S. Martinho das Amoreiras

Circular Routes Stage

8 / 12.5 Km

This route is the most inland of Rota Vicentina and where its highest peak can be found, in Moinho da Serra. You will hike through the picturesque village of S. Martinho das Amoreiras, over valleys where fresh springs provide water throughout the year, soft wavy fields are home to the slowly grazing cattle, and forest filled hillsides offer breathtaking landscapes.

Currently S. Martinho das Amoreiras has just over 1000 inhabitants, who work mainly in forestry, farming and livestock raising. There are some high quality, hand crafted goods that are produced in this parish, like honey, the medronho spirit and olive oil. Many even say that the traditional bread of S. Martinho is the best in Alentejo.

In the transition from the village to the countryside, small vegetable gardens and orchards are flanked by old stonewalls and streams shaped by ancient stone ditches. In the backwaters, the salamanders and newts reproduce. Birds such as jays, azure-winged magpies, carrion crows, cuckoos, woodpeckers, warblers, european stonechats, bee-eaters, partridges and chaffinches, abound in the hedges of laurel, quince, willow and fig. Ancestral trees such as pines, cork oaks, cedars and eucalyptus are also present, and are the perfect place for the nest of a very special bird of prey: the Bonelli’s eagle. With luck, you may spot it on the route, the most likely place being by the mill. The traces of wild boar are also ubiquitous along this special trail.

Especially abundant on this route is the green-lavender (Lavandula viridis), rarer than the purple-flowered lavender (Lavandula stoechas). The spring brings out the calamints, gum rockrose, shrubby everlasting (curry plant), as well as medicinal plants such aPterospartum tridentatum, Lithodora prostrata, lady’s glove and Algerian tea. Other plants that provide great color to the fields are the dwarf furze, Cynara algarviensis (endemic to the southwestern Iberian Peninsula), johnny jump, sage-leaved rock-rose, purple phlomis,Aristolochia paucinervis, sea squill, hyacinth, Anarrhinum bellidifolium and the small lilies.

This territory has been inhabited since prehistoric times, which can be seen in the archaeological site, the Pardieiro Necropolis, 7 km southwest of S. Martinho. This site reveals several characteristics of the community that lived here 2500 years ago (1st Iron Age). Near the eleven tombs of the necropolis were epigraphic steles, or stone slabs with inscriptions, on the southwest script. This was the first form of alphabetic writing on the Iberian Peninsula.

Three population centers, Amoreiras, S. Martinho and Conqueiros, fought for centuries over the seat of the parish, but it was S. Martinho who won the dispute, with the mother church being built there on the 18th century, under the auspices of the Order of Santiago de Espada, and inspired by the baroque, rococo and neoclassical styles.

Where to start

S. Martinho das Amoreiras
In the parking lot next to the Junta de Freguesia.

Datasheet

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Easy / Average

Extension: 8 / 12.5KM
Approximate duration: 3 h / 5 hhours

Accumulated ascent: M
Accumulated descent: 250 / 450M

Maximum ALTITUDE: 353M
Minimum ALTITUDE: 190M

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

Do not forget to visit the bakery, famous for its wood-fired bread, where the wood comes from the gum rockrose bushes.

Moreover, take the opportunity to enjoy the alcôncoras – the famous sweets from Amoreiras!

Warnings

This course has two options, be aware of the markings for each one.

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