A Wild and Winding Stairway to a Portuguese River


The Paiva Walkways.
CreditDaniel Rodrigues for The New York Times

The Paiva Walkways, which opened in 2015 on the left bank of the Paiva River in Aveiro, Portugal, immerse you in nature. Many people consider the Paiva to be the most beautiful river in the country.

When I recently spent a day there (picnic included), I took in a stunning waterfall in the middle of the mountains, then walked down the winding stairs (the walkways are almost five miles long) and along the wooden promenade by the river. When I arrived at Vau Beach, I took a dip in the clean waters of the Paiva, then rested on the sand, closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the river. It renewed my soul.

Long Way Down

The wooden Paiva Walkways, with their unique architecture, are a highlight of any trip to the area. Tip for your trek: Start the climb from the side of Espiunca — it’s the least strenuous route.

CreditDaniel Rodrigues for The New York Times

No Filter Needed

The view of the bridge suspended over the Paiva River has become an Instagram favorite.

CreditDaniel Rodrigues for The New York Times


Ropes were installed for more adventurous travelers to jump into the water at Vau Beach. Everyone wants to imitate Tarzan.

CreditDaniel Rodrigues for The New York Times

Cool, Clear Water

The Paiva River seen from the suspension bridge. The water seems especially pure in this section.

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