Circular Routes Stage
The Circular Route Amoreira crosses hills covered by vegetation adapted to dry landscape and is rich in aromatic plants. The Mediterranean shrubs on shale soils are followed by pine forests and bushes on sand dunes that include rare species of plants. Along the coastline, schists and greywackes can be found in spectacular forms created by tectonic movements.
Along this course, we can understand the process of survival of the fittest for species living along the dunes, from sea level to the pine forest. By the sea, the conditions are rough – strong wind, intense sun exposure, poor dry soil, sea spray (salty water splashed from the sea). Only true “plant superheroes” are capable of growing under such conditions. Here you can find the Portuguese crowberries, globe amaranths, rosemary, thyme, sage-leaved rock-rose, pink rock-roses, the Lithodora prostrata, the juniper and the yellow restharrow. As you walk inland, the rough coastal conditions subside and the vegetation begins to grow in height until reaching the pine trees, the closest line of defense from the sea for the villages. This army of vegetation takes on the role of softening the most aggressive natural forces of the sea, providing to the coastal populations and their agricultural cultures a milder, more inhabitable environment. In the pinewoods you can also find one of the most numerous populations of a endemic plant species – the Teucrium vicentinum.
The mouth of Aljezur stream is a paradise for birdwatchers. If you are one, it’s worth lingering by the stream mouth, with binoculars in hand. Take special notice of the areas that are exposed during the empty tide; in the marshes, rushes and sandbanks, you can frequently spot shorebirds. In the spring, you can also enjoy the vibrant colors of the bee-eaters.
Other endemic plants of this coast, such as the Linaria ficalhoana, Biscutella vicentina, Diplotaxis vicentina, and Thymus camphoratus, are also present in the dune zone of the mouth of Aljezur stream. From February till April, various species of wild orchids can be observed in the clearings of the bushes.
At the eastern side of the route, worn down by erosion, the soil of the hills is dominated by gum rockroses. This plant’s huge white flowers sometimes have a red tear at the base. For this reason, and because the flowering occurs during Easter, people say that this plant represents the five wounds of Christ that can be seen in the flowers of the rockrose.
Where to start
Praia da Amoreira (Amoreira Beach)
In the parking lot on the north side of the beach.
Rules and Recommendations
Refreshments along the way
On Amoreira beach, there is a cafe-restaurant, open from Easter until October.
Pay attention to the signs marked in white, red and yellow on the Circular Routes that overlap with the Historical Way.
The signs marked yellow and red are for the Circular Routes.