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A goldmine of biodiversity

As you leave Cercal village, you’ll go through a dry area with eucalyptus and once past this, you’ll come again to the natural forest, where you’ll be able to find more than 150 different species of plant! Enjoy the perfume of wild herbs such as Lavender, Thyme, Calamintha or Rosemary

The coastal plateau

Approaching the coast you will walk on the coastal plain, where the cultivated fields are the scene of the ancestral coexistence of humans and wild animals. Ground nesting birds, nest in the cereal fields. Shortly after birth, chicks fledge just in time to escape the harvest.

Coastal fortifications

Upon arrival on the coast you will find two fortresses: one on the island and one on the shore. These coastal fortifications were the result of need to defend the coast from the pirate attacks coming from Northern Africa

Porto Covo's central square

O Largo Marquês de Pombal, em Porto Covo (século XVIII) é um belo exemplo do urbanismo iluminista, presente na sua forma quadrada, no esquema repetitivo das fachadas e na arquitectura e posição da igreja

Historical Way


 

Cercal do Alentejo » Porto Covo

18 km

 
 
 

This is the section connecting the Historical Way to the Fishermen’s Trail on Rota Vicentina’s northern region, allowing the hiker to feel this area’s strong connection to the ocean, as you approach the coast line and Porto Covo, a picturesque fishermen’s village

 



 
OPEN MAP

Near Cercal the path crosses small, self-sufficient farms surrounded by vegetable gardens and orchards, and the pace of life is slow, following the rhythms of planting, weeding and harvesting. As you leave these small farms you’ll go through a dry area with eucalyptus and once past this you’ll come again to the natural forest of the area, dominated by cork oaks.

Here, Strawberry Trees, grow as tall as trees, and along with this you’ll be able to find more than 150 different species of plant! As far as biodiversity is concerned this is a real goldmine, with approximately 25% of the species here endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. Some of them can only be found in Portugal’s Sw coast. Enjoy the perfume of wild herbs such as Lavender, Thyme, Calamintha or Rosemary.

On the coastal plateau, the scenery is dominated by fields of grain where Larks, Pipits, Corn Buntings and Zitting Cisticolas, seem to be everywhere. These birds are perfectly camouflaged, essential with the constant threat from predators, especially for the females during nesting. Usually the nests are like geometrically perfect bowls, scraped from the earth and lined with dry grasses and mosses. The camouflage of Lark nests is so perfect that you may be looking at one without seeing it. Birds of prey hovering above the fields searching for these birds and small mice include Common Kestrels and Black-winged Kites.

The air is rich with ozone from the nearby ocean even before reaching the coast at the Fort of Ilha do Pessegueiro.

 

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Tips


Refreshments along the way

At km 14.5, on the beach of Ilha do Pessegueiro.


Two paths to choose from

Between Porto Covo and the Fort of the Ilha do Pessegueiro there are two paths to choose. The Historical Way follows the road, because it is a walking and cycling route as well. On foot, you can choose to make this part of the route along the Fishermen’s Trail, following along the beach and cliffs to the village of Porto Covo.

 
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Where to start

Cercal do Alentejo:

From the roundabout of Cercal, head towards the Church, where you will find the route markers.

Porto Covo:

From the market square head towards the fishing harbour.

Fact Sheet

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY
DISTANCE: 18 KM
APPROXIMATE DURATION: 5 HOURS
ACCUMULATED CLIMB: 190 M
ACCUMULATED DESCENT: 306 M
MAXIMUM ALTITUDE: 234 M
MINIMUM ALTITUDE: 7 M
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.
 




 

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