Jo’s Monday walk : Barragem de Bravura

The colour of the water delighted me

The colour of this water delights me

Over the weeks I’ve shown you quite a few different aspects of the Algarve.  Today we’re going to what the ‘Rough Guide’, my travel bible, describes as ‘the most picturesque’ of the Algarve’s many reservoirs.  I could find no reason to disagree.

Situated north of Lagos, at the western end of the Algarve, we drove first to the village of Odiaxere and followed signs from there.  It is also signed from Bensafrim on N120.  Unspoilt countryside rolls away beautifully to either side.

I wasn't sure if this meant  we were welcome, or not!

I wasn’t sure if this meant we were welcome, or not!

This sign confused me rather, and I worried for a moment about overt commercialism, but nothing could have been further from the truth.  The restaurant appeared closed and I don’t think we passed more than 4 people on the entire walk.  The car park lay just beyond this point, and from there a pebbly path wound down to the dam.

The dam keeper's cottage?  In a lovely situation

Past what I presumed was the dam keeper’s cottage, in a lovely situation

And there was the dam!

And there was the dam

Crossing over the dam leads to a rough track around the edge of the reservoir.  It wriggles prettily in and out of coves, disappearing into the distance.  An invitation to follow.

Looking back at the dam

Looking back at the dam

And out across the lake

And out across the lake

The eucalyptus forming a screen

The eucalyptus forms a screen

And that alluring water beckons

And that alluring water beckons!

And wispy leaves invite

While wispy leaves disguise

The wider vista beyond

The wider vista beyond

Now is probably a good time to mention that at the outset I had no idea of the length of this walk. I expected to find an information board or two along the trail, as is customary, but none materialised on the stretch I walked.

You might have realised by now that I’m not always a practical, sensible creature.  While full of good intent, I had omitted to bring bottled water with me on this warm Summer’s day.  (In my defence, I did have a map and a guide book!)  There was nowhere around at which a purchase could be made.  Looking across the lake I could see from the many inlets that walking right around it was not going to be an option.  So it was a case of walking to a point at which I could bare to turn back, and then retracing my steps.

This was no hardship, as the views in either direction were lovely.  The additional good news was that I couldn’t possibly get lost.

The path continued to meander

The path continued to meander

Guarded over by the eucalyptus

Guarded over by the eucalyptus

Hiding amongst the tree roots were delicate flowers

Hiding amongst the tree roots were delicate flowers

And Mr. Frog!

Mr. Frog!

These were quite common, too

And little ‘lemon drops’, grabbing the shade

At one point we came upon a couple with a picnic.  Now, wouldn’t that have been a sensible idea? You would certainly have needed insect repellent though.

Still the water was exquisitely turquoise

Still, the water was exquisitely turquoise

Winding back around the lake

Winding around the lake

And back to our beginnings

And back to our beginnings

On my return to the UK I tried unsuccessfully to find a website with a few more details about the trail around the reservoir.  The nearest I came was a German walking site which suggested that a full circuit would take between 7 and 8 hours!  This was not recommended because at some point the trail leaves the water’s edge and crosses higher ground, without benefit of any shade.

My cycling friends would probably be quite happy to make a full circuit.  For the less energetic of us, I would suggest that it would be a grand spot to take a book and just listen to the birds.  And picnic too, of course.

For me the walk was part of a three way adventure.  I’ll tell you more about that next time.

walking logo

Now it’s time to share last week’s walks.  I have created a Jo’s Monday walks page, which I hope will answer any queries.  Click on the logo if you need help, or come and meet my lovely friends.

Drake is quick off the mark!  He was first again last week, with beautiful Strasbourg  :

Some wonderful surprises occurred!  Colline joined me, all the way from Toronto, with an expedition to Chinatown  :

And Sylvia brought the Indian Ocean right to my doorstep  :

Remember Amy’s wonderful ‘hacienda’ in Spain?  I bet you’d like to see more!  :

I was a little scared about the ghosts till I read Sue’s post.  Then, I was gobsmacked!  What a stunner!  Take me to Banff, please  :

Please do join me if you can.  I love a bit of company when I’m walking.


  1. Love your little “Monday walk”app – total different side to Portugal this time, but still full of beauty. This could have been anywhere up in the North part of Sweden. Well spotted Mr Frog … *smile
    I wonder if he was a prince ?????!!!!

    Still on borrowed time when it’s about internet – most of my neighbors have got the internet, but not me that uses it most. *smile

    1. I’ve lost my emails for Comments, Vivi, so I just saw this by chance. Not sure if it’s a WP problem or my internet provider.
      Never can resist a frog 🙂

      1. I hope that you will get your comment problem fixed, because it is so important. I love frogs too and I have kiseed a couple too … of the 2 legged ones. *smile

  2. Can you tell, I’m trying to catch up. The sign made me chuckle! Maybe they meant Hello, but don’t stay too long (lol). And I love the pic above the flowers most (because it breaks the “rules” – in design one is supposted to have an odd number – and I think it’s great when breaking the rules give such a great effect)

    1. Catching up is the most impossible task in the world! 🙂
      I had to go back to see which photo you meant. Yes, I like that between the two eucalypts too. Every now and then something just turns out well. Thank you!

  3. I loved your walk Jo. The Algarve is such a beautiful part of the world.
    Thanks for creating a page for your walk – I will put it on my inspiring prompts page so that others can become aware of the lovely walks we can go on in cyber space 🙂

  4. The first thing I pack for my daily trips is water and snacks (after camera of course). These captures remind me of some artificial lakes I found in the Dolomites. I am relieved to hear you were safe this time 🙂 Thank you for sharing so many gorgeous captures, Jo.

    1. I’m not in the habit of carrying water in the UK so when I go to the Algarve I do sometimes forget. The walk was just a small part of a day’s excursion, fortunately. It was somewhere I was curious about, and so now I know 🙂
      Thanks for making time to visit, Paula 🙂

  5. Lovely to see another side of Portugal that I’ve never seen before. I especially love the sound of finding a lovely spot with a good book and a picnic.

    And I’ve only just discovered your Monday walks! Here’s a guest post (does that count?) on our Corsica blog about hiking La Restonica – would love to do this one day although I think I’d take the alternative route that doesn’t involve crawling across iron ladders and chains to pull yourself up over giant boulders!!

    1. I don’t see why it shouldn’t count, Kat, and for me it’s an introduction to another travel/walking blog. Win! Win! 🙂 Thanks a lot for joining in!

      1. It looks sensational, Kat! I couldn’t see anywhere to leave a comment but I’ve tweeted it and will include it in next week’s walk.

  6. It’s lovely to see eucalyptus trees in this area, Jo. I thought we (in Aussie land) were the only ones to have them 😉

    This looks like a beautiful walk and it’s a shame you forgot the water. Next time! 😀

    1. Lots and lots of eucalyptus and cork (for the wine bottles, naturally) as soon as you get away from the coast, Dianne. It’s like two separate worlds, and is one of the aspects I really love about the Algarve. I must do a hill walk sometime, but the perspectives are rather more challenging for my camera. 🙂

  7. Ha, I’d say you were probably very welcome, Jo, the owners probably wanted to make sure they greeted you coming and going! Your photographs are lovely, the warm turquoise of the water is similar in shade to the eucalyptus…I wonder if there’s a connection between plant and river. And hurrah!! Murray won! I grow fonder of him each time he plays and with each interview he does after his matches. 🙂 I’m happy to participate in your next walk and have included the link to my Pacific Blues!!

    1. I think you’ll enjoy the next walk too, Elisa 🙂 It has a little in common with some of the magnificent views in your post. Thank you so much for joining me. The company just gets better and better.
      I can cheer wholeheartedly for Andy until he plays Rafa. Then I have a crisis of loyalty 🙂
      I spent 3 hours of my Algarve time in a hotel lounge glued to the screen during the French Open final. Who wants to sit by a pool? Ha! ha!

  8. You captured the woodsy surroundings with the aqua water beautifully. Each photo showed a different angle and view. I expect you to do a blog on the essentials one must have when out on a walk. 🙂

  9. I really enjoyed this lovely walk, Jo. What a pretty place for a cottage. I could live there. Mr. Frog is so cute and looks quite at home. I bet he didn’t even know you were there. I’m working on another beach walk. 🙂

  10. Jo – enjoyed this walk and the eucalyptus shots were my favorite – and so were the closeups of the frog and flowers – it was like we paused on the walk and look down with you – except I had my ice water in hand – jk – have a good day restless one! ❤

      1. 🙂 – and I do have a walk to join in this week – the river walk – and while on that walk I took some street portraits of different people -(you said there were not rules…. ?)

        it was unplanned but a highlight too….


  11. Absolutely beautiful – Big Man and I are toying with the idea of a year in Portugal once we finish our renovations in the UK….the more I read your blog, the more it appeals!

    1. I am trying to keep them varied, Lisa, so I’m really glad that you’ve enjoyed them. If we hadn’t started our new ventures at about the same time, I’m sure I’d have made it to yours. At this rate I’ll be in bed before I get there 🙂

      1. Yes, the upcoming overnight hours are going to be interesting, Jo. At least I hope so. :). I’m thinking a nice walk is a little more my speed though, I’m not much of a night owl. Oh well! I’ll happily join your Monday group when my 24 hours are complete.

  12. This walk is charming and you describe it beautifully, weaving your narrative in and out of the photos. I too have left water behind on a crucial walk, and encountered that point of decision at halfway to nearly too far. But a twist in the track is hard to ignore. What IS around that corner? Next time!

    1. It was part of a long day at the ‘other end’ of the Algarve, Meg, and I had a few schemes in mind. The water would certainly have helped, but I was happy we saw as much as we did. 🙂
      Hope your various potions are helping the infection?

  13. Another glorious walk with you Jo, your photos capture the view beautifully and I would have been really confused by the Hello Goodbye sign too! Guess they wanted to cover all bases! Love the frog too 🙂

  14. Another lovely walk Jo. I love the wy you add the little details in your meanderings like the flowers and the toads. Thanks for sharing our walks from around the world and inspiring us to get out there. Much appreciated!

  15. Jo, the color is the water is stunning! A picnic & a book would do me just fine. And its a good thing you didn’t keep walking (especially without water) 7-8 hours is a long hike, indeed 🙂

    I’ll come back later to check out the other participants in the Monday Walk – What a fabulous idea!!

  16. I love walking around water, and like you have set off on a walk without knowing exactly how long it was AND with no water! We visited Lagos on our trip to the Algarve 12 years ago, a nice town. Have you been up into the Monchique mountains? There was a lovely village up there (Caldas de Monchique?) that we also went to (a day round-trip around to Cape St Vincent) you could have filled up your bottles with spring water there. My walk this week is also partly around water – not as turquoise as yours though 🙂
    Jude xx

    1. I have been frozen half to death at Foia at the top of Monchique and sweltering too, on separate occasions! It’s a funny place! Caldas de Monchique is very pretty but in the wrong direction, as I had a rough plan for the day.
      Thank you very much for the walk. Have I missed one? I included Trebah on the bottom of last week’s walk. Trying to be simultaneously on the laptop, watching tennis and in the garden. Bit tricky 🙂 Will catch up with you later.

      1. No, you included it at the bottom of last week’s post. I didn’t spot that! Just realised I never gave you the link. The tennis is disrupting my flow this fortnight! So many posts to write still – I’ll have enough to last until Christmas at this rate!

    1. I’m happy with your company anyway, Debbie. I have no idea how you manage to post daily 🙂
      I’m the same with Lisa’s ‘one hour, one day’. The clock keeps ticking and won’t wait for me.

  17. A lovely walk, Jo, but it’s a good thing you didn’t do the 7-8 hour version without water or a picnic! I love the frog, the lemon drops and the lovely views. But not the mosquitoes! So, I take your stay in the Algarve is over for now? xxx

    1. There were lots of little flies, Cathy, but I didn’t get bitten. They’re just annoying.
      We were only in the Algarve for a week but it takes me about 4 weeks after to post the photos 🙂 The camera’s playing up again so I didn’t get any photos from my English walk today.

      1. Oh dear, Jo, I think it’s time for you to get a new camera! We couldn’t do without your walks. 🙂

        You were only in the Algarve for a week? Why such a short time?

    2. I’m not sure why, Cathy! I ask myself that every time we come home 🙂
      Making the most of British summertime, I guess, and Michael is still quite busy workwise.
      I’ve booked Paris for our Silver Wedding and am looking at Algarve flights for the Autumn, so I don’t do too badly 🙂

      1. I guess it’s a good thing Michael is busy workwise, but doesn’t he know it gets in the way of your Tavira holiday time? lol…. When is your Silver Wedding? Paris will be marvelous! I feel so sad about Christine today. Did you ever meet her face to face? Hugs xxx

    3. We’re in Paris 9th-14th August, Cathy, and the Silver Wedding is 12th. I hope to be at Giverny that day 🙂 I’ve just booked Tavira for 1st-12th September, so not so long to wait. Dreadful realisation though- it coincides with the US Open and watching Rafa wiil be near impossible. You have to smile, don’t you? 🙂
      Yes, it’s still really sad reading all the comments this morning, and thinking that yesterday I didn’t even know at this time! We never met but Christine emailed me about meeting on that wonderful trip that I’m so glad they took. We arrived in the Algarve late on the day she was meeting Marianne and they were heading to Paris next day. Isn’t life strange? Much love to you. When do you expect to go to China?

      1. Oh Jo, your Paris trip sounds marvelous. And happy Silver anniversary to you and Mick! I can’t wait to see your pictures from Giverny. I hope it’s very romantic! And then to Tavira two weeks later? It sounds marvelous!

        As far as Rafa, I do have to smile. I think Mick needs to be a little worried!

        Sadly, I never did get to meet Christine, but she seemed such a serene person. You know when I was all stressed about being back in the U.S. she sent me the most beautiful guided meditation which I listen to sometimes. She has a beautiful and soothing voice.

        I’m expected in China by September 1. Right now am dealing with my mother-in-law, who is in hospital and will go home today, I think, in the care of hospice. Things don’t look good for her. And then my father went into the hospital two nights ago and had to have an unexpected major surgery. Life does throw some curve balls at you sometimes, doesn’t it?

  18. Wonderful ‘path’ through such beautiful and fascinating nature, no douth this looks absolutly worth for a walk – about the sign, so funny – sometimes we know not whether we should have stayed away – like when we arrive and so there’s a sign that says “Thanks for the visit” – is it meant that vi should turn around… 😀 😀 😀

    Excellent post… 🙂

      1. ohhh its a gem! Places like this are becoming rare in Europe, with so many tourists!

    1. Hi Christine 🙂 I was going to stop by to see how you were feeling.
      Yes, I did rather think that about the eucalypts. It wasn’t very hot- early 20’s maybe. Very pleasant really- it was not having water with us made us conscious of it, I think. No swimming allowed but I could have sneaked a paddle. 🙂 Thank you so much!

  19. che bella avventura ha ha ha! immagino la sete che avrai avuto e con tutta quell’acqua intorno la sete si faceva ancora più acuta, ma vedo con piacere che sei sopravvissuta!
    Le immagini sono fresche e bellissime
    buonagiornata, cara!
    What a beautiful adventure ha ha ha! I would imagine the thirst you have had and with all that water around the thirst became even more acute, but I see with pleasure that you survived!

    The pictures are cool and beautiful

    buonagiornata, Darling!

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