Country Drives


Stage 1: Salir – S. Bartolomeu de Messines

The white houses of the town of Salir spread over the hill surrounding the ruins of Salir Castle (11) which are an important archaeological heritage from the Arab period.Leave Salir and head towards Alte on the EN 124 but before you get there turn off towards the Rocha da Pena (12), an excellent location for walking and extreme sports. Then continue along the 503 until you get to Cortinhola. Here you can make a detour to drive up to Malhão (13), where you’ll find an excellent lookout point and a Buddhist temple. Carry on along the 542 until you reach Azinhal were you should turn off for Sarnadas, towards Alte. You are now crossing the land of the Quinta do Freixo (14), a farm with a game reserve, accommodation and organic farm products. Continuing in the direction of Alte, you can make another detour to climb the 467m to the Rocha dos Soidos (15), a natural lookout point overlooking an amazing landscape of “Serra” highlands and the sea. You then reach Alte, a village that features remains of Roman and Arab occupation. We recommend a visit to the Mother Church (16). The local tourist office is located in the building Casa Memória D’Alte, which contains information on trips inside and outside the village. A reference point for any visitor is the sound of the waters of the Ribeira de Alte (Brook). Here you’ll find the village’s star attraction: “As Fontes” (Springs) (17). Fonte Pequena and Fonte Grande, are water springs that have been converted into a very pleasant spot, as it has a dam that forms a natural pool.A few kilometres from Alte, heading towards Santa Margarida, you can make another detour to Torre, where you can visit a craftwork cooperative where they make wooden toys.

Stage 2: S. Bartolomeu de Messines – Paderne

Coming from Alte along the EN 124 you arrive in São Bartolomeu de Messines. In this town you should visit the Mother Church (18) and the João de Deus Museum (19). To make the most of the surrounding natural heritage we recommend a trip following the EN 124 to the dams known as the Barragem do Funcho and the Barragem do Arade (20). Here you’ll find excellent places to go on walks, have picnics or look at the flora and fauna.Then rejoin the EN 124 and then take the EN 270 towards Paderne. Before entering this town follow signs marked “castelo” for the castle. Along the way you’ll come across a fountain (21) dating from the 18th century. Shortly afterwards, when you start on an incline turn down the dirt track to the right and at the bottom, pass under the bridge that carries the Via do Infante motorway and carry on to the watermill and the weir of the Ribeira de Quarteira (Brook) (22). Following the brook and situated lower down, in the valley southwest of the castle, is the Medieval Bridge (23). From the watermill head back from where you came to take the road to the Castle (24). This castle figures in the Portuguese flag and was captured from the Moors in 1248. There is walking tour of 4km around the castle, the bridge and the weir. From the castle retrace your steps to the EN 270 and head for the town. In Paderne you should try to visit the Mother Church (25). Continue along the EN 270 to go to Boliqueime or take the EN 395 to go to Albufeira.