When it's not raining, winter in Portugal is generally great. Temperatures are relatively high, specially when compared with central and north European countries. And when it's like that, it's a good day to walk!
This time we chose Sao Jacinto Dunes Natural Reserve, located in a cape close to Aveiro. This natural reserve has 700 hectares of simple and beauty nature, some places seem to be almost virgin and not touristic at all (at least for now!). There are several walks in the park, all of them signed. We decided to do the red route - approximately 7 km (3 hours) through the forest, dunes and lakes.
The park entrance is free but you should register at the reception desk before entering the place and when leaving. Since we were doing the walk on a Sunday and the reception is not open we called the reserve and they told us the rules and took our names and contact.
We started our walk around 10 am in a group of 9 people (all adults between the 20s and the 60s). The walk is accessible to people from all ages, including small children. There are no hills and there is lots of shadows to rest if you need to. We took our small dog with us and we couldn't find any place that said it was forbidden, so we can recommend to take your dog with you if you want. Nonetheless be careful to not scary the numerous birds you will find along the way.
We only made one stop to eat something and it was close to the beach, in the beautiful pathway to the dunes. After that we saw a great lake with hundreds species of birds. Beautiful!
We finished the walk in less than 3 hours (even stopping to eat something and take pictures). After the walk we went to Sao Jacinto village by car where we had a great lunch in a terrace. The restaurant was "A Peixaria" and we totally recommend - the grilled fish is very very good. We also enjoyed another walk in the town, this time close to the Ria de Aveiro (close to the place where the ferries from Aveiro depart/arrive).
As I said before, when it doesn't rain, winter in Portugal is awesome!
- Information about the red walk and a map (in Portuguese only) can be found here
How to get to Sao Jacinto? There are 2 different ways (we have tried both in different times):
- By road - Specially if you are not coming from Aveiro, you can use A29 or A1 until Ovar and then pass Torreira before arriving in Sao Jacinto (N327). This time we used this alternative because it was easier to get into the park
- By ferry - If coming from Aveiro you can use the ferry boat that has a regular service that only takes 15 minutes (you can take your car or bicycle with you). You can catch the ferry at Forte da Barra, the last exit in A25. When arriving to Sao Jacinto and in order to go to the natural reserve you still need to walk around 20-30 minutes - see the schedules here
- Main contacts: Estrada Nacional 327, 3800-901 S. Jacinto | Phone: +351 234 331 282 | Email: email@example.com