Silves – Monchique (28,6 km)

Technical Information

Starting point: Enxerim, follow the M502 road, near the Ribeira do Enxerim, next to the Via Algarviana’s arrows, on the opposite side to the Windmill.

GPS Coordinates of the starting point: 37°12’12.29″N   8°25’37.93″W

Extension: 28,6 km

Difficulty level (Recommended direction): V – Very difficult

Duration: 8 h

Minimum altitude: 14 m

Maximum altitude: 774 m (Picota)

Accumulated climb: 1389 m

Accumulated descent: 956 m

Water availability: In the beginning and in the end

Groceries: In the beginning and in the end

Advised Season: September till May although springtime is the most beautiful in terms of flora and weather conditions.

Cartography: Trail map in the Portuguese Military Charters Nos.585, 586, 594 and 595, from the Geographic Institute of the Army, with a scale of 1:25000.

Route Description
Silves marks the beginning of stage 10 of the Via Algarviana. This city, once the capital of the Algarve, is on the right banks of the Arade River and its Moorish castle, built with walls of lathe and plaster and Grés-de-Silves stone, is the main point of historical interest. The path starts by the Enxerim stream, on the main road, on the opposite side to the windmill. From this point, it heads mostly northwest, to the Serra de Monchique. The terrain is undulating and the landscape is dominated by extensive Cistus (rockrose), Eucalyptus and Pine tree plantations. By the streams, the flora is more diverse, with several aromatic plant species such as Rosemary, Thyme, and others. Along the track, the hiker will pass some cultivated hillsides, namely Carapinha and Romano, now in ruins.
After various climbs and descents the Via Algarviana approaches Ribeira de Odelouca, the main water course in the region. By the margins of Ribeira de Odeluca and its main tributaries, small settlements like Zebro, Barreiro, Foz do Barreiro and Cortes maintain traces of subsistence agriculture, and one finds some fields planted with cereal crops , pasture land, and small vineyards. On crossing the river the walk to Picota begins, this is a steady climb. The track starts to gain height and, soon, the landscape changes. Apart from the regular presence of Eucalyptus plantations, the track allows the hiker to enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the hills to the south and east, as well as to the coast. At Barranco da Fornalha, the traveller will find more variety in the vegetation, shade, temperature and water. Here, we can see dense heathers, strawberry trees, willows and several other species of aromatic plants growing naturally. Outcrops of Syenite rock start to appear along the way and, after crossing the Corte Pequena, one reaches Picota, the second highest spot in the Algarve (774m). A well deserved rest is in order! This is probably one of the most beautiful places in the Algarve.
Heading to Monchique, the Via Algarviana enters a dense and magnificent cork oak forest, with large healthy trees. The beauty here is intoxicating and then, unexpectedly, one reaches the village of Monchique, where the sector ends.
Mapa 1 – Setor 10
Mapa 2 – Setor 10

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