MTB Transalp recommended route Stage 4

Meanders [GRZ - MTB sector 4]

MTB Transalp · Portugal
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Aldeias do Xisto Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Meanders - Admoço > Cambas - GRZ on Foot: Stage 6
    Meanders - Admoço > Cambas - GRZ on Foot: Stage 6
    Photo: Diogo Martins, Aldeias do Xisto
Spanning 23.1 km, Meanders is the 4th sector in the Multistage Route of Zêzere. It connects Dornelas do Zêzere, in the municipality of Pampilhosa da Serra, to Cambas, in the municipality of Oleiros. It passes through the Aldeias do Xisto of Janeiro de Cima and Janeiro de Baixo and their respective rest areas as well as Admoço. 
Distance 22.7 km
2:20 h
276 m
345 m
435 m
301 m

Author’s recommendation

Visit Aldeias do Xisto of Janeiro de Cima and Janeiro de Baixo and admire the famous "curves" – the meanders of the Zêzere. 

Book your acommodation, experience or meal in Book in Xisto.


Responsible Trails Criteria:

This route as the auditing in progress at this date.

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Aldeias do Xisto
Update: March 14, 2022
Highest point
435 m
Lowest point
301 m
Best time of year

Track types

Show elevation profile

Rest stops

Casa do Silvério
Solar Vicente
Casa Cova do Barro
Weaver's House
Casa das Tecedeiras Aldeias do Xisto Shop
Casa de Janeiro
Aldeia do Xisto of Janeiro de Cima
Casa da Pedra Rolada
Janeiro de Cima River Beach
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Barragem de Santa Luzia
Cyclin' Portugal Centre of Casal da Lapa
Barragem de Santa Luzia Viewpoint
Santa Luzia River Beach
Aldeia do Xisto de Janeiro de Baixo
River Beach of Janeiro de Baixo
Xisto Camping
Mosqueiro viewpoint
Orvalho Walkways
Cambas River Beach
Adega dos Apalaches
Casa da Ladeira

Safety information

Take the necessary precautions for high temperatures in summer and slippery terrain in the winter. The levels of difficulty and times given are only indicative. They were calculated on a physical effort basis and do not include stops. Make your estimate by analising the technical data of path to be taken.


Contact information

SOS Emergency: 112

SOS Forest: 117

Fundão Municipal Council: (+351 )275 779 060 |

Pampilhosa da Serra Municipal Council: (+351) 235 590 320 |

Oleiros Municipal Council: (+351) 272 680 130 |  

Tips and hints

This crossing over the Zêzere in Dornelas is secular, ancestral and the subject of many myths, legends and some tragedies. It was already in the 20th Century that the fragile and dangerous barge was replaced by the old wooden bridge, just downstream from the current road crossing. Its built heritage comprises the main church. Long ago, the riverside beach on the Dornelas stream used to divide the village, but it is today a refreshing place to relax. The Ethnographic Museum is also worth a visit. 

The schist houses, densely dotted with pebbles from the Zêzere river, make Janeiro de Cima a unique village. A unique urban grid dives into labyrinthine paths, ending at the old church, around which the town formed. The new church is located at the entrance of the village and, together with the parish centre and café, a welcome area par excellence and a vital element of the village - is the village’s reception area, wide, open and simultaneously organised. Legend has it that a nobleman, when he died, decided to bequeath his property to the two sons, both called Januários. Thus was born Janeiro de Cima on the left bank, and Janeiro de Baixo on the right bank. The watercourse and dense pine vegetation are elements of the surrounding landscape. The two banks were once joined by a public barge carrying people and animals between Fundão and Pampilhosa da Serra municipalities. From high above, they would yell out, “Oh da Barca!”, calling for the boatman’s services. Today the boat still exists: the tradition was preserved and the vessel faithfully reconstructed. Visit the churches and the Weavers’ House. Cool down at the Lavandeira River Park. 

The accessible river beach, the rural campsite, the picnic park, the sports complex, the blacksmith trunk, the parish house, the quartzite crests in the Naturtejo Geo-Park (UNESCO), and the twists and turns of the Zêzere are prominent natural and tourist attractions that you simply must visit in the Aldeia do Xisto of Janeiro de Baixo. 

Under the influence of Serra do Muradal lies the magnificent Zêzere bottleneck, one of the geo-monuments in the Naturtagus Geopark and classified by UNESCO. It is a geological cut, at a location also known as Malhada Velha, fundamental as a testimony to the geological history of the land over the last 600 million years. The part the includes the left bank is Cabeço Mosqueiro, with a viewpoint at the top (360 m). A former nesting place for eagles (Buteo buteo), it has been transformed into a pleasant picnic park. In addition to the trace fossils to be found there, you can contemplate the Zêzere as it runs through this deep, winding valley. With luck, you will still be able to find the dwarf germander (Teucrium chamaedrys). Although the highlight goes to the river, your gaze will wander over a myriad of mountains: the mountain ranges of Serra da Estrela and Gardunha, with a privileged perspective of the magnificent glacial Valley of Alforfa with its rugged granite, the quartz mountains of Serra do Muradal quartzite and Penedos de Góis and the schist mountains in Açor, Lousã and Cabeço Rainha.


"Dornelas do Zêzere Lat.: 40° 6' 6.84"" NLong.: 7° 44' 45.852"" W " (371 m)
40.100319, -7.747084
40°06'01.1"N 7°44'49.5"W
29T 606793 4439644
Show on Map


Cambas Lat.: 40° 0' 31.32" NLong.: 7° 50' 39.948" W

Turn-by-turn directions

The crossing of the Zêzere at the Dornelas weir takes you towards Alqueidão. The road bridge has a bypass that is mostly used in winter. From Alqueidão, the route stretches out over 8.5 km, almost always following along the left bank of river Zêzere, and includes a picnic park. After this, the GRZ follows the roadside for another 1000 meters to reach the Aldeia do Xisto of Janeiro de Cima.

On this short Strecht, about 700 meters, the route leaves the schist village via its river beach and uses the weir that allows the Zêzere river to be crossed here. Then begins a sharp rise that will lead to a Rest Area. If the river cannot be crossed at the weir, there is a bypass of the main route tat uses the road bridge towards Janeiro de Baixo.  

After reaching the top of the hill, the route takes a wider path and moves on almost parallel to the river. After 1 km, the GRZ goes on to paved road and is almost immediately met by GRAX-GR21.1, which will accompany it to Janeiro de Baixo. In the immediate vicinity of the road bridge, take the dirt road further ahead on a small section also common to PR4 PPS. Back on the road that will take you to Janeiro de Cima, along with two other routes, go around the campsite towards the river beach. 

The GRZ route continues along with the schist route, PR4 PPS, towards Janeiro de Baixo. Before entering the village, turn left and follow the old road that once linked Janeiro de Baixo to Admoço. This trail is on flat terrain towards the quartz throat carved by the Zêzere. Near the schist house, the two routes separate, with the GRZ turning right and climbing up the road that connects the towns referred to previously. 

A hundred metres further on, join the GRZ, schist route PR4 PPS, which will take you to a place called Antro dos Penedos. On the horizon is one of the most beautiful landscapes of the entire GRZ, as well as the two Janeiros, the one above and the one bellow, Serra do Machialinho and the meanderings of the Zêzere, which are classified as geo-site by UNESCO. About 500 feet below, the PR4 PPS moves away from the GRZ, which continues for another 1km to Admoço. 

This stretch of the GRZ runs parallel to the river and is on less busy roads. After about 3.5 km, the route passes near the Cambas bridge (left), which for many years was the only link between the nearby district of Castelo Branco and Coimbra. After a few hundred metres, you will leave the national road and go down to the Cambas River Beach, where there is an Intermodal Station. After covering another 500 metres, you will come to the town with the same name.


40.100319, -7.747084
40°06'01.1"N 7°44'49.5"W
29T 606793 4439644
Show on Map
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22.7 km
2:20 h
276 m
345 m
Highest point
435 m
Lowest point
301 m
Linear route Multi-stage route


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