Cercal do Alentejo » S. Luís

The Historical Way Stage

20,5 Km

This is Rota Vicentina’s most mountainous section as well as a physically demanding one, with long ascent segments on harsh and irregular terrain. But you will be rewarded with breathtaking views over the plains and the Atlantic ocean, right from the top of the hills.

The flatter areas of this section are liberally peppered with small orchards, vegetable patches and low-intensity farming, while in amongst the undergrowth can be found the remains of the area’s iron and manganese mines which operated here for over 40 years. The old mineshafts are now home to large colonies of several species of bat that work tirelessly, night after night, both as pest controllers and seed spreaders. Every single night each bat eats 50% of its body weight in insects.

The southern part of this section becomes hillier and offers walkers some spectacular scenery, such as Rocha de Água d’Alte, and the breathtaking views of the coastline. Underground streams sometimes bubble up onto the surface into springs that feed small streams, and the flora is unique, dominated by the beautiful and aromatic gum rockrose (Cistus ladanifer). The only blot on the horizon is the view of the ubiquitous eucalyptus plantations, a major cause of several losses to the area, soil in erosion, water due to the tree’s insatiable thirst, natural habitat due to its monoculture, and, of course, countryside employment. However, it is quite interesting to see how the local flora explodes whenever it finds an open, sunny area among the eucalyptus trees. Nature could flourish here, given the chance. After Penedo, you don’t even have to leave the trail to find some very rare species as they grow on the hard and dry soil right beside the path.

Where to start

Cercal do Alentejo
At the roundabout of Cercal do Alentejo (Largo dos Caeiros), follow the road towards Milfontes.

S. Luís
Next to the bus stop on the road N120 which crosses S. Luís, head towards the Church.

Datasheet

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Average

Extension: 20,5KM
Approximate duration: 7hours

Accumulated ascent: 500M
Accumulated descent: 500M

Maximum ALTITUDE: 324M
Minimum ALTITUDE: 60M

RECOMMENDED Season: September till June

Rules and Recommendations

THE CIRCULATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES PUTS WALKERS AT RISK

AVOID DOING THE HISTORICAL WAY ON A MOTOR CYCLE OR IN A JEEP, LOOK INTO OTHER OPTIONS

DO NOT LIGHT FIRES

SEVERAL FARMS AND CATTLE HERDS ARE PROTECTED BY GUARD DOGS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION

BE CAUTIOUS WITH CATTLE. ALTHOUGH GENTLE, THEY DO NOT LIKE STRANGERS APPROACHING THEIR CALVES

THESE TRAILS PASS BY PRIVATE PROPERTY. RESPECT IT AND CLOSE GATES AND FENCES YOU WILL FIND ON THE WAY

THERE ARE VERY FEW SUPPORT SERVICES ALONG THE TRAILS. BRING WATER AND FOOD SUPPLIES WITH YOU.

IN SOME PARTS OF THE TRAILS YOU WILL HAVE TO CROSS PAVED ROADS. BE CAREFUL!

YOU WILL FIND SEVERAL LOCATIONS IDEAL FOR PICNICS. DO NOT, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LEAVE TRASH BEHIND

BE FRIENDLY WITH THE LOCALS, TELL THEM WHY YOU’RE THERE AND SHARE EXPERIENCES.

Tips

A demanding section
As the final part of this section can be a little exhausting, you can shorten it by going directly to S. Luís by the circular route. You will lose, however, the São Domingos mountain range (the highest point of the Historical Way – 329 m).

Warnings

You will not find any refreshments along the way. You should bring water (1.5 L minimum) and enough provisions for a walk that is one of the most demanding of the Rota Vicentina.

Pay attention to the signage as there are intersections with several Circular Routes.

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