The Paiva Walkways

Your winding stairways to a heavenly nature reserve


Disclaimer: we don't sell tickets for the Paiva Walkways.


The Paiva is a wild river twisting its way through the green mountain slopes of the Douro region. It's said to be the most beautiful river in all of Portugal. The river has tons of waterfalls, rapids, and beaches; and runs through a UNESCO-designated Geological Heritage Site that is home to an abundance of quartz crystals and rare flora and fauna. That all sounds gorgeous, but what’s it to you?


Well, you can decide for yourself if the river is as idyllic as they say. How? Walk along the 8 kilometres of wooden walkways that follow the Paiva, hugging mountains, traversing valleys, and crossing waterways. The Paiva Walkways were built in 2015, not just as a way to leisurely stroll through nature; but to walk in it, be immersed in it. Closely following the lines of the landscape, the wooden suspensions zigzag through vegetation, across rock outcrops, and occasionally around a single tree.


About anyone can complete the route, but don’t think it's a walk in the park. The road is a solid 8 km of ups and downs, and back and forths. Apart from the physical challenge, the Walkways are more than visually rewarding, because aside from the constant company of a swirling river, arching trees, and looming mountains, you can plunge into the refreshing waters of the Paiva via a rope dangling off an impressively tall tree at Vau Beach.



How to get there

The Paiva Walkways are located in the municipality of Arouca, in the central coastal district of Aveiro. The trail runs from Espiunca to Areinho along the left bank of the Paiva river. You can start your hike from either end.

Tip: the hike from Espiunca to Areinho is less demanding than the other way around.

Aveiro, Portugal


GPS coordinates

Espiunca: 40°59'34.67"N    8°12'41.19"W

Areinho: 40°57'9.68"N    8°10'33.05"W


The hike

Distance: 8,7 km 

Duration: 2,5 hours

Difficulty: moderate


To bring

Essentials: Walking shoes, sunscreen, water!

Extra: bathing suit, picnic basket


Indie insider

The best way to enjoy to take in the everflowing Paiva River is by bringing a swimsuit and picnic basket and spending the afternoon along the river shores at Vau Beach! 





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