They combine the best of both worlds, Nature and physical activity, and provide moments of pure delight. The walkways in Portugal are inserted in bucolic frames. Between valleys and mountains, or smelling of sea, walkways quickly became the perfect choice for walking, running or cycling. Municipalities have been betting on the creation of new paths, where walkers benefit from the direct contact with Nature, while promoting its valorization and preservation. The alternatives are varied and for all tastes, so take advantage of the tips from All About Portugal and set off on your adventure, with these 10 suggestions of walkways in Portugal for a healthy and film-worthy itinerary.
They are located in the Arouca Geopark and are probably the most famous walkways in Portugal. The Paiva Walkways are characterized not only by the beauty of the surrounding landscape, recognized as a World Heritage Geological Site by UNESCO, but also by the unique fauna and flora that populate it. Start your journey at the Fluvial Beaches of Areinho or Espiunca, and follow the course of the Paiva River, ideal for practising sports such as rafting or kayak, or simply taking a refreshing dip during the summer. Along the way, you will be presented with a true natural paradise filled with waterfalls and geological sites such as Gola do Salto, Garganta do Paiva or Falha de Espiunca.
Walkways of the Masseiras Trail
Travel to the seaside, more specifically to the North Coast Natural Park. The journey begins (and ends) at the Beach of Apúlia, and extends over the seven kilometres that make up the Route of the Wind and Man. An authentic return to the past, where it is possible to revive traditions and customs of a singular people, characterized by its intimate relationship with the sea, a relationship that ended up shaping not only its gastronomy, but also its ways of working and cultivating. Let yourself be enchanted by the mythical windmills, by the masseira fields (agricultural technique), and don't forget to climb the observation tower over the Apúlia Lagoon, where you will be treated to a unique landscape.
Walkways of Sistelo
Inserted in what is considered the “Portuguese Tibet”, the Walkways of Sistelo are a true natural paradise. Among the characteristic terraces of this Alto Minho village are also some of the most emblematic walking routes in the North of Portugal, including the Ecovia do Vez (eco-trail), which extends for more than 30 kilometres, and can be covered on foot or by bicycle. Start in the heart of the village, next to the wayside cross, and follow the route passing by the Chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Aflitos until you reach the Fluvial Leisure Area of Sistelo. There, you will be dazzled by the water mirror of the Vez River. It is also here that the walkways that lead to the Medieval Bridge of Sistelo begin, guiding you through a breathtaking landscape. Finish the route by going up the old pavement towards Sistelo.
Walkways of Alamal
Along the Tagus River, we find the Walkways of Alamal, part of the Arribas do Tejo Route and characterized by a scenery of rare beauty. Ideal for a short walk and escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, these walkways start at the Fluvial Beach of Alamal, which offers unique conditions for water sports, fishing or just relaxing by the river, in addition to other outdoor activities. Here, we find a very different Alentejo from the one we are used to, with granite slopes torn by the course of the Tagus River, and an idyllic setting with the Belver Castle as backdrop. Among the native species of fauna and flora are ducks, storks, and cork oak and alder trees. Finish the tour on the Belver Centennial Bridge.
Walkways of Alvor
In the south, you will find the biggest walkways in the Algarve, the Walkways of Alvor. They connect the Três Irmãos Beach to the Ria of Alvor (coastal inlet), an area of strong environmental value, and accompany the entire sea front and coastal sandspit, creating the necessary conditions for the practice of jogging, walking or cycling. It is an ideal area for the observation of dozens of bird species, which include flamingos, herons, black-winged stilts, crested larks, among others. Let yourself be captivated by this unique place, perfect encounter between Nature and leisure. What better way to end the day than with a stunning sunset where the paradisical beaches of the Algarve are the backdrop?
Walkways of Gresso
Enveloped by slopes of native forests and a unique landscape, the Gresso Walkways are a big surprise for everyone who ventures through the region, despite their short length. With just over a kilometre and a half, this is a route of unparalleled beauty, tempered by cascades, natural pools and creeks. The various bridges allow you to advance upstream, while the balconies and observation points reveal scenarios that will amaze you. You can complement this walkway with the Gresso Trail, a pedestrian route dedicated to the river that gave it its name. In summer, it is the ideal place to practice Canyoning.
Walkways of Fiães
The Walkways of Fiães run along the banks of the Uíma River. They are an excellent choice for a family walk, due to its good state of conservation, and the absence of steps and steep accents. The area in which they are located, swampy and with a unique ecosystem, is rich in unusual fauna and flora species. Although not very extensive in its dimension, you will find refreshing shade trees along this route that invite you to an invigorating rest, and the bird watching tower will surely delight those who love the natural world.
Walkways of Gameiro
We return to Alentejo, more specifically to the Gameiro Ecological Park, in the municipality of Mora. There we will find the Walkways of Gameiro which, despite their small distance, provide unique moments to all who venture through them. The trail starts at the Fluvial Beach of Gameiro, bathed by the River Raia. Let yourself be guided by the enchanting landscapes of the Alentejo dehesas, while you are treated to breathtaking horizons. In time, be sure to visit the Mora Fluviarium or the Environmental Interpretation Centre. For fans of physical activities or extreme sports there is also the Adventure Park.
Walkways of the Riverside Park of the Tagus Estuary
Inserted in an area of priceless biological wealth, the Walkways of the Linear Riverside Park of the Tagus Estuary are a unique opportunity for a family outing. They can be covered on foot or by bicycle, and are part of a network of trails that connect the Riverside Park to the Urban Park of Póvoa de Santa Iria, passing also through Forte da Casa and the Verdelha area. With a strong pedagogical component, the Riverside Park also includes a Bird Observatory and an Environmental Interpretation Centre. If time permits, go for a swim at the Pescadores Beach, while enjoying this truly breathtaking scenery.
Walkways of Ribeira de Quelhas
Last but not least, travel to a little village in the centre of Portugal. There, experience a dream landscape, complete with the waterfalls, streams and refreshing lagoons, and breathtaking valleys that characterize the Walkways of Ribeira de Quelhas, in the heart of the Serra da Lousã. Long known by lovers of sports such as mountaineering or canyoning, the Ribeira de Quelhas is a true wonder of nature, running through picturesque shale and granite cliffs. Start the route in the village of Coentral Grande and go upstream to the imposing waterfall, following the meandering of the stream. The Walkways are expected to open to the public in 2020.