Burn your Christmas calories with a walk in the wilderness of Monchique

An event that promises to attract nature lovers and hikers to the Algarve mountainside and give everyone else a chance to lose their “Christmas pudding weight” is taking place in Monchique at the end of the month.

Entitled Monchique Mountain Walks & Marathon, it is being organised by environmental magazine ECO123 and will feature 12 walks allowing hikers to challenge themselves while also discovering different parts of the borough of Monchique.

There will also be a demanding 42km walking marathon spanning the three parishes of Monchique.

The hiking event begins on Boxing Day (December 26) with a welcoming dinner for participants.

The 12 walks will take place throughout the following three days (December 27-29), each taking place on a different route and with a unique theme.

Some are easier on the knees and others more difficult.

“For those who might not have very much practice, we will have a lighter 6km walk through the town of Monchique to have a look at the so-called ‘skirt’ chimneys,” organiser Uwe Heitkamp told the Resident.

Then there will be the marathon on December 30 which promises to be a great challenge even for the most skilled hikers.

As Heitkamp told us, hikers will have the added motivation of winning prizes if they excel in three categories – being the fastest to finish, answering a series of questions that hikers will find inside envelopes along the way, and being the best at an archery competition at Monchique’s Adventure Park.

Caldas de Monchique is the starting and finishing point of the marathon, which anyone can take part in for €55. The fee includes a marathon kit with a safety vest, water bottle, head lamp and plasters for blisters, as well as lunch, drinks and snacks.

Another highlight will be a gourmet mountain walk which is shaping up to be the perfect activity for foodies.

Entitled ‘W11’, the walk will include a visit to an olive oil mill in Pardieiros (Alferce).

During the entirety of the 18km long hike, “old knowledge about how cold-pressed olive oil is produced from local olives will be passed on”.

The walk will also feature a visit to a medronho distillery and then to a butcher’s where ‘chouriça’ sausage is smoked and ham from the Iberian pig is produced.

Hikers can sign up for this walk and any other individually for €30.

More information about the hikes can be found online at

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]

Photo by: DPA