Serra e Montes
Serra e Montes
GPS track – Walking-in-Algarve – Loulé (LLE PR13)
6.5 mi. Moderate 427m Corte Garçia
Serra e Montes walk (LLE PR13) is an averagely difficult 6.5 mile circular GPStrack around the village of Querença in the Serra do Caldeirão. The start is in the village of Corte Garcia, at the Sol e Serra restaurant. This also is a great place to have a nice lunch after you finish your walk. We chose to do this walk counterclockwise. The reason is, that it offers the option to climb the Cerro dos Negros hill (404 meter) and since we wanted to do that, we preferred to do it at the start of the walk and not almost at the end.
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In many places the trail markers have disappeared, therefor it is advisable to use a GPS. We walked straight into the lush valley just across the road from Corte Garçia. After a mile we crossed the first river and since it rained the past weekend we were happy that the water did not run into our shoes! Water is a blessing in Southern Portugal. It makes the environment wonderfully green, fragrant and friendly. From the valley (about 120 meters) Serra e Montes slowly ascends. At one point you walk through a cork oak forest that gave us an almost surreal feeling. The dark undersides of the peeled trunks and the almost ghostly white branches in the glare of the sun made us feel like we were walking through “Hobbit Land”.
The higher you climb, the more beautiful the panorama becomes. On the sunny 17th December that we made this walk, the first Lithodora Diffusas (Heavenly Blue) bloomed again and the bees were busy drinking the flowers of the Medronho (orchard strawberry) trees. We also enjoyed the ripe red tree strawberries along the way ourselves. After about 3 mile you can choose whether or not to make the “excursion” to the top of the Cerro dos Negros. That means an extra 1 mile climb. It is highly rewarding! The view from the top is fantastic, you can see all the way to Rocha da Pena, a flat top striking rock and nature reserve well behind Salir.
Lunch at Sol e Serra
The path back down is steep and slippery. A real challenge, especially when it has just rained. The last kilometers of Serra e Montes walk are flatter. The walk takes you through the sleepy villages of Adega and Corte Garçia where walkers are a nice diversion for the normally sleepy dogs in the gardens. Back in Corte Garcia, we were craving a lunch!