Stage 7 Almeida - Pinhel
A river from the beginning of the world
Going down the Côa River valley is a journey to the origins of the earth. The landscape - vast, arid and harsh - does not indicate the existence of a river that would have ripped the planet's skin as deeply as this one. We only realise we have descended into a river when we pass the Lady of the Barge sanctuary and begin to glimpse the first water horizons further down. If the Way crossed the Côa River further north, pilgrims would go through the prehistoric rock art territory of the Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley, classified as World Heritage site. But you don't have to go almost as far as Vila Nova de Foz Côa to feel that you are entering an ancient territory, patiently shaped by the water that has been passing here for 10 million years and which has created steep and inaccessible slopes. The construction of Côa's Ponte Grande illustrates precisely that, by taking advantage of the vertical cliffs to set the pillars.
After crossing the river, you have to go up, first to Valverde, where you can rest and stock up on water and other supplies, and then to Pereiro. From here to the bridge over the Cabras stream, on the outskirts of Pinhel, the route is comfortable, along the river, through the land of grey granite. The entrance to the city, a former diocese, is through the old convent of St. Anthony.