Our Secret sítio das fontes

There are lots of hidden little walks and places in the Algarve that are hard to find and are often little hidden gems … we even hesitated about sharing this one with you as the sítio das fontes near Estombar, in the parish of Lagoa, is such a peaceful and quiet place – we don’t want too many people to find it!

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

It’s 18 hectares of municipal park and land with a lake, fountain, river walk, picnic area and so much open space and amenities to enjoy. 

You will find it by driving to Lagoa, taking the exit off the roundabout that’s signed to the Slide and Splash theme park – go past the park, over the railway line, and as you enter the village of Estombar you will see the brown sign for ‘Fontes’ with a right turn off the main road. Follow the signs for a mile or so, past the sports stadium, and under the motorway. You’ll see a sign to turn off left, and the fontes is down that lane. There’s plenty of free parking.

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

The first thing that we always do after we have parked is follow the path that leads down to the water, and take the beautiful woodland path walk that follows the line of the river Arade. It’s a fabulous place to walk our little dog too!

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

You can actually walk much further than you think – all the way to this little wooden jetty where you can enjoy spectacular views across the river.

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

The wildlife and flowers are wonderful at any time of year – followers of this blog will know that we are fascinated by all the wild flowers you can enjoy here – like these beautiful little white flowers – whose name still escapes us!

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

And this Asphodel aestivus with its stunning flowers:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

And there are so many wild orchids to enjoy – you can see more flowers in our recent post Wild Flowers in the Waste Ground

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

The birds are often a bit more hidden – but if you are patient you can catch some fantastic sights – like this fella sat patiently fishing

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

And if you are really lucky – you’ll catch him drying his wings:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

This little chap was far more shy, scuttling around the edge of the water looking for lunch:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

The park was formally created in 1989, and has a gentle sense of conservation and nature combining well with man-made facilities.

The site has a well signed exercise route scattered amongst the trees and paths:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

And a well designed open air amphitheatre – used for concerts and events – see later in the blog post for some 2015 events that we know are already in the diary:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

And a secure children’s play area – with some convenient adult seating nearby!

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

The main feature of the park for many is the picnic area, which can get extremely busy in the summer at weekends, full of local people sat in large groups of families and friends, all enjoying a relaxing picnic whilst enjoying the view over the lake.

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

The site also has built in barbeques – just bring your own charcoal or share with others:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

There are toilets on site and plenty of bins for rubbish – we’ve never seen any rubbish left lying around, everyone seems very respectful of the beauty of the area and it is well maintained:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

Many often brave the colder than average temperatures of the water to go for a swim in the fresh and clean water here – you can see the pebbles on the bottom it’s so clear:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

The park now has a restored watermill and a reconstructed traditional Algarve house.

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

According to wiki the site is also historically and culturally important as vestiges of human activity dating back to pre-historic times have been found at the site, with the watermill documented in the 15th century “Livro do Almoxarifado de Silves”

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

There are beautiful walks to enjoy all around the park – just follow the yellow arrows:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

And enjoy fantastic views like this:

sítio das fontes Estombar Algarve Blog

There are also events planned through the year at the site, the amphitheatre will be fully utilised for the 2015 Lagoa Jazz Fest on the 26th 27th and 28th June – click the links here for the website and Facebook page for the event for more information.

From the 6th to 9th August the FATT festival is booked for the site – it’s an annual festival that promotes the didgeridoo and the Australian Aboriginal culture in Portugal, and people will be camping, enjoying music and crafts and transforming the site into an alternative festival ground. Click the link for their website for more info about this.

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The 3rd and 4th October sees the return of the ‘Obrigado Portugal’ festival – a free event that has live music, theatre, arts, games, food and children’s events.

Open from 3pm to midnight each day, the festival was born from an initiative of the foreign community as a tribute to their hosts. It is described as a “happy get-together” with the aim of “bringing together various cultures represented here in Portugal, and especially in the Algarve, in an open-air, friendly environment, based on mutual respect, joy and creativity”. Click the link for their website for more information.

It’s great to see the venue is going to be well used this year, however the real enjoyment for us comes with simply arriving there on a quiet afternoon and going for a walk.

The one thing that we cannot find out – anywhere – and we have tried! – is the general opening times for the main site. There are big metal gates – that presumably must close up at night .. but so far we have been unable to find out what time they open and close .. so if anyone knows .. please let us know!

And if you go there – enjoy the peace and quiet and the beautiful scenery – and watch out for a little Spanish water dog scuttling along sniffing out the rabbits!

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19 Responses to Our Secret sítio das fontes

  1. What a wonder place you’ve found, know you’d rather keep it your little secret…….thank you so much for sharing! 👍

  2. Thanks for sharing this gem.

  3. SuenGeoff says:

    Can’t wait to visit this place, wish we had known about it last week when we had visitors that enjoy walking and wildlife. They will be back in September so hopefully we can plan a visit. Thank you for sharing.

  4. melinda says:

    thinking of retiring there. any info is very much appreciated at imagery2u@aol.com

  5. Sarah Doran says:

    This is one of our favourite places as well – let’s try and keep it secret!

  6. Joana says:

    Beautiful place, and amazing photos.

  7. Pingback: The unspoilt village of Alte | Algarve Blog

  8. thewalkerswife says:

    It looks absolutely wonderful. Great photographs too. We’ve not explored this part of the Algarve yet, but it’s definitely going on the list!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Pingback: Painting my way around the Algarve | Algarve Blog

  10. I know they close at 8.30pm, not sure what time they open. 🙂 Lovely place for a picnic during the day or at sunset. They also have a small cafe that is open until 3pm that sells coffee, beer, icecream, etc. And they have a photography exhibition at the moment: https://www.ualg.pt/en/content/algarvios

  11. Pingback: First Algarve Photography Walk for Dave Sheldrake Photography | Algarve Blog

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