Weekend at Açor mountain: PR1 – Caminho do Xisto da Benfeita

DAY 1: PR2.1 – Piódão a Foz d’Égua (1st May 2015)
Accommodation: Alojamento Local de Pardieiros – 65€/room/4 pax (16.25€/pax)
Restaurant (dinner): Alojamento Local de Pardieiros – 7.50€/pax
DAY 2: PR1 AGN – Caminho do Xisto da Benfeita (2nd May 2015)
Accommodation: Quinta da Valeira – 42€/house (10.50€/pax)
DAY 3: Arganil (3rd May 2015)
Restaurant (lunch): O cantinho do Bitoque (Vila Nova de Poiares) – 7.50€

IMG_0790_pr1_caminho_xisto_benfeitaOn the 2nd day of our hiking weekend (2nd May 2015) the weather was much better that on the day before. There was no rain nor fog and the sun was shining after 11 o’clock.

The “PR1 Caminho do Xisto da Benfeita” begins in the village of Benfeita. However, as the trail passes by the village of Pardieiros, where we had spent the night, we started our hike in there.

We descended to “Ribeira da Mata” (Creek of the Woods), along which we walked until we arrive in the village of Benfeita. This section of the trail is characterized by farmlands, woods and the irrigation channel that is right next to the trail for several hundreds of meters.
We came across a few ladies that were walking in the company of some alpacas.



We entered in the village of Benfeita through the “escadaria do doutor” (doctor’s staircase), wandered along its narrow streets, saw the church, the river beach, the mill and then we ended up at the “Fonte das Moscas” (Flies Fountain), where we stopped to have lunch. But no, there were no flies.

A curiosity about Benfeita. Every year, on the 7th May, the end of World War II is celebrated with 1620 rings of the Peace Tower´s bell. These rings represent the number of days that Portugal was neutral during the war.

Fraga da Pena Waterfall

Fraga da Pena Waterfall

Leaving Benfeita, we were not sure if we should go to our right or if we should follow the path ahead of us. We tried the one at our right, but quickly understood that that was a dead end, we had to go straight ahead.

From this point, the trail becames more challenging. The slope is steep and the path is narrow and irregular, but it is equally beautiful. There are a few waterfalls, a fountain in a small grout and, once we reached the highest point of this trail, we enjoyed a fantastic view.

We arrived at the village of Sardal about 3 hours after we had left the village of Benfeita. We didn’t stop in there, we continued towards Fraga da Pena Waterfall.

We had to make a small detour to see the waterfall. The path accompanies the watercourse, which flows in a narrow and uneven valley. We saw a few waterfalls, but the most spectacular is the last one. We found there a picnic park where we stopped to relax, enjoy the beauty of the waterfall and recharge our batteries. As it is possible to go by car to very near the Fraga da Pena Waterfall, during the time we were there, there was always someone arriving or leaving that place.

We were back to Pardieiros more than 9 hours after we had left that village.
From the 22 geocaches that were hidden along the trail, we failed to find 3 of them.

The final destination of that day was “Quinta da Valeira”, a cozy house in a quiet area.

Characteristics of the route
Arrival and departure: Benfeita
Scope of the route: panoramic and environmental
Type: circular
Extension: 10.4 km
Duration: 5 hours
Level of difficulty: moderate


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