The Historical Way Stage
Starting from Cercal, the first part of the route goes through small farms, with hedges, vegetable gardens and orchards. Here, life passes to the rhythm of the sowing, the weed pruning and the crops. From an arid area, populated with eucalyptus, one arrives at a cork oak forest, and can also spot the famous strawberry tree. Although it is a bush, the strawberry tree grows to in a tree-like in shape and size. A true biodiversity hotspot, there are more than 150 different species of plants that appear along the route! About a quarter of these plants are endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, and some only exist on the southwest coast of Portugal. Along the route, you will also catch the scent of aromatic plants, such as lavender, thyme, calamints or rosemary.
On the coastal plateau, wheat fields dominate, where the larks, pipits, corn buntings and warblers cheer up the landscape even in the summer heat. These birds have perfect camouflage essential to escape predators, especially the nesting females. The nest is a geometrically perfect cup, dug into the ground and lined with dried herbs and moss. The lark’s nest is so mimetic that we may be looking at it and we don’t realize that we see it. The kestrels, small birds of prey, fly over the wheat fields in search of these birds and mice as their prey. One feels the presence of the sea in the air along your walk as you breath and take in the blue in the horizon.
Where to start
Cercal do Alentejo
From Largo dos Caeiros (central roundabout), follow the road towards Milfontes.
At the Market square, heading towards the fishing port.
Rules and Recommendations
Refreshments along the way
At km 13, in the locality of Pouca Farinha
Pay attention to the signage as there are intersections with several Circular Routes.
Caretaker of this trail
Herdade da Matinha
Godmother since 2020
« Herdade da Matinha is a haven with 25 years of history and a well demarcated place not only on the map but also in the heart of those who made and are part of this love story for the countryside lifestyle.
In the southwest of Portugal, Rota Vicentina extends itself in a plural landscape, between the sea and the mountains, rich in fauna and flora biodiversity.
Matinha is part of Rota Vicentina, having founded the foundations of this network of walking routes in southwest Portugal, totaling 750km. With the Cercal do Alentejo - Porto Covo section passing through our door, Matinha continues to take care of this route that connects the Historical Way to the Fishermen's Trail, accompanying the hiker on his journey. »