Crossing the bridge over the river in Vila Nova de Milfontes provides stunning views of the river’s mouth, the small town beside it and the natural vegetation that covers the local hillsides. This vegetation is important as it attracts many different species of birds and small mammals. At low tide, enjoy the view of the marshes on the river bends, partially submerged and covered with reeds, important in their own way also as breeding grounds for several species of fish. Between March and October you’ll be able to see many swifts as alpine, pallid and common swift all nest along this coast. Their breeding season starts as soon as they arrive and their acrobatics as they constantly search for enough food for their chicks is one of the wonders of the area. They spend over 90% of their life on the wing and have extreme difficulty in becoming airborne should they land anywhere but on a cliff or high building.
There are stretches along this part of the coast where native vegetation displays all its diversity and other areas where it has been destroyed and wiped out by a most aggressive exotic plant – the Acacia. This invasive plant is quite capable of reducing the sand dunes’ biodiversity almost to zero. At times intensive farming stretches right down to the ocean, but you can also enjoy other less invasive traces of human presence such as local, non-commercial, fishing or small Stone-Age quarries amongst the dunes, a reminder that man has been shaping this coastline since time immemorial.
Where to start
Vila Nova de Milfontes
At the tourist office (located on Rua António Mantas), following the Rua Custódio Brás Pacheco towards the main road.
At the roundabout (beginning of Avenida da Praia), heading along Rua do Chafariz to the wash-houses. Further on you will find sign posts to join the path to the left.
Rules and Recommendations
Refreshments along the way
At km 4, in Furnas beach.
Go along the river!
If you want to avoid crossing the bridge, you can cross the river by boat. Check our website for more information about this service.
► Between Vila Nova de Milfontes and the Furnas Beach, the path initially goes along Rua Custódio Brás Pacheco. Be careful and always walk on the pavement.
► From the roundabout on the main road to the road bridge (500 m), and from the end of the bridge to the wooden gate that gives access to Vila Formosa (500 m), the path goes along the verge of the road. Walk with the utmost caution, as far over as possible on the right hand verge (N-S) and if walking with children be vigilant. Remember to close the gate so that the cattle cannot get out of the property.
► When crossing the property between the gate and the beach of Furnas, take care with the livestock, avoid sudden movements and stay away. Although docile they don’t like strangers approaching their offspring.
► This section overlaps with other routes. Pay attention to the signs.