Praia do Ribatejo is a small town in the center of Portugal that is set in a very unique environment with a natural habitat that find no equal anywhere else in Portugal with the same intensity and amazing diversity. Easy to reach by train or car and only one hour from Lisbon the town has set our many interesting hiking trails that allow you to explore its unique plant life, historical relevance and wonderful river Tagus views and surroundings.
The area that covers this unique habitat covers approximately 20km along the Tagus with Praia do Ribatejo being the place that, thanks to its large beach, centers.
Praia do ribatejo has many hiking trails along the beach, through the woodlands on the opposite side of town and to its historical surrounding villages and towns. Each has a completely different habitat consisting of olive trees, pine, eucalyptus, wild garlic, onion, artichokes, berries and many flowers river grasses, sandy ground vegetation, river cane and large castus. All have their own set of insects and wildlife.
Praia do Ribatejo is a small village that by itself is unique it was founded by a man called Manuel Vieira da Cruz, who from simple background, managed too run a successful business starting with his gatherings from the land and river and ended with his successful running of the only local shop and wood factory that earned him the title of commendador given to those who achieved amazing things. later it became the home of the generals of the Portuguesse army base that was established in the area giving rise to many amazing town houses and manors, somehow this sleepy village …….
Cork, olive, pine tree path with access to the river Tagus
It is 3 km from the medieval town of Constancia often visited and rumored to be the birth place of by the Portuguese equivalent of Shakespeare, Luis de Camoes, once distanced by the treachures Zezere river, which took many a fishermans life now the closest neighbour accesible by the 1940 bridge.
And 2 km from the magical Almourol castle, set in the middle of the Tagus on a high rock overlooking the surrounding countryside.
2 meter high cactus arch over path, railway path Almourol – Tancos
River reed path Praia do Ribatejo
Praia do Ribatejo is the perfect starting point for a hike as it has a train station with direct trains from Lisbon (5 a day) and it is 3km from the A23. The hikes start at a length of 3km and reach to 11km, roughly every 3 km cross country there is a village with opportunity for viewing historical monuments, refreshments, boat trips or lunch. Its an amazing family activity that all will love and cherish.
Largest stalk community along the Tejo in Praia do Ribatejo
The hike we want to cover in this article is the hike Praia do Ribatejo to Vila Nova da Barquinha roughly 11km which can be shortened to 2.3 km, 6km or 11km at which distances you will break your country path experience with small historical towns that have historical points of interest, cafes, restaurants, taxis and train stations.
The difficulty level is easy to medium and you’ll pass some amazingly interesting sites, most the hike you will be accompanied by a view of the wonderful Tagus river, narrow and rocky in this part of Portugal.
Castelo do Almourol
Most of the hike you will be walking on paths cut straight through nature some on the hilly heavely vegetated Tagus shore some cutting through the fertile farmlands along the river, all of it will amaze you with its unique nature and monuments and the vision of how this wonderful river once boomed with fishermen, Templar nights, rural existance and you could imagine how the ships of Portugals first king Henrique Afonso as they sailed down the river and reconquered Portugal in the 13th century from the Moors who had occupied it for 700 years. Its a hike with a difference a hike through a natural paradise with an amazing historical reference. Hardly known, hardly visited but such an amazing experience.
First traject of this hike Praia do Ribatejo trainstation (parking) – Almourol 2.4km the start of your hike will be with the Praia do Ribatejo storks who nest here every year between December and July, if you hike in this period, they are the largest group of storks to be found along the Tagus in this region due to the beach and the lower waters close to it and the immense beach giving them much possibility for abudance, they inhabit the village more and more confidently and they are growing in population every year.
This the broad easy path right up roughly 50 meters from the trainstation. This has the typical Praia do Ribatejo vegetation, cork tree, cactus arches over the path that go back centuries, many, many butterfly species and typical beach plants popping up out the sands that have given the name praia (beach) to this amazing place.
Some of the amazing sites on the way
Almourol trainstation to Almouro castle walk along the road and be amazed at the cactuses some falling 4 meters as they cover the adjacent wall from May until july they bloom from Augusts the fruit can be picked (with gloves) and once despiked its a delicacy that resembles in taste kiwi but sweeter and can spooned in a similar manner
Tancos A medieval town with a long riverside boulevard and one of the oldest churches in the district.
Church of Tancos
Riverside boulevard Tancos
Barquinha A Small fishing town with a modern monumental art park along the shore of the Tagus
Distance Praia do Ribatejo to Barquinha is roughly 11km and has 3 trainstations along the path.roughly 50meters in this route are of the path and on the road (at Tancos) and another 50m along the railway.the rest is al nature paths. There are 4 points with cafes, bars and restaurants – Praia do Ribatejo, Almourol, Tancos and Barquinha.
In the other direction from Praia do Ribatejo there are hiking paths in direction Constancia you can follow these either by the 2 rivers first The tagus for roughly 1 km and than the Zezere river for another 1.5km (+- 3km into the village of Constancia.) or through the forestry fields in front of the Praia do Ribatejo town.
Constancia is another lovely old town in this district, once the home of one of Portugal’s most famous medieval writers, Luís de Camões
Now with its lovely medieval centre intact, it has gained a long boulevard along the rivers with restaurants, bars and canoeing possibilities. check also our Constancia article
Maps are available from the Praia do RIbatejo council or by request. This area is not touristic and even though you may meet some foreigners pr local tourists also searching for a different and authentic experience, its still our best kept secret!
Hikes including lunch and return on a fisher boat are available for groups, please inquire for information and price! taxis, fisher boats and trains can help you find your way back, train time tables can be found on cp.pt and taxis, lunch, hike guide and boats can be reserved on Go Discover Portugal.
If you would like a guide to accompany on the hike, please contact us!