The 3rd International Walking Week will take place at the end of this year, from Friday, 27 December to Monday, 30 December. This event will support the development of ECO123’s new botanical garden.
On the mushrooms and truffles walk, we will forage for, collect and learn to recognise various mushrooms and truffles. The route will be dictated by the weather conditions, depending on how much rainfall we have had in the area. Will we unearth chanterelles, parasol mushrooms, boletus mushrooms, morels, elfin saddles, honey fungus, oyster mushrooms, milk caps or agaricus mushrooms? Come along and find out!
Distance: 8 km; Difficulty: moderate.
Indigenous tree species of the Algarve: As we pass by centuries-old olive-trees, we will taste the region’s pure olive-oil and learn a little about how the olives are conserved. We will end up at the Botanical Gardens of Monchique, where there will be an introduction to the secrets of the forest — this diverse and mysterious world of trees, plants, fruits and seeds, each with its own unique characteristics. In the new botanical garden, each participant can choose a tree to plant in an allocated space. All of the necessary tools will be available on the day.
Distance: 6 km; Difficulty: easy.
Edible and medicinal plants are found along this route up the mountain side. We will look for these plants, and talk about how they can be prepared, used and cultivated in a garden. This walk will take about three to four hours, as the route is between four and six kilometres in length. You’ll be surprised by the diversity of species that we encounter, as we practise identifying the plants and reactivate our sense of smell. These plants grow naturally in this area, and can help us maintain our physical and spiritual health.
Distance: 6 km; Difficulty: easy.
On a walk along the enchanted trail, we will leave civilisation behind to hike through a forest of chestnut, cork and eucalyptus-trees. The sweet sound of running water will accompany our journey until we arrive at a beautiful area next to a stream, full of towering trees.
Distance: 12 km; Difficulty: moderate.
The geological features of the Picota volcanic mountain can be seen all along its summit. Every type of rock found in the mountains of Monchique will be on display, although the area is particularly rich in granite (a nepheline syenite intrusion). This walk ends in Fornalha, where we will be able to examine the local shale formations.
Distance: 13 km; Difficulty: moderate.
In Monchique, our walk will pass through gardens, along lanes, beside a church and past one of the region’s oldest oaks (Quercus Canariensis). We will visit traditional ovens — central to the life in this area — and see the old washhouse, before reaching the ruins of an ancient convent and a cork-oak forest.
- Distance: 6 km; Difficulty: easy.
- Themed walks from 27 to 29 December;
- 9am start each day;
- Duration: approx. 4 hours;
- Includes a guide, supplies and insurance;
- Languages: Portuguese, English and German.
This year’s Monchique Mountain Marathon will once again take place on 30 December. This year, the date falls on a Monday, a working day between Christmas and New Year. The hiking marathon will start at 6am, next to the Águas de Monchique bottling plant in Caldas, and end at the same spot, traversing 42.6 km of mountain trails. The route passes through the parishes of Monchique, Alferce and Marmelete. This year, there is also the option of taking part in a half marathon (21 km) rather than a full marathon. Both routes pass over the summits of Picota (776 m) and Fóia (902 m). The half marathon route finishes at a rest stop on the second ridge, while the marathon route continues from here on to Casais, finishing in Caldas. On the summit of Fóia, participants will be served soup, and a relaxing foot and leg massage will also be on offer.
Additional information for the half marathon:
Each participant will receive a blue bag, not for hiding money from the taxman, but to collect rubbish along the way! Whoever collects the most rubbish and brings it to the summit of Fóia wins this challenge. At the finish, an artist will make a sculpture from all the material collected. This sculpture will then be put up for auction, and any money raised will be used to develop the new botanical garden in Caldas de Monchique.
Additional information for the marathon:
To participate in this marathon, you should bring a digital camera, a map, a notepad and a pen. The purpose of the marathon is to map and record the various indigenous tree and shrub species along the route. We aim to discover how many native plants in Monchique have survived following the fires. Some knowledge about plants and a good level of fitness is recommended. Whoever discovers and maps the greatest number of species will win the marathon. We suggest that participants walk in groups of two or more, so that they can complete this task more easily. All of the 2019 Monchique Mountain Marathon prizes are eco-friendly.
Anyone who doesn’t wish to collect rubbish, record or photograph plants is also very welcome to participate in these walks.