PR14 Arouca Geopark is our kind of trail, mountainous but not too long, with pleasant views and an absolutely wonderful final destination – Drave, the Magic Village.
Drave is a village that, despite having been completely abandoned, is still quite well maintained. The last permanent inhabitant left in 2000. It has many ruins, but also well-preserved buildings (namely the Solar dos Martins, which is used by the national corps of scouts) and whose streets and alleys are well preserved.
This PR14 is probably the easiest and the best way to go there. There are other ways to get to Drave, but there are no paved roads to go there. Whoever has a 4×4 can try to take another route on a dirt mountain road, but we advise that it is really a 4×4 since it is not in good condition.
Trail to Drave, PR14 quick information
- Name: PR14 – The magic Village
- Start – Regoufe, by the chapel
- End – Drave
- Distance – 4 km to Drave (8k with return)
- Time required – 1 hour each way, 3 hours in total
- Difficulty – moderate
- Max/min altitude: 720/600 meters
- Altitude gain: N/A
- Type – linear
- Signalization (1-5) – 5, very easy to follow
- Highlights: Magic Mountains, Drave, Regoufe, and the waterfalls and lagoons of Palhais
- You can download the official map here (in Portuguese)
The trail to Drave starts in the village of Regoufe, next to the village’s chapel. You will find an information panel with info on the two trails of the Arouca Geopark that start at that location – PR13 and PR14. In this post, we are going to focus on PR14 Aldeia Mágica.
The initial part of the trail traverses the village until you turn left and cross the small stream of Regoufe. After crossing the bridge, it’s always uphill for more than a km, in a well-marked path, but with lots of stone, mostly shale, which is quite punishing for the feet. But don’t demoralize, as this is clearly the hardest climb on the route.
When you get up there, the stones in the path start to disappear, and the hike becomes much more pleasant. At the highest point of the route, we have a wonderful view of the mountains. Only when you get up there, you’ll notice the immensity of that landscape.
From there, we start to descend slowly towards Drave. The path is now lined and even easier to follow. There is only a moment when we have to turn left, but in addition to being indicated on the ground, Drave appears in the distance, so you can’t really miss it. It is possible that you will find cattle along the way, but you should not have any problem with it as it’s usually tame. Just respect their space and avoid touching.
After about 4 km of walking, we cross another small stream, this time the Palhais stream and we start to see walls flanking the path, the sign that we are reaching Drave, the Magic Village!
Now that we are in Drave take the opportunity to explore this incredible stone village – apparently lost and abandoned at the foot of the mountains. Do not forget to descend to the river, where you will find small lagoons and waterfalls. It is the perfect place to rest, have a picnic, and weather permitting to take a dip.
To return, you just have to follow the same trail as this is a 4 km linear route. On the return, pay special attention to the final descent because the stones make it very prone to slips and sprains … says our physiotherapist on duty.
Note that it is also worth exploring the little village of Regoufe – it is fascinating and beautiful. One of Regoufe’s main points of interest is the abandoned mines. These ancient wolfram mines were exploited by the English and, therefore, essential for the manufacture of weapons and ammunition during WWII. PR14 does not pass there, but it is simple to go there from Regoufe.
Best time to do the trail
This is a trail that can be hiked all year. We advise against doing it in the rain because with so much stone in the initial phase, it may become dangerous. On the other hand, pay attention to very high temperatures and the sun during the warmer months, as the route has no shadows.
As we said above, when you reach Drave, there is the possibility to cool off in the small lagoons and waterfalls, so in our opinion, this trail is more suitable to be done in the summer, or at least when it is warm.
Is the trail family-friendly?
The trail is neither too long nor too steep, but it also has practically no flat parts. In addition, the 4 km trail is misleading, as we always have to hike the 8 km of the round trip. In other words, it’s doable, but the truth is that the next day we felt our legs quite heavy.
That said, anyone who is used to hiking will do it. There is no need to be afraid. But we advise against doing it with infants, people with low mobility, or the elderly.
What to take?
As we have said several times (because it is one of the attractions), Drave is an abandoned village, so there are no shops/cafes/restaurants in Drave or on the trail. Take everything you need with you. So, we advise you to take:
- Lots of water (at least a 1l per person);
- Snacks to have a picnic by the stream in Drave;
- Comfortable hiking or running shoes – in this trail, it might be good to take hiking shoes because of the shale rocks. Don’t hike this trail with flip flops!
- Comfortable clothes;
- Rain jacket if it’s winter – note that it’s very normal for the weather to change quickly in the area.
- Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen if it’s sunny;
- Camera and smartphone, there are plenty of photo opportunities here – the cell phone is very useful as a GPS too;
- 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 the trail?
Considering we are talking about a linear rail, it has a beginning and an end. The starting point is by the chapel of the village of Regoufe. There is no chance of taking the trail in the middle, or doing it backward, as there’s no other easy access. So, you have to start the trail in Regoufe.
To get to Regoufe, you have to take the M567 road and turn when the sign for Regoufe appears. It is quite simple as there aren’t many options to go to the village. When you arrive in the village, park as soon as you find a spot. There are very few suitable places to leave your car.
Where to stay?
As already mentioned, there is no possibility of staying in Drave, nor along the trail. Regoufe also has no accommodation options. Thus, the ideal will be to stay in Arouca or in the surroundings.
Arouca has plenty of accommodation options, but our favorite is Hotel São Pedro . It has an excellent quality-price ratio, pleasant and comfortable rooms, and a good breakfast. See if you still have rooms available.
If you want to rent an entire house, for a family or group of friends, we suggest the Apartment Milénio T2. It has excellent conditions, is right in the center, and is ideal for up to 4 people. Confirm the price here.
If you don’t fancy any of these options, we suggest you check the map below:
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