This is a day to purify your soul thanks to the overwhelming views over Vila Nova de Milfontes and the Mira river that meets the ocean here. It is a short and accessible hiking day so that you may enjoy the area to its fullest extent.
Crossing the bridge over the river in Vila Nova de Milfontes provides stunning views of the river’s mouth, the small town beside it and the natural vegetation that covers the local hillsides. This vegetation is important as it attracts many different species of birds and small mammals. At low tide, enjoy the view of the marshes on the river bends, partially submerged and covered with reeds, important in their own way also as breeding grounds for several species of fish.
Between March and October you’ll be able to see many swifts as Alpine, Pallid and Common Swift all nest along this coast. Their breeding season starts as soon as they arrive and their acrobatics as they constantly search for enough food for their chicks is one of the wonders of the area.They spend over 90% of their life on the wing and have extreme difficulty in becoming airborne should they land anywhere but on a cliff or high building.
There are stretches along this part of the coast where native vegetation displays all its diversity and other areas where it has been destroyed and wiped out by a most aggressive exotic plant – the Acacia. This invasive plant is quite capable of reducing the sand dunes’ biodiversity almost to zero.
At times intensive farming stretches right down to the ocean, but you can also enjoy other less invasive traces of human presence such as local, non-commercial, fishing or small Stone-age quarries amongst the dunes, a reminder that Man has been shaping this coastline since time immemorial.
Vila Nova de Milfontes:
At the tourist office, following the Rua Custódio Brás Pacheco towards the main road.
At the roundabout, heading along Rua do Chafariz to the wash-houses. Further on you will find sign posts to join the path to the left.
Construction works are taking place in the centre of Vila Nova de Milfontes for an indefinite period. Follow the marks carefully and ask the locals for instructions in case you need to choose parallel streets.
Please be careful!
Between Vila Nova de Milfontes and beach of Furnas, the path initially goes along Rua Custódio Brás Pacheco. Be careful and always walk on the pavement. From the roundabout on the main road to the road bridge (500 m), and from the end of the bridge to the wooden gate that gives access to Vila Formosa (500 m), the path goes along the verge of the road. Walk with the utmost caution, as far over as possible on the right hand verge (N-S) and if walking with children be vigilant.
Remember to close the gate so that the cattle cannot get out of the property.
Be cautious with the cattle
When crossing the property between the gate and the beach of Furnas, take care with the livestock, avoid sudden movements and stay away. Although gentle they do not like strangers approaching their calves.