The beginning of this circuit crosses recently urbanised areas, but leads to unique and extraordinary locations. The manmade lake, despite its origins, constitutes an interesting habitat for wildlife, requiring a silent approach and the use of binoculars. The reed beds on the edge of the lake are the habitats to watch closely.
But the highlight of this circuit is the journey along the footpath by the coast. The dune vegetation includes aromatic shrubs (such as thyme, amaranth, rosemary, myrtle and French lavender), medicinal and edible plants (such as wild asparagus, rock roses, cytinus hypocistic, crowberries and Genista tridentata) and endemic and rare plants (such as Cistus palhinhae, Thymus camphorates or Linaria ficalhoana).
Nature on this coast always provided abundant resources for man. For some reason there are traces of man dating back to prehistoric times. The list of occupants of this region is extensive and includes Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Arabs.
One of the, still primordial, resources of this coast are the goose barnacles. They are an obligatory part of the gastronomy for those visiting the Sw coast (except from September to December, their protected season). The rocky coast lashed by the waves provides the necessary habitat for this species. Goose barnacles live on the coastline that becomes exposed at low tide, in choppy seas, and on rocks that get the full force of the breaking waves, which means that those who harvest the goose barnacle (perceveiros) do so at great risk.
Refreshments along the way
Around km 7 making a detour of 400 m to the beach of Monte Clérigo.
Stay one more night in Arrifana
Take the opportunity to do a circular walk beginning and ending in Arrifana. To do this, you have to walk all of the Ponta da Atalaia Circuit and return to Arrifana along the Historical Way. This walk totals 21.5 km.
Combine this circuit with the Historical Way
If you are doing the Rota Vicentina from north to south you will be able to take advantage of the Ponta da Atalaia Circuit to extend the section Aljezur » Arrifana, following the markers of the Fishermen’s Trail, starting from km 4.
In the south-north direction start the walk in Arrifana. When you come across the Historical Way continue towards Aljezur.
In both directions it is a 18 km walk.
At km 4 of the Aljezur » Arrifana section of the Historical Way, before reaching Vales (on the road that connects to Aljezur, Arrifana and Vale da Telha).
At the crossroads near the beach of Arrifana, down the road that leads to the ETAR (water treatment plant).