Rocha da Pena (Loulé)
The natural ex-libris for the Salir and Benafim parishes from Loulé council is the Rocha da Pena. This lime stone plateau was declared a Classified Site in October 1991 to preserve the landscaping, biological patrimony and sustainable development of this part of the Barrocal area.
The 2 ancient stone walls on top of the plateau date back to the iron age and have served defensive purposes for several peoples inhabiting the area. Moorish inhabitants took shelter in caves during the Christian re-conquest.
During the walk our guide will point out many of the 500 species of flora. For example walkers can observe the endemic dwarf fan palm and narcissus, the medicinal St John's wort and southern maidenhair fern and aromatic species as lavender, rosemary and thyme.
May be less obvious, but resident are mammals such as rabbit, hare, wild boar, fox, genet, mongoose and the endangered bat species Schreiber's bat and lesser mouse eared bat.
The rock's 50 meters high scarped cornice at 479 meters of elevation attracts many species of birds. The jay, buzzard, Bonelli eagle, short-toed eagle, and eagle-owl, Dartford, moustached and orphean warbler and bee-eater amongst others.
After the 2,5 to 3 hour walk you can have a taste of typical gastronomy during a light lunch in a local restaurant which is included as well as pick up and drop off at your accommodation. The walking tour can be joined every Friday, whole year round. The guiding is in Portuguese, English, German, or Dutch.
Half day tour: 40 euro, children under 12 years old: 20 euro
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