River Beaches

River beach

An unusual feature of our region is the creation during the summer months of numerous river (fluvial) beaches by the local authorities. There are any number of places along the river Ceira (running along the bottom of the property boundary) where you can find a way into the water, and everyone has their own favourites.

These often consist of a raised rock platform in the middle of a river below a weir, to form a temporary island linked by two wooden footbridges.

Soft sand is then brought in to cover the new feature and an artificial ‘beach’ may be added on the shore for good measure. Showers, BBQs, café-bars, life-guards, local artworks and even canoes supplement the ones nearer villages. Away from habitation, the simpler beaches are virtually deserted during the week.

If you arrive in the region during the hot summer months, the lure of the rivers will probably prove irresistible. The water is so clean, so clear, and so cool – what better way to refresh yourself than by taking a dip? (or at least dipping in a toe…)

Local Beaches

The nearest to the villa is just a 10-minute walk down the road, PRAIA FLUVIAL DAS CANAVEIAS in Várzea Pequena whilst one of the grander efforts, PRAIA FLUVIAL DA PENEDA includes a wide screen TV viewed from a fixed pontoon (with bar) on the other side of the river, is a 5-minute drive upstream in Gois.

Praias Fluviais – Praias Fluviais – Turismo

Rio Ceira map

Praia da Canaveias

Our Local Beach – Opposite side of the river, below the Villa.

Blue Flag Award for 2020 – The river beach at Várzea Pequena is one of the two in the ‘Praias Fluviais’ project of the Pinhal Interior that are within the concelho of Góis. This means that facilities have been provided and a lifeguard is on duty for several hours a day during the summer months. This beach also has disabled access, changing area and toilets. There’s an excellent café-bar open from June to September, and facilities to picnic and bbq, including a spacious shaded area under the trees. The car park is very close to all the facilities.

Facebook: search for Praia Fluvial Das Canaveias, or go directly there.

Another one of our local beach

Praia de Peneda

One of the best for the whole family

Blue Flag award for 2020 -This is the main river beach in Góis. If you walk or drive over the old bridge, you’ll see the umbrellas of the riverside café-bar and the sandy beaches, the attraction is irresistible!

There is a lifeguard on duty here at the busiest times, and both deep water for swimming and shallow water for paddling. There are boats for hire at the café, that you can take downstream or upstream (if you can carry it over the weir).

Car parking is available close by, next to the river, then you walk over or under the bridge to your preferred side. There are toilets, changing facilities, swimming platform and even a First-Aid station.

Facebook: search for Praia Fluvial da Peneda, or go directly there.

Dancing at Praia Peneda River Beach
Praia Peneda River Beach

Parque de Cerejal

In Góis itself there are three main places to swim. At the Parque de Cerejal the huge trees shade the picnic tables and there are barbeques to cook on, as well as a café-bar under the bandstand, a football court and a play-park. A beach of sand has been created in the river, accessible in the summer by a little wooden bridge. This is a very popular spot, especially for people with small children, as there is plenty of shallow water to paddle in. You can park the car very close by, right by the river in fact, and there are stone benches to sit on.

Pego de Escuro

Pego de Escuro means ‘shady pool’, and just a few minutes’ walk (or swim) up the wooden boardwalk is the third of Góis’s swimming places. It is different from the Praia de Peneda, in that it is surrounded by trees, and is usually quiet during the day. Here the modern eating and drinking space, Place Gois Kitchen & Bar, here offers sharing platters, cocktails and more in a stylish and fun environment. Open 12noon till midnight Thursday to Sunday, well worth booking a table. An old water-wheel still turns, sometimes with an eerie moan, and there is a sandy beach reached by a little wooden bridge. If you walk over the weir, or paddle through the river, you can reach a tree-shaded sandy beach, excellent for an afternoon’s sunbathing. There is shallow water for children’s paddling, and deep water for swimming. You can also drive up and park close by, and there is a boardwalk alongside the river all the way up from Praia de Peneda.


To follow the Ceira upstream, you need to take the road to Colmeal. In the middle of Cabreira, after you take the turning for Cadafaz, park the car beneath the trees on your left and you will see a swimming place beneath the bridge, reached by a short steep cemented slope. The area has been tastefully landscaped in stone, providing steps on which to sit or sunbathe, or you can paddle across the weir to a pebbly beach on the other side. Here you can enjoy a great swim while appreciating the beautiful village of Cabreira above you, and all the facilities you need, including three cafés close at hand.

Praia Cabereira River Beach

The Olive Press

Just past the village of Cabreira, towards Colmeal, is an old olive-press with all the little ‘tulhas’ (olive-stores) down by the river, and a delightful medieval bridge. This is a favourite swimming spot, since it is so very pretty, and the water cool and clear. Cars can be left in the parking bay at the side of the road, or some people drive theirs right down to the olive stores beside the river. In the summer there is wooden decking and picnic tables provided (but be warned – no toilets). The water beside the picnic area is quite deep – great for swimming and dinghies, and you can scramble down to more shallow water beneath the weir. If you swim upstream you soon find yourself alone with just the fish and the dragonflies for company, and sunflowers and ripening grapes on the bank beside you. A little way along, out of sight of the olive press, or of anyone, are some lovely warm rocks for sunbathing.


The Secret Gorge – well worth a trip for the family.

Below the crags of Candosa, between Góis and Serpins, is a magnificent gorge through which the Ceira flows. Originally the train line was planned to run up this valley to Góis, but the rock in the gorge proved too great an obstacle. Now the track that was created for the line to follow provides a useful dirt road down to the swimming place at the gorge. Here there is a lovely natural pool, and a narrow passage flanked by the steep sides of the rock face. It is not unusual to find that once at the gorge, it is hard to leave, and some people do choose to pitch a tent and camp overnight.

Above the swimming area, you can walk into the old railway tunnel that was excavated up to the point that the rock defeated the project. You can get all the way to the swimming area by car, although parking can be a bit tight. Directions: Leave Varzea Grande by the road to Serpins (out past the church and ‘Rui & Dinora’ supermarket’) and after approx. 5km look out for a large white sign to the right for Lomba de Alviete, Bracal and others. After you cross the bridge over the river take the second small turning to the right signed ‘Cabril’ (it’s about 50mtrs – a narrow opening cut through the roadside). Continue along a dirt track for about 5 minutes to the very end and you will see the wall of rock in front of you with the pool and gorge to your immediate right.

The River Sinhel


Rio Sinhel map

The river Sinhel flows through the picturesque little town of Alvares, and the swimming area is centred around the old packhorse bridge that crosses the river. The setting is very beautiful, and there is easy access and car-parking. It’s a great place for swimming, and deep enough to jump off the bridge but little space for sun-bathing.

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