Armação de Pêra - Alcantarilha - Armação de Pêra

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This excursion into the Algarvian countryside starts on the promenade at Armação de Pêra, at the end of one of the region's longest beaches. It was here that local fishermen from nearby Pêra repaired and stored their nets and fishing boats; and wooden huts still line Praia dos Pescadores (beach of the fishermen). The route soon leaves the resort's busy streets to meander through quiet country lanes lined with dry orchards, where you will enjoy views towards Pêra and the hills beyond. Join an historic walled lane to emerge close to Alcantarilha's popular campsite. There is a gradual climb to reach Alcantarilha. Its elevated position gave the town strategic importance and its 16th Century walls are still visible. Here, the architecture has a strong Moorish influence; the town's name comes from the Moorish Al-Qântara meaning 'bridge' (a reference to the original small bridge that crossed the Alcantarilha stream). Pass the 16th Century church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, with its tiny chapel of bones (capela dos ossos) covered almost entirely with more than 1,500 human skull and thigh bones. From here, there is a short detour to the old communal washroom, disused well and cattle trough.

Briefly return to the busy N125 in the centre of Alcantarilha to pass the former Quinta do Rogel, which dates back to the fifteenth century and is now a hotel (seasonal opening) with a private chapel. Its scissor-trussed roofs are unusual in the region. The route returns to the countryside to follow a historic footpath. The final stretch into Armação de Pêra is along a quiet country road and back streets. Rejoining the promenade, you will pass the 16th Century remains of the Forte de Santo António da Pedra da Galé, built to protect the bay against pirates but seriously damaged in Portugal's devastating 1755 earthquake.

The track files and more information about the chapel of bones (with pictures) are available in Related Downloads.

Portugal - South Portugal - Central Algarve - Albufeira

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Great Views, Sea, Toilets