PR5 – Livraria do Paiva (Paiva Bookstore) is a small pedestrian trail beginning and ending in Janarde, Arouca, and located inside the spectacular Arouca Geopark. This is a very short walking path, only about 3 km, and therefore suitable for everyone who wants to take a short walk in the wild. But don’t let its reduced size fool you, there is plenty to see here.
Besides the beautiful landscape, along PR5 – Livraria do Paiva we have 4 geosites of the Arouca Geopark, namely Conheiros do Paiva (G19), Meandros do Paiva (G20), Livraria do Paiva (G18) and the ichnofossils of Mourinha (G17) .
Livraria do Paiva trail quick information
- Name: PR5 – Livraria do Paiva
- Start – Janarde, by the Church
- End – Janarde, by the Church
- Distance – 3 km
- Time required – 1:30
- Difficulty – very easy
- Max/min altitude: 250/218 meters
- Altitude gain: N/A
- Type – linear
- Signalization (1-5) – 5 (excellent)
- Highlights: Livraria do Paiva, ichnofossils, Paiva lookout, Janarde
- You can download the official map here (in Portuguese)
The experience in Livraria do Paiva – PR5 Arouca
This trail starts in Janarde, next to the Church, where there are a car park and the trail’s information panel. This is a linear trail, but it works almost as if it was circular, as the church is halfway through and not at one end.
So, from there, you have to choose whether you want to go towards Meandros do Paiva or Livraria. Whatever option you choose forces you to return to the starting point and continue to the other side. We suggest you go initially to Livraria do Paiva as it is further away and more difficult. So this is what we are going to describe here. However, the experience will be very similar if you do the reverse.
We start the trail by turning left and hiking a few meters along the national road. Don’t worry, it is a short distance, and the road has very little traffic. Then, we turn left on a path that will take us to the final destination. The trail is always very well signed, but they’re barely any chances of losing yourself, as you simply need to follow the same path for 1,500 meters until reaching the final destination.
During the initial part of the trail, the path goes up slightly, but it is quite easy. It starts descending to Mourinha stream – at this stage, the soil is rocky, so it is necessary to pay special attention if there is moisture, as it is very easy to slip and fall.
One of the exciting parts of the trail is crossing the Mourinha stream, as it has no bridge. There are some rocks that can be used but if the river is high enough it is not possible to cross (at least without getting wet). If it hasn’t rained in the previous days, this will not be a problem.
After crossing the stream, we have the most difficult part of the trail, as it is always ascending to the final destination. It is not particularly steep, nor long, so we’ll quickly reach the final destination, Livraria do Paiva and the ichnofossils of Mourinha. Don’t worry, you will know exactly when you arrive at your destination as it is signposted.
Livraria do Paiva is a place where quartzite strata are exposed vertically in such a way that it reminds us of the spines of books on a shelf. This geological phenomenon is 480 million years old and is quite impressive. It is also easy to see them because they are on the opposite side of the valley of the Mourinha stream.
Ichnofossils are traces and marks left by past living beings. They can be prints, tracks, eggs, or even fossilized excrement. At Mourinha these stand out for their size, quantity, and diversity, with a track over 3.5 meters long being the highlight. Since access is via a small, narrow, and very steep path, we suggest you pay special attention going there.
From here, we have to return through the same ancestral path, almost dug in the rocks, but nearly always paved. Again, pay close attention to possible falls due to moisture in the rocks. When you arrive at Janarde you should continue straight in the church’s direction and then to a small hill. Again, it’s simple; the path is always signed. From the highest point on the hill, we get a fantastic view, next to a small cross that marks this viewpoint.
From the viewpoint, we can see the other 2 geosites on this route, the Meandros (meanders) do Paiva and the Conheiros. Meandros are the sinuous curves that the Paiva River makes here, creating an incredible landscape, which from this point, is very visible. At the same time, the Conheiros are vestiges of ancient alluvial gold exploration, probably Roman. These traces are basically deposits accumulated in the meanders’ convex phase (heaps of pebbles and rolled pebbles). It is not the most impressive geosite, but it is interesting to see that something that happened many hundreds of years ago still has this visible influence on the environment.
Finally, we have to go back to the car park, but now you know that it is only a 5-minute walk. Overall, this is a very short route, which takes 1h, 1h30, depending mainly on the time you take to explore and analyze each of the geosites.
Best time to do the trail
The best time to hike this trail is in the Summer when the stream is low, and therefore you should not have any problems crossing it. Though you should note that at any time of the year when it has rained a lot, it is possible that you will not be able to cross and therefore you will not be able to go to the Bookshop or the Ichnofossils.
In addition, during the dry season, the stoney path will be dry, which makes it less likely to slip on the slopes.
Is the trail family-friendly?
This trail is suitable for the whole family, as it is very short and even has some shadows if it’s too hot. We believe that even older people and children will have no problem hiking the trail, the only problem being crossing the stream when the waters are high.
What to take?
Since this is a short trail it is not necessary to take anything in particular, except the usual things for any hike.
- Water (about a 0.5l per person should be enough)
- comfortable shoes;
- comfortable clothes;
- rain jacket if it’s winter;
- sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen if it’s sunny;
- Taking flip flips may be a good idea to cross the small stream;
- 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 the trail?
The trail is very easy to find, as the starting point is next to the small car park near the Church of S. Barnabé de Janarde, where the information panel is located.
To get to Janarde, we have to take the M510 in Arouca, and after passing Ponte da Telha, there is a fork with the indication Janarde. As soon as you arrive in Janarde, look for the church, and the car park is right by the road. It’s quite simple.
Where to stay?
There are accommodations spread over the Arouca Geopark, but as far as we know there are none in Janarde. See below the accommodations available in the region of Arouca.
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