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PORTUGAL WILD TRAIL - TOURS´LIST

Also: ‘tour on demand’ and ‘group tours’ – check availability and price


1 COLARES – THE LOST VILLAGES OF SINTRA HILLS

Colares - Eugaria - Gigarós - Sant'Anna do Carmo – Our Lord of the Old River - Penedo, the Village of the Holy Spirit - Colares Velho... Colares is not just the village bordering the beautiful stream, there is so much to see around in the valley and on the north slope of the Sintra Mountains. Leaving the square of the church we come to a secret corner where a waterfall cascades the waters of the Capuchos stream, here named 'Colares' or Abreja.

Stop to watch the splendid and famous Quinta do Vinagre, old of centuries and history - culminating in the celebration that was La Dolce Vita in September 1968, given by the couple Schlumberguer. Time to go up to the first of the "lost" villages of the mountain, Eugaria, and its little church and the House of Eyes - of architect Pancho Guedes.

From Eugaria we continue our green dive through the cliffs of the mountains, until another house, the village of Gigarós that few know it. Curious names… The Corn River Way, The Mouth of the Bush Way… and that's how we get to the old convent, it's Sant'Anna do Carmo. Today is a huge and beautiful farm, sung by poets and writers like Alexandre Herculano in the poem 'Cruz Mutilada' (Mutilated Cross).

A secret place of great beauty and peace - hearing only the waters of the stream, the birds and the windy foliage - is the Lord of the Old River, the ancient hermitage on a lap of the mountain. Nearby we are already at Penedo, the village of ‘Espirito Santo of the Serra de Sintra’. Another viewpoint in the heights, here, overlooking Colares, where we return, passing through what was the old Islamic district until we reach Colares Velho.

2 OLD SINTRA. TEMPLARS, POETS AND WRITERS

Departing from Palacio da Vila - this was a former site of the Moorish governors and was later the Palace of Portuguese kings, integrating various architectural styles. Underneath this ground is a web of tunnels and secret galleries, linking the buildings surrounding the square - that were donated by the king to the Templars - to the cellars of the palace. Other mysterious passages extend to the Moorish Castle and eastwards to Cacém. In Travessa dos Fornos we can still see the vent of one of these tunnels.

Through alleys we pass by Quinta (farm) da Princesa and go up to Largo Latino Coelho to the old 'Jugada' Barn. Lawrence is our next milestone, and a good time to talk about Eça and Ramalho Ortigão, Ferreira de Castro and Lord Byron, among others. Other historical farms follow on - Pizões and the namesake waterfall, Regaleira, Farm of the Clock and Quinta dos Lobos – The Wolves Farm - the oldest one in Sintra and also a Templar stronghold.

Taking the path to Seteais, we visit the garden and viewpoint, then heade uphill through Azinhaga Vale dos Anjos to Rampa da Pena. On the way down we will pass the Merendas Park, Sabuga Fountain and Ferraria - there is the old Hotel Vítor where a clandestine casino once operated, and we will visit the viewpoint. On the return to the Vila Palace, passing by Fonte da Pipa and the Jewish quarter. Alternatively, we have a shorter variant: Sintra and the Paths of Eça de Queiroz, a Portuguese writer.


3 CONQUERING THE MOUNT OF THE MOORISH CASTLE

We start this tour in São Pedro de Sintra, in the square of the fair, passing by Quinta da Penalva where F1 racer Ayrton Senna stood, Convent of the Trinity, and we will see the house where the children’ story writer Hans Christian Anderssen was on vacation.

Climb now by the Santa Maria Way to the Ferreira de Castro viewpoint where the writer's tomb is also located. At the end of the ascent we reach the ancient hermitage of S. Pedro de Canaferrim and the old Islamic neighborhood and cemetery next to the Castle. Leaving the east-facing door we walk towards the 'another castle of Sintra', the 'Castle of Concrete' that belonged to confectioner Gregory – maker of Sintra ‘queijadas’, a local tart. Downhill a trail through the woods leads us to the Rio da Bica Fountain and close to a spiritual retreat of Opus Dei. We also touch the old ‘gafaria’ (leprous) area and another secret nook, the "Old Well", among other traces of the Templar and Medieval Sintra.

[Tour with possible variants, depending on the weather, you can climb from S. Pedro de Sintra through the Rio da Bica site to the ‘Concrete’ / Gregório Palace on Monte Sereno, then enter the slope of the Moorish Castle to the chapel from S. Pedro de Canaferrin and along the Pena road pass in front of the Palace gardens and reach Santa Eufémia da Serra and its viewpoints, and down again to São Pedro de Sintra.]


4 A WALK BY PENHA LONGA AND THE BLUE LAGOON 
or WALKING BY QUINTA DO PISÃO

We are in a zone full of stories, myths and legends. There is no shortage of people talking about UFO sightings in the Blue Lagoon. But the history of Penha Longa is more earthly, and is the site of the first presence of Jeronimos monks who would later found the Monastery, in Belém. Today it has a hotel, condominiums and golf, but the verdant meadows and fields are huge, and we will cross them.

If we choose the trail in Pisão we will have the same wide spaces, with a 'cave of the bats', lime kilns, a 'port covo' – harbour in the stream - a dam, chapel, vegetable garden, the Eira dos Fornicos (threshing floor), the Angry Tree and ... a must of this farm, may be we are able to see horses and several ‘woolly’ donkeys.

5 FROM CASCAIS TO HELL’S MOUTH (BOCA DO INFERNO)

This tour has all the ingredients to fill up with visions of grant beauty all our morning: In the centre of the village, we touch places that were once the home of famous writers, and admire not just the ‘summer’s architecture’ but some anthology palaces like the  Seixas Palace, that houses today the Port Authority and mess of naval officers. We also have the viewpoint of Praia da Rainha (the Queen’s beach), and Ribeira or Pescadores (stream or fishermen’s beach).

Walking along the edge of the bay now to the imposing statue of King D. Carlos, and from there we visit the Cidadela district, passing by the marina, and the Castro Guimarães Museum with its Saint Sebastião Tower. There are also must-see places of postcard, the Lighthouse’ and Santa Marta Beach, with the imposing Santa Maria House and Museum, the work of architect Raúl Lino, also pointing out the venue villa for the ‘Losers of Life’.

But there is more here in this ancient Cascais, as Vila del Este and Casa Italia that housed King D. Humberto II, until we reach Boca do Inferno, time now to talk about Fernando Pessoa and the English occultist Alesteir Crowley.

On the way back to the village centre, on the other hand, we pass by Paula Rego's House of Stories, Carmona Park and Sea Museum. The old streets of sailors and navigators lead us to Largo Camões.

6 LISBON THE ANCIENT AND MISTERIOUS CITY

An historical, cultural and beautiful tour by the panoramic from the top of some of the viewpoints and belvederes. Old Lisbon lives again in the labyrinthine alleys and paths of Mouraria, Graça, Castelo and Alfama.

Going on to discover an old, mysterious Lisbon, is the challenge for the new walking tour, another hike organized by the Portugal Wild Trail. We go through backstreets and alleys where Fado was born and live yet, and became authentic galleries of the founding fadistas of the national song.

But there is more, much more. Arteries and houses full of history and religiosity, typical people and places, such as the old 'villas'. And overcoming all this, on every hill and top, the splendid view, the panoramic, the distant horizon or the nearest cutout of roofs and steeples, and the light! There is always this deep sky, and this magical light of Lisbon!

Dominating everything and everyone, high up, the old Castle. Its history, the walls, the fences and gates that defended this city and its people. This cosmopolitan city was once an home to many, Moors, Jews and Christians. So we must visit the ancient Jewish Quarter, go deep into Mouraria (Moorish quarter), and contemplate the churches that dot each hill.

Not far from the old fencing doors, the Tagus runs close, reminding us also of the caravels that left here in such ‘first globalization’. We invite you to this dense journey of places where we will unite the Mouraria, the Grace, the Castle houses and the old Alfama.

7 THE ‘SALOIA’* TOUR - STREAMS, CASCADES, ‘GHOST’ VILLAGES AND A FOREST OF STONE

A joyful and colorful tour, plenty with sounds of nature and smells of the countryside, as we walk along watercourses, streams or waterfalls, in an authentic dive in this bucolic and romantic atmosphere, also pulling the adventure, so close to Lisbon and so different.

We can also visit a ‘forest of stone’ where rocks take strange shapes, see what is left of the 'ghost' village of Broas, or admire the beauty of the vivid and cheerful colors of an authentic recently restored ‘Saloia’ village in Mata Pequena - the options are many and we advise accordingly to the season.

* - 'simple folk'

8 SINTRA ‘SIERRA’ – JOURNEY IN THE HILLS

From Malveira da Serra or starting at Pedras Irmãs – Twin Rocks – in a shorter / soft option - we will climb to the westernmost top of the Sintra range. This whole slope is the scene of ancient stories, of hermits who stayed here for decades until the end of their days, but also of processions and pilgrimages - there is even the ‘Fountain of Romeiros’ (pilgrims), in a nook by the way, almost reaching the top.

A spectacular view dominating the Atlantic, is what we find next to the church and castle alike housing at the top of Peninha - you can see the area of Lisbon, Mafra, or Ericeira, further north. Site of legends and myths that are lost in the mist of time, like that of a dumb shepherd to whom Our Lady arose.

We have other variants to this tour on this side of the mountain, which we advise accordingly to the season and weather: From Capuchos to the Monk top and Yellow Stone/Fox Head belvedere, or the Redwoods Road & Monserrate  park tour.

9 SINTRA THE SEA SIDE – TREMENDOUS ROCKS & CLIFFS

From Adraga beach we set off to discover this wild coast, and be able to see from above those sites as the fearsome Fojo dos Morcegos (Bat’s Pit) and Pedra de Alvidrar - they have an associated dark legend. We peek at the hidden Praia do Cavalo - Horse Beach and, very close, we admire a formidable rocky set - the Ursa (Bear), the Giant, the Bride and the Pyramid, framed in the background by the Roca promontory.

By a trail crossing hills and valleys we reach the village of Almoçageme and also land of vineyards and wineries and cheerful houses.

Once there we begin our descent back to Praia da Adraga where we will admire its curious rocky formations.

10 IN SEARCH OF THE 'DINOS' FOOTPRINTS 

An opportunity to walk a little along the coast of Sintra: from Praia Pequena to Praia Grande climbing up to Alto do Rodízio where we will see different dinosaur footprints on the huge slabs, set almost vertically today.

At the top near the geodesic landmark we reach a natural viewpoint with a superb panorama along the coast and into the Atlantic.

11 FROM MAGOITO BEACH TO THE CURIOUS VINEYARDS ON SANDY SOIL AT CHÃO VERDE

The tour starts at the Magoito beach picnic park, a beach with parallel rock formations, full of iodine. After going down to the beach we pass the stream, to start the climb up to the wine area near Fontanelas, the 'Caminho do Chão Verde – the Green Ground Path'. At the top, we admire the fabulous view from another angle of this beach of Magoito.

Already on the 'Green Ground' we are surprised, because the vineyards look curious, as snakes stretch directly on the sandy soil - this is where the famous Colares wine comes from. Next to the village of Fontanelas is an old Moorish fountain and, in the middle of the immense valley that follows, we will walk a little, by a stream side, before returning to the picnic park.

12 PHOTO-SAFARI – GENERICAL OR THEMATIC 

A different Sintra in this tour by car - and on foot: Customer’s cars follow that of Portugal Wild Trail, and we make several stops by places where the sacred and the profane, or simply viewpoints and belvederes invite to the splendid photography.

If ‘The Holy and the Profane’ option is chosen, we are not just talking about the 'religions of the book', as we will see a Buddhist Temple, and what is left of the ancient Roman Temple to the Sun and the Moon on Alto do Rodízio. The so-called 'sacred' ground in prehistory would be that of the megalithic stones of Adre Nunes, which resemble a mystical portal or Stonehenge.

In Janas there is a curious, round, legendary chapel, and even today at annual festivals the cattle is blessed, circulated in a retrograde rotation around the Church.

We end up at the most remote site of the human presence in the Sintra mountain range, in Santa Eufémia da Serra, with its two viewpoints. Over three and a half hours we visit places considered 'sacred' or 'of worship', some for millennia. At the end a local wine tasting accompanied by sweets.

NOTES

  • Hiking Standard price: 40 eur / 2 PAX (minimum)
  • Photo-Safari: 100 eur / customer vehicle (4 people maximum per vehicle)


AGENDA


SEPTEMBER

  • 21ST SEP 2019 SAT 09H00 SINTRA - TEMPLAR, MEDIEVAL AND ROMANTIC
  • 28TH SEP 2019 SAT 09H00 LISBON - OLD MISTERIOUS CITY


OCTOBER

  • 05TH OCT 2019 SAT 09H00 FROM CASCAIS TO THE 'HELL'S MOUTH'
  • 12TH OCT 2019 SAT 09H00 COLARES - LOST VILLAGES OF SINTRA HILLS
  • 19TH OCT 2019 SAT 09H00 PHOTO-SAFARI 
  • 26TH OCT 2019 SAT 09H00 SINTRA SEASIDE - ADRAGA - ALMOÇAGEME TOUR