We first heard about Penedo Furado because of its beautiful river beach, one of the most popular in central Portugal. Then we read it had a walkway and decided to look further in the area and to discover about the waterfalls, the lookout, and a rare 480M years fossil… Well, this must be worth a visit, right?
As you can see, this area congregates plenty of things to do and see in a short distance, but the best thing is that you can reach them all on a very short hike. Everything is connected with trails and pathways. Here we will explain everything about this tailor-made trek and the attractions you can visit in Penedo Furado.
Penedo Furado trail information
- Name: Penedo furado trail (not official)
- Start – Penedo furado lookout, or beach
- End – same as start
- Distance – About 3 km
- Time required – 1h30
- Difficulty – Easy, with a few steep climbs and descends
- Max/min altitude: N/A
- Altitude gain: N/A
- Type – Circular
- Signalization (1-5) – 2
- Highlights: Penedo Furado Beach, waterfall, pathways and lookout; bicha pintada
Note: As far as we know, this isn’t an official trail, but it’s easy enough to follow, and it takes you to all the main sights in the area. We recommend you to do it.
About the trail
We can start the trail, both at the beach or the lookout – it’s where you can find the car parks and thus making it a natural spot to start/finish. When we did this trail we started and finished in the lookout, so that’s the course we will describe.
Penedo Furado lookout is an old lookout made of stone that is needing some repairs. Yet, it offers some beautiful views over the valley, the beach, and the Zêzere river. Next to the lookout, there’s a small trail, heading down in the direction of the river.
After only a few meters of descending, you reach the place that names this whole area, the “Penedo Furado”, which translates to something like “punctured boulder”. Penedo Furado is precisely that, a massive boulder with a hole in it, and the coolest part is that the trail goes right through it. So, now you need to cross the boulder and then continue descending.
Penedo Furado Beach
After a few hundred meters in this path, you’ll reach the river beach of Penedo Furado. This is the most popular beach in Vila de Rei and one of the best in the area. Its crystal clear water goes through a natural rocky section where it’s dammed, creating a beautiful natural pool. It’s excellent for children and grown-ups. Note that the beach is only working during the Summer when the small dike is closed.
On the right bank of Ribeira do Codes, below the lookout, you can find the famous “bicha pintada”, a fossil that scholars say it can be over 480 Million years old. It’s inserted on a 30 centimeters thick layer of dark grey quartzite.
We strongly suggest you stay here for a while and enjoy the beach. Or, as we suggested earlier, you can drive there and start the trail here.
Penedo Furado Walkways
You can see the wooden walkways from the river beach, as they start only a few meters down the river. The walkways are relatively short, about 700 meters, and take you to the waterfalls. The course is entirely flat and easy to do.
Besides the undeniable natural beauty of the area, the main reason the walkways were built was to allow easy access to the Penedo Furado cascades. So, at the end of the walkways, you’ll find a small bridge to see the walkways. You can enjoy the view, dip on the pool below the waterfall, or continue your way on the old trail.
Penedo Furado Waterfalls
The waterfalls are rather small, but beautiful. It’s more of a series of small cascades with several pools in between than a big waterfall. There are plenty of picture opportunities as you continue now on an old narrow path carved in the rocks that climb along the river.
This old path that takes you several old bridges with railings. As we mentioned, this area is gorgeous, and as you continue to climb, you get to see it from a higher level. This section follows the Bufareiras trail, but eventually, the official trail turns left, and you’ll need to continue in front (and upwards), climbing the mountain to Fragas do Rabadão lookout.
Fragas do Rabadão lookout
The climb to the lookout is the hardest part of this short trail, but almost anyone should be able to do it without problems. It’s steep but short. And, if you feel tired you can always stop to enjoy the views of Castelo de Bode reservoir, the cliffs, and the cascades. Or to search for th several statues offered by the people in honor of saints and Our Ladies.
Miradouro das Fragas do Rabadão is the last stop of this trek. From there, you’ll need to walk about 200/300 meters on the main road, and you’ll reach the first lookout. Be wary of the cars, as there’s no sidewalk here.
Final note: unfortunately, this area has little to no GPS and mobile coverage. So, the distances, directions, and altitudes are harder to estimate. However, distances are always short, and the trail is straightforward to follow. The only tricky part is to know when to stop following the official Barufeiras trail and going to the lookout instead.
Best time to go to Penedo Furado
This is one of those destinations that’s much more fun during sunny warm days, however, be aware that during the peak of Summer, it’s not warm, it’s scorching hot. Plus, it’s also usually the most crowded time. We would suggest avoiding summer weekends, as it’s naturally a favorite spot among locals.
The ideal time to go would be June and September when it’s hot, but probably not burning. It probably has some people but not too much. This means you can fully enjoy the beach. If you only want to do the hike, see the waterfalls and lookouts, this is a year-round destination. You’ll simply need to avoid rainy days.
Is the trail family-friendly?
Despite being a very short trail, it has a steep ascend, a flat section, and a gradual descend. You don’t need to be fit to do the trek but can’t have mobility issues. We believe that it can be easily done with children, so it’s family-friendly.
Hiking with toddlers could be a little more problematic, but if you feel that you can’t take them, you can always do the walkways till the waterfall and return. That section is completely flat and can be done by everyone.
What to take?
This is a very short trail, you don’t need to worry about taking food and many drinks unless it is really really hot. However, you should spend some time on the beach and waterfalls. If you do that you should take:
- Water and drinks (about a 1l per person)
- Comfortable hiking or running shoes;
- Comfortable clothes;
- Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen if it’s sunny;
- Swimwear if it’s hot enough to use the beach;
- 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 go to Penedo Furado?
Penedo Furado is very close to the now very popular N2, so it’s fairly easy to reach. You only need to exit N2 in Milreu, when the sign that says Penedo Furado appears. It’s a municipal road, but the pavement is very good.
As far as we know, there isn’t an easy way of going to Penedo Furado using public transportation.
Where to stay in Penedo Furado?
There are no accommodation options in Penedo Furado, so we need to look a little further away. However, there’s one of the most beautiful schist villages close by, Água Formosa. Our suggestion is to stay in Água Formosa or in Vila de Rei.
Água Formosa is a wonderful Schist village, and a destination by itself, so it’s a perfect place to spend the night. Casa da Eira and Casa Nascente are your best bets there. They are both traditional houses where you’ll feel the rustic charm of the Portuguese schist villages.
Or you can search on th map below for a lodge close to Penedo Furado.
Penedo Furado is one of the most mystical places in this region. The myths, stories, and legends have been told from generation to generation are also part of the Penedo Furado history. Together with the natural beauty of the place, they make up a great travel destination.
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