discrete northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis). Dense cork oak forests dotted with rockrose and strawberry trees fill the landscape, as well as pastures and small traditional vegetable gardens.
Cork can be found just about everywhere here, whether in small stacks or to make decorative or functional pieces, such as “cocharros” – cork bowls – used to drink water from fountains. Corte do Ouro is slightly larger than other settlements this route will take you through, and is located in a more open location, with richer farmland that was once used to cultivate grains.
The ruins of two windmills can be spotted here, solid proof of the importance this location once had in terms of cereal production.
» REST STOPS AND SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE ROUTE
» CASH MACHINE
More information: Vamus Algarve.