Jo’s Monday walk : Barranco das Lajes


My walk through Portugal’s Barranco das Lajes definitely comes in the category of ‘tales with a happy ending’, but for a while I wasn’t so sure.

Let me set the scene.  The skies were the clearest of blues.  I’d been in the Algarve for long enough to take this completely for granted (a week!). I’d ambled on beaches, and been out with my walker friends.  I’d even met up with a lovely blogger and her husband for coffee. (Hi Becky!)  I was in as relaxed a state as I ever achieve.  But those smoke blue hills on the horizon were calling me.  Much earlier in the year I’d been there and resolved to come back for a walk.

Out came the guide to Walking Trails in the Algarve , which you might remember from my walk on the cliff tops at Carrapateira.  This walk has a very different location.  From my eastern Algarve home in Tavira it is a lovely drive along the N270 to São Brás de Alportel. As Becky points out in her most recent walk, directions in this guide are a little vague.  Fortunately my husband has a good memory for roads.  North we went, through the villages of Alportel, Cova da Muda, Javali, Parises, and Cabeca do Velho, climbing higher and higher into the hills.  When it seemed we couldn’t go any higher, and my ears were popping, we reached the minute village of Cabanas- the start of the trail.


A more peaceful spot you could not hope to find…. until!  Over a farm wall hopped two dogs, the leader barking ferociously and heading straight for me.  Barking dogs are a pretty common factor on any walk in the Algarve countryside.  Most farmers have an animal or two to protect their property.  Usually they are on a leash, or behind a sturdy gate.  In such an isolated spot, the farmer obviously did not expect company.  He shouted at the dogs, but not before the leader had reached me and leapt at the back of my knee. Ouch!  I have to admit I was shaken and not a little worried that it had broken the skin, but I was ‘lucky’.

The walk follows the asphalt road a very short distance through the village of Lajes, before turning down a trail.  I limped along feeling a little sorry for myself, and wishing I’d had a walking pole handy for defence.  But it was such a beautiful day, and my surroundings so serene, it really was hard to stay grumpy.


The trail descended quite gently, but it soon became clear that I had made the wrong choice of footwear.  My grazed toes did help to take my mind off my sore leg.  Grateful for small mercies!  A pause for a little discreet padding.  Can you believe that I really was enjoying myself?  But I sincerely hope that you will learn from my bad example.  Meanwhile the trail passed through olive and fig groves, beneath numerous cork and holm oaks and down to a watercourse, with rustling bamboo.


Climbing back out of the valley, I marveled at the early flowering fruit trees.  I couldn’t decide whether these were the famous Strawberry trees (known for their powerful liqueur, Medronho) or Loquats.  In Spring these valleys will sing with with wild flowers- the rose and white faces of Cistus, lavenders in lilac and green- but for now the predominant colour is green.

Another intriguing plant draped itself rather seductively through a Eucalyptus tree- a white variety of the bottle brush?


Almost at the end of the 5.5km walk, there is an optional loop up to Cerro da Ursa- a bit of a climb to a panoramic view.  The good news is that having reached the summit you are then back at the level of the road.  Even better, the car was merely yards away.


After all that trauma I’m sure you can guess what I did next?  A whizz back down the hills takes us to the lovely little cafe, Tesouros da Serra, on the outskirts of São Brás.  Fig and carob cake was exactly what I needed!  Sore bits quite forgotten.

Should you be feeling energetic, details and a map can be found on the link to the Walking Trails guide.  As estimated, the walk took around 2 hours, but we didn’t hurry.  It was too beautiful.

walking logo

I do hope you’ll read some of these great contributions, and I have to apologise for keeping some of them waiting rather a long time. I’m very grateful for your company and the lovely walks we share.  Please join us if you have a walk, long or short- I really don’t mind which.  Details can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or just click on the logo above.


Now, how did Esther know I loved John Denver?

Walk Down Country Roads

Aah, the memories!  A small boy I knew loved trains!  Thanks so much, Jackie…

Train of Thought

And this week, some beautiful gardens in Toronto :

Allan Gardens

It’s always a pleasure to accompany Drake, almost anywhere!

This way please..

An idyllic landscape next from Pauline (and a few cows) :

The Rural Heart of New Zealand

Elena took such delight in Rotterdam, it’s totally infectious!

Rotterdam in a Day (part 3)

I always love to welcome a newcomer to my walks, especially if we can meet for coffee:

New York- Coffee in Central Park

Or better yet, a beach!

Coolangatta- Classic Cars by the Beach

And if that won’t do, there’s treasure!  Please say hello to Lee Anne at ‘Just me please’ :

Eagles Nest- A abundance of treasure

Don’t you love Yvette’s new look?  And the way she looks at life too!

Walk with Jo (street photos)

Gilly took such a beautiful stroll in my absence.  Hope you didn’t miss it?

A field of brassica

And then when I got home she had this waiting :

A City Stroll at Christmas

You never know what you’re going to get with Tobias, but there’s sure to be an eye pleaser :


Meantime, Jaspa takes us back to the days of slavery :

Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park, Florida

I can confirm what Becky says, but it was still warm.  I’m missing my Algarve already!

Not every day is a sunny day

It’s great to be able to close with another special lady.  I met Cathy, once upon a time :

A November rock scramble on Billy Goat trail

That’s all for now.  I’ll probably be on my way to Nottingham when you read this and I’m sure that you understand that time with my daughter is precious.  However, I hope to be able to reply to some of you whilst in transit and I’m an early bird so I can sneak some computer time in the mornings.  I’ll catch up with the remainder on my return on Thursday, and join you for another walk next week. Take care till then!




    1. Morning Denzil 🙂 Thank you! Bright and clear this morning after all yesterday’s rain. I wish I could go out and enjoy it but there’s far too much to do. See you on Monday 🙂

    1. Do you know, I feel quite exhausted! But it has little to do with the walk. It’s more to do with my whistle stop trip to Nottingham and the prospect of getting ready for Christmas in the next week or so 🙂 🙂

    1. As I read this, a beautiful sunrise is materialising, Elaine 🙂 Could just be a blue sky day after all last night’s rain. I hope so because we plan to buy the tree today and the wreaths for the cemetery. Have a good weekend!

  1. Ouch! And that is so scary when a dog does that (you’ll remember my dog bite years ago), glad you were okay, albeit shaken, and then your poor toe too 😦 Still, sounds as if you enjoyed your walk despite all that, and how beautiful (reminds me of the countryside in parts of Crete where we walked) as always are your photos. Welcome home Jo, lovely to see you again…hugs! xx

  2. Hope your leg is ok Jo – I would have been terrified. Love dogs when I know them and they are not ferocious. Did you need any treatment or shots? The countryside looks beautiful though – the sky reminds me of a clear blue sky on a crisp winter’s day in Perth 🙂

  3. these are all just lovely, lovely photos. I like the close-ups of the flowers. I think the landscape is more like the Grand Canyon, awesome, but you lose something in a photograph…but you know something is there that you must go see some day

  4. I did not have a “medronho” since I was a child. I used to pick it up on my way to school. What a sunny walk that was. I would have loved being there. You keep safe

  5. Carob and fig cake sounds delish and a nice reward ;). Coming across dogs in a remote place can be scary! Reminds me of the time I was in Tuscany and went for a run on a beautiful day and came across this tiny dog that wouldn’t let me cross the street to get back home..I had to wait and wait for someone to drive by and motion to them – bc I don’t speak Italian – to help me with this tiny little animal. But I’m telling you he meant business!

  6. Jo, your poor toes and leg – you definitely earned that scrummy cake at the end. 😀 The walk looks beautiful and I’m fascinated by the various fruit trees and the cork tree. Thanks for sharing with us all.

  7. Thx for the wan jo – some of the shadows you captured were my fav of this post -but what beauty in them all!! hope your feet are healing or healed – ❤️ and mmmm on the dessert!

  8. hola Jo, era da tempo che non ti salutavo, tutto bene? Un bel progetto di macchia mediterranea come si trova anche in alcuni luoghi qui in Italia, splendida la foto dell’albero nudo, e quelle delle varietà dei corbezzoli
    abbi una notte felice

  9. Even though I own three big dogs, I’m very scared of other people’s dogs, Jo. If I saw one coming towards me aggressively I’d be a blubbering mess. I’m really glad the chomp didn’t break the skin. I’ve also found myself caught out with the wrong footwear while walking – argh! But all in all it sounds like you enjoyed this walk and the fig and carob cake at the end must have been a real treat indeed! 😀

    1. Hi Dianne 🙂 Sorry, I missed your comment when I was answering them on my phone. I’ve now been to Nottingham and back and the Algarve is another of those distant dreams. Guess I’ll be back though 🙂 🙂 (in spite of the dogs!)

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