From Tavira to Cachopo and Mealha

A trip to the inland Algarve, crossing the Caldeirão mountains and finding villages and landscapes, which truly unexpected for its authenticity.

This tour by the hills of the Algarve unfolds along the EN397, a road connecting the Algarve to the Alentejo through the mountains, without using viaducts nor tunnels. What one loses in speed is gained in the wealth of the scenery and in proximity to people and things. Exit Tavira, one of the best preserved cities in the Algarve, along the right bank of river Gilão. It is a secondary road that crosses nice riverside landscapes for about 8 km until the viaduct under Via do Infante. There, turn right, crossing a narrow bridge to then go left at the junction to the EN397 in the direction of Cachopo. About 1 km ahead, you have the option, on the left, to follow the path leading to the water fall of Moinhos da Rocha, which, depending on the season and rainfall, may or may not be a good show. Return to the road to Cachopo, northwards over the next few kilometers. Depending on the direction of the curves, sometimes we see the sea - farther and farther away - or another "sea" made of the rounded hilltops of shale, the raw material of these mountains. This orientation will change when, on your right, you reach the deviation to Beliche and respective dam. The next 5 km to the east lead you to the hillock topped by antennas and an imposing geodesic vertex, located near the village of Alcaria do Cume and named after it (altitude 525 meters). The route changes once more, to the northwest, passing over the Odeleite rivulet, a dozen kms ahead, and reaching a nice site for a stop and a picnic. On your way to Cachopo, you will see small circular constructions, with their stone walls and thatched cover. These 'safurdões', now used as barns, have a typology corresponding to the most ancient constructions. After a tour in Cachopo, a craft center of some importance, the ride is reaching its end. You can continue a little longer, exiting the village, turning to Mealha. This will be about 10 km by a secondary road, evoking African landscapes, until Mealha, a picturesque village where those circular constructions have a strong presence. Nearby inquire about access (by foot or sound car) to Anta das Pedras Altas, significant megalithic vestige. Wanting to go on, you can continue to Martim Longo and to some curious villages such as Vaqueiros and Giões. Access By Via do Infante till the junction of Tavira To have into account If you drive a 4x4 and have a map of this region, you may shorten your itinerary going through some dirt roads When In Sprig or Summer Length Some 55 km In the vicinity Martim Longo, Giões and Vaqueiros villages

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