… As a responsible thriving renewables company, we are increasing efforts in awareness. Not just for our solutions, but our local and regional Algarve environment.

We focus on the interior – this time on the Algarvean “barrocal”. The term “barrocal” is derived from clay and lime (barro = clay and cal = lime).

Geographically it is the central zone found between the northern sierras (Serra do Caldeirão range) bordering the Alentejo and the southern coastline, stretching from Cape St Vincent in the west, to almost the Spanish border in the east. Comprised of rolling foothills and interior mountains, this sub-region runs longitudinally across the Algarve. In geological terms, it is characterised by irregularly shaped limestone elevations, which rarely exceed 400m, called barrocos.

What makes it special is the barrocal is known for its traditional charming whitewashed villages and hamlets. The pace of life here is dead slow. Among the old quintas, ploughed fields are covered with fragrant orange groves, fig, carob and olive trees, and Mediterranean scrub vegetation consisting of holly oaks, rock roses, rosemary, thyme, lavender and shrubs. Some farms still work mules and horses.

The barrocal is a huge part of the Algarve which still remains unspoilt. Whilst winter tourists come to see the spectacular almond blossoms in January-February, enjoying the best under-populated part of the Algarve, (which has kept its traditions), most summer vacationers don’t visit. In fact many villages see hardly any visitors.

An increasing number of people have realised this is also a great walking destination. Hills, small mountains, narrow valleys and deep gorges are covered in cork oak, whose bark is harvested to create a variety of goods. These special forests combine a scarce and specific ecosystem with stunning biodiversity, including birds, and a large number of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and butterflies.

Please enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the landscape. And look after it wherever you visit. Don’t bring your old fridge with you and leave it down a bumpy track. Or if you’re hiking, chuck empty plastic water bottles and hi-energy bar wrappers into the flora. No camping out in those hideaway locations – the abandoned stone cottage belongs to someone, and absolutely no fires for crafty cook-ups, because “nobody” always leaves a mess.