The Esmoriz walkways are located between Espinho and Ovar along Esmoriz lagoon (Barrinha de Esmoriz) which is also known as Paramos lagoon. These walkways were built during the requalification of the lagoon and are an indispensable way to better understand the charms of this place. In fact, with these walkways, it is possible for anyone to walk around the lagoon without any difficulty.
So while exploring the Esmoriz lagoon walkways you can also explore the lagoon, its incredible landscapes, and discover the different species that inhabit it.
About the Barrinha de Esmoriz / Lagoa de Paramos
Barrinha de Esmoriz / Lagoa de paramos is a coastal brackish lagoon that bathes the village of Paramos (Espinho) and the city of Esmoriz (Ovar). It is considered the most significant wetland on the northern coast of Portugal. With roughly 1500 meters in length and 1000 meters in maximum width, the Paramos Lagoon is fed by two small watercourses, the Rio Maior stream (also called Ribeira das Lamas) in the northern part of the lagoon and the Maceda Ditch, in the southern part.
The lagoon is separated from the sea by a dune cord, but there is an artificial channel that, when opened, makes the connection between the sea and the lagoon. For this reason, the waters are brackish.
The Barrinha de Esmoriz is surrounded by vegetation and is inhabited by countless birds, 129 regular species, and 33 that rare occurrence. It is thus an ideal area for those who like to observe animal life, namely birds. The heron, the junk weasel, the wild nightingale, the red crayfish, the spotted starling, the red robin, the river lamprey, are some species that live here. The Lagoon is part of the Natura 2000 Network, with a protected area of more than 400 hectares.
Esmoriz walkways Information
- Name: Esmoriz Walkways
- Start – Esmoriz Stadium parking, but there are others
- End – Esmoriz Stadium parking, but there are others
- Distance – 6 km
- Time required – 1h30
- Difficulty – very easy
- Max/min altitude: sea levels
- Altitude gain: 0 meters
- Type – circular
- Signalization (1-5) – 5
- Highlights: Esmoriz lagoon and beaches
The refurbishment works of the Esmoriz lagoon transformed a natural area that was highly polluted and dying into a destination for nature lovers. The walkways make it possible for anyone to visit it.
We started this pedestrian path along the Esmoriz walkways next to the Esmoriz football field (South Entrance). There are other alternatives but this one is quite easy to find and parking is always available. Since the route is circular, it does not matter where we start because we will always return to the starting point. The path is divided into 3 zones:
- Orange – Almost 2 km from the foot field to the airfield.
- Blue – 1350 meters from the aerodrome to the end of the bridge, passing by Paramos Beach.
- Green – 2260 meters from the bridge until we return to the orange zone, passing through the bird observatory and giving the return by Esmoriz beach.
From the football field, the walkways start by going north along a watercourse that leads to the lagoon. It is only a few hundred meters until we reach an intersection where you can choose whether to turn left or right. Here, we go right, continuing on the orange path. If we go to the left, we will go back in reverse order, but in the end, you will return to the same place as we will always go back to this point.
Moving on to the right, we will walk the walkways along the lagoon until we reach the north bank (about 1.5 km), in Paramos, where we find the North entrance. If you choose to leave here you can walk towards Espinho along the seafront, in a very pleasant route, but we will continue in front to the Paramos beach. From here we are on the Blue route.
Heading towards Paramos beach with the lagoon on our left side for almost a km until we find a new junction. If we turn left, we continue to go around the bar, if we go ahead we go to the beach. We advise you to check the beach as it is quite beautiful, with a long stretch of sand and the typical dunes of the region. After enjoying the beach we have to return to this point to continue the journey.
Continuing the route, we go south towards the bridge. In addition to being the most beautiful area of the walkways, it is also an interesting place to take pictures as it allows us to see a good part of the lagoon and dunes.
Right after the bridge, we enter the green zone and reach a new junction, where we can choose whether we want to go around Esmoriz beach or take a shortcut along the lagoon. The trail to Esmoriz beach is circular, so you won’t have to go back. Again this is a very beautiful beach, and in the summer it is well worth spending a few afternoons there!
Going one way or the other, we continue south towards the bird observatory. This is a place worth stopping for some time to rest and try to see a few of the many birds present in the region.
From here to the first junction it is only a few hundred meters, so you will quickly be back to the starting point.
Best time of year to visit Barrinha de Esmoriz
This is a route that can be hiked all year-round. However, we advise against doing it when it is very hot and intense sun since there are few shadows along the way. It is an area with vegetation but without tall trees to provide shade. On the other hand, on hot days it is possible to stop at the beaches.
So, in short, the ideal is going in the summer but do the route at a time of day when the sun is not strong! Or if you don’t want to go to the beach, you can go at any time of the year.
Is the trail family-friendly?
This is a route that can literally be done by anyone. The route is always flat and with firm ground, so it does not present any difficulty. It is, therefore, suitable for young people, children, the elderly, and even people with mobility problems. The only non-flat area of the route is the pedestrian bridge.
So, if you want to take a family outing, this is the ideal place. You can even take a baby stroller or wheelchair!
What to take?
This is a very easy and relatively short route, for which you don’t need to take anything in particular. However, we always advise you to take
- Water (about a 1l per person);
- Snacks, particularly if you want to spend the day at the beach;
- comfortable hiking or running shoes;
- comfortable clothes;
- rain jacket if it’s winter;
- sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen if it’s sunny;
- camera and smartphone, there are plenty of photo opportunities here;
- A daypack to take everything with you;
As always, please do not make any trash. Bring back everything you take with you.
How to reach the walkways?
These walkways have the advantage of being extremely easy to get there, as they are close to the city of Esmoriz. If you want to enter through the south entrance, in Esmoriz, just put on the map Esmoriz football field that will be right there. With the advantage that you can then park in the huge park.
If you want to go by public transport, the east entrance is next to the Esmoriz train station, so it is also extremely easy to get there.
Finally, if you are thinking of mainly going to the beach, but also giving a walk to the walkways, it is best to enter through the west entrance, which is exactly next to Esmoriz beach. Note that parking here may not be that easy in summer and on hot weekends.
Where to stay?
If you are thinking of staying in the region for a few days, the city of Esmoriz has some accommodation options. You can check it on the map below, but since we are from the region we never stay in hotels around here. Anyway, Maceda Guest and Surf House a few kilometers to the south looks very nice.
If you like hiking see some of our other suggestions below:
- Sistelo walkways, Arcos de Valdevez;
- Livraria do Paiva , Arouca;
- Drave, the magical village, Arouca;
- Port Wine Trail, Lamego;
- Dunes route, in Mira
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