National Forest in Monte Gordo

National Forest in Monte Gordo

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As well as this electric bike we also saw large groups of bikes and even the range in his truck at one point on the main path!

Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike

Usually when we head east from Olhão we are heading for Alcoutim or Tavira, occasionally though we are on an expedition to somewhere new, such as the other day when we thought we would explore the National Forest between Monte Gordo and Vila Real de Santo António.
The trail outlined in “walking trails in the algarve” had too many bikes, including electric ones for us, so we headed away from the main path and created our own route.  So glad we did as otherwise we would have missed much of the flora and fauna in this small but lovely forest.

Forest floor is fascinating

Forest floor is fascinating

The walking guide claims you can, just occasionally, spot a chameleon.  They are however a vulnerable species, and given the popularity of this area I suspect you would have to be very lucky.  We did however spot a beautiful lizard, and where the forest borders farmland we observed lots of birdlife.  Quite difficult to photograph though as they flitted in out of the long grasses and trees.

Off the main path and exploring lesser walked ones on the north side of the forest.

Off the main path and exploring lesser walked ones on the north side of the forest.

No chameleons but if you are quiet then you can spot gorgeous lizards like this one.

No chameleons but if you are quiet then you can spot gorgeous lizards like this one.

There are smallholdings bordering the forest hence sights like this

There are smallholdings bordering the forest hence sights like this

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One of the many large hotels - tried to make it look better by taking the photo through the trees!

One of the many large hotels

Afternoon stroll type paths rather than walking ones!

Afternoon stroll type paths rather than walking ones!

This forest is really easy strolling, and we enjoyed the 3 or so hours  we spent there.  Not sure we would return because of its proximity to Monte Gorde – too busy and touristy for us – but if you are in the area then it is certainly worth spending a half day here, and you could quite easily create a full day’s worth of activities by linking up with the other trails around Aldeia Nova or spending time on Praia Adão e Eva or Praia de Monte Gordo.

This is a Monday walk.  If you have not yet come across Restless Jo’s blog then pop across there now for she shares some wonderful pictures and posts as well as her delightful Monday walks to do from your armchair or for real!