Visit Foz d’Égua sanctuary, a lost village in the middle of an almost wild nature

Foz d’Egua river beach

Foz d’Égua river beach appears high on many websites in their Top 10 river beaches in Central Portugal. It is located just 4km from Piodão, Arganil in a beautiful valley of the Serra do Açor mountains, where two streams (Ribeiras de Piódão and Chãs D´Égua) meet.

The drive is through narrow winding roads with few barriers but the views are spectacular. This river beach is absolutely stunning with breath taking woodland scenery.

It’s a small village but its small size is largely compensated by its beauty. Shale, slope, dark green and brown, slate, logs and other words fit well the description of the place and guarantee us that our trip to Foz d’Egua won’t be in vain.

Then a suspension bridge followed by a village that crawls up the slope.

But this is no ordinary village, it has such a fairy tale ambience that we’re not sure if what’s coming out of one of the houses is going to be human or maybe a pointy-eared elf. We had a hard time parking the car.

Although it is a village where it seems that no one lives permanently, it has many visitors. We climbed the road towards the suspension bridge.

The bridge is not crossable already for some time, it’s only there to enhance the “mystique”  (although this is not clear to all). We went down the side towards the river. There’s no lacking of bridges here: it has a recent bridge in concrete and another double one in stone, which only contributes to the charm of the place.

 Foz d’Égua sanctuary

From here we have a good view of the hillside, where the village goes up, until the chapel, on the top of the hill. Of course, we went up there. The climb is done slowly, looking several times to the side to absorb the view. Arriving at the chapel, one sees the village well and the surrounding hills. It is well worth to sit down for awhile, catch your breath and enjoy the moment of zen.

The construction of a weir led to the formation of a magnificent natural pool, with calm and crystal clear waters. There are a couple of hiking routes, including one to Piodão and trails for mountain biking too. Access to the river beach is via schist steps which are quite steep so not great if you have mobility issues or have a child in a pushchair. Once you reach the river beach it is pretty flat and well worth the short walk down to get there.

The car park is fairly small but there are three different entrances and places to park. People just park anywhere and block areas, they park both sides of a narrow road making it difficult for 2 lanes of traffic to pass, get used to it, welcome to Portugal! There is no cafe at the river beach but there is a cafe is just next to one of the car parks.

The sanctuary and the river beach of Foz d’Égua can be reached within 30 minutes by car from Quinta da Palmeira – Country House Retreat & Spa.


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