Route of Aracelis, the Altar of Heaven

Start pedaling through the montado entering progressively the great valleys of the Serra de Alcaria and São Barão. You will find the Big Holm Oak, a centuries-old tree from Monte Barbeiro, classified as Tree of the Year in 2019, and you will pass to the Balance Mines. The best way to perceive its grandiosity is actually through its shadow, by sitting under its canopy. The climax of this route is the arrival at the chapel of Our Lady of Aracelis, also known as the Altar of Heaven. Here you should pause for a while to appreciate the unique beauty of this place with a spectacular panoramic view over the Alentejo plain. Along the route you can get to know several traditional products and at Herdade dos Lagos you can do a wine tasting.

Corte Gafo de Cima will be the starting and ending point of the tour. Starting here you can visit the windmill at Corte Gafo and get to know the local products at the artisan cheese factory at Corte Gafo de Cima and at the Myg gourmet jam factory.

In Corte da Velha the small village situated in the Guadiana valley. Take the opportunity and also visit the Vale do Guadiana cheese dairy, and taste the local products.

At Alcaria Ruíva, walk through the hills and valleys of Alcaria, and make a brief stop at a local café or restaurant. Here you can visit the church of Alcaria Ruíva and resume the tour.

Visit the village of Navarro, a small town with few inhabitants, where the values and customs of yesteryear still prevail. Here you can enjoy the scenery and (if you are lucky) see some animals (sheep and horses) of the local inhabitants.

Soon after visiting the small village of Navarro, you will come across a bird watching sign. Here you can learn more about the birds that inhabit the landscape around you, and try to observe them.

Located in Monte Barbeiro, the Monte Barbeiro Secular Holm Oak has been awarded Tree of the Year in 2019. This holm oak is 150 years old and measures about 10 meters high and has a trunk length of 3.56 meters. To understand its greatness, only by being under its shadow, breathing its tranquility.

Located on the Balança Mountain, the Balança Mines are a place where several ores were formerly extracted, such as pyrolusite, psilomelane, and pyrite bands.

After this long walk, arrive in Corte Pequena and take a break at a local snack bar. In this small village, you can get to know some of the regional customs and enjoy the Alentejo plain.

Our Lady of Aracelis is the highlight of this route. In this small village, situated on top of a small mountain, you can visit the church of Our Lady of Aracelis, considered the “Altar of Heaven” because it is at the highest point. Here you will have a panoramic view over the whole territory. There are also places for bird watching.

At Herdade dos Lagos you can visit the wine cellar where the wine is produced, do some wine tasting and even buy products.

In Vale de Açor de Baixo you can take a break at a local snack bar and get to know this small village.

Algodôr is the last place to visit. Get to know this small village and its people. You can also take a break at a local snack bar.

Technical Information

Duration: 5h:30
Length: 58km
Departure: C. Gafo Cima
Arrival: C. Gafo Cima
Difficulty: Medium
Self Guided Tour

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