You’ll need a car or bike to reach the start of this pretty three-hour circular walk above the Rio Arade – and save it for a spring or autumn day when it’s not too hot. Drive out of Silves on the N124 (Monchique road) and after about 2.5km there’s a turn-off to the left at two large white domes (a sewage station) and by a bus stop and small makeshift house-café. An unmade road (ﬁne for cars) runs for 1km down to the Clube Náutico de Silves, where there’s a bar and parking – the cruise boats from Portimão sometimes put in here too.
Here, you can pick up the path alongside the raised concrete irrigation channel, the levada, which runs above the Rio Arade and out to the conﬂuence with the Ribeira de Odelouca – the path is under trees for the most part, and wading birds are visible on the mudbanks. Always stick with the levada path and eventually it swings around and inland, away from the river. Where it crosses a small tarmac road you leave the levada and climb up a road to the right (past the “Stop” sign and a few houses).
This road heads towards the N124, which you’ll soon see, and a path then swings around to the right, parallel with the main road. It eventually joins the track from the main road down to the Clube Náutico, where you turn right for the ﬁnal stretch to the Clube car park – the only drawback here is the indescribable smell from the run-off from the sewage station, which you’ll have to brave for a minute or so as you scurry past