Descent of the River Bestança

On 16th September 2005, Ambidata organised the “Descent of the River Bestança”.

An adventure activity with the aim of enjoying Nature and discovering our stunning countryside, which provided all those who took part with unique moments of adventure and skill…

The River Bestança begins in Portas de Montemuro (municipality of Cinfães), in the mountain range of the same name (at an altitude of 1229 metres) and ends in Porto Antigo, on the left bank of the river Douro. A total distance of 13.5 Km of greenery and the crystaline waters of one of Europe's cleanest rivers.
Species such as the Otter, Trout and Genet depend on the ecological balance of the valley, watered by the river, for survival. Furthermore, since time immemorial, old mills have captured the free waters of the river to grind corn and other cereals as part of a valuable and genuine heritage.

In “Association for the Protection of the Bestança Valley”.

We left Oporto, heading towards Cinfães, early in the morning, as we had a long way to go… The trip itself began in Soutelo, on the side of the mountains, where we had a steep descent down the valley to reach the river. After that, “all” we had to do was follow the river, as we had no compass or GPS, just a map that didn’t tell us much… there wasn't even network coverage for our mobiles.


We had barely walked a few metres when we encountered our first obstacle, a series of enormous waterfalls, true cliffs that were enough to challenge the more adventurous, or intimidate the more cautious among us.

After we tackled this obstacle, a few metres further on we were rewarded with our first swim in the crystalline waters of the Bestança, in a fabulous natural pool…  

Thus refreshed, we resumed our path among the rocks and boulders. While some tried as hard as they could to avoid getting their shoes wet, jumping from rock to rock and sticking to the riverbanks, other more adventurous souls took the more direct route of wading down the river itself.

We came across a number of abandoned mills by the riverside, and saw luxuriant and sometimes rare greenery. A few kilometers further on it was time to re-fuel our engines. A proper banquet which left us all feeling sated.  

After lunch we continued our adventure down the river towards the eagerly awaited Covelas bridge, taking the time for a few more swims in the magnificent natural pools which we found along the way.

And finally… Covelas Bridge!...

“The hike wasn’t easy, but the reward outweighed all the difficulties. The simple pleasure of swimming in an unpolluted river with such an amazing view more than compensates for the sacrifice”, we all concluded in the end.