We have walked the PR7 PTG-CVD at Carreiras three times now and enjoyed each occasion. Every time it has been slightly different: the first year the arum lilies were gorgeous, but the weather was threatening; last year it was beautiful, sunny, and filled with flowers apart from the arum lilies; and this year it was cold and the flowers hadn’t yet appeared!
The walk is clearly marked and it is good in very wet weather, as it has been this year, because it is on a cobbled ‘road’. You park in the main square of Carreiras and set off down the hill, turning on to the Mediaeval Road at the bus stop – you can’t get lost! This old, cobbled roadway connected Portalegre to Castelo de Vide, and as both towns had Roman connections I wonder if the road dates back to those times.
Once down in the valley the views are wide-reaching on a clear day, and it is quiet and beautiful as only the Alentejo can be beautiful – grass, cork oaks, birds, and flowers in a good year. And of course there is usually the sound of water. Halfway along the valley is the ‘All year fountain’.
This year it was disturbing to find these major excavations under the crest of the hill, shortly before coming out on the main road. The Mediaeval Road itself has been damaged – after 1,000 years of being left alone.
The geology of this part of Portugal is interesting and the quartzite ridge above Castelo de Vide (and very clear on this walk) is the hard edge of a fold in the mountains. As you drive down into Castelo de Vide you drive through a cut in this ridge and can the upstanding rock formations quite clearly. There are also interesting rock faces on the main road back to Carreiras.
This is a most enjoyable walk – do try it if you are in this part of Portugal, although I would avoid mid-summer as there is no shelter in the valley. And pop into Castelo de Vide afterwards for refreshments!