Blog | 2 May 2022

THE MOUNTAIN AND ITS ENCHANTMENTS

Blog
2 May 2022

THE MOUNTAIN AND ITS ENCHANTMENTS

The Algarve is not only known for its beaches, but also for a strong liquor called “Firewater” produced in Monchique. Despite being famous for its “Firewater” or even for its honey liquor, the Algarvian countryside is also a good place for bird watching.

There is the case of Espinhaço de Cão Mountain where you can be in contact with nature and at the same time observe the diverse species of birds.

Although Monchique Mountain is considered the highest in the Algarve, it is not the most extensive, being thus surpassed by Caldeirão Mountain, which covers 5 municipalities and through which the mythical national road 2 passes.

Another place of great importance is Rocha da Pena, the place where our tours pass.

Monchique Mountain

Located close to the sea, Monchique Mountain is the highest mountain in the Algarve and has a humid subtropical climate, making the mountains a place full of life, so that it is nicknamed “the Garden of the Algarve”, having a varied vegetation from the Monchique oak and the adelfeira, as well as some rare species, for example, the chestnut tree, the cerquinho oak, or even the oak. And  it is still a place for arbutus trees that grow throughout the mountain, being used for the production of “firewater” or honey liquor.

The highest point is called Fóia (902 m altitude), being the best place where you can see the Atlantic Ocean, especially on days when there is no fog.

Despite the natural wonders the Monchique Mountain offers, what most attracts those who visit this mountain are the thermal baths created during the Roman Empire, because there are those who say that it has medicinal effects.


Espinhaço de Cão Mountain

The Espinhaço de Cão Mountain, is the smallest of the three mountains in the Algarve, not exceeding 297 meters in altitude, being a place with a huge diversity of birds, both in winter and in spring.

Due to the mountain range having a huge diversity of birds, it is often chosen for activities, such as Birdwatching.

Caldeirão Mountain

The Caldeirão Mountain is the largest mountain range in the Algarve, it is by this mountain that the border between the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo is delimited.

The mountain has a unique landscape, as its hills are cut by the dense hydrographic system, having most of the time temporary water courses.

Despite its rugged terrain,it is a good place for more radical and adventure activities, such as quad biking, and it is through this mountain range that the mythical national road 2 passes.

Its vegetation is influenced by climatic variations, and in the most western areas of the mountain the predominant tree is the cork oak and in the areas closer to the Guadiana valley, the holm oak predominates.

In the agricultural lands of the mountains, the predominant rainfed trees are the almond, carob and olive trees. Regarding fruit trees, the predominant ones are orange and loquat. Despite the different types of trees, it should be noted that it was the Arab people who introduced the almond and orange trees.


Rocha da Pena

Rocha da Pena (479 m altitude) located near the Serra do Caldeirão, is named for being one of the elevations of the Barrocal Algarvio. This is located in the municipality of Loulé, more specifically in the parishes of Salir and Benafim.

It contains a limestone cornice about 50 meters high and the plateau where it is present is approximately 2 km long. The erosion of water on the limestone gave rise to karst formations, such as the Algar dos Mouros cave. Legend has it that this cave was a place of refuge for the Moors after the conquest of Salir by the troops of Sir Paio Peres Correia.

Its importance at a geological, archaeological, environmental and landscape level, led Rocha da Pena to have the status of Local Protected Landscape.

One of the treasures of the Protected Landscape is the great diversity of fauna and flora. Having thus more than 500 species (Flora), these being endemic, medicinal and aromatic, for example, the carob tree, the wild olive, the holm oak, the doronicum tournefortii, the narcissus calcicola and the bellevalia hackelii.

In terms of fauna, Rocha da Pena has about 122 species, most of which are resident, but it is also possible to find migratory, wintering, nesting and summer birds, such as the griffon vulture, booted eagle, Bonelli's eagle, the common buteo, the eagle owl, the hawk, the ogea and the Egyptian vulture.

In terms of mammals, the ones that stand out are the wild rabbit, the wild boar, the fox, the genet, the mongoose, the teddy bat and the little mouse bat, the latter two being on the verge of extinction.

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