The path starts near the Barão de São João Cultural Centre and then heads north towards the Mata Nacional (National Forest) of Barão de São João. At the junction, turn left towards the Casa do Guarda (Guard’s House) and the picnic area.
Go around the edge of the picnic area to the right, and keep following the path. This path will eventually cross the Passeio dos Poetas (Poets’ walk), where you can admire stones that have images and poems carved into them.
Turn right further ahead, heading uphill to some wind turbines higher up, and passing some temporary ponds.
At the top, take the path on the right, which is also part of the GR13 – Via Algarviana. Before you reach the trigonometrical point, veer left away from the long distance path to visit the “Pedra do Galo” Menhir. This viewpoint provides views over the Monchique mountain range and Fóia (the highest point in the Algarve, standing at 902 m), which makes this detour even more pleasant.
Once you reach the Menhir, turn back and follow the path ahead, which will take you back to the starting point.
» BARÃO DE SÃO JOÃO
Located within the joint civil parishes of Bensafrim and Barão de São João, this is one of the most traditional rural hamlets in the municipality of Lagos. The charming traditional architecture of the single-storey houses with gabled roofs, colourful stripes framing doors and windows and traditional Algarve chimneys serving as a reminder of the region’s Moorish heritage are details that are impossible not to notice.
Visitors to Barão de São João must visit the “Mata Nacional” (National Forest) of Barão de São João, the perfect place to connect with nature. The church, which is built in a traditional style and dates back to the 17th century is also a must, as it is filled with notable religious elements dedicated to John the Baptist, its patron saint.
The diversity of cultures in the village is noteworthy, as many foreigners from a vast array of countries have settled here over the years, having fallen in love with its charm.
» CULTURAL HERITAGE
The traditional seventeenth-century church is worth highlighting as it contains notable religious elements dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, among others. The church was rebuilt in 1951.
“Pedra do Galo” (Cockerel Menhir)
This route was named after the Menhir, which dates back to the Neolithic period. It is common knowledge that it has previously been removed from its original site and used as a private garden decoration, though it was put back following a complaint. Locals say that the Menhir/Stone gained its name from a popular legend, which, passed down from generation to generation, tells of a cockerel that crowed in that exact spot in the hamlet of Barão de São João. The story has been kept alive to this day, and you might hear someone jokingly ask if you can hear the cockerel crowing. If you can't hear it, go up to the menhir, press your head against it and you will soon hear the sound of a cockerel crowing inside your head.
» NATURAL HERITAGE
The “Mata Nacional” (National Forest) of Barão de São João is the perfect place for those looking to connect with nature. The park is equipped with a variety of leisure infrastructures, including a picnic area, and is home to species of flora such as pines, strawberry trees, cork oaks, eucalyptus and acacia trees, as well as various species of birds and game.
More information: Vamus Algarve