The Truemans' Treks - Walk
9 - Make Your Eyes Water
This pleasant, relatively short walk
includes the Praia Fluvial (river beach) at Olhos de
Agua where you can cool off with a paddle.
Olhos de Agua literally means Eyes
of Water – strange. Its nearby caves also give respite
from the sun and it is an ideal excursion on a hot
summer day. There is also a science centre which, for a
small entrance fee, gives a superb description of the
geology, geography and wildlife in the area.
It is recommended that a picnic and
a towel are carried on the walk to enjoy the recreation
facilities of the Praia Fluvial.
Olhos de Agua, central Portugal
Time: 2.5 hours
Map: Carta Militar
Start. Leaving the A23 at
Junction 1, head for Alcanena then onto Monsanto.
Turning right into the village, pass the clock tower on
your left and there is plenty of parking near the
centre, opposite an impressive tiled wall.
From the car park, head back along
the road where you entered the village, passing the
clock tower on your right, until you reach the main
some beautiful old houses on the left, or rather they
would be beautiful had they not been left to decay.
Entry to Caves
Light at End of Tunnel
Cool Walk Way
At the main
road, turn left and follow the road for a couple of
hundred metres, around a right hand bend until you see a
track on your right between houses. Take this track
which bends left back towards the main road.
track is worth the short detour just to see the ducks
and geese in the garden on the right, although the
residents seem more interested in the strange aliens
with backpacks than we were in the livestock.
track reaches the road, turn immediately right again and
follow the track downhill, through assorted farm
buildings holding assorted pieces of farm machinery.
Follow the track for just over 1 km., ignoring two
turnings on the right and on the left, before taking a
very sharp right hand turn. This is easily missed, so if
you reach a left hand turn with a ruined, stone farm
building on the corner, you have missed it. Just retrace
your steps a few metres to pick up the track.
This track cuts through
a pretty valley, the Ribeiro de Monsanto, with typical
farm scenery - except for a huge palm tree to your left
which seems strangely out of place and made us wonder
how it got there in the first place.
new track for 1.5 km. through farmland, with lovely
views to the right of Monsanto and the Serra De Aire
beyond, ignoring any turnings, until you drop steeply
downhill to meet a cross-roads of tracks. At the cross
roads, turn left and follow the track to the Nascentes
do Alviela, the source of the River Alviela.
approach this recreation area, follow the road round to
the right, over the stream leading to the river and look
out for some steps on your right with a wooden signpost,
marked “PNSAC, PERCURSO PEDESTAL, OLHOS DE AGUA DO
ALVIELA”. Take the steps.
At the Other Side
Take Care when Walking
At the end of the steps
you can turn left which leads to a number of large
caves, two of which can be entered. Here, there is an
area for observing the thousands of bats which roost in
the caves as they leave for their nightly hunt at dusk.
You may also be lucky enough to see bats in the caves
during the daytime. Turning right, takes you to a deep
gorge, carved by water through the limestone, which
leads to the source of the river. It is worth spending
as long a time as you can in exploring both of these
back along the steps, turn right when you meet the road
and this leads to the river beach with picnic tables and
easy access into the river for a cooling paddle. Across
the wooden bridge, there is also a café, ideal for a
well-earned cup of coffee.
are ready to return, cross the wooden bridge and pass a
camp site (usually empty) and follow the road to the
left behind the café. Leaving the science centre (Centro
Cienca Viva do Alviela), an ugly building, on your
right, follow the road uphill and return along the track
used on the outward walk.
The Centre is worth a
visit with a film showing the geology, geography and
wildlife in the area.
cross-roads of tracks, continue straight ahead and
follow the track as it meanders for 1.5 km through
farmland back to Monsanto, offering excellent views of
the Serra da Candeeiros on the way.
Serra de Candeeiro Mountains
Strange Chopped Trees