Guide: everything you should know before doing the Paiva Walkways, Portugal

Discover now all the essential information to spend an incredible day on the Paiva Walkways.


You want to go on the Paiva Walkways, but you don't know how to prepare or what to do first? You don't need to look any further. In this article from Excelente you will get to know everything that is important for this adventure.

The Paiva walkways are undoubtedly the most popular walkways in the country and also some of the most beautiful. Located in the municipality of Arouca, in Aveiro, these pedestrian walkways have an extension of 8.7 kilometres, and whoever makes the round trip will walk about 17,4 kilometres.

With these tips that we give you, you will be able to take the opportunity to exercise and enjoy the scenery in the company of the Paiva River, while getting to know this Global Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO. On the walkway, which connects the parishes of Areinho and Espiunca, you can do the one way or the round trip. In any case, you are not obliged to do the full  8.30 km route, since there is already an exit from the walkways in Vau. 

Where are the walkways?

The Paiva Walkways are located on the left bank of the river Paiva, in the municipality of Arouca, and connect the parishes Areinho and Espiunca. To easily find the beginning of the Walkways, here are the coordinates to put on your GPS and some details of this route.

Municipality of Arouca


40°59'34.67"N    8°12'41.19"W

40°57'9.68"N    8°10'33.05"W

Distance: 8,30 km
Difficulty degree: High
Duration: 3h00
Maximum elevation: 295 metres
Minimum elevation: 95 metres

Map of Paiva Walkways

In this image from the official website of the Paiva Walkways, you can understand all the variations of the route, as well as the various geosites that you will get to know along the walk.

Source - Paiva Walkways

Where to start the route?

To embark on the Paiva Walkways you will have to choose where to start the route. There are two options: start in the parish of Espiunca or in Areinho. The choice will depend on the degree of difficulty you are willing to take.

The route considered easier is the route towards Areinho - Espiunca. On this route, the most complicated climbs will be at the beginning of the route, with the rest of the route being  mostly descents. In this way, you can manage your effort better, since at the beginning you have more energy and you can overcome the steep climbs more easily. In the end, when you are more tired, the descents will help you complete the hike.

On the other hand, on Areinho beach there is a car park and a bar, unlike Espiunca. You should also take this factor into account when deciding the direction of your walk. For either way, you won't have to make the way back and forth, as there are plenty of taxis available on site to take you between the two parishes. This taxi trip for 4 people costs 12,5 euros or 15 euros in a van with more passengers.

Paiva Walkways

Tickets and Prices for Paiva Walkways

The entrance to the Paiva Walkways is paid, and it is necessary to purchase a ticket via the website or at the site itself. If you buy the ticket online in advance on the official website of Passadiços do Paiva, it will cost one euro.

If you prefer to buy on site, the value of the ticket goes up to two euros. If you want to book your ticket in advance, you can access the online ticket office here. In the high season, between April 1st, 2022 and October 31st, 2022, prices double.

What to do in the Paiva Walkways?

In addition to the long walk you can do on the Paiva Walkways, there are other things you should not miss in this place. Scroll through this ordered list of nine activities to discover this route. The list is ordered in the direction Espiunca - Areinho.

Observe the Espiunco Fault (G32)

Next to the bridge of Espiunca there is a very interesting geological fault, entitled Espiunca Fault . The fault is considered normal, since the upper block does not overlap the lower one. If you are a lover  or just curious about Geology, be sure to take a look at this geological phenomenon at the beginning of the route.

Live an adventure in the Gola do Salto (G31)

The Gola do Salto has an approximate distance of three to four metres from the Paiva River, it is the sharpest gap of the Paiva River. Gola do Salto is considered one of the best places to practise sports such as rafting and kayaking. If you like extreme sports, here you have an excellent opportunity to venture out.

Go for a swim at Vau River Beach

In the middle of the route, you will find a river beach, where you can stop for a while to relax and take a dip. This river came to be considered the least polluted in Europe in the 90s and continues, even today, to be one of the cleanest and most beautiful in Portugal.

Stop for a picnic

In addition to having  a little beach time, you can take the opportunity to have a picnic in the middle of the way. You will find some shady places, as is the case of the Vau river beach. All you have to do is bring some food, a towel, and you're ready for a nice picnic. On this river beach you have at your disposal a small bar, in which you can also enjoy to eat or drink a refreshment.

Pass the Suspension Bridge

The Paiva Walkways Suspension Bridge is one of the great attractions of the walkway. Some people may even fear it, but the truth is that the structure is safe and the landscape over the river is amazing. Appreciate this place with fullest attention.

Source - Ponte 516 Arouca

Observe the Castle of Carvalhais

From an incredible viewpoint in the Paiva Walkways, you can observe the Castle of Carvalhais, a rocker castle from the time of the Reconquista, strategically positioned and probably destined to control the crossing of the river Paiva. An important morphological barrier between the banks of the Douro and the valley of Arouca.

Contemplating the Aguieiras Waterfall

In the same viewpoint, you can see the Aguieiras waterfall. This incredible waterfall is part of an area designated for whitewater sports practitioners.

Observe the Paiva Gorge (G36)

The Paiva Gorge is another geosite that you will be able to contemplate from the Paiva Walkways. In this place, the river Paiva narrows and rages, that is, in this segment of the river, the bed becomes narrower and extends from the bridge of Alvarenga to the Vau. The strangulation occurs due to the greater resistance of the Alvarenga granite, and the weathering and erosion when compared to the metasedimentary rocks upstream of the bridge.

Source - Arouca Geopark

Contemplating the Alvarenga Bridge

Along the route you will also find a beautiful bridge - the Alvarenga Bridge. Dating back to 1791, this bridge is two metres high, 4.80 metres wide and is formed by three arches. Stay tuned during the journey so that you don’t miss this bridge.

What are the best hotels near Paiva Walkways?

If you are thinking of staying one or more nights in Arouca, near the Paiva Walkways, in order to start the walk early or to rest after the demanding route, know that there are excellent accommodation options. Go through the list below and choose the hotel that best suits your needs.

Rio Moment's (Paiva Castle)

Set in Paiva Castle, Rio Moment's is a 30-minute drive from Paiva Walkways. This guest house features an outdoor pool, restaurant, free parking, a spa centre and a sun terrace. In the vicinity of this accommodation, you can also go horseback riding, rafting or rent bicycles.

Source - Booking - Rio Moment’s

Quinta de Novais (Arouca)

Quinta de Novais, located a 26-minute drive from Paiva Walkways, was once, in the 18th century, just an agricultural farm. This rural hotel, close to the beautiful Serra da Feita, offers a restaurant, gym, swimming pool and a golf space. Here you will have all the comfort you need to recover from a great walk.

Source - Booking - Quinta de Novais

Quinta de Anterronde (Arouca)

Located on a farm producing kiwi and organic blueberries, Quinta de Anterronde in Arouca is a 24-minute drive from Paiva Walkways. This farmhouse, dating back to the 15th century, is considered a historical point of interest. The accommodation offers a botanical garden, an outdoor swimming pool and a library. This farm also allows the possibility of enjoying the landscape in the company of small streams, valleys and mountains that surround the scenery.

Source - Booking - Quinta de Anterronde

Casa do Paúl (Espiunca)

Casa do Paúl in Espiunca, 17 minutes from the Passadiços do Paiva, is the ideal accommodation for a family or a group of friends, since here you can have all the privacy and be surrounded by nature. This house is the result of the recovery of a rural building. On colder days, guests can warm up with the fireplace available in the living room.

Source - Booking - Casa do Paúl

Traços d’outrora (Vale de Cambra)

43 minutes from the Paiva Walkways, is the accommodation Traços d'outrora. This house is located in the village of Trebilhadouro, in the municipality of Vale de Cambra, and is characterised by the fantastic surroundings of the Serra da Freita. If you are looking for a simple getaway in the middle of nature, this house is ideal for you.

Fonte - Booking - Traços D’Outrora

Campsite do Merujal (Arouca)

If you prefer camping or staying in a bungalow, know that there is a campsite near the Paiva Walkways. This campsite, in the middle of Serra Freita, is located 15 kilometres from Arouca and one kilometre from the Caima River. At this campsite, you can camp, park your caravan or take advantage of a bungalow. The park also has several activities and programs, such as holiday camp, mountaineering, climbing, canyoning, rafting and orientation. Available to order, you can be served with traditional Portuguese cuisine and vegetarian food. If you love contact with nature, you will love this campsite.

Source - Arouca Geopark

What are the best restaurants near Passadiços do Paiva?

Near Arouca, you will find several restaurants of typical gastronomy of great excellence. If you want to get to know the five best restaurants, we offer a list of options that you will not want to miss.

Pedestre 142

Bringing the flavours of the mountain to the table is Pedestre 142's mission. This restaurant is characterised by serving meat, vegetables and sweets produced by farmers in the area. To try the dishes of this restaurant is to take on an incredible trip along the mountain trails and, therefore, Pedestre 142 is part of Geofood, a project committed to 100% local production.

Source - Tripadvisor - Pedestre 142

Casa no Campo

Located in Arouca, Casa no Campo offers a permanent contact with the mountain that leaves no one indifferent. The breaded or the baked in the oven cod are some of the specialties of the cuisine of this restaurant thought “the old fashioned way”. Dry soup and créme brulée also do not lag behind.

Source - Facebook - Casa no Campo

Colher de Pau

In this restaurant, you will find typical cuisine of the region, fine wines and, from time to time, even fado shows. The veal and the kid roasted in the oven, the Arouquesa stew on skewers and the cod with bread and greens are the specialties of the house that you cannot miss.

Source - Tripadvisor - Colher de Pau


Taking on the Paiva Walkways and finishing at the Parlamento restaurant is a good option to end your tour in beauty. This traditional food restaurant in Arouca offers well served doses, leaving customers eager to return. Special veal is one of the most appreciated dishes.

Source - Facebook - Restaurante Parlamento


Located in the centre of Arouca, the Assembleia restaurant offers its visitors a very varied menu and a wine list of excellence. In this restaurant, smokehouse rice delights visitors who live an authentic sensory experience.

Source - Facebook - Assembleia
Guide: everything you should know before doing the Paiva Walkways, Portugal
Guide: everything you should know before doing the Paiva Walkways, Portugal