Discover one of the best kept secrets in Portugal – the Schist Villages, where time passes slowly. Walk from village to village along schist paths, river beaches and tiny mountain villages whilst experiencing some of the local traditional flavours and products, like making wood-oven bread or fresh goat cheese. Enjoy stone house lodgings renewed as comfy rural tourism inns, surrounded by pure nature. Optional experiences of Lisbon or Porto recommended. Self guided or guided optional.
£725 per person
Day 1: Talasnal - Lousã - Casal Novo Walking Trail
Transfer from Coimbra to Talasnal, so you can make your own way by train or bus from Porto or Lisbon. *Optional: Transfer from airport of Porto or Lisbon to Talasnal Following Serra da Lousã slopes, this walking trail connects Talasnal to the city of Lousã and the emblematic Schist Village of Casal Novo. The hiking route is also a journey through time. You will follow the ancient trails used in the past by local inhabitants to reach Lousã. Often surrounded by vegetation, the trail provides pleasant shadows in summer and protection from the wind in the winter. Due to the accumulated climbs and descents, this hike requires good physical condition. (11 km / 7 mi | +571 m / +1873 ft | 5 h)
Day 2: Gondramaz - Talasnal
Transfer From Talasnal to Gondramaz. Today you will walk from Gondramaz to Talasnal village. Discovering these Schist Villages represents to immerse yourself in the magical world of Lousã mountain, with its splendid vegetation where you can see deer, boars and many other species, some of them rare and protected. Here nature is sovereign! Arriving to Talasnal you may visit two traditional olive presses moved with the strength of water. This region is also known by the peculiar activity of the Neveiros. From the seventeenth century these men carried ice to Lisbon made from snow stored in pits, like those of Santo António das Neves on top of the mountain. The snow was kept until the summer and wrapped in straw or fern to be carried in cars and mules to Lisbon. With the industrial revolution and the adoption of artificial cold production, this activity ceased. (13 km / 8 mi | +674 m / +2211 ft | 5 h)
Day 3: Ferraria de São João - Gondramaz
Transfer from Talasnal to Ferrarias de São João. Today’s walk will take you to the beautiful village of Gondramaz. At the beginning of the walk, you will have the chance to appreciate how the schist and quartz merge in an harmonious way at the beautiful village of Ferraria de São João. On the other hand, Gondramaz is distinguished by its specific schist tone that involves us from head to toes. Even the ground you step is example of the traditional art of working the stone. This is indeed a land of craftsmen whose skilled hands create charismatic figures that are the hallmark of the region and take the name of its master and village beyond its borders. (21 km / 13 mi | +812 m / +2664 ft | 7 h)
Day 4: Ferraria de São João - Casal de São Simão
Transfer from Gondramaz to Ferrarias de São João. Today’s walk connects Ferraria de São João and Casal São Simão, both Schist villages. The village of Casal de São Simão is presently recovering old traditions, like popular and religious fairs, thanks to the presence of new inhabitants that recently moved in. (11 km / 7 mi | +337 m / +1105,64 ft | 5h30)
Day 5: Casal de São Simão Walking Trail
The walk takes place in the surroundings of Casal de São Simão. It goes through Fragas de São Simão’s river beach and passes through the villages of Além da Ribeira, Ponte do Brascurado and Saonda. The water lines that abound in this area, like the Alge and Fato streams, are full of old water channels and watermills, evidence of the human presence over the centuries. You can also find some patches of the original flora of this region, characterized by the presence of Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica), Royal fern, Lady fern, English Oak and others. Among the vegetation many mammals hide themselves, like the fox or the Egyptian mongoose. (5 km / 3 mi | +237 m / +1072 ft | 2 h)
Day 6: Coimbra - Porto/Lisbon
Morning transfer to Coimbra so you can make your own way by train or bus. *Optional: Transfer to Lisboa or Porto. Extension in Lisbon or Porto on request.