BTT E Santa Margarida
Mountain bike circuit e from the council of Loulé goes from the village of Santa Margarida near Alte. The main road crossings is also the village's square and a good point to start this bike ride. The first part goes slowly up hill on tarmaced road, as is about 50% of this route. The road offers excellent views of the valley deep down and the vast Serra do Caldeirão north of us, until we get to the windmills at the end of the hill range. After a fast descent on tarmac we go off road to turn around the windmills and enter the valley on the other side of the hill range. A beautiful serene valley with comfortable dirt roads, small and quiet tarmaced roads and an occasional hill to climb. All is well until we reach Macheira. We will do a loop from here before returning to Santa Margarida. The climb out of the village is not very long and starts pleasant. However, having left the last houses behind us the pretty little dirt road gets steeper and steeper and on the last bit even the triple is not enough to put us on top of the hill range. Rewarded with a spectacular descent and shaded by huge cork oaks we roll into Sarnadas. Turning south we have the massive limestone rock called Rocha dos Soidos right in front of us. The indication on the road side shows where we have the option to go all the way up or not. First part on tarmac is fairly steep. The road goes down on the other side but there's a single track into the rocky fields. At the first limestone walls it's best to leave the bike and continue for the last bit on foot. The impressive cliff top is at an altitude of 467 m. overlooking great parts of the Serra do Caldeirão until de Serra de Monchique.
The path back to the bikes is easy to find and the down hill continues with a technical off road descent to complete the loop back to Macheira. The last part is mainly up hill and after a couple of surprising turns through some farms we arrive back at the Santa Margarida square and café.
Distance: 28,55 km
Accumulated ascent: 635 m.
- Technical difficulty: 3/5
- Physical difficulty: 3/5
- Scenery: 4/5
Points of interest:
- Cascades of Vigário near Alte's cemetery
- 13th century water mill in the Alte river Moinho de Abóboda
- Alte's 13th century's main church and 15th century chapel
- The springs of Fonte Pequena and Fonte Grande in Alte
- Casa Memória d'Alte museum
- Classified Site of Rocha da Pena
Food & drinks:
- Café Nascer do Sol, Santa Margarida
- Café Pôr do Sol, Santa Margarida
Track author: Prof. Arménio, http://www.cm-loule.pt/
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