Inaugurated in 1890, the Dão rail line linked Beira Alta Line to Viseu for almost a hundred years, being the first railroad to reach the city of Viseu. Closed in 1988, the rail was later – in 2011 - transformed into a Greenway of some 30 miles. Today, many former rail lines are being turned into hiking and biking routes across rural Portugal
The Dão Greenway (Ecopista do Dão) is the longest and one of the most beautiful routes in the region. The trail starts in Santa Comba overlooking the rolling green landscape. Far ahead, the route moves from open vistas to deep forests with a vast flora, including many cork oaks, chestnut trees, and oaks. Arriving closer to Viseu, the vineyards, farmland and villages appear and you can see Serra do Caramulo and Serra da Estrela in the distance.
The absence of big up and down hill sections and the good pavement - painted blue in Santa Comba Dão, green and red in Tondela - makes the Greenway ideal for all kinds of walkers, cyclists, and runners.
What is a Greenway (Ecopista)?
The IP Património website defines Greenways – or Ecopista in Portuguese - as “autonomous communication routes, reserved for non-motorized travel, part of an integrated development framework that values the environment and quality of life, and which provide sufficient width, slope and paving quality to ensure a shared and safe use for all users, regardless of their physical ability.” So, basically a rail trail.
Other Greenways to know
Ramal do Lena Greenway
The single-line high in the Serra de Aire mountains, this mining railway linked the Bezerra mines to the town of Porto de Mós. Today it is a pedestrian and cycling route about four miles long.
It begins in the old Montemor-o-Novo train station, continuing toward the way station of Paião, and finally, almost 8 miles later it ends at Torre da Gadanha. The route crosses an important natural area, the Sítio de Monfurado, part of the Rede Natura 2000.
Linha do Sabor Greenway
Situated in the stretch of the old Sabor railway, this rail trail extends more than 12 miles between Torre de Moncorvo and the village of Carviçais in the Norte. It runs along the side of Reboredo mountains, with several overlooks – the famous “miradouros” - along the way.
Awards and Recognition:
- Minho Greenway – Considered 4th Best Greenway in Europe (European Meeting of Greenways, Belgium, 2009)
- Dão Greenway – 3rd in the category of Excellence (European Association of Greenway, 2013)
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