The PR8 AVV – Mistura das Águas trail is a circular trail (more or less, below we explain better) with about 13 km that goes from Casa Florestal do Baleiral to the mouth of the Peneda river in the Laboreiro river (Mistura de Águas which translates to mixing waters), passing by Lagoa dos Druidas, one of the best places to swim in Gerês.
Despite traversing a beautiful landscape, not being particularly difficult or remote, it isn’t a popular trail, and the Druid’s Lagoon remains a destination very few people visit. Especially when compared to Poço Azul, Poço Verde, or the Poços Verdes do Sobroso.
So, if you are looking for a short mountain trek and a lake to visit in the Summer in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the trail of mixing waters and the Druid’s Lagoon is the best option.
Mistura das Águas trail quick information
- Name: Mistura das Águas trail
- Start – Baleiral Forest house
- End – Baleiral Forest house
- Distance – 13 km (way and back)
- Time required – 4 to 5 hours
- Difficulty – Moderate
- Max/min altitude: 586/368 meters
- Altitude gain: 493 meters
- Type – Way and back, with a small circular section
- Signalization (1-5) – 4 if we are talking about the trail. 0 signs about the Druidas Lagoons
- Highlights: Peneda River, Laboreiro River, Druidas Lagoon
- You can download the official map and flyer here (in Portuguese)
Our experience in the Mistura de Águas Trail
The Mistura de Águas trail starts next to Casa Florestal do Baleiral, where you can park your car. As it is not a very busy trail, and there is always space – it is usually not difficult to park the car. The beginning of the trail is well-marked, and it is easy to follow. We start with a short descent to a tarred road, where we will find indications about this trail and several others that pass there.
We can either go left or right to continue mixing the waters at this crossroads. On the right, it’s a shorter distance, while on the left, we’ll go around a little longer, but we will reach the same point either way.
Officially, the trail goes on the left to the Baleiral bridge, crosses it, and then follows the bank of the Peneda river for about 1 km, crossing it again and coming to a new trail intersection. This entire route is approximately 2.5km; if you go to the right, it’s only about 500 meters until this intersection. The longer way is quite beautiful, but if you wish to save 2km on your legs, you won’t lose much.
Continuing our walk, we find a new bridge, now over the Veiga river; we have to cross it and start a short but arduous climb to Tibo village. It is only about 500 meters, but it rises from 470 to 570 meters of altitude. That’s an average slope of 20%. Anyway, don’t worry, it’s tough, but it’s doable, even if you have to stop 1 or 2 times to… take pictures (wink wink).
At the end of the climb, we arrive at Tibo, and here you should pay attention as the markings are a little confusing. There are markings indicating another route we are unaware of, which takes us to the top of the village of Tibo, but the trail we are doing today is not that way.
We basically want to cross the village and follow a dirt road that, when leaving the village, starts to descend consistently, crossing fields, forests, and always with the Peneda River on our left. In Tibo, it is a bit confusing, so we advise you to take the course on your mobile phone to avoid having to walk backward and forward following the markings of other trails.
Leaving Tibo, the trail starts to descend continuously and consistently. However, after just over 500 meters, we reach a fork, and there we have an important decision to make. We can turn left to the Druids Lagoon; or to the right and continue along the Mix of Waters trail. Unfortunately, there is no sign, but it is relatively easy to see that the descent to the river is there.
On the left towards Lagoa dos Druidas, the descent is very steep and dangerous. So we only suggest you go there if you have confidence in your abilities and suitable footwear. Note: If you want to go to Lagoa dos Druidas, see below where we explain exactly how to go to Lagoa dos Druidas.
On the right, it’s not a steep or technical descent. Since we are in a forested area, we always have shadows. It is delightful. Along this trail, we can see Fraga das Pastorinhas, an impressive rocky outcrop much appreciated by climbers.
At the end of the descent, the trail gets very close to the Peneda River, and it is possible to descend to one of its lagoons. This one is quite big, enjoyable and usually with few people. It is one of the lesser known lakes in Gerês and with easy access.
Always with the Peneda River at our side, the trail continues for about another kilometer until we reach Mistura de Águas, the mouth of the Peneda River in the Laboreiro River. It is a magnificent viewpoint, with Spain right next to it, on the other side of the Laboreiro river. The path continues past this point, but this trail ends there, so we have to go back the way we came.
The way back is a bit hard because the climb is long despite not being too steep. Yet, with a few stops, the ascent can be done easily, especially after a stop for a dip in the lagoons of the Peneda River.
How to go to the Druidas Lagoon
If you want to go to the Druids Lagoon, you don’t need to hike the complete Mistura de Águas trail. You can and should start only in Tibo, park your car in the village, and look for the Mistura de Águas trail marks. There is no need to trek the rest of the trail if you only want to go to the lagoon.
From Tibo, we have to take a pedestrian path in the lower part of the village that goes towards the river. We have to walk about 500 meters in the right direction until we reach the fork we mentioned when we described the Druid’s trail. There we have two options: we continue on the Mistura de Águas trail or go down to Rio.
Going down to the river is much shorter, but the initial part is complicated and technical. The descent is slippery, and there is a real risk of sliding and falling. If you don’t mind, you can go down carefully, follow this path to the river, and then continue to a large rock. The phenomenal Druidas Lagoon is hidden behind this rock.
If you continue along the official trail, you will continue to descend, but much gradually and without any technical difficulty. After about 2 km, there is a small path to the left – it almost makes a hook and goes down and back. We must turn this way and keep going until we get close to the river. There you will find a small exit from the trail towards the river. The Druidas Lagoon is there.
It is important to be aware as there is no signpost to the lagoon. If you arrive in an area where the trail is practically at the side of the river, you have walked too far. As we mentioned, there is another stunning and pleasant lagoon, but it is not Druid’s Lagoon.
Best time to hike this trail
The Mistura de Águas trail is great to hike in spring and Summer. In spring, we will see the rivers with considerable flows, the flowers, and everything very green. However, going to the water can be more complicated as it may not be hot enough.
In the Summer, we have the opportunity to go to the water, dive in the lagoons and enjoy the heat. In fact, a large part of this trail is made in the forest, with plenty of shade, so even with the intense sun, it is a pleasant walk.
Finally, despite being one of the best trails in Gerês, it is not the most popular. We can hike it in the Summer and even on weekends, and we don’t risk being overcrowded—neither the trail nor the Lagoons.
So, in our opinion, and unlike others in Gerês, this is an ideal trail to hike in the Summer.
Is the trail family-friendly?
This is a suitable trail for any hiker used to mountain trails with moderate difficulty. The approximately 12 km are not very hard, nor do they have technical parts, despite having several ascents and descents.
Except for the Tibo area, the trail is well marked, so there is no significant risk of getting lost on the mountain. However, we advise you to download the map to your mobile phone.
On the other hand, the descent to Lagoa dos Druidas is challenging and not advisable for children and older people. However, you can always go the longer route, which is not technical.
What to take?
The Mistura de Águas trail is neither too technical nor too long. However, we advise you to take:
- Lots of water (about a 1l per person)
- Snacks – note that there aren’t places to eat along the trail.
- 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 go to the trail?
Access to this trail is straightforward, but it can only be done by car. To start the course, we have to head to Tibo and then to the Baleiral forest house, about 3 km after Tibo, towards the village of Peneda.
To get to Tibo, we must go to Soajo and turn towards Peneda along the municipal road EM530-5. Although it’s only 14 km from Soajo to Tibo, it’s about 25 minutes – the road is good, but it’s a mountain road.
Tip: About 2.5 km before reaching Tibo, we have the Tibo lookout. Take the opportunity to stop for a few minutes because, in our opinion, it is one of the most beautiful and accessible viewpoints in the Peneda Gerês National Park.
Where to stay?
This route is not very long; it takes about 5 or 6 hours, depending on the walking speed and how long we want to stay in the lagoons. Thus, staying in Porto or Braga and hiking this trail is perfectly possible.
If you want to stay in the National Park or the surroundings, the ideal is to stay in Soajo, Peneda, or even Arcos de Valdevez. We will leave an option for each of these places below:
Casas do Cavaleiros Eira – this is our favorite accommodation in Soajo. It is an excellent local accommodation, with everything you need and an excellent breakfast. It’s no surprise it has such a high rating on booking. Click here to see more information and book.
Casas da Peneda – Casas da Peneda is an excellent option if you want to stay in Peneda. It is a pleasant accommodation with a fireplace, living room, equipped kitchen, and even a patio and lake views. They also have a swimming pool to enjoy in the Summer, which is a great advantage. Click to bookmark and view photos.
Luna Arcos hotel – is our favorite hotel in Arcos de Valdevez. In addition to being excellently located, it is very comfortable and has a SPA and an indoor pool. Finally, it is a wallet-friendly option given everything it offers and its low prices. Click to view prices and mark.