Cruzes, a panoramic walk is a GPS route from B&B Cas al Cubo Tavira
Cruzes, the panoramic walk, is a truly amazing route of around seven miles. It starts three miles from bed and breakfast Cas al Cubo and covers almost all aspects of the hinterland of the Algarve. The landscape around Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo never ceases to surprise us. During our different walks in the area around our bed and breakfast, we see so many different kinds of nature that it never bores.
Cruzes crosses rivers, valleys, passes hilltops and small, no longer inhabited villages and as a bonus, it offers fantastic panoramic views of the East-Algarvian coast. We make this walk on a clouded January day.
Cruzes starts at the small village of Varzéas do Vinagre, just a ten-minute drive from the bed and breakfast. It´s not an “official” walk from the Tavira council, so it´s not signposted. At Varzeas, we cross the river and walk into a green valley. The huge wood fire that raged through the area in 2012 has offered a completely new view of the rounded shape of the surrounding hills, no longer covered with trees, but full of green shrubs and bushes now. Further down the valley, where the hot arms of the fire haven´t reached, the lush, almost tropical atmosphere of the old plants and trees is still fully intact. It gives an excellent impression of the way the whole valley must have been in the past. The first 5 miles of the walk is an (almost) unnoticed climb uphill through a damp valley and a pine forest.
Cruzes itself is the highest point of the walk. It is an old and meanwhile uninhibited farmhouse that bore the name for a whole village, at a height of about 420 meters above sea level. (Varzéas is situated about 120 meters above sea level.) In the garden of the deserted farmhouse (it is for sale, so maybe an interested party has meanwhile bought it…) some orange trees invited us to taste the ripe spring fruits. It is a lovely place so we sat down, rested a bit and let the surrounding nature and the sound of the wind blow away our hurry and worries.
From this moment on, we entered the second part of the walk. The reward for the long climb lay in the beautiful panoramic views that the rim of the hills offers. The path follows the tops of the hills for a while, before we started descending into the valley. A clear path, in the spring clad with flowers like cistus, wild narcis, small chrysanthemum, campanula, heavenly blue and much more, spread their odour and show their colours. For the sharp eye, and in a good year, even many kinds of wild orchids can be discovered in the fields.
If you start early, you can be back just in time for a great lunch at Restaurante O Monte Velho, a little further down the valley. Let us know on beforehand however, because we´ll have to order you a table!