At the beginning of each year, I always analyze the calendar to see what are the best dates to take small vacations taking into account the holidays. In June there were two holidays in a row (Wednesday and Thursday) so I chose to take the Friday off from work with the goal of going to Arouca to make the Paiva Walkaways. At the beginning of the year, I had no idea how important these days were going to be. I was having some boring problems at work and really needed to clear my mind.
Paiva Walkaways opened to the public in 2015 and consists in a wooden walkway of about 8.7 km between Areinho and Espiunca, two parishes in the municipality of Arouca. They were constructed along the left bank of the Paiva River and are part of the Arouca Geopark . Located an hour away from Porto, the Paiva Walkaways are the perfect place to leave the reality of the urban space and enter a peaceful and serene movie scenario. Although it is a recent construction, it has already undergone two fires and some parts of the walkways have been destroyed.
✪ Important informations
Tickets cost 2.00€ per person when purchased online on the official website (buying at the ticket office is more expensive – 4.00€ per person). It is preferable to buy online to save some money! Closing and opening times vary over the months so it’s best to consult the official website (from May to September: 08:00h to 20.00h with the last entry to 17.00h). When purchasing tickets, it is necessary to select the entry: Espiunca or Areinho. I recommend choosing Areinho because the route is easier in this direction. There are free parking spaces at both entrances, as well as bathrooms and bars to eat. If you decided not to do the round trip, about 18km of walk, you can go back to the entrance you started by taxi (it’s about 15.00€).
COVID-19: Because of COVID-19, ticket offices are closed so you can only buy tickets online. In addition, at the doorways it is necessary to measure the fever and disinfect the hands. It is also necessary to use mask when you enter and leave the walkaways, but then you can take it off to do the route (I think it would have been stuffy if you had done the mask route).
✪ My experience
I went on this walk on the 11th of June with my boyfriend, on a day when it wasn’t too hot (luckily!). I think that taking this walk in the sun and with very hot weather must be awful and a lot harder. As I went at a time when the capacity was very tight (because of COVID) I felt that there were few people, which made it a lot easier. The views along the route are gorgeous, besides calm and serene, and there are also some beaches where you can stop in the middle of the route to get your feet wet or even take a dip.
Idid the round trip with the first direction from Espiunca to Areinho and it was hard. The middle part is very tiring because it has lots of stairs to go up and then lots of stairs to go down (believe me, it’s possible to be done but it is hard). We did de Espiunca-Areinho direction in about 3 hours because we stopped to see the views and take photos. But on the other direction we accelerated a little more and did it in about 2 hours. The perfect time will be about 2 and a half hours (5 hours both ways). We chose to do this walk in the afternoon because in the morning it was raining a little. When we got there it was almost 14h and we left there around 19h. Halfway through we ate some sandwiches to gain strength and energy . A very important thing is to bring water! It’s essential! Even though it wasn’t very hot, my boyfriend and I drank 1.5 liters of water along the way.
At the end of the day, my smartwatch counted more than 20 kilometers and about 150 floors climbed!
I really enjoyed doing the Paiva Walkaways but I can say right away that I didn’t expect it to be so tiring and hard. However, I think I will go back there and repeat the experience (when I forget the pain in my legs 😫).