The Historical Way Stage
This long distance path along Southwest Portugal begins at the emblematic Santiago do Cacém Church, a city with a strong connection to the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. Since the Middle Ages pilgrims pass here coming from the Promontorium Sacrum, the mythical destination of this historic journey now recovered through Rota Vicentina.
This section of the trail is dominated by cork trees, the Alentejo’s emblematic species. Vieira Natividade, a well-known Portuguese forester, said: “No other tree gives us so much while requiring so little”. The cork tree is crucial to the local economy and supports an extraordinarily wide-ranging ecosystem. Cork oak forests also support various economic activities such as beekeeping, nature orientated tourism, the collection of edible or medicinal mushrooms (and even mushrooms used in the making of cosmetics), as well as husbandry of local animal breeds such as the famed black pig of the area and several different species of Alentejo cows.
Being an evergreen species, cork oaks provide shelter and food right up the food chain the whole year around. They are home to numerous insects and spiders which provide food for a wealth of different birds and there are over fifty different species that commonly nest in cork forests, among which can be found at least three different species of eagle, the short-toed, booted and Bonelli’s. Other species of wildlife, such as the wildcat, genet or weasel can also be found.
Where to start
Santiago do Cacém
At the Church of Santiago do Cacém, descending towards the Parque Urbano do Rio da Figueira.
On the N120 road, between Cercal and Santiago, on the road to the Campilhas reservoir. 1st crossroads on the dirt track.
Rules and Recommendations
Refreshments along the way
At 12.5 km, making a detour of 1 km, you will reach the village of Paiol.
Accommodation in Vale Seco
Vale Seco has little offer of accommodation in the area. Book in advance.
Santiago do Cacém is a city full of history. Take advantage of your stay to do the Circular Route of Historic Santiago and get to know the main points of interest.
This section overlaps with other routes. Pay attention to the signs.