The River Bank at Fragas de São Simão
In the beautiful green Serra da Lousã, in the land of the Portuguese slate villages, there is a breathtaking river bank. The algae makes its way through a gorge until it flows comfortably into a green valley past the pretty Casal de Sao Simao towards Zezere. Here, it is still quite small and cool, but on a warm summer day it can reach a tolerable water temperature of 20 degrees – warm enough for a nice day of bathing in the water.
The strong algae flows through stacked stones,
tears, pushes, squeezes, shifts,
always looking for a new way past the walls
formed by small children’s hands,
and finally patters over their brave heads
held in the floods,
refreshing and wonderfully invigorating.
The slopes on both sides of the gorge are full of cork oaks, chestnuts and laurel trees. From the small car park, there is a comfortable path along the river and over a few bridges directly to the river bank. A small dam divides the bank into an upper area, which is good for swimming and diving and where there is also a beautiful rock from which you can jump into the river. However, this is not very deep and you can easily touch the rocky bottom while jumping in.
The lower part of the river bank can be considered a paradise for small dam builders, as there are many small and large stones in the water and your children can be kept busy for hours equipping the small swimming pools with new and improved dams.
After a nice picnic at the picnic area right next to the river bank, we bathed all day long with the children in the river. For us, this bank was one of the most beautiful in the area. It is beautifully situated, not too crowded, well equipped with toilets and a small bar and highly recommendable for the children in terms of the experience factor.
Using your own car, take the A13 from Tomar to Coimbra on the IC8 towards Castelo Branco and then follow the signs to Fragas de São Simão. However, in August, there is also a bus connection that brings bathers to the river bank or picks them up from the bus station in Figueiró dos Vinhos twice a day and free of charge.
GPS (Parking area):
A small path leads from the car park down to the valley. After crossing a bridge, you walk a few minutes upstream until you cross another bridge and arrive directly at the river.
Protective bathing shoes are indispensable for relaxed bathing in the river. For young bathers who are not yet swimming, it also makes sense to use swimming wings.
Caution: The brown rocks are smooth and the river is not really deep, even in the dammed up area. Jumping from the rocks can therefore be dangerous here.
The small bar sells beverages and typical snacks, such as toasties and burgers, daily between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm in summer.
As the beach also has a nice picnic area, you can also bring your own delicacies.