Hiking around Loulé

At the Algarve in Portugal, we found 2 beautiful hikes not far from Loulé: the Fonte Benémola and Rocha da Pena. Both easy walks and especially in spring a pleasure with all the wild flowers in bloom.

After spending 1 week in Austria we had returned to Faro where we had left our cochecito. We needed one day to recover from the early flight and had to wait for the next day anyway to pick up our bikes. We had left them for the week at Bike Algarve bike shop. Sergio and his team did a great job in servicing our bikes with a new tire and a thorough cleaning.

For our first hike we went to the small parking for the Fonte Benémola: (N37°11.917′ W08°00.264′) From here you can walk along the river to the spring and back on the other side in 1 hour. But we had a longer route planned which led us over the hills first and took us 3 hours with all our foto stops. (We used the German hiking guide from Reise Know-How for that route)

at the Fonte Benémola
Rio de Benémola
In the afternoon we drove back to Loulé and went for a walk through this lovely town.
the famous market hall of Loulé
beautiful park next to our parking
In the evening, we left Loulé and drove to the starting point of our next hike in Rocha da Pena (37.250460 -8.098217)
Rocha de Pena is a singular limestone block of 2km length and 50 height with rugged rock walls on the south and the north. It was already used as a natural fortress during the Iron Age reinforced by a several hundred meters long stone wall. The Moorish warriors had their last bastion here when their castles had already fallen into the hands of the Portuguese.
The hike is well signed starting at our parking and leading up to 2 lookout points, down to the village of Penina and back to the start.
parking for the night
ancient stone wall still visible
wild orchids
Penina is a beautiful village full of flowers (and this tractor:-)
The almonds are getting big already
After our hike, we had a shower und lunch before we drove north into the Alentejo. We stopped for the night at a little church just outside of Almodovar, which was a perfect spot with great views and a beautiful sunset.
beautiful landscape of the Alentejo
passing a little village which offers a service point for caravans
Sunset @ Alentejo 
stop for the night next to the chapel
Flower of the day
These flowers grow on bushes which are everywhere in the Alentejo, sometimes covering complete hillsides, often along the roads and scattered over the pastures.

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