Monchique – Marmelete ( 14,7Km)

Technical Information

Starting point: Monchique´s Tourism Office, Rua Eng. Duarte Pacheco

GPS Coordinates of the starting point: 37º18´59.70´´N 8º33´19.39´´O

Extension: 14,7 km

Difficulty level (Recommended direction): III – Somewhat Difficult

Duration: 4 h

Minimum altitude: 365 m

Maximum altitude: 847 m

Accumulated climb: 696 m

Accumulated descent: 761 m

Water availability: Yes

Groceries: Yes

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.577 and 585, from the Geographic Institute of the Army, with a scale of 1:25000.

Route Description

At “Largo dos Chorões”, you begin to climb during about 3km. From there the journey follows to the “Convento do Desterro” (an old ruined convent), and one of the city’s most well-known historical buildings, which is abandoned. Here you can find too a beautiful cork oak grove. From this point, the track becomes a narrow path, descending into a dense eucalyptus plantation, till it founds, at north the municipal road. After crossing the road, the path goes through more eucalyptus and a typical mountain landscape gradually starts to emerge. Sparse tree coverage, dense bushes and numerous rocky outcrops.
Until Fóia, the path goes along the road, with a very nice panoramic view to the north. The vegetation is dominated by dense Cistus [rockrose] bushes, gorse, junipers and, Pontian rhododendron, which is indigenous to the Serra de Monchique. The antennas at Fóia mark the highest point of Serra de Monchique and the Algarve (902m), although the route does not go through there, the visit is mandatory. From this point, the route takes the hiker to Penedo do Buraco, a remarkable ravine north of Fóia, where sometimes the vegetation becomes dense enough with gorse, and then to a small dam.
The track then goes through a long and beautiful valley, where ancient agricultural terraces can still be seen, and animals graze, an idyllic setting which certainly you will not forget.
The terraced fields are the most frequent in mountain areas (more sloping), resulting from narrow construction levels of arable land, staggered along the slope, based on retaining walls, made of stone, in this case, nepheline syenite, essentially. This is a clear human intervention and changing natural landscape over many years in order to shape local people’s needs today is a valuable historical, cultural and agricultural heritage.
Small country settlements, like Vale da Moita, Barbelote, or Porta da Horta, are near the track which soon reaches Madrinha, where there is a wind generator park. The route goes into a eucalyptus plantation once again, passing Pardieiro, and reaching the EN 1087. The Via Algarviana crosses that road, going straight on towards Picos, a steep hill that can be seen at distance, and with a beautiful view, if you have energy make a small detour to see the “sights”. In this area, cork oak forest dominates the landscape, making it rich in flora and fauna
Marmelete is now quite near. This is one of Monchique’s three “freguesias” and is completely enclosed by the Serra de Monchique. In this locality, similar to others in the Serra, sylviculture (cork and wood exploitation), along with pig farms, apiculture, Medronha brandy production and some horticulture, are the main economic activities. And so the 11th stage of Via Algarviana ends.

Map Sector 11

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