Vila Velha de Ródão makes for a spectacular entry into the Beiras - not for the town itself, which is nothing special, but for its location. The town is on the north side of the Tejo river, and for the last section of the stage in the Alentejo and the bridge crossing, there are fabulous views of the river and the Portas (Gates) de Ródão, giant rock formations that rise from both sides of the river.
To appreciate this scenery more, there are boat trips to the ‘gates’ organised by the Vila Portuguesa restaurant (Tue-Sun, last trip at 3pm). Alternatively, there is a marked trail to the castle atop the rocks on the Beiras side (about 40 minutes each way from the bridge). Only one tower remains of the castle, said to have been built by the Visigothic king Wamba in the seventh century, but the views of the river and its banks are well worth the climb.
Leaving town, the first 4km is on a paved road in sight of large factories. After this the surface and view improve significantly as the camino becomes a dirt road through pine forest.