The 370km stretch from source to mouth of one of the wildest rivers in Portugal, the River Zêzere. A sport challenge, on foot, by bike or canoe. A deep immersion in the natural and cultural diversity that makes the Zêzere river valley a unique landscape in the heart of Center of Portugal.
With a breath-taking start in Covão d'Ametade, in Serra da Estrela - 1.900 meters high - exactly where the river Zêzere is born, this Great Route partially crosses Serra da Estrela, some of the most distinguishing Schist Villages, the charming village of Dornes in Castelo de Bode reservoir, ending in the light-bathed Constância, beautifully placed by the Tagus River.
The 370 kms of this Great Route cross Manteigas, Covilhã, Guarda, Fundão, Pampilhosa da Serra, Vila de Rei, Oleiros, Sertã, Pedrógão Grande, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Ferreira do Zêzere, Abrantes and Constância. The identity of the river is a parade of surprises, across the dams of Cabril, Bouçã and Castelo de Bode.
Zêzere river flows across tectonic blocks and the singularity of the landscape is a gift. It flows down Serra da Estrela in its glacial valley, unique in Europe, full of energy, young and crystal-clear. It passes Manteigas until il peacefully reaches the Historical Village of Belmonte and Covilhã.
Further south of Covilhã, it enters again the Central Iberian Mountain Range until it reaches Zaboeira, in Vila de Rei. The valley gets filled with curves. The deeply enchanting “Meandros do Rio”, one of the geo-places classified by UNESCO, between the surprising Schist Villages of Janeiro de Cima, Janeiro de Baixo and Pedrógão Grande, crossing the utterly fascinating viewpoint of Cabeço do Mosqueiro.
The river has crossed the mount Cabeço da Argemela, very close to Fundão, surrounded by the Mountains of Gardunha, Serra da Estrela and Açor, deeply influenced by its mineral richness, and Aldeia de Barco, named after the ancient boat that crossed the river.
The fascination of Cabeço do Pião and the shadows of its mining past.
The enchanting village of Dornelas do Zêzere, placed in the right bank of Zêzere river, was founded in 1320. The main church was devoted to the Holy Mary of Dornelas, already mentioned in the “Catalogue of Churches, Donations and Monasteries of the Reign of Portugal and the Algarve”.
The deeply surprising Schist Village of Álvaro, in Oleiros, upon the Valley of Zêzere River, holds a majestic sky, many churches and chapels and the reservoir of Cabril Dam.
The gorges of Zêzere, Almegue and the Philippine bridge of the Schist Village of Pedrógão Pequeno, right next to the mythical National Road EN2.
And already in an inlet of the Castelo do Bode reservoir, 10 km from Ferreira do Zêzere, the very noble village of Dornes that could well belong to the world of Game of Thrones.
The route, designed to be multimodal, can be done on foot, by bicycle or canoe. It has 13 Intermodal Stations placed in riverside spots.
Please note that from this Great Route there are complementary Short Route trails, such as the Schist Trails.
Technical data and altimetry: