Vale Santo (Sagres, Vila do Bispo)
The Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina (PNSACV) is considered one of the richest of Portugal and Europe. It has about 76.000 hectares, including a 2 km wide marine area from Porto Covo, in the north near Sines, Alentejo to Burgau in the council of Vila do Bispo, Algarve. This natural park has an extensive coastline with sandy beaches, cliffs, small islands and rock formations. We can also find innumerous water courses which include estuaries, rivers and streams. The area has a Mediterranean climate with strong sea influence that brings less cold winters and cooler summers.
About 750 species of plants are known to the natural park. The endemic, rare or local species ascend to a 100. There are many cliffs and forests. The coastal heath plains are considered a rare biotope and temporary pounds have a priority habitat target with specific legislation and high level of protection.
Within the natural park, a part of the peninsula near Sagres is considered the Sagres Biogenetic Reserve and that's the area where this walk takes place. Between September and October, Sagres sees the largest bird migration with more than 2000 individuals of different species. it is the only place known in the world where the White Stork nests on the cliffs. Due to protective restrictions to visiting groups, the group of walkers will not exceed 10 persons including the guide.
Leaving from Beliche beach the walk follows the cliff tops offering impressive views of the rough Vicentina coast. You will visit the pine forests near the camping site and Santo valley. During the walk the qualified guide will explain you about the local geology, vegetation and wildlife, pointing out the many rare species characteristic for the natural park. The walk has a medium level of difficulty due to differences in altitude and at times rough or sandy terrain. Therefor participants are required to have a moderate level of fitness.
The Beliche walk takes place every Wednesday, all year round. Meeting point is restaurant O Vigia at Beliche beach at 09.00 hours. Total walking distance is some 14,5 km which will take about 4 hours excluding breaks and depending on theinterest that participants take in the interpretation of the route's natural environment. Included in the price for the walk is insurance and water. Guiding is in Portuguese and, or in English. After returning from this long walk at restaurant O Vigia participants are invited to lunch. The meal is included and is an excellent opportunity to have a taste of fresh local products and get to know more about gastronomy and the fisherman's way of life on this unique and remote coast.
4 hour walk: 40 euro, groups of 4 persons or more have 10% discount.
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