The trail covers the historical centre of Aljezur, revealing the town’s early human occupation, and follows the first stretch of the Aljezur river.
Once navigable, the Aljezur river flows between white houses of Islamic origin and the mosaic of agricultural fields on the fertile wetlands. Alder trees line the verdant riparian gallery. This type of tree is exclusive to permanently wet soils, so it is very rare in the Algarve.
In the confluence of the Aljezur and Areeiro rivers, you can find remnants of a dam, the Escama-peixe, which used to power the Serradinho’s mill. People used to fish, wash their clothes and bathe here. There are insects, amphibians and birds. Once in a while, you can see an otter. The otter population of these Southeast rivers is known to go catch fish at sea.
Until the sixteenth century, naus and caravels (transporting goods between Europe and Africa) docked at Aljezur’s river port. This was here the Shipping House was, where the goods were inspected and port taxes paid.
Aside from the Desembarcadouro’s pier, in the D. Sancho valley (where the biggest ships anchored) there were also mooring points along the town’s riverside. These narrow footpaths gave access to the mooring points.
The Castle shows evidence of having been occupied since the Bronze Age, but it was during the Islamic and Christian periods that it acquired its current configuration. With a privileged view over the Aljezur valleys, it ensured the protection of this important river port.
Of the many legends told about this local stone fountain, the Fountain of Lies, most allude to underground corridors leading into the castle.
The D. Sancho valley is covered in salt marshes and wet pastures, accompanied by riverside gallery vegetation, filled with willows and ash trees, species adapted to water variations. The gallery forms a thick corridor which shelters mammals and provides a nesting place for birds.
Circular trail: yes
Distance: 6,4 Km (including the 3,7 km long Cultural and Environmental Circuit and the 2,7 km long Ribeira de Aljezur Trail)
Average duration: 1h30m to 2h
Cumulative elevation gain: 200 metres D+
Type of path: asphalt and stone. Dirt paths
Start of the trail: 37º 19' 01.17" N 8º 48'11.13" W