Water Mills Route – A walk in Mira, Portugal

Mira is a small city in the central Portuguese district of Coimbra. It is a coastal municipality between two other coastal cities: Aveiro and Figueira da Foz. It is known mainly for its sandy beaches, forests and protected natural areas, but also famous for its food (fish and seafood). 

Beyond the dunes, there is the Barrinha lagoon, part of the Mata Nacional protected area. There are several hikes around the lagoon and the beach (see all the options in the practical information below). We chose the Water Mills Route ("Rota dos Moinhos") a walk with approximately 9 km and considered easy/moderate. It took us around 2.5 hours.

Sitio do Cartaxo

We started the walk at Sitio do Cartaxo, an eco tourism place with a small coffee, wc, parking space and some pic tables. We were a relatively big group (12 people + 1 dog) but it is completely safe to do it alone. From Sitio do Cartaxo there are several other routes, including a few that you can do using a bike (they have rental bikes here too).

First part of the walk - view

The first one km is around the lagoon but then we had to walk a bit surrounding the main street (with cars it not very pleasant). After that we started walking in the middle of the forest and we were completely alone. Some parts of the forest had a lot of sand which made the walk a bit harder. 

Water Mills Route - forest part

The second part of the walk is more close to the lagoon and that's when we started to see the mills. According to what we read before we should pass through 3 mills. But the true is that we just saw one, because one was private (and closed) and the other one we had to walk an extra km to see it (and we were not sure it was private too).

Water Mills Route - From the forest to the lagoon

In the last part of the walk there was a viewpoint and hundreds of birds flying. We passed a bridge and we also saw several old and typical boats.

Old boats in the lagoon

The route is circular so we finished in the same place where we started. And of course, after the walk we had a huge pic nic and a coffee at the nice terrace of Sitio do Cartaxo. We brought our own food and drinks and enjoyed a really nice meal outside before leaving this beautiful place.

Practical information

  • Official website with all the hikes in Mira (Portuguese only)
  • Main costs: Everything was free (but we brought food/drinks from home!)
  • Easy walk with less than 9 km (2-2.5 hours) and appropriate for children. We also took our small dog with us and she enjoyed as much as us! 
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