Bensafrim – Vila do Bispo ( 30,1Km)

Technical Information

Starting point: Municipal Market

GPS Coordinates of the starting point: 37º09´20.89´´N 8º44´13.37´´O

Extension: 30,1 km

Difficulty level (Recommended direction): IV – Difficult

Duration: 8 h

Minimum altitude: 22 m

Maximum altitude: 178 m

Accumulated climb: 538 m

Accumulated descent: 480 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.592, 593, 601 and 602, from the Geographic Institute of the Army, with a scale of 1:25000.

Route Description
From the center of Bensafrim the path heads to Southwest, to Barão de São João, one of Lagos’s rural “freguesias”. Here agriculture, mostly in the form of organic farming, is strongly present. The first part of the journey goes through a typical barrocal landscape of dense Mediterranean undergrowth, where Holm oaks, False Pepper trees, Rosemary and Cistus [rockroses], among other shrubs, can be seen. Here you will be pleasantly surprised to find a vast cork oak forest, which provides shade and beauty to this part of the route. The terrain is quite flat, and soon you arrive to Barão de São João. Here, several support services are available: a minimarket, a snack-bar, accommodation and some interesting architectural heritage such as the main church. Here the diversity of cultures is evident, this is where many foreigners coming from different countries have been established over the years and by which they are passionate. After crossing the village, the Via Algarviana heads Northwest, entering the “Perímetro Florestal do Barão de São João” (a local protected forest area). This is a Stone-pine forest and, most likely, the largest in the region, serving as a place of refuge for animals and as a leisure area, where visitors can rest and have a picnic. Here you will intersect one of the twelve complementary Via Algarviana footpaths.
A typical hilly landscape emerges once again around the Via Algarviana. The route goes through a succession of hills and valleys. One should note Vinha Velha valley, a fertile agricultural area, where several agrotouristic activities take place, and Monte de São Lourenço, nearby Pardieiro’s geodesic landmark (144m).
On arriving at Sesmarias one sees a change in the landscape. A vast agricultural plateau now surrounds the track, on which the hiker can find Budens’ fen, a small wetland where several aquatic birds and amphibians can be seen, and where is common to hear the croaking of frogs during the Spring.
Calcareous outcrops, scattered bushes, extensive grazing areas, and agricultural fields mark the approach to the old farming heartland of the Algarve and Costa Vicentina. South of EN125, the hiker enters the “Sudoeste Alentejano and Costa Vicentina” Natural Park, one of the most beautiful protected areas in the country, and soon we reach our destination Vila do Bispo.
It is in this sector that for the first time you will see the sea! Nearby Raposeira you will intersect another complementary Via Algarviana footpath.
At Vila do Bispo the sector ends and it is also here that begins the last day of this great journey into the unknown Algarve.

Map Sector 13 

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