In the lush Asseca Valley of the Algarve, water flows abundantly. The river that flows through the valley forms a set of three cascading waterfalls before joining the Gilão River and returning to the ocean. While the whole Ribeira da Asseca is breathtaking and worth exploring, the biggest cascade, known as Pego do Inferno, is without a doubt the most impressive of the bunch. Here, the water carves out a narrow canyon before cascading for 15 metres and, finally, dropping down a waterfall, into an emerald basin surrounded by stooping trees and lush plants creeping down to have a taste of the crystal-clear water.
Needless to say, the lagoon makes for a heavenly retreat. What’s up, then, with the ominous name of Pego do Inferno (meaning Hell’s Pit)? The legend goes that the lake swallows man and beast alike. In a distant past, a horse-and-carriage fell into the basin. Strangely, both the passengers and animals were never found.
Unless you’re incredibly superstitious and riding a horse, there’s no need to fear this Algarvian remnant of Eden. The clear waters are filled with minerals from millennia of limestone erosion, and perfect for a soothing swim. Thrill-seekers get their fair share of fun too, as the basin’s edge doubles as a launch pad for cliff jumpers. Pego do Inferno lacks a well-constructed walkway and public facilities (these were destroyed in a fire in 2012), making it a little hard to find -- but adding to the experience!