The trail crosses the north slope of the mountain range, and will allow you to visit the most emblematic waterfalls of Monchique and the flora and fauna associated with this exceptional microclimate in the Algarve.
The path begins in Fóia, where you can observe the chaos of syenite blocks, the characteristic landscape of Monchique’s igneous massif. Here, the vegetation is low; mainly gorses and heathers, with some plants exclusive to the mountain range: the dwarf gorse, the Paeonia broteri, the common rhododendron and the delicate mountain sandwort.
The Waterfall of Penedo do Buraco flows only during the rainy season; it is a temporary stream that falls from a huge, practically inaccessible boulder, where timid birds nest. Around the waterfall are chestnut trees wrapped in brambles and ferns and, further ahead, terraces with typical mountain houses and subsistence garden.
After a long climb down through eucalyptus trees, you’ll come to the Chilrão Waterfall. This is one of the headwaters of Ribeira da Cerca that runs to the west, until it empties into the beach of Amoreira (Aljezur). The rocky wall of the waterfall is dark (hornfels) and its surroundings become greener due to the proximity of the water.
A forest path climbs towards the Barbelote Waterfall, the most imposing waterfall in the whole trail. The water rushes from a high wall of fractured blocks of rock, framed by lush vegetation. The surrounding slope is lined with cork oaks and lush strawberry trees.
This vast area of ancient terraces is a grazing site for goats and cows, though there are also small vegetable gardens and fruit trees. Looking to the west, the open horizon reveals the succession of high hills and deep valleys of Monchique, where, in the humid ravines, grow oaks that are rare in the South, such as the Portuguese oak, the Lusitanian oak, and the icon of the area, the Algerian oak.
Circular trail: yes, including a linear stretch of about 1,5 km
Distance: 17,6 km
Average duration: 5h
Cumulative elevation gain: 787 metres D+
Type of path: dirt paths and asphalt road
Start of the trail: 37º 18' 56.05'' N 8º 35' 31.17'' W