Two-week Route in interior of Portugal| River Beaches, Schist Villages and Historic Villages
After finishing the first stage of the construction of our van, in a house on wheels, we decided to take a trip through Portugal. The time we had was limited, so we wanted to make the most of it.
We went without big plans, just with a general outline of what we wanted to know. Before the trip we thought about going to Gerês, but quickly realized that it was impossible. The Beiras region (highest concentration on the map) has many beautiful sites. We took a 9 month trip through Europe, where we got to know a lot of unmissable places, but even so, we managed to be surprised and amazed by what our country has to offer. In such a short radius, we had no country with as many points of interest as this region of Portugal. So we left Lisbon towards Tomar.
Then we did some river beaches, schist villages and historic villages (click to go directly to the articles). For us, it was easy to park, but if you are traveling by car there is a campsite and local accommodation scattered everywhere on this route.
Day 1 | Tomar and river beach of agroal
Our first stop was Tomar. We had never visited this city, but we loved to walk there. We went to the information point (we do it whenever it exists) and found that there are lots of free museums and as it was Sunday, the Convent of Christ is Free.
We head to our first river beach, Agroal. When we arrived it was at the pinecone and the parking lot was completely full. We opted to stop a little higher while we ate something and went back down the road later in the day. When we travel to places like this, in high season, we should always arrive in the morning. For those traveling by motorhome, you can also arrive at the end of the day and stay overnight.
Route: Tomar – Agroal
Day 2 | River beach of Cardigos
The next day we traveled towards Cardigos river beach and arrived around 4pm. We saw some campervans on the hill and decided to join the group. This park parking area has a privileged view of the pools, is very close to the cafe and has a barbecue area.
The river beach has many different living spaces, sun loungers and a tented camping area. The water looks like an authentic pool, as we can see they are treated with chlorine, which gives it this hue.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos
Day 3 | Bostelim River Beach and Gondramaz schist Village
The next day we head towards the river beach of Bostelim. A very green space, with area for motorhomes and camping tents. The space is very harmonious with nature. It was a little cloudy and we ended up having lunch on the spot and traveling to our first schist village.
Gondramaz is at the top of the mountain and the path is a bit steep and curved. It was a very mysterious fog when we left the campervan and went for a walk in the village, where nothing was going on. The village is small and very calm, breathes peace and tranquility.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz
Day 4 | Cerdeira, Candal and Talasnal schist village
After passing the village of Lousã, we started our journey always up hill, searching for the schist villages that are in this area and close to each other.
When we saw the sign of the village of Cerdeira, we soon came up with a very steep climb and the information that the village was 1.5 km. We didn’t want to subject our camper to even greater effort and decided to go on foot. The village seen from afar is very beautiful and charming. We entered a stone path and began to explore every corner of the village. All very organized and tastefully restored.
Heading to the village of Candal, a few kilometers ahead, it should be possibly the most sighted as it is right next to the national road. It is framed in a very beautiful environment and with a lot of flora. High on the hill, all in Schist and transmitting peace, tranquility and fresh air, as almost all mountain villages.
We continue to Talasnal village a little further on. Perhaps the most sought after, due to its proximity to the village, for a pedestrian walk. It is fully schist and has also been restored.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – aldeias da Lousã
DAY 5 | VILLAGE AND FLUVIAL BEACH OF COJA
Towards Côja and without great expectations we found a very nice river beach with jumping boards, coffee and a campsite right next door. We stayed overnight in the village which has a very nice roman bridge, has public toilets and shower.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja
DIA 6 | Waterfall FRAGA DA PENA and river beach of PIODÃO
The next day we went towards a waterfall called Fraga da Pena, located in the Serra do Açor. The waterfall was clear, but very cold anyway, and we tried hard and managed to take a dive.
We walked a few kilometers through the wonderful landscapes of the mountains and came across the Piodão village in the distance. It is a beautiful, beautiful village with small houses and a brutal setting.
We took the opportunity to spend the late afternoon by the river beach, which was a small path below the village and had no one.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão
DAY 7 | FOZ D'ÉGUA RIVER BEACH AND POÇO DA BROCA
We left Piodão and stopped 4 km later in Foz d’Égua, a true wonder of nature. The water comes from the river’s natural course and is very clean. It has two very elegant arched stone bridges. We took a few dives and went for a walk and headed towards Poço da Broca, which was also a few kilometers away.
Poço da Broca was a surprise, indeed a pleasant surprise. Right after Piodão and Foz d’égua, this place comes. It has three waterfalls, totally distinct from each other, diverse spaces, rugged terrain and very clear water.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca
DAY 8 | LORIGA RIVER BEACH
We continue to Loriga, located in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. We came from the side of Vide and to get there were a few kilometers always uphill, until you see a space with many cars and passing over a bridge, we see the river beach on our left.
The beach is in a very beautiful setting, with the mountains behind it and some pebbles. It has a large pool, which at the bottom looks like an infinity pool, has two for children, very shallow and one with rocks – in all the water is very clear and crystal clear.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca – Loriga
DAY 9 | PAUL RIVER BEACH AND BELMONTE HISTORIC VILLAGE
We had a little difficulty finding Paúl River Beach, it is a kind of “well”, between rocks, with small waterfalls flowing. It’s also a beautiful afternoon here, but we took a dip and headed for Belmonte.
Belmonte is located in the municipality of Castelo Branco and was the first of the historic villages we visited. Its name, derives from the words Belo (beautifull) and Monte(hill), we understand why. The village is very well structured, everything is arranged and has residents, which we like and we love to be in contact with the local people.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca – Paúl – Belmomte
DAY 10 | SABUGAL AND HISTORICAL VILLAGE OF SORTELHA
Sortelha is in the municipality of Sabugal. Perhaps because we have never heard of this village, it was certainly the one that surprised us most. We were not prepared, much less expecting what we were going to witness.
We were standing by the bell tower, thinking that what we saw was the village, when we came across the Gate of the village of Sortelha. As we entered, we were stunned. In fact, we weren’t even expecting the medieval village we saw. It looks like an authentic movie set. There were hardly any people, the local granite houses were very authentic and every nook and cranny was new.
A quiet and untouched place, an authentic open-air museum. Inside this medieval ring is the castle – the view is phenomenal.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca – Paúl – Belmomte – Sabugal – Sortelha
Day 11 | MEIMÃO RIVER BEACH
Near the Serra da Malcata, in an intensely forested area, we reach the river beach of Meimão. The space is half private, with surveillance cameras and a cafe with tourist village. Officials said we could stay there without problem. We slept right next to the dam, in a car park with amazing views.
Hiking is possible and there are some boats for rent, canoes and pedalos. It also has a floating pool with two areas of different depths.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca – Paúl – Belmomte – Sabugal – Sortelha – Meimão
MONSANTO HISTORIC VILLAGE
The village of Monsanto was one of the villages we liked the most. It was also the liveliest village we have been to, both tourist and local. Tourists are mostly Spanish and visitors arriving on excursions (many Asians). Despite the emblematic name of the village, they do their normal life and get along with each other a lot on the streets.
The village stands out in the distance as it stands high on a hill and all the surrounding environment is flat. At the very top is the castle. To get to the castle requires some physical predisposition – not that it is a difficult route, but it is a little steep and if it is in summer, it is very hot. The view from the castle is wonderful and very wide, you can see a very large area of the territory.
When we walk through the village alleys, we get lost in time. It is unique There are big rocks everywhere, including being used for the construction of their houses.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca – Paúl – Belmomte – Sabugal – Sortelha – Meimão – Monsanto
Day 13 | IDANHA-A-VELHA and CASTELO NOVO
Already in a flatter territorial area, we came to Idanha-a-Velha, a smaller and wider village. you can feel the historical past and see the cathedral and the ruins, making it a small open-air museum. The village has ancient trees, many fruit trees and residents with stools to sell their regional produce.
Castelo Novo is a labyrinth-style village on a hilltop with very nice houses, many of them built of granite. It has a different castle with a metal walkway. At the entrance of the castle there is a tourist information point where you can go and discover the history of the village.
Down below, before climbing into the historic center, there is a river beach. The beach is very natural, with grass to be in the towel, without many people and where you can be a little quiet before visiting the village.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca – Paúl – Belmomte – Sabugal – Sortelha – Meimão – Monsanto – Castelo Novo
Day 14 | RIVER BEACH QUINTA DO ALAMAL
After Castelo Novo, we started down towards Quinta do Alamal. We passed through the gates of Rodão and arrived at the river beach of Quinta do Alamal. The beach has a unique surrounding overlooking the castle of Belverde.
Route: Tomar – Agroal – Cardigos – Gondramaz -Côja – Fraga da Pena – Piodão – Foz d’égua – Poço da Broca – Paúl – Belmomte – Sabugal – Sortelha – Meimão – Monsanto – Castelo Novo – Quinta do Alamal