The Guadiana Valley is a diamond in the rough to be explored and one of the richest natural landscapes in the country. Do not hesitate and schedule a visit to the region.
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With time being lost in the Alentejo plains, nothing like a walk that will awaken your senses. The Guadiana Valley is an area still in a very wild state, crossing a significant part of the municipalities of Mértola and Serpa.
It is one of the most important protected areas in the country. Covering around 70,000 hectares, it is home to dozens of animal species, including the rare hairy four-leaf clover.
Imprisoned in this protected area are plains as far as the eye can see, but also some of the most important natural spots in the south of the country, such as the Pulo do Lobo waterfall.
By trail or by car, the Guadiana Valley is definitely worth a visit.
Mértola: the Moorish heart of the lower Alentejo
The village of Mértola is the starting point for exploring the Guadiana Valley. From the top of its castle, streets lined with white houses descend, making this small Alentejo village a delight for any visitor.
Mirrored on the Guadiana River, Mértola is a veritable open-air museum, with a long Roman heritage.
Pulo do Lobo and Guadiana Valley trails
From Mértola, head to the 20-metre waterfall, unique in the Alentejo: Pulo do Lobo. Here, the forces of the turbid (clay) waters of the Guadiana leave no room for doubt that we are dealing with nature in its purest state.
If you like to walk, you can follow the PR9 trail – Between Escalda and Pulo do Lobo and find the Anta das Pias. It’s about 5 and a half kilometers long, recommended for experienced hikers.
A good route to take and explore the secrets of the Guadiana Valley is the PR8 – Percurso Ribeirinho, a trail of very low difficulty, along the Ribeira do Vascão area, one of the most important tributaries of the Guadiana river.
in fact the walking paths there are many and for all levels, an option that is worth leaving open.
The Ore Route
Another unmissable route for those who want to learn more about the history of the region is the ore route. There are 14 kilometers of an easy path, full of history, which runs through the old sulfur, copper and zinc mines.
Its exploitation dates back to Roman times, but modern exploitation began in 1858, on the initiative of the mining company “Mason & Barry”’.
There were 108 years of work that were lost on this trail in the middle of the Guadiana Valley.
Inside the mine there are several points of interest, through which this trail passes: Casa do Mineiro, the Electric Power Station and the Moitinha Station. The village of Pomarão is also worth a detour, with its river port from where ore shipments to England departed.
This route crosses the history of mining in Portugal with the smuggling. These lands were part of the smuggling routes, serving as a link to Spain to smuggle coffee, sugar or flour.
End your visit to the Guadiana Valley with a swim on the river beach of Tapada Grande. A vast stretch of sand surrounded by the calm waters of the reservoir offers explorers a well-deserved break.
This is an excellent suggestion for heading south and exploring the Alentejo nature, while traveling through the past.