Arcos de Valdevez’s Ecovia do Vez (2024) Guide + Interactive Map!

Ecovia do Vez.
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The Ecovia do Vez is a pedestrian trail that follows the course of the Lima River and the Vez River in Arcos de Valdevez, located in the North of Portugal.

It has a total length of 34 km, which can be walked, including with children, although it is not completely accessible to strollers. Additionally, it can also be done by mountain bike (MTB).

Remember that the Passadiços de Sistelo, also in Arcos de Valdezes, are just a small part of the Ecovia do Vez!

And if you’re curious about why so many people talk about the Ecovia do Vez and the Passadiços do Sistelo, here’s why!

Along the ecovia, you can visit the Outdoor Water Museum (Museu da Água ao Ar Livre do Rio Vez) and you can do so for free while walking.

On the other hand, Arcos de Valdevez is part of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, a protected area of proven ecological value, which is another reason to include this region in your upcoming travel plans.

Passadiços de madeira ao longo da Ecovia do Vez.
Wooden walkways along the Ecovia do Vez.

Furthermore, both the Vez River and the Lima River are part of the list of Sites of Community Importance of the Natura 2000 Network (Sítios de Importância Comunitária da Rede Natura 2000), due to the importance and rarity of the fauna and flora in these watercourses.

Do you think these are reasons enough to decide to go for a walk along the ecovia?

If the answer is affirmative, then keep reading as this guide aims to have all the information you need.

In other words, in this article, I will talk about the stages of the Ecovia do Vez (there are 3), what to expect and see in each stage, as well as practical information to facilitate your journey.

Stages of the Ecovia do Vez in Arcos de Valdevez

Ponte Romana de Sistelo
Roman Bridge of Sistelo.
Ponte ao longo da Ecovia do Vez.
Bridge along the Ecovia do Vez in Arcos de Valdevez.

The Ecovia do Vez is divided into three stages, which can be completed by mountain bike in a single day, but if you’re walking the trail, then it might be preferable to split the route over several days.

Keep in mind that it totals 34 km, during which you’ll want to stop to rest, take photos, or even take a dip in the Vez or Lima rivers.

So, it’s a good idea not to rush and to enjoy the best of the journey.

In any case, we’ll provide all the information you need for each stage of the Ecovia ahead.

Stage 1 of the Ecovia do Vez: Between Jolda S Paio and Arcos de Valdevez

Arcos de Valdevez o que visitar
Near the end of stage 1 of the Ecovia do Vez: crossing the bridge over the Vez River in Arcos de Valdevez.
Paisagem ao longo da Ecovia do Vez.
Landscape along the Ecovia do Vez.

The First Stage of the Ecovia do Vez starts in Jolda S Paio and ends in the town of Arcos de Valdevez, meaning the journey begins along the banks of the Lima River.

The distance between these two points is 14 km, and the main points of interest on this route are the mouth of the Lima River and the Campo do Trasladário, which is the site believed to be where the “Recontro de Valdevez” took place.

Distance to cover: 14 kilometers;

Duration: about 3 hours;

Minimum/Maximum Altitude: 10 meters / 39 meters.

Stage 2 of the Ecovia do Vez: Between Arcos de Valdevez and Vilela

Trilhos em Sistelo
Hiking Trails in Sistelo.
Paisagem ao longo da Ecovia do Vez.
Landscape along the Vez Ecovia.

The second stage of the ecovia stretches between Arcos de Valdevez and Vilela, which amounts to a distance of 10 km.

In the first kilometers of the trail, you will come across the Valeta river beach, so if you plan to take a dip in the Vez River, this is a good opportunity.

Next is the mouth of the Ázere River, a tributary of the Vez River, and the Vilela bridge, which is one of the landmarks of the ecovia.

The Vilela Bridge is a medieval bridge, more precisely from the 13th century, connecting Vilela to Aboim das Choças.

Distance to cover: 10 kilometers;

Duration: about 2h30;

Minimum/maximum altitude: 30 meters / 70 meters.

Stage 3 of the Ecovia do Vez: Between Vilela and Sistelo

Castelo do Visconde de Sistelo.
House of the Viscount of Sistelo Castle (Casa do Castelo do Visconde de Sistelo).
Igreja Paroquial de Sistelo.
Parish Church of Sistelo (Igreja Paroquial de Sistelo).
Espigueiros em Sistelo.
Granaries in Sistelo.

Finally, the last stage of the Ecovia do Vez unfolds between Vilela and Sistelo and covers a distance of 10 km.

In this stretch, you will pass through the Sistelo Passadiços, or wooden walkways, but keep in mind that the rest of the route is the most physically demanding.

Thus, the elevation gain is significant, with very steep climbs and uneven terrain.

Still, it is a very beautiful stage to do, passing through the mouth of the Cabreiro River and the village of Sistelo, including the Sistelo boardwalks and terraced fields.

Distance to cover: 10 kilometers;

Duration: about 3 hours;

Minimum/maximum altitude: 68 meters / 278 meters.

The Open-Air Water Museum of the Vez River

Calçada Romana na Ecovia do Vez.
Roman Path on the Vez Ecovia.

The Water Museum can be visited along the Vez River, and as the name suggests, it is an open-air museum, meaning there are several observation points.

Thus, along the Vez Ecovia, you will come across 5 information and observation points, which are informative panels functioning as thematic rooms in a museum.

In the first stage, you will encounter one of these themes, in the second stage there are already three themes, and finally, in the last stage, you will be able to observe another informative panel.

Accommodation near the Vez Ecovia

Ribeira Collection
Ribeira Collection Hotel by Piamonte Hotels, in Arcos de Valdevez.
Quarto do Ribeira Collection Hotel by Piamonte Hotels, em Arcos de Valdevez.
Bedroom at Ribeira Collection Hotel by Piamonte Hotels, in Arcos de Valdevez.

As I often visit the region several times a year, I can recommend my favorite hotels in Arcos de Valdevez.

Therefore, the Ribeira Collection Hotel by Piamonte Hotels (4 stars), with an indoor pool and jacuzzi next to the Vez River bridge, in the center of Arcos, is almost always my first choice.

It’s a very comfortable hotel and the breakfast is quite complete, so whenever I can, I prefer to stay at this hotel.

Another equally comfortable option is the Luna Arcos Hotel Nature & Wellness (4 stars).

Luna Arcos Hotel Nature & Wellness, em Arcos de Valdevez.
Luna Arcos Hotel Nature & Wellness, in Arcos de Valdevez.
Quarto do Luna Arcos Hotel Nature & Wellness.
Bedroom at Luna Arcos Hotel Nature & Wellness.

Hotels in Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal.

Everything you need to know about Ecovia do Vez

Where to start the Passadiços de Sistelo?

Passadiços do Sistelo
Passadiços do Sistelo.
Mapa dos trilhos em Arcos de Valdevez.
Map of trails in Arcos de Valdevez.

The Passadiços de Sistelo are a very popular trail for family outings, especially for groups who are afraid of getting lost.

Indeed, there is no chance of getting lost on the boardwalk, making it quite safe.

The Sistelo Passadiços’s starts just a few meters from the village of Sistelo and is very easy to follow.

However, please note that to do this boardwalk, you will have to cross the Vez River on a smal bridge that may be submerged by water, especially in winter and early spring.

If this happens, continue to the Sistelo Medieval Bridge to cross to the other side.

Are there viewpoints along the Ecovia do Vez?

Ver os socalcos de Sistelo: Miradouro dos Socalcos.
Viewing the terraced fields of Sistelo: Socalcos Viewpoint.
Miradouro dos Socalcos, na aldeia de Sistelo.
Socalcos Viewpoint, in the village of Sistelo.
Miradouro da Estrica, em Sistelo (Arcos de Valdevez).
Sistelo, Arcos de Valdevez: Estrica Viewpoint.
Miradouro da Estrica.
Estrica Viewpoint.

Along the Ecovia do Vez, you’ll come across several privileged spots to admire the landscape, but I don’t recall seeing any “official” viewpoints.

However, in the village of Sistelo, you can check out two viewpoints that are well worth it.

I’m referring to the Socalcos Viewpoint, to see the famous image of the Sistelo terraced fields, and also the Estrica Viewpoint.

Travel Tip: Do you enjoy viewpoints? Then you should know that in Arcos de Valdevez, besides the ones I mentioned, there are seven more viewpoints worth visiting: Cabana Maior Viewpoint, Castelo de Santa Cruz Viewpoint, São Mamede Viewpoint, Tibo Viewpoint, Coto Velho Viewpoint, Cunhas Viewpoint and Miranda Castle Viewpoint, (click on the name to see their respective locations).

Are there restaurants along the Ecovia do Vez?

Restaurante A Floresta
Floresta restaurant, in Arcos de Valdevez.
Restaurante Romanza, em Arcos de Valdevez (pizas, saladas, massas).
Restaurant Romanza, in Arcos de Valdevez (pizza, salads and pasta).

In the village of Sistelo (Stage 3), you can have lunch at Tasquinha Ti’Mélia or Cantinho do Abade, while at Bar do Rio – Gondoriz (Stage 2), besides meals, they also serve tapas and snacks.

If you prefer to have lunch or dinner in Arcos de Valdevez, you can choose between the traditional A Floresta, Pizzaria Romanza, or FLUME Restaurante & Bar, offering international cuisine and a view of the River Vez.

Map and How To get to Ecovia do Vez?

From Porto

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