Half-Day Hike: Ribeira Funda Watermills & Waterfalls
This hike takes you to the north coast of the island. This circular route begins and ends in Ribeira Funda (Fenais da Ajuda), near the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Aflição. The main points of interest on this trail are the remains of a group of watermills and various waterfalls.
For nature lovers this walk is an invitation to enjoy it and take a walk in Azorean history. Since the beginning of settlement, Ribeira Funda has been proving to be an important milling center in São Miguel Island. As early as the fifteenth century that water Mills for grinding cereals were installed along the river and contributed to the wealth.
These trail is an exceptional eco-tourism experience – developed to traverse through some of the most beautiful and scenic sections of the island. The coastline of Ribeira Funda still known for its vineyards and fruit crops, and also in the use of its corn mills. During your walk you can enjoy various views of the coastline.
The trail goes along the right bank of the Ribeira Funda stream until you reach the stream-bed, where you will cross over to the other bank then goes to Eira Viewpoint – A flat area where the local population carried out the beating of their dried bean crops. “Sem beira nem beira” – Popular Portuguese Proverb The “threshing floor” was a very important space in the daily lives of the rural population.
The poorest families did not have a threshing floor and did not have possibilities to build rooftops for their homes.
Returning to the right bank of the stream, the trail continues towards the estuary, via the so-called “Rocha do Padre do Norte” (Rock of the Father of the North). When you reach the top of the rock, the trail continues along a dirt track which will take you back to the initial point of departure.