At the quiet Santa Clara-a-Velha village one feels the true spirit of the Alentejo, with the big Santa Clara lake nearby, nestled among rolling hills. The village of Sabóia, the railway station, the constant presence of the water and the open views over a mountainous Alentejo make this route a great walk for the whole family, consisting of two circular routes, which combined make up a total of 23 km.
The route consists of two circular routes, which combined make up a total of 23 km, with the village of Santa Clara in the centre, allowing you to choose between doing the two stretches or just one of them, starting at the Santa Clara Sabóia station, at the dam or in one of the villages.
It is worth stopping to spend some time in the villages of Santa Clara and Sabóia. It’s almost mandatory to buy the unique local products, such as the excellent honey and medronho liquor. It is also worth visiting the Azinhal fountain, in Santa Clara, dated from 1892 and restored in 1995. It is a great place for picnics and the water is of the highest quality.
The route between Santa Clara and the dam is dominated by the reservoir and the stream, as the locals like to call the river Mira. Downstream from the dam, the riparian vegetation comprises of Acacias, mimosas, poplar, ash, willow, reeds and rushes. Watercress and pennyroyal carpet shallower sections of the river outside the rainy season and the deeper still waters are covered with water lilies. In the most fertile land, next to the river, there are vegetable gardens, orange groves, and fig and olive trees. Birds mark this route which is full of great habitats, although predominant is the azure winged magpie.
Between Santa Clara and Sabóia the hiker’s attention will be divided between the wonderful hilly landscape, the richness of flora and unexpected encounters with partridges, goldfinches or other birds. The railway station, situated midway between the villages, is a typical building which still retains interesting elements such as the clock, the scale and wall tiles.
Santa Clara-a-Velha: By the Santa Clara-a-Velha church, going right on the “Rua de Goa”. Lake direction: continuing left, by the “Av. Engenheiro Amaro da Costa”, parallel to the river. Sabóia direction: continuing to the right to pass the river.
Sabóia: At the town roundabout on the main road, entering the village. By the church turn right to reach the cemetery where you’ll find the trail signs.
Santa Clara Sabóia railway station: Santa Clara direction: Crossing the railway and turning left on the road.Sabóia direction: Passing the cement bridge over the river, to turn right.
Note: on the fact sheet the data given on the left refers to the route "From Santa Clara to the Lake" and on the right to the route "From Santa Clara to Sabóia".
(From Santa Clara to the Lake)
Before Herdade do Azinhal, in the middle of the descent from the dam (along 1.3 km) the route only has markers at the beginning and the end of the stretch, in order to protect the interests of the owner. The path is linear and easy to follow.
Please be careful!
(Between Santa Clara and Sabóia)
Before the railway station, you’ll have to walk for 300 m on the road. Walk with the utmost caution, and opposite to the traffic.