Hiking an Aqueduct in Tomar, Portugal.

January 24, 2020

When I first started doing research for our visit to Tomar, I was intrigued by the aqueduct that served the Castle of Tomar and the Convent.

Aqueduct leading into the Castle of Tomar.

The pictures I saw online were just unbelievable as this aqueduct spanned over many miles away from the Castle with so many arches and the sweeping curve along the Pegões valley. As we did more research, we found that very few people visited this free attraction. There were no guided excursions to this site and no stops along a bus route.

The Aqueduct dos Pegões Altos is named after the place where the water originates from. It is not a Roman Aqueduct because it is only about 425 years old (Roman aqueduct systems were built around from 312 B.C. to A.D. 226). The Pegões aqueduct captures its water from four different sources to supply the Convent of Christ in Tomar.

The aqueduct is 6 kilometres long (almost 4 miles) and has a total of 180 arches for the waters journey. In the Pegões valley region there are 58 full arches, and at the deepest end of the valley, these arches are set on top of 16 broken arches built over grand masonry footings.

Believe it or not, a person could freely walk across the top of this aqueduct that spans the valley. Said person could also face the possibility of falling to his death as there are no guardrails or safety lines to protect you. Got vertigo or just plain scared of the whole scenario, then you just walk along the road.

Our first view of the aqueduct sweeping through the Pegões valley.

I’m sure you can guess how each of us enjoyed this beautiful structure. I happily skipped along the road taking pictures keeping my feet firmly planted on terra firma.

Tallest section of the aqueduct.

Jeff, is not fearful of heights and claims he drew the short straw to walk the great span. However, he raved that it was a beautiful walk. At one point as he was overlooking the pines below, he said you truly get a birdseye view of the valley. You are quite exposed up there and no signs that say you can’t walk it. So, you are now warned – this is not for the feint of heart.

First step along the top.
Strolling along the top.
A view from the top.
Mission complete.

Directions: When driving from the center of Tomar, the road is well marked with signs. You will follow EN113 from the center of town to the first viewpoint on the map. It’s about a 2 mile drive and it’s quite obvious you are in the correct location when you see the very large aqueduct.

A local bus does travel close to the arches, but you would still have quite a hike to get to the first viewpoint. A car or driver would be essential to visit this structure.