The Truemans' Treks - Walk
Vale do Alvorão
starts and ends in the village of Lapas, once an
autonomous village but now little more than a suburb of
the expanding town of Torres Novas in central Portugal.
The walk travels through farmland and
orchards via the village of A-do-Friere with great views
of the Serra de Aire mountains throughout the journey.
However, the rubbish and detritus found en-route leaves
one with a feeling of just how a good walk could have
been a great walk if more care were taken of the
countryside by our Portuguese friends.
Lapas, central Portugal
Time: 3 hours
Map: Carta Militar
Start. Driving north through Torres Novas you
will reach the village of Lapas. Continue through the
village with one particularly narrow road (it is two
way, so care is required), with the river on your left
for a few metres before turning right at the roundabout.
After about 150 metres you will see a small gravel track
to the left leading uphill to a car parking area by the
From the cemetery car park, return
to the village of Lapas and keep the pretty river to
your right. After 200 metres you are forces into the
road away from the river and will see a fountain and a
bus stop on the left. Turn left just after the fountain
up a narrow street. Carry on at the first cross roads.
This passes a small
bar on the right which looks as if it hasn't changed
since, well.. for a long, long time. Take a look in and
see if you have ever seen any bar so . . . er, basic..
At the next
cross roads, turn right and, after 50 metres, turn left.
This road takes you through more of old Lapas before
opening up onto a new estate, giving the odd contrast
between old rustic and new urban living. Continue
through the new development until you reach a T
junction, where you turn left. At the next junction,
turn right then after a further 100 metres
gravel track offers good views of the Serra de Aire
mountain to your left but is again littered with new
housing, some unfinished and some which could kindly be
described as modern ugly. Shame.
track, through farmland and orchards, looking out for a
bee-eater colony in the bank on the left. Ignore two
left hand turns and continue until you reach the second
a track on the right. This drops downhill with great
views of the valley (Vale do Alvorão).
Sue and I took the
first right and ended up in a smallholding with a
wonderfully rustic weekend cottage - see photo. If you
do the same, you too have turned too early.
track downhill as it meanders through olive orchards
until you meet a T junction where you turn left. This
runs alongside the valley floor with occasional glimpses
of the Ribeira do Alvorão on your right.
There are two tracks
heading down here and I am unsure which one we took, but
it really doesn't matter as both reach the track
alongside the valley floor.
After about one kilometre there is a very distinct track
on your left (the second that you encounter), which you
should follow. We actually missed this the first time,
reaching a shallow ford across the river, but took
advantage of the fresh waters to cool our feet before
turning back. If you have any doubts about the turning,
carry on and then be prepared to turn back when you meet
track for about 700 metres until you reach a main road
where you turn left into the village of A-Do-Freire.
This village is quite
attractive except that, when we wandered around, it
struck us that it must be a dogs' latrine as there were
piles of dog poo everywhere. Shame.
in front of the church, ignoring the road signposted
Lapas and head uphill before taking a smaller road on
the left which soon becomes a rough, overgrown track
This was fine when we
walked it in June but looks as if it gets very boggy
during the wetter months so beware. It may be better to
follow the road signposted Lapas after all.
After about 400 metres, you meet a road where you turn
right and, ignoring the first track to your left,
continue for another 300 metres until you see a track
crossing the road. Here you turn left and follow this
track for 900 metres, where it forks. Take the right
hand fork and follow this for 600 metres where it forks
again. Take the left hand fork.
Cooling down enroute
Soaking up the Atmosphere
There are magnificent
views to the right for the length of this route but,
despite many signs saying this track was subject to a
recent clean up campaign, it is littered with all kinds
of litter, particularly builders' rubbish. Education
really is needed for our rural country folk on how to
look after the countryside. Shame.
The track leads you to a road where you turn left,
passing an old olive oil factory, until you see the road
on your right leading back to the cemetery and parking
Look out for the old
wooden house on the left as you approach the village -
it reminded us of some windswept homestead on the
prairies of Montana rather than Portugal. Be careful
here because it appears the track is regularly used as a
human latrine. Shame.