Dornas do Arões


The place known as Dornas is due to the existence of large giant kettles formed in the river Arões, the biggest of them more than two meters in diameter and very deep, so it was called dorna alluding to the large wooden containers where the grapes during the harvest are kept. The flow channel forms an authentically huge tub of smooth walls. Those giant kettles formed in the granite originate from purling pebbles and blocks that are trapped in the river bed. With the strength of the current, these elements exert a strong abrasive force digging a perfectly round hole in to the granite, rather like a natural mortar. Over time, these depressions go on deepening and widening, forming kettles, dornas and sometimes large bath tubs (or flow channels) when different kettles merge with each other.

Natural Patrimony

The Arões river rises at the top of the Arestal mountain and runs about 12 km to disembogue into the river Vouga. In between, a small dam originates the nice Arões river bayou. Interestingly, downstream of EN 227 (national road 227), the river has a different name, called river Lordelo. It’s a quite uneven river; it has strong fluvial dynamics originating waterfalls, giant kettles and other phenomena of great beauty. Along the river there are a lot of watermills that provided the driving force for the production of flour, essential to the population’s survival during the eighteenth and nine teenth centuries. Along the water line, a very well maintained riparian gallery with black alder, willow and ash trees, providing habitat for species as diverse as the iberian frog, royal fern, the hard-fern and the beautiful demoiselle. The with-throated dipper takes advantage of the waterfalls to nest, and finds here its choice domicile. The white admiral and lesser purple emperor butterflies lurk in the foliage, indicating that we are in the presence of valuable ecosystems. The oak forests overlooking the river we can observe the solomon’s seal and the columbine, flowers of rare beauty and listen to the insistent whistle of the common midwife toad in the moisty days of spring.


Technical information

  • Level of Dificulty Medium
  • Type of Route Wavy
  • Access Pedestrian