Barrocal and Serra

Image gallery of the hinterland of the Algarve, the mountainous Serra on the border to the Alentejo and the Barrocal, the fertile landscape between the coastal strip and the Serra.

The northern part of the Algarve on the border with the Alentejo is called “Serra”. The hills and mountains of the Serra occupy 50% of the Algarve territory. The Serra is divided into three different ridges: Serra de Espinhaço de Cão with a height of up to 300 m, located in the west near the Costa Vicentina,  Serra de Monchique located in the western Algarve with the highest elevation in Southern Portugal, Fóia (902 m) and Serra do Caldeirão (Serra do Mú) situated in the central and eastern Algarve with a height of up to almost 600 m. At an altitude of 485 meters, Monchique, the highest village of the Algarve, nestles between two peaks, Fóia in the west, and Picota (774 m) in the east. A few miles south of Monchique is Caldas de Monchique, a famous spa resort. Caldas was already well known in the time of the Roman Empire because of its warm, sulphurous water, bubbling up with a constant temperature of 32 ° C. The Algarvian Serra is important for the climate of the region. It forms a physical barrier against the cold winds blowing from the north and the lows from the Northwest, thus giving the Algarve coast an almost Mediterranean climate, with low annual rainfall and mild temperatures in winter. Furthermore, it is also a barrier for the misty winds that come from the South. The Barrocal area marks the transition between the small coastal strip and the mountains of the Serra. Now doubt, the best-known place in the Barrocal of the Algarve is Silves, situated on the upper course of the river Arade. During the five centuries of the Moorish period the city, at that time called “Xelb” was one of the cultural centres of the Iberian Peninsula.