The Coffee Smugglers Path at Galegos – PR4 GRV

At Galegos there are several routes for walking. We set off on a figure-of-8 walk that included a smugglers route, a Mediaeval road, and wanderings amongst the oak and chestnut trees in the hills close to the Spanish border.

PR4-MVR, 5.9kms, c.2.5 hours, easy

Map of PR4, Galegos (http://inmotion.cimaa.pt/pt/percursos/marvao)
Map of PR4, Galegos (http://inmotion.cimaa.pt/pt/percursos/marvao)

We parked the car next to the bridge in the middle of Galegos, tied on our boots, and set off through the village and past the cemetery, plunging immediately into country tracks amongst fantastic old cork oaks, and, of course, flowers. But above all it is the oak trees here which are so memorable.

The bridge in the middle of Galegos

The cemetery church, Galegos Cork oaks at Galegos PR4 Walk at Galegos

Wild violets

Old oak

Cork oak at Galegos

Monte Baixo – a small hamlet along the route.

Monte Baixos near Galegos

The path leads up the hill through lavender,  white Spanish broom and enormous granite boulders to a waiting post, the Spanish border, and the small village of La Fontañera. Coffee smuggling between Portugal and Spain was apparently lucrative between 1935 and 1960s with dictatorships in both countries, and high levels of poverty in these remote rural areas. We noticed a waiting post, crossed into Spain and back again, and looked over at Marvão before continuing along our path.

The Smugglers Route to the Spanish border

The Smugglers Waiting Post on the Portuguese/Spanish border

Spain!

Looking towards Marvao from the Spanish border
Looking towards Marvao from the Spanish border

The path continued in a loop around the hill behind Galegos, through massive moss-covered boulders to the village of Pitaranha. Given the ‘secrecy’ of the path and the proximity of this remote village to Spain I am sure it must have been part of the smugglers’ network! This site says that Pitaranha used to have a quarry which was used by the Romans when they were building Ammaia.

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At Pitaranha the path rejoins the outward track and then descends to Galegos on a stretch of Mediaeval paved road which crosses the Galegos River over a Mediaeval bridge.

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And so back to the beginning!16-4-23 Walk at Galegos LR-0815

And our reward came in Castelo de Vide

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Further information
The PR4 walk

A variation of the walk in the same area
Walks with GPS
A description of the Smugglers’ Route
Walks in Portugal

 

 

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