MTB Transalp recommended route Stage 8

River Branches [GRZ - MTB sector 8]

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  • River Branches - Macieira Rest Area > Penedo Furado - GRZ: Stage 9
    River Branches - Macieira Rest Area > Penedo Furado - GRZ: Stage 9
    Photo: Diogo Martins, Aldeias do Xisto
m 300 200 100 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 km Casa de Água Formosa
The eighth and penultimate sector of the Multistage Route of Zêzere spans a total of 71.4 km, and connects the Serrão Valley rest area, in the municipality of Ferreira do Zêzere, to Penedo Furado in the municipality of Vila de Rei.
Distance 75.8 km
8:00 h
2,075 m
2,059 m
329 m
111 m
It passes through the Foz da Sertã rest area, Moinhos da Ribeira, in the municipality of Sertã, Fernandaires, Zaboeira, the Cabeça Gorda rest area, Trutas and the Macieira rest area in the municipality of Vila de Rei. 

Author’s recommendation

Enjoy some of the most scenic landscapes provided by the river Zêzere. Try the largemouth bass dishes. 

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
329 m
Lowest point
111 m
Best time of year

Track types

Show elevation profile

Rest stops

Trízio River Beach
Ponte Velha
Santo Amaro
Bostelim River Beach
Fernandaires River Beach
Zaboeira River Beach
Água Formosa
Casas de Água Formosa 
Penedo Furado River Beach

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

Ferreira do Zêzere Municipal Council: (+351) 249 360 150,  

Tips and hints

When the lagoon of the Castelo de Bode dam was filled in 1951, the bridge was submerged to a depth of about 15 metres. The current Vale da Ursa bridge was built to replace it. It should also be noted that during the Middle Ages, as there was no pedestrian crossing on this part of the Zêzere, the only way to go from Sertã to Ferreira do Zêzere was by a barge, in Dornes. Later, in the 19th century, there was another barge in Vale da Ursa. 

Foz da Ribeira da Sertã is the union of the parishes of Cernache Bonjardim, Nesperal and Palhais, in Sertã Municipality, where the Ribeira da Sertã flows into the River Zêzere. The Ribeira da Sertã springs up in Oleiros Municipality, passes near the village of the same name and continues its course in the municipality that gave it its name until it flows into the River Zêzere. You cannot leave this region without trying the tigeladas and learning about the handcrafted basketry that is produced there. 

Consisting of 13 localities, the civil parish of Palhais is located about 15 km from Sertã. It is one of the oldest towns in the municipality. The civil parish, whose toponym derives from a surname of a Portuguese noble house, has been populated since prehistoric times. The abundance of water was one of the reasons for early settlement in Palhais. Two streams run through the civil parish, the Sertã and the Isna. Besides, of course, the fundamental importance of the river Zêzere, now suffused by the Castelo de Bode Dam. Places to visit include the main church, the chapels of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré in Casal, and S. Pedro, in Trízio. According to legend, D. Nuno Álvares Pereira stayed the night at the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré before leaving for the battle of Aljubarrota in the late 14th Century. Also worthy of note are the Roman, Atalaia, Cabras, Portos dos Cavalos, Charcos and Vilar do Ruivo bridges, the Roman weir and the olive oil mills powered by oxen. Before you leave, you must try the coscóreis, the maranho and the Palhais cakes. In Fernandaires, the river beach is a mandatory stop, where you will be able to enjoy the extensive and splendid water basin. 

Located at the Castelo de Bode Lagoon, the Zaboeira bathing area of is a pleasant place where you can enjoy moments of pure fun in the floating pool. Dense, pleasant shrubbery prevails in the area around the beach.  Zaboeira is one of the riverside villages in Vila de Rei Municipality that attracts most visitors, largely due to the delicious regional cuisine. The focus is on bass, which gives its name to the festival that takes place annually in the municipality's restaurants. 

In the Cabeça Gorda Rest Area you will come across one of the most beautiful images of the Zêzere River. 

In a privileged location in a corner between Castelo do Bode Lagoon and Ribeira das Trutas, just five minutes from the municipal seat, stands the magnificent village of Trutas. There is a chapel here whose origin dates back to roughly the end of the seventeenth century, with hiking and biking paths, local accommodation and the "Small Museum of Adventure and Travel," which houses numerous documents such as maps, itineraries, photographs and objects coming from various parts of the world. Boating and canoeing and the opportunity for angling complete the offer.


Área de Descanso do Vale Serrão Lat.: 39° 46' 13.08" NLong.: 8° 14' 33.072" W (149 m)
39.769783, -8.242096
39°46'11.2"N 8°14'31.5"W
29S 564911 4402480
Show on Map


"Penedo Furado Lat.: 39° 37' 33.6"" NLong.: 8° 9' 43.344"" W "

Turn-by-turn directions

This section starts in Vale Serrão Rest Area, Ferreira do Zêzere municipality and goes to the Foz da Sertã Rest Area on paved roads, forest paths and magnificent water mirrors.

Staying on the ridge line, the route will return to meet EN238 road after a strecht of about 2.4 km, first on forest paths and then on paved roads. The route immediately leaves the mains road on the right, but continues on paved roads, beginning a gentle descent of the same distance and leading to Moinhos da Ribeira and the Ribeira da Sertã about to flow into the Zêzere.

On exiting Moinhos da Ribeira, the GRZ goes along a small local route for about 2 km. After the routes part ways, continue on the right along forest paths for over 600 metres until joining the municipal road. Turning right, the winding road leads to the Porto dos Cavalos bridge of over the Ribeira da Sertã. 200 metres after starting the climb, the route veers left, first along a small trail and later by dirt road until reaching Palhais. 

The GRZ comes to a fork here, the right-hand route leading to the Nautical Centre and the Trízio Intermodal Station. The main route goes left and turns right after 400 metres, on the road towards Vila de Rei/Abrantes.  Take the path leading right from this route and begin the descent towards the Atalaia Roman bridge where it crosses the Ribeira Isna. Through forest roads, go towards Vilar do Ruivo and then take the paved road to Fernandaires. 

The trail initially follows a forest path, passing through a narrow trail that follows the edge of the reservoir, then alternates between forest paths and asphalt until reaching Zaboeira. 

The route leaves this place by a path that meets the ER 348 road about 400 metres above. The same distance is travelled along this road, which is left behind for a new forest path on the right, leading to the Ribeira do Braçal. The next climb on a narrower trail leads again to a wide forest road which after some hundreds of metres will lead to the Cabeça Gorda Rest Area. 

From here until the next support area, about 6 km away (see map), the route is initially flat, with some ups and downs, but not very steep, as far as the bridge over Ribeira das Trutas. This site deserves a short stop, not only for your enjoyment, but also to rest, because from there a long climb of about 250 metres over rough terrain awaits. This will take you to Trutas Village. 

After 800 metres on the municipal road towards Vilar at a crossroads, the GRZ moves on to a forest path. After an identical distance, you will cross another road and continue on a dirt road towards Valadas. After Valadas, the path goes downwards and crosses a watercourse then rising to meet a wide forest path. After about 2.5 km, the route turns left on a smaller path which leads to the vicinity of the waters of the lagoon. After about 4 km and before a sharp left turn, the route is left behind and 200 metres ahead, you will come to a Rest Area and Landscape Reader. 

Moving on, you will come to the banks of Ribeira de Codes. Then, after crossing a small bridge near an old olive press, you will begin a long ascent up a steep slope to Cabecinha Village. Along this last route, you can appreciate a curious geological phenomenon, formed by a rocky depression crossed by a watercourse (Ribeira do Brejo). After Cabecinha, you will set out on final phase of the GRZ, in the land of Vila de Rei, travelling along one of the most interesting sections, which will bring you to Penedo Furado.


all notes on protected areas


39.769783, -8.242096
39°46'11.2"N 8°14'31.5"W
29S 564911 4402480
Show on Map
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75.8 km
8:00 h
2,075 m
2,059 m
Highest point
329 m
Lowest point
111 m
Multi-stage route


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