Rocha da Pena is the largest climbing area is south Portugal. It consists of a steep limestone ridge, it has a plateau that is approximately two kilometres long and rises to a height of 479 metres at its highest point. It’s not a massive challenge but it does come with obstacles and is not for those that haven’t “warmed up” with a few hikes prior to taking it on.
We arrived at the parking roughly 11h15 and by the time we finished it was just after 15h00. Perfect weather conditions, the trail was dry, and although we did see a few folks, it wasn’t at all congested.
Once we reached the top we followed a short craggy side route to reach the north-facing cliff edge. From there, we enjoyed a great panoramic view of the Algarvian upland terrain.
I was personally thrilled to find all the new flora today. Various types of orchids, the wild peony, African Lilies, Star of Bethlehem and on and one. Much camera clicking and vying for a good position to capture the best photo.
The cistus were absolutely everywhere today, the mountainside covered in them in every direction. I came across one bush that was quite full of blossoms but also had two blooms that were almost albino in nature. I thought them quite striking.
We had stopped at more or less at the half way mark and enjoyed our picnic lunch. Sitting in the sunshine looking out over these marvelous vistas, having worked up an appetite, does a chicken sandwich ever taste any better!! Add to that the camaraderie, friendship, chin-wagging, laughter, and you have a perfect day.
Once down the backside of the mountain you end up in the tiny village of Penina, which is always such a treat to amble through.
The very last couple of kms is along a dusty old farm road and it provides amazing views of looking up on the plateau that we’ve just crossed plus, today, was a gold mine of wildflowers.
Quite the hike it was, enjoyed by one and all. There is a tiny café at the start/end of the trail and we determined that it might be nice to sit, catch our breath, give our legs an opportunity to relax before starting the drive home and most importantly, enjoy a beverage!! A befitting end to a few hours of healthy activity.
And, one of my favourite shots of the day, taken in the village of Penina…..
Vamos dormir bem esta noite!