The Barranco do Demo (meaning ‘Devil’s Gorge’) is a short but remarkable trail featuring wooden staircases attached to steep, rugged cliffs. Showcasing the cliffs’ stark beauty, the trail begins in the village of Alferce, near Monchique. The craggy, challenging landscape reveals that the Algarve offers much more than its renowned sunny beaches.

Barranco do Demo Trail

Location: Alferce village, Monchique municipality; GPS Coordinates : 37° 20′ 3.102″ N / 8° 29′ 10.171″ W; Grade: medium difficulty; some stretches can be more difficult for elderly or very young visitors; Type: linear trail – out and back (wooden walkways); this trail is signposted; Length: 2.1 kilometers/ 1.25 miles (wooden walkways); Average Completion Time: up to 3 hours; Best Time to Visit: all year round except in July and August; Activities: nature walks and hikes; birdwatching

Monchique is a relatively large ecological island, with altitude and humidity values much higher than the remaining areas of the region. This is the ‘green Algarve.’ Although shallow, the soils of Monchique are also very fertile due to their ancient volcanic origin.

Here, you can enjoy a scenery with unique wildlife and plant varieties not seen elsewhere in the region. These species include Monchique Oak, Pontic Rhododendron, Bonelli’s Eagle, Goshawk, and the vibrant Schreiber’s Green Lizard (image below, from left to right).
Monchique Plants and Animals - Barranco do Demo Trail

The most accessible entrance to the trail is located next to the Alferce cemetery. If you want to enter from the opposite end, you will have to traverse a meandering dirt road. The central feature of the Barranco do Demo trail is a small suspension bridge over a narrow stream where fresh water flows from the mountains. The surrounding view is very peaceful and markedly different from the coastal landscapes further south.

At both ends of the wooden walkways, visitors will find two rest areas that also serve as viewpoints over the dizzying gorge. With its steep descent and ascent of 570 stairs, the walk requires some physical effort. However, the walkway itself is quite short as a round trip only covers about 2 km (1.25 miles).

Nonetheless, a longer hike is also possible. Indeed, the walkways of the Barranco do Demo are only a segment of a hiking route that connects the village of Alferce to the ruins of a very ancient castle whose origins date back to the Bronze Age (Castelo de Alferce: please check the map below). In the future, the construction of an Interpretative Centre is planned to document the castle’s history from the Bronze Age (3300 BC to 1200 BC) to its modification by the Arabs between the 4th and 11th centuries.

Further Tips | Barranco do Demo Trail
There is no fee to access the wooden walkways. The path is freely accessible and you will find some parking spots near the Alferce cemetery. However, it might be hard to find a spot here during the weekend due to the higher influx of visitors. In that case, it might be better to park your vehicle near the Church of Alferce. The hiking trail is well signposted from the village center.

The Barranco do Demo Walkways are open to the public throughout the year. However, the best time of year to visit is from late September to early June. Walking in the summer can be too uncomfortable – if you visit the Barranco do Demo during the hottest months, your best bet is to hike during the early morning hours or at dusk.

If you visit in spring, you’ll have the additional bonus of finding the stream at the bottom of the valley fuller and bubbling with its cool waters. In summer or winter, don’t forget to bring enough drinking water, comfortable footwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat (and also some food for a pleasant picnic). Enjoy!

Barranco do Demo Trail - Aerial View