Ten years ago, I left Germany for Alentejo. I couldn’t resist the warm and welcoming people, the fresh air, and, above all, Mira River's charms. I’m a geographer, and I’m going to guide you on this canoe trip through the most beautiful river in the country.

My parents met at a canoeing club in Germany, and I spent my childhood travelling all over Europe. The goal was always the same: getting to know new rivers. When I found Mira River, I knew this would be my home. I went back to Germany to pick up some canoes, and Ecotrails was born shortly afterwards.

To me, that is the best way to explore this unique river. Because of the sea influence, you can navigate the river up to 40 km inwards. With the help of the tides, it makes it much easier to get a canoe and go upstream for several kilometres. The river is part of a natural park, so it’s protected and clean. In a canoe, you feel closer to Nature and care more about your surroundings. These tours are a mix of adventure and contemplation.

Every day there is something new that surprises me in the river. Every day I learn more, especially from the fishermen. Those learning experiences helped me design the several routes from Odemira to Vila Nova de Milfontes. We adjust the routes along the way based on what our clients want. Each course has its particular trait because of the local fauna and flora changing in different landscapes. The river opens up infinite possibilities, from guided tours to picnics with local products and private camping. 

My parents met at a canoeing club in Germany, and I spent my childhood travelling all over Europe. The goal was always the same: getting to know new rivers. When I found Mira River, I knew this would be my home. I went back to Germany to pick up some canoes, and Ecotrails was born shortly afterwards.

To me, that is the best way to explore this unique river. Because of the sea influence, you can navigate the river up to 40 km inwards. With the help of the tides, it makes it much easier to get a canoe and go upstream for several kilometres. The river is part of a natural park, so it’s protected and clean. In a canoe, you feel closer to Nature and care more about your surroundings. These tours are a mix of adventure and contemplation.

Every day there is something new that surprises me in the river. Every day I learn more, especially from the fishermen. Those learning experiences helped me design the several routes from Odemira to Vila Nova de Milfontes. We adjust the routes along the way based on what our clients want. Each course has its particular trait because of the local fauna and flora changing in different landscapes. The river opens up infinite possibilities, from guided tours to picnics with local products and private camping. 

"The river hides many secrets. The best way to uncover them is in a canoe, in harmony with Nature."
Anke Ruschhaupt

This is an area where lots of hikers pass through daily when walking the Rota Vicentina. Ecotrails offers canoe trips combining the two official paths: the Caminho Histórico (Historical Path) and the Trilho dos Pescadores (Fishermen Trail).

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Our story and mission

I’m German, and my curiosity about Portugal actually began in Brazil, where I learned Portuguese at 15. My parents, who were avid travellers, came here and I remember them telling me how they had never seen a country more special than Portugal.

It didn’t take much longer for my turn to know Portugal. That was in 1990, I was 19, and what amazed me the most was how genuine people were. Eventually, I fell in love with Porto Covo, the place where I ate grilled sardines for the first time. I made lots of friends and, 30 years later, I still keep fond memories of that first trip.


I’m a foreigner, so I can say it without favouritism: Portugal and Alentejo, in particular, are exceptional places.


When I was studying in Spain, I would bring friends to Portugal to explain to them my passion. I graduated in geography, anthropology, and geology and when I finished school, ten years ago, I decided to spend the winter in Portugal to get away from the cold in Germany. I never left.

Growing up I was always passionate about the sea and the rivers. My parents had a canoeing club in Germany, and we travelled a lot in Europe to get to know the rivers. The rivers were always the main attraction. I fell in love with Mira River at first sight. I knew, instantly, this was where I wanted to stay. I badly wanted to be near the river at all times, and I figured out a way to make it happen. I went back to Germany to buy canoes, there was nothing of the kind here, and I came back to found Ecotrails. This is so much more than tours, and this is my way to profess my love for this river and to share what makes it wonderful with everybody else.  

Things to do
Ecotrails

The river that united me to Alentejo

Ecotrails’ canoe tours are one of the best ways to know one of the most beautiful secrets of Alentejo: the Mira River. The strong sea influence makes it one of the best rivers for that type of activity, in the untouched natural scenery. With family or with friends, choose one of the several routes available and set off to venture through Mira River in harmony with Nature.

Thing to do
Costa Vicentina
From the river mouth to the old pier
The shortest tour begins at the Milfontes river pier, a few hundreds of meters from the river mouth. The strong tidal current...
from € 30.00
Thing to do
Costa Vicentina
From the old pier to Odemira
The longest route starts at the river pier in Casa Branca and showcases the change from saltwater to the freshwater...
from € 30.00
Thing to do
Costa Vicentina
From Odemira up river and back
The part of the river that’s greener and has more shade takes you through fertile pastures and fields, with places where you...
from € 20.00

A river that’s an ocean of Nature

"During a canoe tour in Mira River, we’re practically invisible to all that's around us. We’ll come across many unexpected sights along the way, from storks looking for food to turtles sunbathing. "
Anke Ruschhaupt
Ecotrails

Location

Coast

Costa Vicentina

Know the region

This was the location that made me choose Portugal to live. Actually, it was the Mira River that picked me. It’s the river that makes this area so unique. The fact that is part of a natural park is extraordinary. It’s protected, and you can tell by its beauty and the quality of the waters. This is one of the cleanest rivers in Europe.

The sea influence, going upstream and inward for almost 40 km, is unique and essential to allow us to have fresh water all year, even during the hot summer in Alentejo.

The perfect climate and the almost-constant sunshine not only astonishes any tourist, but influences everything around. At night, the starry sky is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.


I’m a foreigner, so I can say it without favouritism: Portugal and Alentejo, in particular, are exceptional places.


In Europe, Portugal is still an exceptional place and a well-kept secret. Alentejo and its people welcomed me in a way that I’ll always remember. They are hospitable, always ready to help, and very amusing.

You can spend unforgettable and affordable holidays with your friends and family in Vila Nova de Milfontes. The town is welcoming and enjoyed by everyone. There is something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for a fun night out, spending time at the beach, enjoying Nature, or hiking.

Another fun fact is how many people come here to fish and the opportunity to cook their meals while on holiday. Which leads us to the fantastic cuisine we have here, too. 

The importance of Mira River in this area’s History goes a long way back. Vila Nova de Milfontes settled by the river mouth and grew thanks to the commercial trade at the fluvial-maritime port. For several centuries it was even an outer basin where ships took shelter in Odemira. The town’s daily life was built around this port, and it still does in the present day. 

First-hand news

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