The key wild aspect of Portugal: River seashores, hill forts, mountain villages and festas


Portugal’s shoreline is without doubt one of the most fun in Europe

Alongside the Costa Vicentina within the south-west you will discover fabulous mountaineering routes previous secret seashores whereas within the Algarve you’ll be able to uncover sun-filled sea caves. 

Portugal’s river seashores or “praia fluivial” are one among its greatest secrets and techniques, frequented by locals however not often vacationers. 

They provide an oasis of calm and funky away from the busier metropolis and coastal resorts, good for picnics, swimming, sunbathing and even skinny dipping. 

Foz de Égua 

From the hilltop village of Piódão you’ll be able to stroll to the valley hamlet Foz de Égua the place two streams meet. 

Two small schist granite bridges arch over a refreshing pool with water so clear it’s like swimming in crystal. 

A signed and round five-mile stroll leads from right here over the hills. From Piódão comply with indicators downhill for Foz de Égua on CM1134. 


The Algarve’s sea-worn Praia da Senhora da Rocha

Praia Fluvial, Ponte das Três Entradas 

Time and the hour appear to have neglected the district of Coimbra between Porto and Lisbon and its mountain villages are wealthy with river swimming holes. 

Right here two rivers, the Alva and Alvôco, converge beneath the arches of an outdated stone bridge. The water is so clear you’ll be able to stand on the shingle backside and watch as small fish weave between your limbs. 

There are rowing boats for rent and a rope swing for the joys seeker. From Oliveira do Hospital take N230 south; on the junction with N17 flip proper to Santa Ovaia. Flip left at Santa Ovaia onto N230 and proceed to the River Alva. Park and stroll down. 

Praia Fluvial da Peneda

With rope swings upstream and shallow sandy islands downstream, that is heaven for kids. 

Dangle your toes within the water from the bar tables suspended over the river. A brief stroll upstream yields a wilder wooded space. 

Park in Góis city sq. and head in direction of the river bridge. Stroll down the west aspect; it’s 300ft in your left. 

Praia da Senhora da Rocha, West Algarve

A wild, windswept chapel up on a promontory overlooks this shell-strewn seaside. 

Float in your again with ears underwater and hearken to the shingle of the sands. Flanked by excessive sandstone cliffs the seaside is sheltered from robust winds and a tunnel has been excavated between the headland to hyperlink it with Praia Nova on the opposite aspect. 

On the primary Sunday in August there’s a procession of the Madonna from the chapel right down to the seaside. Exit N125 at Porches and comply with indicators to Senhora da Rocha. Park on the town and stroll right down to seaside.


Spectacular standing stones at Almendres hill fort

Praia da Amália, Brejão, Costa Vicentina 

This was the coastal retreat of Amália Rodrigues, Portugal’s most well-known rags-to-riches determine of the 1940s. 

The orange-seller turned Fado singer learnt to swim on this seaside’s secluded privateness. Few folks find out about it now although. 

A waterfall tumbles right down to the sand, good for a bathe after a salty swim. The Rota Vicentina footpath passes above. 

From Brejão take the coast highway in direction of Azenha do Mar. On the yellow flower signal flip proper down the monitor although raspberry fields.

Park exterior Amália’s home and comply with the monitor left to the seaside.


The ancients knew the place to place their hill forts and standing stones. With fabulous vistas these are the proper place for a stroll, so convey a picnic supper and watch the solar go down. 

Look out throughout the treetops within the golden hour and survey the panorama as our ancestors would have carried out. 

Castelo de Castro Laboreiro, Viana do Castelo

A winding monitor results in a ninth century Galician stronghold turned Moorish citadel. At sundown the final rays of sunshine burn its turrets a darkish gold. 

Breathe within the views from this historical citadel left to the wild, the place eagles perch and lizards creep on its rocks. 

Park in Castro Laboreiro and from the primary sq. head down behind the pillory, cross the highway, flip left and move the museum. 

A mud monitor results in a viewing rock on left and a monitor to the citadel leads as much as the appropriate. 

Wild Guide Portugal: Hidden Places, Great Adventures And The Good Life

Wild Information Portugal: Hidden Locations, Nice Adventures And The Good Life

Cromeleque dos Almendres, Évora

One of many largest teams of standing menhirs in Europe: 96 stones stand in a clearing within the cork oak woodland and look out over the plains of Nossa Senhora da Guadalupe. 

Some have swirling rock artwork designs, inscribed by Neolithic artists from eight,000 years in the past.

From Évora take the N114 in direction of Montemor-o-Novo however after 11 miles flip left on the brown signal to Cromeleque. Comply with indicators.


The mountain villages of Portugal, with their cobbled streets and rambling steps, evoke a time of harvests and honey, donkeys carrying wares and shepherd huts hidden on hills. 

Retreat to those villages, gradual the tempo and pay attention out for tinkling bells because the cows come house within the wealthy, night gentle.


Retreat to the mountain villages

Soajo, Viana do Castelo

A cheeky grinning face minimize into 16th century stone shares sums up the neighborhood of this small city. 

Famously, this city by no means let nobles keep “longer than the time bread takes to chill on the tip of a spear”. 

Essentially the most putting factor about Soajo are the espigueiros, corn-houses, standing sentinel like a granite military surveying the mountains. 

From Ponte da Barca take the N230 12 miles west. Comply with brown indicators for the espigueiros, 500 yards south of Soajo on the M530.

Monsanto, Castelo Branco

Small stone homes are haphazardly wedged between large granite boulders serving as a roof right here and a wall there. 

Discover the slim lanes with their caves, wells and even chapels constructed into the rock. A Templar citadel will be reached alongside a path winding up the mountain from the village. 

Clamber up its crowning battlements to take pleasure in earth-shattering views throughout the Raiana plains. From Castelo Branco take the N233 then N239 for 30 miles, there’s a strolling monitor uphill to the citadel. Info boards on the town. 


Portugal’s streets come alive in the summertime with avenue events or festas. Typically nice locations to attempt native dishes and wines, the events kick off in June with Lisbon and Porto’s Santos Populares. 

From July to August each tiny village may have its festa fashionable, with dancing in streets strewn with flowers, conventional music and feasting. 

Festa da Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, Constância

For hundreds of years, Easter Monday has seen the blessing of the boats at this fishing neighborhood on the Tejo river. 

A whole bunch of fishing boats, colourfully festooned, sail into the harbour. Their ceremonial “setting sail” is a dramatic sight. 

They return for a full of life celebration. For those who take the prepare from Lisbon, the closest station is Praia do Ribatejo, a 30 minute stroll.

● Wild Information Portugal: Hidden Locations, Nice Adventures And The Good Life, £16.99, Wild Issues Publishing ( Categorical readers get 25 per cent off and free P&P with coupon Categorical at checkout. 

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