I love driving. While living in Romania I was part of a big online promotional campaign that took online influencers driving around Romania to see the great places in the country. It was called Rediscover Romania and I drove a lot.
Now, living in Portugal, I’m trying to do something similar, but the only “influencer” I take to these places is myself.
After being in lockdown for about 3 months (it’s April 2021 now), we finally can drive around and I looked at something close enough to be a day drive. Which is all the country, frankly, if you live in the Northern half, from Lisbon up, and you don’t want to visit the South (Algarve or Alentejo).
I wanted to go to Serra da Estrela, initially, which is the highest peak in continental Portugal, but as I was looking around on Google Maps, my eyes were drawn to something called Poço da Broca (GMaps location). When I saw that it was a nice cascade, I was sold. And the truth is it isn’t just nice, it’s quite beautiful.
Poço da Broca is a series of cascades above schist rock, on the river Alvôco. It’s close to Barriosa village, about an hour of driving from Coimbra, 2 hours from Porto and a little bit more than 3 hours from Lisbon. It actually makes even more sense if you go to some schist villages in the area, as well.
I was there during a Wednesday, on a rainy day, so there were almost no people around, but I heard that even during the peak season it’s not too busy. There’s a restaurant on location, but it was closed when I got there (again, outside of season and just out of lockdown). During the summer there’s a river beach (praia fluvial) around there, apparently, but I didn’t see any.
The place is really chill and I loved walking around, even if the weather wasn’t the great. The sounds of water falling make me happy, so maybe this has something to do with it as well.
This is the text on the tourist information sign:
The Alvôco stream is located on the Southwest flank of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, representing one of the main tributaries of the Alva river. It flows in an embedded valley, being schist the dominant rocky material, contributing this way to a characteristic sinuous trajectory.
Downstream from the Mountain Village of Alvôco da Serra, the trajectory of the river is largely conditioned by the type of rocks through where the water flows, schist and metagraywacke, resulting in the sinuous profile from the schistosity and fracturing of the present rocks. Over time, the erosive action of water determines the formation of curves so pronounced that the stream can cross the bottleneck zone leaving the old bed as an abandoned meander. In the valley sites where the meanders of the Alvôco stream are tighter, this natural process can be accelerated by the action of the man who, through the opening of channels, diverted the course of the water to take advantage of the old bed.
Here are 2 videos (not mine). Actually, looking at these video I see I might have missed some of it, so there’s a good reason to go back.
And here’s the Google Maps location:
All photos made on an iPhone 12 Mini. What an amazing little phone!