Sistelo Walkways, Portugal

The Sistelo walkways are one of the many walkways that have been built in Portugal.

If you want to know more about walkways in Portugal, access here.

As the name implies, they are at Sistelo, or, better said, one of its ends is connected with this village.

When we want to say how long this walkway is, it is not easy to define where we start measuring and where do we end. Even more difficult is to know when we are told a length, to define to from where to where is being measured.


So I will say that, from the point where we leave the road, until the moment we reach the center of Sistelo, it’s 6 km, which is what we have to walk if we ask a taxi to take us to the “start” of the walkway.

Also, considering the direction “to Sistelo”, we can consider 250 m of elevation gain and 160 m of elevation loss.

The route is very interesting because you will be walking mostly along the crystal clear waters of the Vez River and there are many points where we can rest and bathe in the river if the weather conditions allow it.

Regardless of how hot the day can be, the waters of the river are always cold – freezing cold.

This route has already served me as a programmed destination, for whom this kind of route is ideal both in its length and in the type of pavement, but it has also served to escape the extreme heat that was felt in trails of Gerês, also because it is a trail with long shadow extension.

In the photo below, I am with a group of hikers bathing in the river, running away from the heat … it was spectacular.


Well, under certain conditions, bicycles are allowed on the pathways – one can’t ride a bicycle on the section Vilela/Sistelo, from 1st July till 30th September.

I decided to cycle from the starting point mentioned above until Arcos de Valdevez. Just 16Km but worth doing.

Near Sistelo, the river valley is narrower than closer to Arcos de Valdevez and the terrain has more inclination.

Arriving at Arcos de Valdevez, the path gets to be flat and the valley to be wider.

Concerning walkways in Portugal

Naturally, the installation of walkways has been a very controversial topic, receiving comments saying that they attract too many people who are not prepared to make the trail without a walkway, and these kinds of people are also not prepared to respect Nature when the access is facilitated and many other arguments.

These walkways have been much sought after by those who have less experience of walking and, in some way, have made Sistelo a well-known place that is already called Portuguese Tibet due to the number of terraces that exist in the valley.

In Sistelo, at the end of a walk, we find at least one cafe shop that, on a hot day, a cold beer may be what we want most.

Have fun.

David Monteiro

River Vez dam
Walking trail

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