The trail runs through the mountain village of Monchique and the surrounding landscape to the north, allowing you to see protected trees, oak groves typical of the mountains, and the Barranco dos Pisões. The entire trail is particularly interesting for observing the wildlife of the wooded areas and the birdlife in particular, with special emphasis on species such as the European green woodpecker, the Eurasian wren, the short-toed treecreeper, the Eurasian jay, or the Eurasian blue tit, among many others.
Right outside of Monchique stands the largest specimen of Norfolk pine in the village, a protected tree 150 years old and 44m tall. The surrounding slopes are covered in oak groves alternating with vegetable gardens and orchards where you can see apple trees and imposing cherry and chestnut trees.
After crossing a forest of eucalyptus, the groves of cork oak and strawberry trees thicken, accompanied by beds of heath and ferns, and the road slopes down to Barranco dos Pisões. This stream is the main tributary of the Ribeira de Seixe, a river born in Monchique which demarcates part of the border between the Algarve and the Alentejo, and flows into Odeceixe.
Along the ravine, the sound of flowing water is a constant presence, and the vegetation becomes luxuriant. The riparian gallery is full and exuberant, forming a dense curtain of alders, ashes and willows. A superb sycamore guards the entrance to the leisure area; this protected tree is 150 years old and 41m tall. Here you’ll find the Poucochinho Mill; initially built to treat wool using the pisão (a water engine with a wooden hammer that the water raises and drops on cloth), it was later converted to grain milling.
You will cross copses of eucalyptus, cork oak groves and the typical mountainous terraces until you reach the Barranco do Carvalho. Here, among alders, willows and chestnut trees, there is a protected forest of holly, an endangered and very rare plant in southern Portugal.
The Convent of Our Lady of Desterro, founded in 1631, stands over Monchique, enveloped by a shaded oak forest. The Franciscan friars who lived here influenced the imagination of the population, and the monument is much visited in spite of its poor state of conservation. In this spot, the view stretches over the village and surrounding hills.
Circular trail: yes
Distance: 9,4 km
Average duration: 3h
Cumulative elevation gain: 485 metres D+
Type of path: dirt paths and road
Start of the trail: 37º 19' 04.65'' N 8º 33' 23.67'' W