We have just completed another fantastic river walk along the banks of the Tagus, called the Trilho da Barca d’Amieira.

Sky walk at the Tagus

Purpose built, it includes a transparent Sky Walk viewing deck that protrudes out over the river with a clear view of the impressive Fratel Dam, a partial passadiço wooden walkway, a really scary suspension bridge and lots of points on the way for birdwatching, train-spotting, viewing platforms as well as a metal railway track.

An early start
We decided to set off early before most visitors arrive, which also helps in avoiding walking at the hottest part of the day. There is a car park at the start and the walk is linear, so you can begin at either end, although most people seem to set out from the Fratel Dam end. The first thing to visit is the glass-bottomed Sky Deck, which sticks out over the river valley with a deep drop below and an uninterrupted view to the huge dam itself.

Following the 3.6km path westwards, it accompanies the river valley, sometimes climbing up high so that you look down on the water and sometimes dropping down to the banks. Set along the way are several stop-off points, which include a garden with a giant butterfly and ladybird, two bird watching hideouts, a rather long suspension bridge that crosses one of the streams leading off from the Tagus, and several rock formations.

Rio Tejo Barca d'Ameiria

Pedal car TejoMuro de Sirga do Tejo
On one part of the walk, where the river narrows and is strewn with rocks, you get to try out pedalling an industrial looking railcar set on a metal track that carries you onwards along the trail.




From this point forwards you find yourself walking along an ancient stone wall, a wall that was built to carry workers and pack animals who in the old days pulled boats through the gorge by hand using thick sisal ropes (or sirgas). The currents here could be quite violent and it was often too treacherous to manoeuvre sailboats through the estuary, but we did spare a thought for the poor guys who had the backbreaking job of pulling them through. They lived a hard but simple existence on the banks of the river until motorised boats and the railway arrived in the 1890s.

Trilho da Barca d'amieiraAfter 3,6km the walk reaches its westerly destination at Barca d’Amieira, a village and river crossing where vehicles are still today taken over on a machine-operated ferry. This is a secluded place to stop over if you have a campervan or enjoy a picnic lunch, although the currents are too strong here for bathing.

Royal link to Estremoz
In 1336, after the queen of Portugal, Rainha Santa Isabel, passed away in Estremoz, her body was taken by road to Coimbra and the royal entourage with its precious cargo crossed the Tagus at this exact point. Legend has it that the queen was wearing a dress made of a fine linen woven by mystical beings who reside here. They came in the night to make a cloth so delicate that it had never been seen before, thus protecting the body of the sainted lady on her final journey. Even today, it is thought that if you leave out thread and needles, together with a sweet cake or biscuit, you may also find they have been replaced with some beautiful lacework in the morning!
Barca d'Amieira crossingRetracing our steps on the way back we crossed paths with several more hikers and also had the full sun above us, so were glad that we had set off good and early…but a beautiful walk, full of Portuguese history and legend within incredible nature.

Write A Comment