The path starts in the centre of the town of Monchique, in Chorões Square. Follow the signs towards Galeria de Santo António. Go up the stairs of Travessa do Revez, past the Town Hall towards Peso, and past Mata-Porcas.
The path will take you into dense vegetation here, through which an old abandoned windmill can be seen. Another windmill will also be visible to the northeast. Continue down to the Barranco dos Pisões (Gully), crossing the Seixe Stream where you can visit the Poucochinho Mill and an ancient plane tree which is classified as a monumental tree.
Heading back towards the centre of Monchique, take the path up the mountain, enjoying a natural, very cool climate. Keep to the paved road and go downhill until you find a large group of chestnut trees.
Arriving at the place called Portela das Eiras, follow signs towards the Convento de Nossa Senhora do Desterro (Our Lady of Exile Convent), where a stop is recommended to enjoy the wonderful view over the centre of the town. Go back down to the starting point where you will still find some fountains and an unused water mill in the Pomar Velho area. Finish the path in the centre of the town.
» HISTORIC HERITAGE
Poucochinho Mill (N37º20’00.28” W8º34’01.59”)
Located in Barranco dos Pisões (Gully), this water mill was named after its former owner. The mill was built to remove fat and to flesh out fabrics produced by weavers. To do so, a fulling stock – Pisão – (a primitive device with a huge wooden hammer which is raised by water and then allowed to drop onto the fabric) would cleanse the wool, making the stream cloudy and leading to it being given an alternative name: “Ribeira da Tinta Negra” (Black Ink Stream).
People who worked in the trade were called "Pisões". The Poucochinho Mill was later converted into a cereal mill, renovated by Monchique civil parish council and equipped with period furnishings. The mill currently operates exclusively as a teaching and tourist facility. There is also a picnic area here,
which is the perfect place to take a break. This wonderful place is filled with the freshness provided by a crown of deep green trees, water from a running stream and a source of drinking water, the perfect set of ingredients to restore energy.
Our Lady of Exile Convent Ruins (N37º19’10.72” W8º33’35.29”)
According to legend, this Franciscan convent was built as a result of two sailors making a promise that if they were saved from danger on the high seas, they would build a church on the first piece of land they saw. What we know for sure is that the Our Lady of Exile Convent was founded in 1631 by Pero da Silva, “O Mole” (the limp), who later became Viceroy of India. The founder's coat of arms is engraved on the archway at the entrance to the convent. The convent and the friars who lived there for more than two centuries left a strong mark on the lives and mindsets of the population of Monchique.
The ruins of the convent are set in a very pleasant location. Surrounded by trees, it provides a beautiful panorama of the town and its surroundings. The image of Our Lady of Exile, in honour of whom the convent was built, is currently in Saint Sebastian’s Chapel, in Monchique.
Note: For safety reasons, it is not recommended that visitors go into the convent due to the extent to which the building has fallen into ruin.
» PATRIMÓNIO NATURAL
Ribeira de Seixe (Stream)
The Seixe Stream rises in the municipality of Monchique and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, near Odeceixe, in the municipality of Aljezur. For a considerable part of its course, it marks the border between the Algarve and the Alentejo. The water flowing in the Barranco dos Pisões (Gully) is one of its biggest tributaries.
Monchique is home to a large number of monumental trees, some of which have already been classified as such, while others are currently undergoing the process of classification. This path will take you past three of these imposing specimens. If you have enough time and are interested in doing so, we challenge you to explore the Monumental Tree Route in the municipality of Monchique, where you’ll be able to see more of these magnificent trees.
Do you want to know more of these trees? Check out the Route of the Monumental Trees, one of the 4 Themed Routes of Via Algarviana with three trails available, all starting in the center of the village.
More information: Vamus Algarve