GÓIS is beautifully set on the Rio Ceira, crossed by an arched sixteenth-century bridge which leads up to a sloping cobbled square backed by a couple of old-town streets. There’s not a lot to occupy you here – as a town, it makes a great village – but it comes into its own in summer (June to early Sept) when boardwalks are erected and white sand imported to construct a fantastic river beach, with a waterside bar and kayaks to rent. Other favourite local river beaches include that at Várzea Pequena, 5km west (N2, Vila Nova de Poiares road), or you can head into the hills for walks around the Góis schist villages – brown signposts off the Lousã road (N342) lead up to the tiny village of Aigra Nova, where there’s a craft-shop-café run by a local not-for-profit agency, Lousitânea (wwww.lousitanea.org), and a good circular waymarked mountain hike (10km, 4hr) through three other ancient schist villages in varying stages of restoration.
Góis is pretty quiet for most of the year, though it perks up in the holiday month of August, no more so than for the huge motorbike rally (Concentração de Góis) organized by the Góis Moto Clube (www.goismotoclube.pt/). This attracts up to 40,000 bikers for a good-natured four-day festival of bike shows, radical sports, live bands and DJs – a tent city lines the river just outside town, and the roads are packed with preening speedsters.