Entre Vales Fontes e Memorias da Serra do Caldeirao
GPS track – Walking-in-Algarve – São Brás de Alportel (SBA PR2)
13.2 mi. Moderate 149m Parizes
Parizes walk is officially called: ‘Entre Vales, Fontes en Mémorias da Serra do Caldeirão’ (SBA PR2) and it starts in the village of Parizes, northeast of São Brás de Alportel. It is a real mountain walk through the hills and valleys of the Serra do Caldeirão. You can choose to walk the whole track of more then 13 mile at once, but the track can also be divided in two equal parts. It is absolutely one of our favourite walks. It has some strenuous ascends and some beautiful descents which make the effort more then worthwhile!
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Parizes walk is characterised by enormous variety in landscapes and because a major part of the route follows the crests of the Serra do Caldeirão, the views are breathtaking. At 450 meters above sea level, the panorama of the surrounding hilltops, valleys is indescribable. You really feel alone in the world. Between 370 and 280 million years ago, this area was submerged so that nowadays the schist sometimes still contains remains of primal organisms.
In 2012, a huge wildfire raged that reduced 20,000 hectares of nature reserve to ashes. The area around Parizes has been badly affected. However, the resilience of that same nature is also abundantly clear. Actually, such a fire is not always bad for nature. The burnt cork trees grow fresh green leaves again and only the black trunks remind of the inferno. The Medronho trees (orchard strawberry) are lush and the river valleys are sparkling and green.
The inhabitants of the sea region are only slowly entering the 21st century, although life in Parizes still is largely like it was 100 years ago. The most important product of the region is cork and the end product can be found on bottles of Portuguese quality wines and ports. Home-made Aguardente (a type of Portuguese gin) that is distilled at home from the fruits of the Medronho tree still prevails in the houses here. Whether you walk the short or the long route: Parizes is one of the recommendations of this site. Of course the GPS tracks from both options are available.
Restaurants are not available on the way, so bring your own picknick lunch!