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Walking from Lagos to Burgau – Portugal

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Walking from Lagos to Burgau – Portugal

A 16km’s (10mi) long trail that connects Lagos with Burgau always walking along the coast, without much gain in altitude, is an excellent and relaxed walk.

Walking along the Algarve coastal line is one of many fine activities you can do.

The Algarve’s coast, at the southern area of Portugal, is composed by a very compact yellow sandy rock.

This sand, with such warm color, matches perfectly with the remaining colors.

It is like a painting where the artist want’s to transport us to a summer setting but with such perfection, only Nature can achieve.

This walk is a 16km’s (10mi) long trail connecting Lagos with Burgau.

It goes always along the coast, without much gain in altitude, is an excellent and relaxed walk.

Besides the beautiful sea landscape, there are other points of interest in this walk:
– Farol da Ponta da Piedade (Ponta da Piedade’s lighthouse);
– Caves by the sea level near the lighthouse
– Romans ruins at Luz Beach;
– Overview of the sea and cliffs.

The suggested length of the trail is not compulsory, you can do a shorter trail.

There are many possibilities where to start/end the trail.

One of the places you pass when doing this walk is Praia da Luz.

Praia da Luz is a perfect place to relax for a while. Is where you will find the Roman ruins.

There are many bares and restaurants to have a beer or a snack.

If you are walking from Burgau to Lagos, your last possibility for a nice stop before the lighthouse is at Porto de Mós Beach.

Like many other beach areas, Porto de Mós Beach has a couple of restaurants/bars where you can chill out.

And, in the same way, just before arriving at Lagos you can visit the Ponta da Piedade lighthouse area.

Although is a touristic attraction, is quite iconic and you will find many references in touristic publications about this place.

From here you can take photos that will dive a sense of the place in your photo album.

Something else totally different but worth to notice: you will not find many Portuguese people walking around.

Why?

Well, walking is not YET the “thing” around here.

Have a nice walk.

David Monteiro

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Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 4/4) – Portugal

Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 4/4) – Portugal

Sesimbra is one of the jewels of this quadrant

South/West Quadrant

When I turn to the quadrant W/S and face down, exactly where we will have to go to get out of here, I see some crosses on the silhouette of the hills to the sea. They belong to the Arrábida Convent complex.

By their modesty and quiet life, isolation and description, this convent always has an aura of mystery around it. Looking at the road we see a complex of old buildings and, further up, across the hills, a set of shrines and crosses that give us the feeling of being meditation cells of the monks of the convent.

The construction of the Arrábida Convent dates back to the 16th century and today covers four structures: the Old Convent, the New Convent, the garden and the Bom Jesus sanctuary.

A local curiosity refers to the existence of a chapel prior to the construction of the convent and it was a place of pilgrimages. A long time ago, four of the friars who came to join the convent, lived for two years in excavated cells … hard life.

Toward the West, we can’t see the village of Sesimbra because is in between two hills. Sesimbra is a small fishing village with a very busy port and also has a beach that is filled with swimmers during the summer. Summer nights in Sesimbra are animated by the numerous restaurants that serve fish dishes grilled on barbecues in the middle of the streets. 

Continuing West we have the Cape Espichel, whose sea view is also fabulous and is an excellent spot for night photography on Full Moon days.

Maybe it’s time to walk down … This is a great walk that I will repeat whenever I can, perhaps in the gallery of the most emblematic walks in Portugal.

One day I will walk up here to stay overnight and see the sunrise.

David Monteiro

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Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 3/4) – Portugal

Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 3/4) – Portugal

Facing Lisbon from the hilltop.​

North/West Quadrant

In this quadrant, you can see Lisbon and from the city, I can only distinguish little more than a jungle of houses that seem to be glued to the Sintra Hills, is the effect of a view from a far distance because, in reality, Sintra is a 30 minutes drive from Lisbon.

In this direction I can see many vineyards and, although I have difficulty to distinguish them, I know that two wine producers that are considered to be in the gallery of the best wine producers in Portugal: Quinta da Bacalhôa and José Maria da Fonseca.

Somewhere there you can find Moscatel grapes used for the production of the famous wine “Moscatel de Setúbal”. The “Moscatel de Setúbal” wine is considered the best in Moscatel in the world. “Moscatel de Setúbal” wine is a fortified wine of amber color, which I love.

Watch this 2 minutes and 30 seconds funny and interesting video that pretty much explains the “Moscatel de Setúbal”.

In the small village of Azeitão one can also find two other extraordinary products: Azeitão cheese and pies of Azeitão (Tortas de Azeitão).

The cheese of Azeitão is a small cheese made with sheep’s milk, yellow-colored and very soft, buttery, excellent for spreading on toast.

Tortas de Azeitão is a small cake rolled up, made from flour and eggs, and is delicious.

to be continued …

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Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 2/4) – Portugal

Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 2/4) – Portugal

At the Formosinho hilltop.​

North/East Quadrant

When I turn on eastbound I’m in the direction of Setúbal, despite not being able to see the city I can see the end of its industrial belt which creates me mixed feelings. In my mind is contradictory the need for development with the awareness of a natural environment conservation of a diversified place as the river Sado estuary.

Looking in the direction of Alcochete, almost facing the north side, I try to see the Ribatejo plain areas but I can’t any longer distinguish the settlements.

Setúbal, where our famous 18th and 19th-century writer Bocage was born and to whom is attributed a lot of anecdotes and naughty sayings.

to be continued …

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Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 1/4) – Portugal

Arrabida Natural Park, a special walk (part 1/4) – Portugal

I’m at the top of the Arrábida Hills. Around me a breathtaking view makes me wonder why don’t I come here more often … I love this spot.

The look on my teammates faces is tells me they can’t find words to express themselves. They are expressing fragmented and disconnected ideas, is amazing.

We are at the summit of the Arrábida Hills. Is called Formosinho, has 501 m high and is the highest point of the Setúbal’s District.

For many mountaineers reaching the mountains’s summits is an end in itself. I do not feel that call.

For me reaching the summit is interesting, sure is, but I tend to value more the all journey, the going up and the returning from as a all.

This is not a difficult summit to climb neither represents a true challenge in any way. So, what on Earth make’s it so interesting?

The type of view we can have from here is so diverse and so full of details that there are not many summits like this, is one of a kind.

From here we see the sea, the mountains, other small ridges, the cropland with vineyards, the fruit tree fields, the urban sites … is so diverse that for each side we turn we have a unique setting. 

The vision of the sea is the one that attracts me the most, there seems to be an endless beach. I fell in love by this 360-degree vision. 

For ease of explanation, in the map I marked the Formosinho summit with a red dot and I divided the post in the 4 quadrants of a compass. In counterclockwise I will write about each quadrant at a time.

South/East Quadrant

The Tróia peninsula dominates the landscape, a long tongue of sand headed by some buildings I know to be with summer apartments. More into the ocean, in front of the “head” of this peninsula, there is a large sand outer ring that during the low tide it turns to an immense beach.

On the river Sado side, I imagine the dolphins I can see when I’m there. I know their names, which gives me a pleasant sensation of familiarity.

Tróia has a quite interesting Roman heritage I will explore in a dedicated post.

From Setúbal to Tróia there’s a ferry that crosses the river. I always liked this crossing, is an excellent boat trip.

From the top I can see some green dots moving on the river, are the new ferries crossing the river.

Here I cannot see all of the river Sado estuary but to by seeing this river mouth I remember some hidden places in the estuary which are authentic treasures, such as the archaeological station of Abul with its Phoenician heritage.

In this quadrant by the sea is where you will find the most impressive beach area of the surroundings. Portinho da Arrábida, Figueirinha and Galapos are really the best beaches around … crystal clear waters, fabulous.

to be continued …

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Visiting Portugal – where to go, what to visit?

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Visiting Portugal – where to go, what to visit?

Where to go, what to do when visiting Portugal?

Where to go, what to do when visiting Portugal, must be the question I answer more often in this context.

Of course, the answer will always depend on who is asking. Not everyone enjoys doing the same things.

Not only will depend on individual preferences but also depends on the time and money you have available to spend in this country.

My answer could be very different for those who want to visit Portugal for walking vacations or for those who want to spend some time in Portugal relaxing on the beach or visiting museums.

However, I will try to simplify the idea and try to draw a plan to the visitor who wants to spend some time in Portugal, having active vacations but not necessarily for walking in the countryside.

Will be a plan for a visitor who values visiting areas with some History, values tasting the Portuguese cuisine and local wines, and is also interested in our cultural differences.

I will also consider this visitor prefers to see the sites in a more relaxing way rather than jumping from site to site in a frenetic race … more quality instead of quantity.

In relation to the time length, I will consider two possibilities: 7 days and 14 days.

For both options, I find it fascinating to do the trip from North to South, in which the city of arrival will be Porto and Lisbon the departure city where there are more flight connections with the rest of the world.

7 days: 2-Porto; 1-Guimarães; 1-Fátima/Óbidos; 2-Lisbon; 1-Sintra/Cascais

14 days: 2-Porto; 1-Guimarães; 1-Viana do Castelo; 1-Pinhão (Douro Valley); 2-Coimbra/Fatima/Óbidos; 3-Lisbon; 2-Évora and surroundings; 1-Sintra/Cascais; 1-Setúbal/Tróia/Arrábida

Each of these sites has a remarkable History, different customs, and typical gastronomy and wines to accompany and I will write about these places on this blog.

Join me to tour in Portugal.

David Monteiro

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Group travels are like wine and friends

Our shared life experiences, like those we may have during group travels, have a special place in our hearts, they have their own little house there.

They are so special that to access to those memories in full we will need the set of keys we own together with those folks we shared the moments.

We can even remember those moments by ourselves, revive all the details in the comfort of our homes, post the pictures in a blog or tell about those magnificent adventures to friends that will listen all the words we will say … but it will never be the same, there will be always something missing.

However it only takes a couple of seconds after joining our adventure buddies and the keys will open all the doors of the house and the sun will fulfill our hearts with joy and laughter.

A good wine will always be a good wine but it gets much better when shared with friends.

Carpe diem.

David Monteiro

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Walking and photographing in Picos da Europa – Spain

Walking and photographing in Picos da Europa - Spain

It truly pleases me to write about walks that are usually not mentioned in travel books or magazines. It’s like sharing a small world I found.

Mentions about the walk from Bulnes until Sotres are rare and those I find once in a while do not say much.

This is a walk for photographers. It gives us three opportunities of getting impressive pictures and also be there at the perfect hours of the day … well … the weather conditions are a different matter, please be aware that this happens in a mountain environment so the weather can be a challenge to take into account.

About photography, one thing is to have the opportunity for a shot something else is to actually turn it into reality. For me is still a work in progress, fortunately, some of my guests were able to capture amazing pictures.

The trail goes from “Bulnes la villa” until Sotres, has 9,5 Km with a gain of 850 m in altitude and a 450 m of descent. Not too difficult, moderate level, perfect for photographers.

1st photograph – Overnight in Bulnes to captures the lights of the villages when they are turned on in the evening. You will have sunlight while having the lights of the villages. Be quick because the sunlight will go away quite fast due to the high mountains surrounding the village.

2nd photograph – At the end of the ascending part of the trail, you will see the majestic Naranjo de Bulnes at your right … can’t miss it, it’s huge … an impressive limestone massif with 2519 m high. The light is usually at it’s best around midday due to the mountain “verticality”.

3rd photograph – Just before starting the steep descent towards Sotres you will see a valley with quite a few constructions that you will understand that they are not for humans. In fact, they were built to protect the cattle during bad weather moments. The place is called Moyeyeres, is an “invernadero”. The best view is from far … but that is just my point of view.

I leave you with my suggestions and I will keep looking for the right moment … not too easy because I’m usually here with guests (not my moment) but I will have come here just to capture the moments.

Have fun, I know I will 🙂

David Monteiro

Location: Bulnes, Spain

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Walking from Fuenterrabia to San Sebastian – Spain

Walking from Fuenterrabia/Hondarribia to San Sebastian/Donostia, Basque Country, Spain.

I loooove to walk … that is obvious … however is not an absolute truth because there are walks I love more than others and some walk I hope not have to do them.

Each walk has its charm but for a walk to enter into my favorites gallery the walk has to have something special like a story, History, superb views, extraordinary places or, something less objective, has to have that je ne sais quoi that will make it special.

The Spanish Basque Country is widely known by its gastronomy and there there is also a quite long and beautiful coastal line.

When I first started to analyze the trail from Hondarribia (Fuenterrabia in Spanish) to Donostia (San Sebastian in Spanish) I didn’t know what to expect so I was open to whatever I could find.

Hondarribia is a Spanish Basque village at the border with Hendaye a French Basque village and, in between these two Basque villages, you can find the river Bidasoa. Is a village full of life where you will find a lot of bars with amazing pintxos.

There’s a trail here that will take you directly do Donostia, always along the Cantabric coast and that was the trail I first thought about doing. Has 30 Km with 1400 m of elevation gain, challenging but not too difficult.

In the meantime, I realized that not too far from the trail there was quite a good number of elements that are quite interesting to visit while doing the walk and that could increase the charm of the walk, decrease the length, reduce the elevation gain a little bit and increase the charm … looks like a good deal.

The trail ended up having 27 Km with 1100 m of elevation gain. Is still a challenging walk but with added value. Not too bad, I knew that some of my clients would love to do it.

Now I know that I can either do the trail in one shoot or split it in two wonderful walking days.

During the trail you can visit/see:

And, before crossing Donibane de Pasaia you can have lunch in a wonderful terrace by the river Oiartzun mouth looking to the sea.

Arriving to Donostia will be time to have a deserved bath and a nice meal. One thing that you will find in abundance in Donostia is restaurants where you have a superb dinner.

I already did this walk with clients and they loved everything. For sure I will repeat it.

Enjoy yourself.

David Monteiro

Location: San Sebastian, Spain

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Walking on the Lousã’s aqueduct – Portugal

A hidden aqueduct in the well preserved valley is a jewel and you can find that quite close to Lousã.

Wild horses in Portugal at Gerês National Park.

Water was always one of the most precious resources in the world and around here that not different.

In this case water’s value shows itself by the power it has to produce electricity with its weight when falling from a certain height … simple. But, to have that in this narrow steep valley, a small aqueduct was built to conduct the water along the valley keeping the altitude as much as possible until the right place.

The result was a beautiful two miles aqueduct in the middle of the valley where one can walk.

How to access to the aqueduct? It’s not too easy but I can think about to nice ways to do it:

  1. Starting from Senhora da Piedade (Lousã) it’s possible to find a single trail that will take us to a small village called Talasnal. At this village we can taste a small cake called Talasnico e find the trail down to the aqueduct walking towards down the valley. The trail will last for (+/-) 150m and after that it will be walking across the bushes. Always walking down you can not miss the aqueduct and after finding it is to follow it until the trail that will take us back to the starting point.
  2. There is an entrance to the aqueduct from the EN236 road at N40° 05.470′ W8° 12.814′. From Lousã you can take a cab until the spot, find the aqueduct and walk back.

Have fun.

David Monteiro

Location: Lousã, Portugal