Living in Central Portugal, you will appreciate the fact that river beaches are often easier to access than the beaches at the seaside. Here are a couple that may appeal.
The River Nabão that flows through Tomar starts has its source in the hills to the east of Pousaflores. From there it flows north through the industrial zone of Ansião, before heading south along the upper outskirts of the town of Ansião where it has been channelled through a small park area. After that its journey is almost constantly south through Rebolo, Parcieras, Almoster, Pelma, Freixianda, Póvoa, Tomar, Santa Cita and other small villages. Eventually it joins the Zêzere for a brief while before connecting with the Tejo at Constância and carrying on to the sea at Lisboa.
The river has many beautiful spots, many unknown unless you choose to seek them out by travelling the minor back roads. Sometimes, the river is in a wide shallow valley surrounded by fertile crops and bamboos, other times it cuts through steep valleys where there is little room for vegetation to grow.
However there are a few locations on the river where a visit is certainly worthwhile. Two of these are in the village of Agroal which lies on a road between the N113 north of Tomar and the village of Chaos.
There are two places in the village where the river has been developed to provide easy access in the form of river beaches.
The first, a few hundred meters north of the bridge has been provided with ample parking tiered against the hillside with 100 meters or so descent to a large open grassy area alongside the river. The banks of the river are lined with trees and the water slow, wide and deep enough to canoe in.
The second area along this river is at the bend where the road crosses the river. Here there are coach and car parking areas provided. There is also a cafe bar and small shop that sells inflatables and towels among other things, in case you forgot to pack yours. There is also a huge decking area which juts out over the river, picnic tables and a grassy area for sunbathing. Also being developed are further sunbathing areas and a kids play area higher up the hillside and work is continuing on a new toilet and changing area. There is also bridge crossing the river, joining the car park area to the cafe and river beach area.
But the most important area of the beach is the water itself as this is unlike many river beaches. The water supply is from a natural aquifer forcing upwards from under the hillside in a constant flow of blue/green cold fresh water. I think we should emphasise that this water is COLD and not for the feint hearted but absolutely fantastic when the temperatures rise and you need to cool off. This water is captured in a huge 30+ meter semi-circular pool ranging from 2ft to more than 6ft deep and creates a constant flow as it tumbles over the walls of the pool across the beds of watercress and joins the Nabão.
In the summer, the beach is busy and at weekends it is packed with people both on the banks and sampling the waters which are rumoured to have health giving properties.
Central Portugal Information is scarce on this beach as most websites seem to mention that the river beach of Agroal is 10 minutes from Tomar but that is the extent of the information. It is important to note that when going in search of these beaches, there are little or no signposts and nothing indicating Praia Fluvial so just keep aiming for the signs to Agroal and you can’t go far wrong.