Ribeira do Foz, a hike to the hidden medieval water world.
Ribeira da Foz is a hidden, magical place in Central Portugal that took us 3 years and 5 hikes to find. Not because it’s not known, among the locals it’s well known and much appreciated and going there for them is a natural thing, that they have been doing all their lives and directions seemed easy.
One local lady told us how to get there more than once. She used to wash clothes there before she had running water. But her directions send us up and over the mountain and many more mountains after it, never to find the river.
Trying to find without knowing where exactly it is and going by the confidant directions provided by the locals it took us many hikes through this hilly, pine and eucalyptus landscape. It’s much winding, sandy paths each brought a new discovery but never the much talked about stream we were searching for.
Often we were accompanied by the sound of natural waterfalls but were unable to locate them or find our way through the high growth and deep drops to actually be able to get to them.
The final hike
By our final try, we had more or less accepted that whatever we would find could only disappoint after such a long time of looking for it. All the hikes we made to find this mythical place had been their own adventure so it seemed worthwhile to try again.
Far from reality, when finally did find it, it was even more magical and mythical than expected.
It has a completely unique flora and fauna, lush and somehow foreign, the small river is surrounded by large plants, trees and here and the waterfalls are just lovely, we saw fish and langoustines and a multitude of dragonflies and birds.
Along the water, they are some interesting ruins that tell the area was once a busy place of rural industry/
Ribeira da Foz is set narrowly between two fast-rising hills and on its narrow shores are some strange old buildings, little farms and a completely derelict watermill but nobody lives there now or has for many years, yet judging by the little remain you will find between all the shrubs and plants growing along this little river, it must have once been a place of much human activity.
Note: the area is remote and not often visited, mobile networks don’t work, and there is no place to buy water or food. Go prepared!
Closest villages with provisions are roughly 3km.
How to get there
The hike to the main waterfall from the train station of Praia do Ribatejo is roughly 3 km. Parking close to the waterfall is possible but the entry to the fall is a steep descent level easy to medium.
The hike is accompanied by info boards and certain paths have been fitted with boarding. Currently, there is also a walking bridge across the river.
Travelling by car you can park 500m from the main waterfall or 600m from the entry path to the river path. There is no official parking area anywhere in this area but there is plenty of space to park safely.
To learn more about the flora, fauna and history or go on an accompanied hike. you can contact the parish of Constancia. (municipal de Constancia) who organizes accompanied visits.
Contact us if you need more info.
Since the writing off this article info boards have been added along the paths and google maps has added a location pin making it a lot easier to find.
By public transport take the train to Praia do Ribatejo. You will need to cross the railway bridge across the Tagus and walk roughly 1500 m along the main road before entering the sand paths.