Moinho do Joaquim
GPS route – Walking-in-Algarve – Tavira
8.5 mi. Moderate 193m Varzeas do Vinaigre
Moinho do Joaquim walk is a 8.5 mile moderately difficult circular walking route in the hills of Morenos and Umbria, designed by walking-in-algarve. Moinho do Joaquim walk is a lovely, diverse hike through the valley of Varzeas do Vinagre and over hilltops. The route starts at less than a 6-mile drive away from bed and breakfast Cas al Cubo.
The walk begins at the bridge of Varzeas do Vinagre where the Ribeira de Alportel slowly flows through the wide riverbed. For the first few miles it follows the river through a sparsely inhabited area. In early spring the trees show brightly coloured oranges, limes and lemons. The Nespera are almost ripe too and the fields start to show a wide array of flowers, including the first beautiful wild orchids.
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At the end of the valley, just before the first river crossing, a dry riverbed joins the Alportel River from the west. This is the river Fundo which means “deep” in Portuguese. Make a small detour into this riverbed and you’ll find an old Nora, or water well, that is no longer being used. Bright and clear water hosts frogs, toads, snakes and other reptiles. In the olden days this Nora was probably used to water Hortas or vegetable gardens alongside the river. In The Ice Age, this area was covered with Polar ice and, for the patient searcher, it is possible to find some fossils here.
After returning back to the main track, two river crossings are waiting. Don’t forget to take a towel, otherwise wet shoes are inevitable! The track slowly rises now towards Joaquim’s mill. The panorama widens until it shows a 360º view over the Alportel valley and the valley of Umbria. The highest point is reached after about 4.5 miles at the mill. You can try calling the former owner Joaquim; his phone number is still painted on the ruin. From hereon the track descends into the valley again. After little more than 6 miles you will find Restaurante O Monte Velho which offers a great lunch, if ordered a day in advance. After the restaurant, you still have 2.5 miles through a densely wooded valley behind Corte Vidreiro before returning to your car at the bridge of Varzeas.