GPS track – Walking-in-Algarve – Loulé
4.8 mi. Moderate 141m Barranco do Velho
Barranco Velho walk is an averagely difficult 4.8 mile circular track in the Loulé municipality. It passes hill and cork oak woods, eucalyptus and the typical Serra do Caldeirão shrubs. The area is famous for its biodiversity.
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Barranco Velho area offers a choice of tracks and we opt for a short and unofficial trail. We walk this route on a slightly foggy December day and we make the mistake of walking it clockwise. This results in a climb of about a mile, with a gradient that feels like 10%. The advantage of such a climb is again, that we stop several times along the way to take a rest.
On the slope, the view over the surrounding hills to the south is phenomenal. Mountain ridges and valleys with mini-villages sparkle against an occasionally threatening and sometimes suddenly blue sky. In the distance, we can even see the ocean. Part of the Barranco Velho walk is on the asphalt of the road towards Javali. Normally we try to avoid that, but on this quiet stretch, the view is so distracting that it doesn’t really matter.
This part of the Serra do Caldeirão mountain range has been declared an area of great biodiversity. This applies to both flora and fauna. On the short section of Barranco do Velho walk that overlaps the GR13 – Via Algarviana, large billboards with pictures of plants, insects, butterflies etc. offer information. The area is green and abundant. Cork oaks in all their whimsical shapes line the slopes in great numbers.
We take a side trip to Fonte Férrea, an unimaginative water source which a lovely picnic area. We really enjoyed this wals, in spite of the climbing exertion. Even on a sunny day, a part of the route is shaded. That can be useful to remember. and as a reward, at the end of the walk there is a good restaurant: Restaurante A Tia Bia (at Aunt Bea’s).