Sometimes it’s not the most spectacular sights that make your day. Visiting the Alhambra, or the incredible cathedral in Seville may be high on a person’s ‘must-see’ list and make an impression, but we often enjoy our other days out just as much if not more.
While we were in the tiny village of Moncarapacho in Portugal, we unhitched the moped and took off into the countryside for the day. Just spending some time whizzing down the country roads, enjoying the orange and lemon groves, the farms and fields, the small villages, the streams and rivers and getting away from the big city. We took in 3 places that day, none of which probably appear on anyone’s must-see list, but each of them special and charming.
1 – Pego do Inferno
This small waterfall and bathing spot in the river, literally in the middle of nowhere has probably been a popular spot with the locals for generations. Incredibly hard to find, not signposted anywhere and even when you can see it, very hard to work out how to actually get there. The day we visited we were in a dry spell and the small waterfall wasn’t running but the pool was deep and clear and cool.
There were a few groups enjoying the water, jumping in off the rocks, using a rope swing and having a BBQ. We stayed for a while and took a few photos and videos but we didn’t have our swimmers with us so didn’t try out the pool. It’s one of those small and hidden away places that only the locals know about, that makes you feel privileged to have visited.
2 – Cemetery of Anchors
This has been on my to do list for some time, after I found it on Atlas Obscura, the website about weird things to visit. This cemetery of anchors honors the Portuguese tuna fishing industry and is set on the beautiful Barril Beach.
It seems no one can remember when it first started or who placed the earliest anchors, but locals continued to add to it until it has grown into the weird and eerie graveyard of anchors that we can see stretching along the sand dunes today, at the back of the beach.
Barril beach is reached by a long causeway through the marshes that run along the back of the dunes. There is a bridge across the estuary, then a sandy causeway out to the beach. You can also catch a small train at a cost of €1.60 per person each way. The walk out to the beach and anchors is about a mile.
Once there, there are a few gift shops, 5 cafes and restaurants and free showers and bathrooms, all housed in the old original tuna fishermen’s cottages. The beach itself is spectacular.
The cemetery of anchors is a hauntingly beautiful spot. Visit if you get the chance.
3 – NanoBrew
All that riding, walking and visiting can be thirsty work, so on the way back we popped into NanoBrew in Fuzeta to check out the products of this tiny independent brewery.
You may have heard the term micro-brewery. This one was smaller. It’s a nano-brewery! Again, very difficult to find, set in a tiny residential street in a far out-of-the-way town, it’s not the sort of thing you would ever just stumble across.
Run by a Norwegian couple, seating is very limited as are the opening hours. Just Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evening. We visited on Saturday afternoon at about 3 pm, and it was already ‘packed’ with 4 people.
Nigel opted for the ‘taster’ where you pick four from the beer menu describing all of the current beers. It was interesting to read more about the beer, the hops and ingredients used, and the types of yeast.
Then it was time to enjoy the drive back through the country lanes to the rural farmyard campsite for the night. It’s days like these that we will most likely remember the most and talk about years later when the trip is over.