Walking in… Montemor-o-Velho, Coimbra, Portugal

The Essentials:

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Description: Located 24km west of Coimbra and 17km east of Figueira da Foz, Montemor-o-Velho is a small Portuguese town dominated by its thousand-year-old castle, which rises up above every other building in the town.

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Details: Montemor is not so easy to get to by public transport. I took a train from Coimbra to Montemor station (about 40 minutes – €2) and the walk to the town from the station was around 3.5km, mostly by road. To explore the alternatives, I walked back to Verride after, which was about 5km south west of Montemor, about 45 minutes from Coimbra by train and cost €2.20.

Difficulty: Aside from visiting the castle itself, the walk is entirely flat and would actually be a suitable part of a longer cycling route, perhaps along the river Mondego. Most of the walk takes place alongside roads, with shorter sections nearer Mondemor providing pavements.

The Walk to Montemor

Doing this trip without a car, the options were somewhat limited. Montemor-o-Velho is 3.5km away from the town itself, and although there are some pretty views across to the castle, it is mostly a road walk.

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Montemor-o-Velho train station

Stepping off the train, you turn left, head to the crossing and turn left, go left and basically follow the N347 west, north, and north-west. If you don’t cross a bridge going over the river Mondego, you’re going the wrong way.

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The River Mondego with Montemor-o-Velho in the background
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A typical idea of what walking up the N347 looks like
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The N347 heading to Montemor

It will be necessary to walk at the side of the road up to the bridge that crosses the Rio Velho. From this point on, there are pavements all the way.

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The final part of road with no pavement – the pavement starts from behind that sign

The view to the castle from this bridge looks something like this:

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Inside Montemor

After crossing the bridge, turn left at the roundabout with a pile of rocks on it (I think it was an intentional design). This is a continuation of the N347.

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Spring springing
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Almost there

Following this road leads directly to the town. There is a small, white chapel and cafe as you approach.

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Capela de São Sebastião
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Face-to-face with Castelo Montemor-o-Velho

One thing you will notice when facing the castle is a white wall that rises up on the left-hand side of the castle. This is, in fact, a set of stairs and escalators that can take you up.

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I recommend taking the steps if possible – you will be able to take diversions down some smaller paths that are not covered by the escalators, possibly seeing some views that would otherwise be missed.

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Once you reach the top, the entrance to the castle is very easy to find.

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Inside O Castelo Montemor-o-Velho

The entrance to the castle, the ‘Porta do Sol’ is just around the corner from the above sign. Much of the castle’s interior is still intact, and there is a chapel and visitor’s centre to visit.

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The entrance to the castle
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The chapel
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Inside the chapel – a last supper?
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Inside the chapel

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There are plenty of views of the Portuguese countryside from the castle and, of course, of Montemor-o-Velho itself.

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Leaving Montemor

Having explored the castle, I left through the same door and headed down Rua Direita do Castelo.

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Feeling a little peckish after all this walking, I made it my aim to explore the centre of the town and to find a cafe. I found both after a mere few minutes of meandering through the old streets.

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Leaving Montemor on foot, there were two options ahead of me. The first would be to take the same route back as I had taken to Montemor. The second would be to head out of town to another bridge, cross it, and follow the M601 to Verride and its train station. I decided to do the latter, an additional 5km leg-stretch, and headed out of Montemor.

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Leaving Montemor on Rua Fernão Mendes Pinto / Praça Republica, go straight on until you meet the cows and cart (below).

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Cross the bridge, head past the abandoned-looking farm and it is a straightforward walk ahead (literally – I can’t remember the last time I saw such a straight road ahead of me!). I was also lucky to see a number of storks making their nests as spring continued to flourish.

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Continue walking right up to the end of the road, turn right, turn left to cross another bridge, and head left into Verride, following the train line.

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Walk straight ahead. Forever and ever.

Verride’s train station is easy to miss. Simply cross the train line and turn left. There is a white house at the end of this road – that is the station.

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Enterring Verride
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Verride’s train station

The walk from Montemor to Verride is broadly the same, mostly one straight road and is entirely flat. Again, this would be ideal for a cycle, and perhaps others have already had this idea as I was overtaken by some cyclists on my way. With the time of year, however, there were some beautiful springtime views and I also managed to shed a few calories!

Written by amirrorofmind

https://amirrorofmind.com

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