Almond trees and good people attract thousands of people to Alta Mora

O Sul Informação followed a day of preparation work for the Festival das Amendoeiras em Flor and tells him how it was

Photos: Hugo Rodrigues|Sul Informação

Maria Ermelinda, together with other ladies, dedicates herself to the elaboration of the decorations. Mr. Gualdino, with the strength of his arms gained from years of work in the field and legs that have won many races, joins more men to do the heaviest tasks. Hugo, who grew up in the big city, fell off a wall for the first time.

In recent weeks, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, the usually quiet village of Alta Mora, in the interior of the municipality of Castro Marim, has come to life to prepare the first edition of the Festival das Amendoeiras em Flor, which will be held on the weekend, February 1st and 2nd, and is expected to attract thousands of visitors.

Local inhabitants - which are already few -, members of the Friends of Alta Mora Recreational, Cultural and Sports Association (ARCDAA), which brings together many children of the land, members of the ADRIP association from Cacela Velha and volunteers from abroad, have been coming together to work.

And there's a lot to do, from restoring an old fire house, to giving new life to an old wood oven, to preparing the pigsty, driving the last nails into the animal fence and taking care of the vegetable garden.

All these are elements of the festival that the Friends of Alta Mora Recreational, Cultural and Sports Association will promote this weekend, with the support of “365Algarve” program.

Over two days, in addition to the traditional tours to see the almond trees in bloom, the INFO do Algarve, which the event organizers have been promoting for about 15 years, there will be a market for local producers, a village of artisans, recreation of numerous elements of the rural world, street entertainment, children's workshops, gastronomy, music and theatre.

The complete program can be consulted here.



on the Saturday the  Sul Informação he visited Alta Mora, there were about two dozen people who, from early morning, were busy preparing the party.

On one side, on the way to Cerro de Alta Mora, several men gathered the material and made preparations for what would be two of the main tasks of the day: whitewashing the interior of an old fire house, abandoned for decades, and creating a fence around the vegetable garden that was planted a week earlier and that will be one of the elements of the festival.

Although everyone seems to know what they have to do, Valter Matias, president of ARCDAA and one of the main drivers of this festival, is giving indications and organizing the work.

«We are working towards having a huge party here, on the 1st and 2nd of February. Our expectations for this first Festival of Almond Blossoms are high», confessed Valter Matias.

With the background sound of a drill and someone hammering, the president of ARCDAA explained to the Sul Informação that the house that is being recovered will be integrated into the so-called Aldeia do Artesão.

In this place, the tea place will be installed, where “tea and coffee will be served, made in the fire as in the past, as well as dumplings and the traditional arbutus”.

Also in Aldeia dos Artessãos, where they will «recreate various crafts from the rural world», there will be «a baker, a loom, bobbin lace, works and others».

On the main road, which crosses Alta Mora, there will be a market «where the producers will sell traditional products, from honey to almonds, from sausages to sweets».

“Animals are also part of it. There will be a pig here in the pigsty, which was recovered for the purpose, as well as chickens, sheep and goats. And there won't even be a lack of the pastor», said Valter Matias.

50 almond trees will also be planted. «We are going to have a workshop, promoted by the In Loco association. People can apply and then we'll plant the trees. It will be a way to contribute and leave a mark. We already have the trees and the terrain prepared».


Maria Ermelinda Domingos


On the other side of the road, in the former primary school, which is now the association's headquarters, Mrs. Maria Ermelinda Domingos pulls back and proudly informs her that she is «the oldest of those who are working here».

At the height of his 84 years and with a contagious sympathy, he explains that he has been dedicating himself, with "seven or eight other women", to creating paper ornaments in the shape of an almond blossom that will add color and joy to the party.

«The women are almost all of my time. One is a month younger than me. The most is all seventy years old, almost eighty. This work is ours, the men have the work of the street», he stressed.

«I'm helping what I can. I'm helping to make these little things, these decorations, which are almond blossoms», she says, while showing one of the flowers.

This work is done inside the former primary school, where there is also a kitchen in which several women are already preparing lunch, one of the sacred moments, when all those who are helping sit at the table to enjoy a meal full of typical delicacies and socialize.

On that day, the aroma of migas and kale stew came from the pans, which was accompanied by chicken and roast beef, a salad of local products, homemade wine and, at the end, arbutus.

Although, at this point, the reader may have the feeling that the description of a past day's menu is only a cause of envy, far from it. These gastronomic delicacies will also be available on festival days.

«In addition to the bread and regional products from the market, typical food will be prepared. We're going to put some live fireplaces there and make stews in cauldrons, as was done in the past. Cabbage, migas and other dishes like these», says Valter Matias.


Hugo esteves


Until then, there is a lot to do. Fortunately, there are also many arms to help, some from people who don't even have ties to Alta Mora.

Hugo Esteves from Lisbon is still young, but has been in the Algarve for many years. «I've known Matias for some time and I know that these projects are always funny things. He likes to give life to what was abandoned and I think this is important», he told the Sul Informação.

«It was a great community and people that I met here. The experience has been great: working, talking, socializing, meeting new people… it's been amazing! And, of course, lunches, which are an essential part (laughs)», he said.

“I have learned a lot from people here. I had never whitewashed – I painted little, never whitewashed – and that is how we are learning the other trades that were done here in the countryside», he concluded.

Hugo is one of several helpers who came from outside. «There are partners, local people, who live here, people who came from Vila Real, from Castro Marim. ADRIP-Association for Defense, Rehabilitation, Research and Promotion of Natural and Cultural Heritage of Cacela is collaborating with us. They will be the ones to dynamize the market share, but they are also helping us at this stage», sums up Valter Matias.

In addition to recovering buildings and constructing structures for the animals, volunteers are also recovering furniture, utensils and other old elements found in houses that are no longer in use, which will have a new life.


Gualdino Lourenço


Mr. Gualdino, who also placed his tractor at the service of the common mission, guarantees, for his part, that this will be a party "like they have never seen."

«We are going to have a big party in Alta Mora, to liven this up here. There is hardly anyone here anymore and it will be a great entertainment», says the inhabitant of the village.

Now 80 years old, Gualdino Leandro Lourenço was a tax guard and lived in Vila Real de Santo António, where he still has a house. But these days, he spends more time in Alta Mora.

“We are going to open several houses that were closed for a long time. One of them is that house of fire, which belonged to my brother-in-law and has been abandoned since the 90s», he explained.

«Now it will have a new face. It's been a long time since anyone went there. It's to tear down and build again… it's like that», he vented.

Before the predicted end, this building will be useful, at least once more. «We are prepared for anything: the women will be kneading, we will bake bread in the oven, upstairs we will set up a loom, for everyone to see».

«We are also going to have the goats, the pigs, the sheep, the chickens, the donkey… everything is there in abundance», says, laughing, Gualdino Lourenço.


Valter Matthias


O SCHEDULE seems to be exhilarating the audience, as the inscriptions there have been many and are already over six hundred. And there are people coming from many places, some as far away as Australia.

“There are people of many nationalities. We have Germans, Dutch, Belgians, French, Italians, many Spaniards and even Australians. And then, there are people from various parts of the country, such as Almada and Lisbon, and from the Barlavento Algarvio. From Spain, people come from Seville and a large group from Malaga», revealed Valter Matias.

Many of these people already knew Alta Mora from the tours that the association has been promoting for years to see the almond trees in bloom.

«The part of walking routes has already been developed since 2005. And we have had a growing demand in the walks we promote. We started with 30 people and, last year, we had close to a thousand participants», he recalled.

«In 2020, we decided to expand the event and made an application to “365Algarve”. We decided to add this issue of handicrafts and the rural world to the almond trees and integrate everything in a festival», added the president of ARCDAA.

“A lot of people will come here, some two thousand or three thousand people. Last year, there were two trips to see the almond trees in February that brought together more than 400 people at a time», believes Gualdino Lourenço.



Both Mrs. Maria Ermelinda and Mr. Gualdino welcome the reporter from Sul Informação with immeasurable sympathy and without sparing on smiles. By the way, Gualdino Lourenço insisted on opening the door of his house, to proudly show the trophies he had won in athletics.

Although he was already 45 years old when he started running, he took “many first and second places”. The high point came on the day he competed and finished a 42-kilometer marathon in Ayamonte: “and he was already 60 years old”.

On the way, he shows off his wine and sausages from a pig “fed only on acorns”.

As you can see, whoever goes to Alta Mora, on Saturday and Sunday, can count on hospitality and friendship from the local population.

“Come on everyone, there's going to be a party here in Alta Mora like you've never seen. There has never been such a big party around here. Come everyone, here are all good people and you will all be welcomed!” challenges Gualdino Lourenço.

"It is worth it! Come here, because it's really worth it», reinforces, for his part, the unsuspecting Hugo Esteves.

Anyone who wants to sign up can do so on this link, by phone 96528465 or by email [email protected] indicating the full name, citizen card number and date of birth. More information can be found at ARCDAA website.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues|Sul Informação



Organized by ARCDAA with the support of 365Algarve, the Almond Blossom Festival also has partnerships with the Municipality of Castro Marim, Odeleite Parish Council, Odiana Association and Satori Artistic Association and with the collaboration of ADRIP (Defense, Rehabilitation Association) , Research and Promotion of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of Cacela), the Mscar concessionaire, the security company Especial1 and the School of Hotel and Tourism of Vila Real de St. António.