Eastern Way

Amend. da Serra < > Cabeça Gorda

Stage 4

The origins of Cabeça Gorda village, by now in the municipality of Beja, are unknown. However, there are historical data showing that its creation was much earlier than Portugal’s birth, probably during the Arab occupation, which began in the year 711 AD.Created under the name of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of Conception) da Rocha, it is today known as Cabeça Gorda (Fat Head), a popular name that is believed to be associated with its toponymy: “cabeça” (head) deriving from “Cabeço”, that means hill, and “Gorda” (large) because of its width. And the village, located at the highest point of the region, is, in fact, placed on a “large hill”.

Igreja Matriz de Cabeça Gorda

Main Church of Cabeça Gorda
A relatively modest temple commissioned by the Order of Santiago, whose cross is still part of the parish council coat of arms. The building has a current layout that should date back to the 16th century, when one of the two towers that flank the main façade was erected. The second tower was erected in 1913 at the time when the church was also enlarged.

The village is defined by a typical Alentejo landscape of montado (mix of holm oak and cork oak forest), especially the red of the clay soils that accompany the traveler along the road. The traces of the Order of Santiago are also found in the village coat of arms, which has the Order’s red cross in the middle of two green moons.

Between Cabeça Gorda and the “twin” village of Salvada, just two kilometers away, much of the history of the Islamic period and the subsequent reconquer took place here, in the suburbs of Beja. A history that left its traces, engraved in the names of the streets, such as Rua da Estalagem (Inn Road), reminding us that, once upon a time, Cabeça Gorda was a place of travelers assistance.

Cabeça Gorda

Cabeça Gorda

and also…

“Silarca” Mushroom Festival − March

Anniversary of the Commune – April

MTB event Terras de Mato – May

Cultural Week – July/August

Festivities in Honnor of São Luís – August

Biological Park of Cabeça Gorda

The Centro de Interpretação dos Recursos Naturais (Interpretation Center of Natural Resources) is located in the Perímetro Florestal de Cabeça Gorda e da Salvada Biopark, a property of 324.8 ha under the responsibility of the civil parishes Parish with the same name. With the time this space, like much of the Alentejo, was occupied by cereal crops and intensive grazing, causing an increasing soil impoverishment. In order to reverse this situation, the project for afforestation of the Perimeter was approved in 1958, and it is today completely afforested, with the most dominant species being the cork oak and eucalyptus.The project’s main goal is to enhance and promote the environmental and rural heritage of the Cabeça Gorda and Salvada Forest Perimeter, qualifying this area as a reference for cultural, educational and leisure activities in rural and natural areas.

Leaving Amendoeira da Serra, we return to the previous day intersection and, turning right, we enter a wide road, which we follow for a few kilometers, until a deviation to the left in full descent that might go unnoticed. We are at the northern limit of the Natural Park of Vale do Guadiana.

With Serpa mountain range on the right in the horizon, we pass the ford over the stream Ribeira de Terges which, in some rainy periods of the year, may bring water flows that blocks the river passage. At these times, we won’t explore the slippery banks looking for alternative passages, but should rather ask for support in Amendoeira da Serra so they can transport us to an alternative path or even directly to the village of Cabeça Gorda.

We are already in Beja municipality, outside the protected area of the Natural Park. We follow successive hills for 8 km, stopping from time to time to enjoy the holm oak forests, the delicate yellow-flowered narcissus, Narcissus cavanillesii, or the purple thistle, Centaurea coutinhoi, which are both protected.In a crossroad already with asphalt road, we chose the direction of Vale de Russins village, the only point of support of this stage, so we choose to rest here. We get some supplies at the grocery store of D. Elisete Ramos, have a coffee at Taberna Romão and we keep in memory the conversations and glances exchanged with these few inhabitants, whose eyes shine again with the new “life” brought to the village by the Path of Santiago.

We move in the direction of Cabeça Gorda by dirt track. We find several estates and their flocks, and we are even surprised with a Chinese gate on our right, right in the middle of nowhere, witnessing for sure the eastern origin of its owner.

We continue through the middle of an extensive forest perimeter of stone pine. We enter the village of Cabeça Gorda, leave the stone path and enter the paved street João Martins Gonçalves. At the end, before reaching Praça de Magalhães Lima square, we see the Main Church. It’s a modest temple with expansions dating back to the 19th century, ordered by the Order of Santiago.

We can see that no one dares to circulate in the streets at the peak of the heat. At the end of the afternoon, through the streets of the village we discover some regional handicrafts.

In March, all the attention turns to a much appreciated delicacy, the Silarca mushroom. The Festival lasts three days and is dedicated entirely to the region and the Amanita ponderosa. In addition to the exhibition of regional products and gastronomic shows, we can see the inhabitants of Cabeça Gorda and its surroundings, in the art of harvesting this natural resource, in Portugal’s emblematic ecosystem.

We conclude the journey in the main square of the village, heading to the local parish council that will guide us to the available local accommodation.


Always carry water, supplies, sunscreen, a hat, waterproof, comfortable shoes, and a map.


 CTT Post Office

 Bank/Cash Dispenser

 Monte da Corte Ligeira

Public Entities

 Beja City Council
+351 284 311 800

Cabeça Gorda Parish Council
+351 284 947 294

 Salvada Parish Council
+351 284 947 114


 Salvada Health Extension
+351 284 947 275


Points of Interest

 Cabeça Gorda Parish Council

 Moinho de Vento Park

 Cabeça Gorda Biological Park


Emergency: 112
Forest Fires: 117
Beja Fire Department: +351 284 311 660
GNR − National Republican Guard: +351 284 947 113
Beja Civil Protection: +351 284 313 050


Do not leave the marked and signaled route. Do not approach cliffs. Pay attention to the markings. Do not dispose of organic or inorganic waste during the trail, take a bag for this purpose. If you see garbage, collect it, help us to keep the Paths clean. Beware of livestock, don’t bother the animals. Leave Nature intact. Do not collect plants, animals or rocks. Avoid making noise. Respect private property, close gates and barriers. Don’t light fires and be careful with cigarettes. Do not vandalize the Paths signage.