Hiking Festival returns to Alcoutim with more ambition

Walking tours and contact with nature are once again highlighted in the second edition of the Festival […]

AlcoutimWalking tours and contact with nature are once again highlighted in the second edition of the Alcoutim Hiking Festival, which will take place from 8 to 10 May.

After a first year of "great success", the Municipality of Alcoutim decided to extend the event for another day, seeking to improve the offer "in quantitative terms, but also in terms of the sections".

“Last year, we were pleasantly surprised by the public's response. Following the analysis we made of the event, after it ends, we decided to extend it another day», he revealed to Sul Informação the president of the Chamber of Alcoutim Osvaldo Gonçalves.

The main objective of the event is to «give movement to the local economy», while promoting the council's potential for Nature Tourism. And, although this is still a recent event, in the first edition, which took place last year, you can already see the effect that the Festival has on the economy. “The increase in movement and economic dynamism was notorious in 2014,” said the mayor alcoutenejo.

Over three days, thematic walks, observation and interpretation of nature, bird watching, astronomical observation, boat trips, concerts, cinema sessions and animation initiatives will be promoted. In them, it is expected that “hundreds of people” will participate, many of them from abroad, namely from neighboring Spain.

There are plenty of suggestions, including 11 guided routes, with different levels of difficulty, which will take participants to all parishes in the municipality of Alcoutim and to the Spanish bank of the Guadiana river.

AlcoutimAlthough it is expected to attract a lot of outsiders, the 2015 Hiking Festival is even starting to look “inside”. On Friday, the first day of the festival, the morning program is aimed at the school population of the municipality, with walks along stages of the Via Algarviana, guided by Associação Almargem, and with games and activities for the little ones.

In the afternoon, there will be «A Rota da Felicidade», a motivational route for employees of various local institutions, guided by Clube da Amizade.

During the weekend, 9th and 10th, tours are scheduled that "were a great success in the first edition of the festival", such as "Mornings with the shepherd" - in which groups will follow the shepherd's walk with his goats and will be able to enjoy a mountain breakfast – or the «Algarve, with an aroma of Alentejo and Spain», which runs from Pomarão, in the municipality of Mértola, to Sanlúcar de Guadiana, in Spain, and «offers hikers scenarios of three regions with the Guadiana River as a backdrop».

In the latter case, the walk itself is made entirely in Spain, with participants making the journey between Alcoutim and Pomarão by boat, up the Guadiana River. This commitment to a close partnership with Spanish neighbors aims at «the consolidation of proximity policies» with Spain, which has been a flagship of Osvaldo Gonçalves.

Another proposal that deserves to be repeated is the night walk dedicated to astronomy, called «Olhar o Céu, Engrave na Pedra», which this year will take place near the town of Cortes Pereiras and which will deal with the theme of archaeoastronomy.

«The event's program also includes walks related to the themes of smuggling and the tax guard, local architecture, aromatic plants, black pig, among others», revealed the Chamber of Alcoutim. O Program of the II Alcoutim Hiking Festival can be downloaded in PDF by clicking here.

Alcoutim Hiking Festival_2Participation in the tours is free, but subject to mandatory registration. To do this, those interested should contact the tourism service of the Municipality of Alcoutim, until May 6, through the email [email protected] or the telephones 281 540 500 and 922 276 728 or (0034) 622 120 572 (Spain).

In the field of animation, various activities are planned, such as the presence of the art exhibition «My Fukushima», on the quay of Alcoutim, a concert by the “Quarteto Concordis”, on Saturday afternoon, film screenings, the 8th Athletics Grand Prix the Alcoutim City Council Workers Support Center and the tasting of products.

Anyone who wants to be present, coming from far away, will have several accommodation possibilities at their disposal. In addition to the Pousada de Alcoutim, «there are several local accommodation units, the Pereiro campervan park and places in Alcoutim, where this type of vehicle can also be stored».

“Unfortunately”, there is still the question of the Alcoutim inn to be resolved, but Osvaldo Gonçalves is hopeful that, at least for the 2016 edition, there will be the possibility of having this hotel.

The Alcoutim Hiking Festival is organized by the Municipality of Alcoutim, in collaboration with the Ayuntamientos de Sanlúcar de Guadiana and El Granado, the associations Odiana, Almargem, Cumeadas, Alcance, Amigos dos Farelos and Clarines, Amigos do Zambujal, Grito d' Alegria, Alcoutim Sports Group, Vaqueiros Sports Club, Alfa, Alcoutim Experimental Theater, Alcoutim Volunteer Firefighters, Optismo Club, and Alcoutim City Council Workers Support Center.Alcoutim Hiking Festival_1