This three-hour, six-kilometre circular hike in the Serra da Lousã provides marvellous views and a fascinating glimpse of mountain village life.
From the Burgo restaurant near Lousã’s castle, walk up the stone steps to the end of the picnic areas, and follow the sign to Casal Novo and Talasnal. The steep rocky path climbs for 1km until it reaches a junction; follow the right-hand fork and after 700m or so you will emerge onto a wider track, which you should follow uphill until it joins a second similar track – turn left and continue the ascent. As the path comes clear of the trees your toil is rewarded by stunning views of the valley below. At the top of this path turn left and continue upwards where you’ll meet an unsurfaced road; Talasnal is visible to your left – or you can head right to sleepy Casal Novo, which spills down the hillside.
Retrace your steps, ignoring the track you came up and continue in the direction of Talasnal, probably the most beautiful of the range’s villages with a harmonious mix of ruined and restored cottages amid stunning mountain views. Once you’ve wound round the side of the mountain you descend to the entrance of the village, whose narrow, higgledy-piggledy passageways are worth a wander.
To exit the village, follow the stream downhill, passing numerous small dwellings in various states of repair to your left and right. Continue downwards on a path mostly marked by dry-stone walls on both sides. When the trail meets a T-junction turn left downhill and cross the river via an old stone bridge. Follow the good, easily navigable path all the way back to the river pools, keeping an eye out for occasional fallen logs blocking the path and the dizzy drop to your right. A well-earned dip in the pools below the castle makes a refreshing end to the walk.