MTB Transalp recommended route Stage 1

The Wild Start [GRZ - MTB Sector 1]

· 1 review · MTB Transalp · Portugal · Open
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Aldeias do Xisto Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • The Wild Start - Vale de Amoreira > Valhelhas - GRZ: Stages 3 - 3.1
    The Wild Start - Vale de Amoreira > Valhelhas - GRZ: Stages 3 - 3.1
    Photo: Diogo Martins, Aldeias do Xisto
m 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 25 20 15 10 5 km Luna Chalés de Montanha Inatel Manteigas Casa das Penhas Douradas
Spanning 30 km, the Wild Start is the first of nine stages that make up the GRZ. It connects Covão d'Ametade to the Valhelhas rest area. 
Distance 29 km
2:15 h
315 m
1,233 m
1,429 m
504 m
Spanning 30 km, the Wild Start is the first of nine stages that make up the GRZ. It starts at Covão d'Ametade, in the Estrela mountain range, the source of river Zêzere, and passes through Manteigas, the Amoreira Valley, and ends at the Valhelhas rest area. 

Author’s recommendation

Admire the ancestral landscape around you and along the route, and take your time observing the flora and fauna. 

Book your acommodation, experience or meal in Book in Xisto.


Responsible Trails Criteria: 

(last audit by RT at May 2020)

Waymarks > 3 - It’s missing signs in at least one crossroad that can compromise the navigation without a map or GPS.

Conservation of the path > 4 - In a good overall status of conservation with some isolated situations.

General conservation > 4 - There aren’t any specific degraded areas identified.

Information boards and signs > 3 - Reasonably maintained and with interest

Complementary boards > 1 - Nonexistent or without minimum quality

Safety and suport structures > 4 - Well-maintained essential structures

Local community integration > 3 - Interaction / occasional contacts with the community

Landscape integration > 4 - Well integrated into the landscape and with points of interest

General Safety > 4 - Has occasional low-risk situations

Profile picture of Aldeias do Xisto
Aldeias do Xisto
Update: March 14, 2022
Highest point
1,429 m
Lowest point
504 m
Best time of year

Track types

Show elevation profile

Safety information

Take the necessary precautions for high temperatures in summer and slippery terrain in the winter. The levels of difficulty and times given are only indicative. They were calculated on a physical effort basis and do not include stops. Make your estimate by analising the technical data of path to be taken.


There is more than one intersection without signaling so we recommend using GPS or APP. 


Contact information

SOS Emergency: 112

SOS Forest: 117

Manteigas Municipal Council: (+351) 275 980 000 |

Guarda Municipal Council: (+351) 271 220 220 |

Covilhã Municipal Council: (+351) 275 330 600 |  

Tips and hints

The River Zêzere rises beside Torre, at an altitude of nearly 1993 m. It gushes between the steep walls of the Cântaros and starts to take shape in Covão d'Ametade where it makes its way with great pride, as though getting ready to enlarge its flow to later deposit it, with all its force, in the River Tejo. The Estrela Mountain is Portugal’s only mountain where the glacial activity can be felt in such a unique way, imprinting itself in the landscape as polished rocks, erratic blocks, large coves, morays and glacial lagoons and deep U-shaped valleys.

The municipality of Manteigas, in the middle of the Estrela Mountain Nature Park offers visitors a diverse landscape with unparalleled attractions of great beauty and tranquillity, allowing intimate contact with nature. Water is a structuring element, allowing economic activities to develop around it. Investments made on thermal baths, at Estância Termal – Caldas de Manteigas, and trout farming at Viveiro das Trutas are but a few examples. Pastoralism and related activities gave rise to an industry linked to wool, which motivates the annual Expo Estrela. Places not to be missed include the waterfall at the Paulo Luís Martins Fountain, which never stops spouting its refreshing water, Poço do Inferno ["Hell Well"], the waterfall with approximately 10 m that originates in the gorge formed by the Leandres Stream, and the Penhas Douradas ["Golden Cliffs"].

It is worth making the most of the passage through the Amoreira Valley to visit Cruzeiro, the main church, the Alminhas Fountain and other fountains. The river beaches and natural landscapes are also striking attractions in this region.

Washed by the calm, clear, cool waters of the River Zêzere and flanked by leafy poplar, alder, ash and willow, the Valhelhas River Beach allows visitors to contemplate all the natural surroundings in one of the sublime corners of Serra da Estrela Natural Park. It is at the end of the Serra da Estrela Glacier Valley, the steep schist-covered landscape where the River Zêzere meanders through farmland, orchards, forest and riverside woodland. Throughout the year, these landscapes provide a variety of frames: in winter, snow covers the top of the hills, the autumnal tones and spring green provide unique environments and in summer, the cool translucent waters are a delight for beach goers. Also visit the Valhelhas Chapel, the Lagar Museum and the Philippine Bridge. As far as handicrafts are concerned, wicker basketry is the highlight. The Medronheiro [arbutus tree] and mushrooms are some of the main plant produce. As for the fauna, keep a look out for the kingfisher, one of the most colourful specimens of Portuguese birdlife. Mountain gastronomy has a very distinguished presence, with tables full of sausages, cheeses and migas [crumb-based dishes].


Covão d'Ametade Lat.: 40° 19' 41.52" NLong.: 7° 35' 15.108" W (1,428 m)
40.328084, -7.586889
40°19'41.1"N 7°35'12.8"W
29T 620045 4465130
Show on Map


Área de Descanso de Valhelhas Lat.: 40° 24' 24.48" NLong.: 7° 24' 7.272" W

Turn-by-turn directions

After travelling about 1 km on the EN 338, the trail exits to the left and goes down to the bottom of the valley along a narrow track that closely follows the Zêzere on its right bank until it crosses it to continue along an unpaved road on the left bank as far as the centre of Manteigas.

From this point the GRZ leaves Manteigas, continuing along the right bank of the Zêzere on a balcony path between beeches and oaks, with wonderful views over Sameiro and Vale do Zêzere. Before reaching Vale da Amoreira, the GRZ passes by the Sameiro river beach, where you can also find the Campsite and the Skiparque.

After the Vale de Amoreira crossing, the GRZ continues along an old track running parallel to the EN 232, beside the river on the side where the fields are. Not far from where the municipality of Guarda starts, the GRZ offers an alternative (GR 33.1) that crosses the road and goes up the hillside to come down afterwards among the pine trees towards the centre of Valhelhas. It's best to take this alternative route in the winter months or when it is very wet, when the Zêzere and Beijames rivers cannot be crossed at the ford. Following the main route (GR 33), the GRZ crosses to the right bank of the Zêzere at the ford and then afterwards crosses one of its main tributaries (River de Beijames) by the ford before going up the hillside, heading towards the Valhelhas river beach. They are just over 8km long.


all notes on protected areas


40.328084, -7.586889
40°19'41.1"N 7°35'12.8"W
29T 620045 4465130
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

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Provider:  Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking | Source:  Responsible Trails

Questions and answers

Question from Rui Gomes Cruzader76 · September 21, 2022 · Community
Estou a planear visitar a Serra da Estrela este fim de semana. O sector 1 consegue-se fazer no sentido ascendente em btt? A intenção será fazer a subida até à nascente do Zêzere. Obrigado
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Answered by Rafael Romano · September 22, 2022 · Responsible Trails
Boa tarde Rui, Sim, é possível fazer no sentido ascendente em btt, mas infelizmente o sector 1 foi fortemente afetado pelo incêndio a partir de Manteigas em direção à foz. Transitável está, mas com risco de árvores caídas e com um cenário pouco apelativo. Da nascente até Manteigas não foi afetado. Boas aventuras, A Equipa Responsible Trails!
Question from Patrícia Freitas · August 18, 2021 · Community
Boa tarde, estou a pensar subir no sabado de comboio para covilhao com a bike e descer ate constância. Darei feedback e fotos ;) entretanto da covilha ate a torre ha taxis ou outros transportes permitam me velar e a bike ate a torre?... Obrigada
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Answered by Catarina Almeida - ADXTUR · August 19, 2021 · Aldeias do Xisto
Bom dia, Poderá encontrar em toda a informação sobre a Grande Rota do Zêzere, composta por 370km que não terão que ser percorridos em contínuo. A GRZ está dividida em troços para que possa ser percorrida por sectores. A descrição dos mesmos, nas várias modalidades, pode ser visualizada no mesmo endereço, bem como as condições de segurança e acessibilidade de todos os troços. Note que existem troços fechados devido a obras ou manutenções a decorrer. Esta informação é visível nas ocorrências dos percursos. Para a realização da GRZ aconselhamos que leve consigo o mapa impresso dos percursos e/ou GPS com o track para utilização de GPS. Relativamente a serviços de transferes e /taxis sugerimos que contacte os serviços disponíveis na Cidade da Covilhã: (+351) 275 323 653 ou (+351) 275 033 033 Quaisquer outras questões em que possamos ser úteis disponha.
1 more reply
Question from Roberto Neves · July 01, 2020 · Community
Trilho fechado com mato entre Vale Amoreira e Valhelhas, estrada como alternativa. (06/2020) De resto, excelente!!
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Answered by Catarina Almeida - ADXTUR · August 17, 2020 · Aldeias do Xisto
Caro Roberto Neves, As Aldeias do Xisto agradecem o seu contributo. A situação que refere "trilho fechado" não se verifica no troço da modalidade de BTT mas sim no trilho pedestre. São distintos. Nesse sentido, e de forma a não induzir em erro outros utilizadores pedimos-lhe que anule a ocorrência. Obrigada e quaisquer outras questões disponha.



Photos from others

29 km
2:15 h
315 m
1,233 m
Highest point
1,429 m
Lowest point
504 m
Multi-stage route


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