HIKING NATURAL PARK VALE DO GUADIANA

For a hiking holiday with countryside walks, an unknown region is waiting for you to discover it. Mértola is located in the southern Alentejo, where lies the Natural Park Vale do Guadiana, specially beautiful when full with blooming spring flowers. This program will lead you to unforgetable hikes where you will be able to see the most emblematic ecossisthems of the region. During this week you will visit several organic farmers, taste their products and thus, contribute directly to the region’s local development. A visit to Mértola and the town’s museum, combines historical and archeological  heritage sites. This precious pitouresque little village is considered the most important of its genre, and is now preparing its application to UNESCO World Heritage.

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PROGRAM

Day 1 ARRIVAL at Faro Airport with transfer to Ecoland.

Day 2 SMUGGLING The first hiking day will start near Ecoland in Corte Gafo de Baixo, wich was also a starting point in the smugglers route during the spanish civil war, up until 1960's. Walkink to Brava’s watermill, where smugglers crossed the river, will provide a glimpse of how life was in Alentejo at that time. After a small break near the water, follow the path until Canais’s watermill. On the way pass through a huge area with green oaks, called Montado. Near the river, vegetation will be denser and diverse with typical mediterranean shrubs, combining diferent species of aromatic and medicinal plants (15km - 5hrs). After the hike, visit a cheese factory in Corte Gafo de Cima.

Day 3 WHITE FIELD The route starts in Azinhal, wich is built in an area of extensive cereal growing flat land extended throughout most of the neighbouring district of Castro Verde - also named Campo Branco (White Field) due to its colour. Given its characteristics, the area is home to one of the most important European comunities of land birds. The existing Montado extends itself to Monte da Balança, so called due to its former links to weightning ore. The track continues to Corte Pequena, Monte do Peso and then, Monte Barbeiro (11km - 3hrs). Wine tasting will take place during the afternoon at Herdade dos Lagos.

Day 4 OLD MINE OF SÃO DOMINGOS This day will be a travel back in time. During the 19th century the English mining company “Sabina” built, through extraordinary hardship, an incredibly picturesque railway track from Mina São Domingos to Pomarão, to transport the sulphur they extracted. This trail, spiced with a pinch of adventure, leads through typical Alentejo villages along the old railway tracks, and through dark tunnels until the last quay to England is reached (17 km; 5 hrs).

Day 5 PULO DO LOBO and MÉRTOLA The route is marked by an ancient landmark in this territory’s history: Antas das Pias dolmen. Back on track, the route reveals Guadiana river at its bottom. Continue towards the ruin of the old miller’s house and his watermill named Escalda. On the way to Pulo do Lobo, the route becomes narrow among dense vegetation, caracteristic of mediterranean region. As Pulo do Lobo approches, the ground becomes more rugged and walking is a greater challenge (6 km; 3 ½ hours). Visit Mértola during the afternoon, the town’s museum and its history from roman and islamic period.

Day 6 BETWEEN MOUNTAINS As inspiration for the day, climb S. Barão’s hill where a magnificent church is design. Back on trail, follow the guide for a nice descent to the valley of Alvacar’s stream. Until  Alcaria’s hill, this stream will be crossed several times, giving the trail  some adventure.  During the path to Corte da Velha be soaked by the wavy landscape carpented with wild flowers (18km - 6hrs).

Day 7 BOMBEIRA The hike starts in Poço dos Dois Irmãos, and will go to Guadiana river and its banks. Near the vineyards climb to the top of the hill and enjoy the valley’s panoramic view. The hike continues to Lombardos and Roncão where a visit to a producer of organic prickly pear will take place. The route ends on a pituresque restaurant next to Guadiana river, with typical portuguese tapas tasting. Get back to Mértola on a golden sunset boat trip (19 km - 6 hrs).

Day 8 DEPARTURE from Ecoland with tranfer to Faro Airport.

SPRING DATES
13.03 - 20.03.2020
27.03 - 03.04.2020
10.04 - 17.04.2020
24.04 - 01.05.2020

AUTUMN DATES
09.10 - 16.10.2020
23.10 - 30.10.2020
06.11 - 13.11.2020
20.11 - 27.11.2020

GROUP TRAVEL

The price includes : accommodation at Ecoland for 7 nights, breakfast, picnic and dinner (vegetarian option is available on demand) for the entire stay, insurance, hikes and region documentation, transfers from Faro Airport and during the stay, and local guides. Entrances in Mértola’s museums and experiences during your stay.  Suplement in single room 105€. The  price does not include: Airplane ticket and other personal expenses. Participants: minimum 2, maximum 6.

Price: 1.215€

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INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL    

The price includes : accommodation at Ecoland for 7 nights, breakfast, 4 dinners, hikes and region documentation, entrances in Mértola’s museums and experiences during your stay. Suplement in single room 105€. The price does not include:  Airplane ticket and other personal expenses, transfers from Faro Airoport and during the stay, dinners and local guide. Participants: minimum 2, maximum 6.

Price: 625€

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