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GPS route -Walking in Algarve – Tavira

 7.4 mi.  Moderate   342m Varzeas do Vinaigre

​Cruzes is a truly amazing walk of around 7 miles.  It starts 3 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 the various walks in our area, we see so many different kinds of nature that we are never bored

Cruzes crosses rivers, valleys; passes hilltops and small uninhabited villages and as a bonus, it offers fantastic panoramic views of the East Algarvian coast.  We created and tested this walk on a cloudy January day.

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Cruzes starts at the small village of Varzeas do Vinagre, just a 10 minute drive from the B&B.  It’s not an “official” walk from Tavira council, so it’s not sign posted.  At Varzeas, we cross the river and walk into a green valley.  The huge wild fire that raged through the area in 2112 gives a completely new view of the rounded shape of the surrounding hills, no longer covered in trees but now full of  green shrubs and bushes. Further down the valley, which the heat of the fire didn’t reach, the lush, almost tropical atmosphere of the old plants and trees is still intact. It gives an excellent impression of  the way the whole valley was in the past. The first 5 miles of the walk is an almost unnoticed climb  through a damp valley and pine forest.

Cruzes itself is the highest point of the walk.  It is an old and uninhabited farmhouse, which bore the name for a whole village,  that stands at a height of about 420 metres above sea level.  Varzeas is situated about 120 metres above sea level.  In the garden of the deserted farmhouse some orange trees invited us to taste the ripe Spring fruits.  The farmhouse was for sale so maybe an interested party has meanwhile bought it!  It is a really lovely place so we sat and rested a bit and let the surrounding nature and sound of the wind blow away any cares and worries we may have had.

From this moment on, we enter the second part of the walk. The reward for the long climb lies in the beautiful panoramic views offered by the rim of the hills.  The path follows the tops of the hills for a while before descending into the valley.  A clear path is seen, which in Spring is clad with flowers like cistus, wild narcis, small chrysanthemum and campanula, heavenly blue and many more that spread their scent and show their colours; for the sharp eyed, and in a good year, 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.  You need to book your in advance.

Download file: CAC06 - Cruzes.gpx

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