Hiking and arts go hand in hand in the National Forest of Barão de São João

The Walk&Art Fest is the new Algarve walking festival, which will always take place in autumn and will be complementary to those already held in Ameixial and Alcoutim

Credit: Depositphotos

There will be walks, but also a lot of art – and sometimes both at the same time. The walking festival Walk & Art Fest of Barão de São João will have its first edition between the 1st and 4th of November, in this village in the municipality of Lagos and in the National Forest there. In addition to the natural riches, the event will also showcase the great art that is created there.

The new Algarve hiking festival, a joint initiative of the association Almargem and the Câmara de Lagos, was presented this Friday at the Cultural Center of Barão de São João, which will serve as the basis for the event.

The session served to lift the veil on the festival, the realization of which was announced, first-hand, by the Sul Informação. This initiative arose within the scope of Algarve Walking Season, a project of the QRER cooperative [Projeto Querença], with the support of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), which brings together the three Algarve hiking festivals: Alcoutim, Ameixial and Barão de São João, created this year.

«The festival starts on the 1st of November, a Thursday, and ends on the 4th, a Sunday. We wanted to take advantage of the holiday and the possibility of some people asking for a Friday holiday to come here», he explained to Sul Informação Anabela Santos, from Almargem.

“We will have 8 to 10 walks a day. The walks will be varied and aimed at different audiences, as we want to reach as many people as possible. We will have longer walks, shorter walks, family-oriented initiatives and themed walks in the area of ​​geology, archaeology, botany, heritage, birdwatching and much more,” he added.

The planned activities will all take place at the União de Freguesias de Bensafrim and Barão de São João, with special emphasis on the Mata Nacional and the Cultural Center of the lacobrigense village that gives its name to the festival, located at the entrance to this natural space.

And it could not be otherwise, bearing in mind that the possibility of promoting this heritage was one of the reasons that led the Câmara de Lagos to join the event «from the very beginning».

«We couldn't say no to this challenge, taking into account our desire to enhance the National Forest of Barão de São João and its particularities. It is not by chance that president Joaquina Matos says that this is our jewel in the crown», considered Paulo Reis, councilor of the Lagos Chamber.

«This territory needs to be “trodden” and lived. The more people who use this natural space, the less likely there is an accident,” added the member of the city council of lacobrigensa, who is in charge of the Civil Protection portfolio.

According to Anabela Santos, «a large part of the activities will take place within the forest perimeter», something that is also possible due to the support of the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, an entity that protects the forest and will even promote some actions.


Also highlighted will be the Barão de São João Cultural Center, which «has excellent facilities» and should be, in the view of the representative of Almargem, «the only one of its kind, outside a city, with this size and category».

The size of the cultural center is in line with the number of artists that are concentrated in this small village of Lagos. Hence the Art of the name Walk&Art.

«Getting to know Barão de São João, it was very easy to get to this central theme. I often say that this is a land of brilliant minds and natural born creators. And having this cultural center here, it was even easier. The first contact we made was with the center, because we thought that the base really had to be here and it was the way to reach the artists», explained Anabela Santos.

“The truth is that the approach to artists went spectacularly. In the very first meeting we had with them, we realized that they felt the need to see themselves and their work a little more valued. And there are artists here with impressive creativity», he added.

Also impressive is the number of local breeders who have already joined the event. "Right now, we already have 17 artists from very different areas who will participate in the festival."

«We are going to have an artistic installation, which we are still defining how it will be made, but which will initially be inside the National Forest, so that visitors, when they are enjoying this natural space, will realize that there is this one here in Barão de São João. strong component of art», said Anabela Santos.

An exhibition will also be promoted “inside the cultural center, for people who come here to feel surrounded by art”. And there will be workshops, some taking place in the artists' studios, and small walks that involve an artistic activity.


The event also counts on the collaboration of many companies in the Nature Tourism area. «We made personalized invitations. We started with the companies here in the county, which are just two. Then we made more contacts, with themes that interested us in the festival and everyone said yes, no one refused to participate for free, and they immediately sent a list of activities», said the representative of Almargem.

This is because, at this festival, «all activities are free».

Applications should start in the first week of October and can be made through the event website, which is now online. “At the beginning of next week [from Monday] we will start to provide more information and, later, there will be an online form through which people can register”, explained Anabela Santos.