When this route reaches the coast, joining the road that leads to the Fishing Harbor (Porto de Pesca do Forno), it is well worth to see the Islamic village of Ponta do Castelo. Dated from the 12th to 13th centuries, the village had at least 15 dwellings, a drying terrace for fish and three ovens to bake bread, and would only have been used during the milder seasons of the year. It is located in a place so exposed to the wind and humidity of the sea, that it has also been suggested to have been an kind of observatory, perhaps for whaling. Whales were once abundant in the Algarve, with records of hunting up until at least the 14th century. In the archaeological excavations of this town, they found remains of ceramics, hooks, harpoons, weights of fishing net and vestiges of marine fauna, including a whale bone.
The large plateau that leads the hiker to Vila do Bispo contains deep ravines, excavated in the shale by the water lines. One of them, Barranco da Pena Furada, flows into a beautiful little beach of the same name. The beach is a small sandy cove facing northwest, whose rocks hold interesting shapes made by marine erosion.
The natural abundance of game, fish and shellfish has attracted human populations to this coastline since prehistory. South of Barrando da Pena Furada, the trail passes through an archaeological station, currently without surface traces, but where stone artifacts belonging to the Paleolithic were found. The artifacts showed signs of temporary camps that were set up during the milder, more temperate seasons.
During spring, take in the scents, watch the feast of pollinating insects and keep a look out for some rare and endemic plants of this coast: Biscutella vicentina, Diplotaxis vicentina, Hyacinthoides vicentina, Herniaria algarvica, Cistus palhinhae, Teucrium vicentinum, Thymus camphoratus andLinaria algarviana.
In the ravines, it is common to hear the common nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) and the Cetti’s warbler (Cettia cetti). The white stork (Ciconia ciconia), western jackdaw (Corvus monedula), rock dove (Columba livia) and the black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) nest on the cliffs. In the plateau there are partridges (Alectoris rufa), common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), common linnet (Carduelis canabina) and Iberian grey shrikes (Lanius meridionalis).
Where to start
At Largo do Comércio
Vila do Bispo:
At Largo da Igreja
Rules and Recommendations
Pay attention to the sea conditions at Amado and Murração beaches. In case you cannot cross Murração Beach from south to north, take the Circular Route inland.