After magnificent views over Bordeira beach, the beauty of pristine valleys, where one can barely feel the human presence, the picturesque villages of Vilarinha and Pedralva, you will be ready to face the strong winds that are expected with the arrival in Vila do Bispo. A section where is possible to experience the essence of the Vicentina Coast.
The beginning of this section treats us to scenery in which the mountain range spreads as far as the coast, ending up on the beach. Rocks, hillsides, streams or plains in deep valleys, are some of the features that make up the aesthetic landscape and constitute a mosaic of habitats with distinct ecological functions.
En route to the interior, on the way to Vilarinha and Pedralva villages, along the riverbanks, there are tamarisk, willow, ash and Portuguese oaks. On the drier slopes, cork oak, maritime and stone pines, oleaster and olive trees. On the steepest slopes you can admire the natural vegetation, virtually untouched by man, with dense scrub under the cover of cork trees. In this undergrowth arbutus, white heather, scotch heather, viburnum tinus, cistus, lentiscus, wild asparagus, laurel and furze are in abundance.
Next to the wind farm, which you will pass after Pedralva, you can find some temporary ponds. They are perhaps the richest habitat in biodiversity in Sw Portugal, fundamental, for example, for the reproduction of most of our amphibians. They are free from predators of eggs and tadpoles precisely because they are temporary (they dry up in summer), so they are a safe place in which to lay eggs. From autumn to spring, in addition to thousands of tadpoles, the ponds are populated by birds, tortoises, mammals and plants. In April and May the flowers offer a palette of colours: blue forget-me-not, yellow narcissi, lilac hyacinths, purple orchids, white marigolds. In summer, this island of diversity goes into aestivation presenting a deserted and desolate aspect.
When crossing the forest perimeter of Vila do Bispo, go quietly and use binoculars because wildlife sightings are likely, especially birds.
Refreshments along the way
At km 9.5, you’ll pass the village of Pedralva.
Do not miss the Fishermen's Trail
Pontal da Carrapateira Circuit is a circular walk of 10 km with start and finish point at the village of Carrapateira. Stay another day in town and enjoy the beauty of the region, getting to know the place even better.
The path between the villages of Vilarinha and Pedralva can get pretty waterlogged during the winter and periods of heavy rain. On these occasions, you must choose the alternate path, following the the signs you find on the trail.
At the main square, going up towards the Land and Sea Museum.
Vila do Bispo:
At the Church, in the direction of the football field.
During the winter and periods of heavy rain
The path between the villages of Vilarinha and Pedralva, can get pretty waterlogged due to the increased flow of the Carrapateira and Sinceira rivers, that you’ll have to cross for six times.
On these occasions, pay attention to the signs and choose the alternate path, avoiding the section in question.
- Coming from Carrapateira, when reaching the detour information board, at the entrance to Vilarinha village, take the path to the right. Cross the village till you reach the footpath behind the last house and pass the wooden gate. 200 m ahead turn left and go up hill, turning right. At the top, walk for a bit to the right and go down again on the single track to your left, till you find the main trail.
- From Pedralva, when reaching the warning sign on the side of the road, go up the hill along the footpath on your left. At the top, walk for a bit to the right and go down again on a single track to your left, till you reach Vilarinha. Follow the red arrows.