Looking for adventure? Well, you’ve found the right place! The Arouca Geopark is an excellent place for adventures and new experiences alike, whether it be trekking, boat trips, immersing yourself in history all the way back to the early arthropods, trying the delicious, locally produced meat, or indulging in candies made by local nuns.
Arouca is located some 40 miles south of Porto and can be reached by car in about an hour. It is a place brimming with natural wonders, such as the pedras parideiras (granite rocks with numerous nodules that pop out from its “mother rock”) and fossils that are millions of years old and of incalculable worth.
The Arouca Geopark certainly is an exciting and interesting place to be. Everything from its traditional villages and herds of goats, sheep and cows, to the mountains framing it all make this an idyllic scene and the ideal place to rest and recharge.
Where will your adventure be: on water or land?
You choose! The scenery is guaranteed to take your breath away, whether you are by the river or on a mountain peak. There are numerous trails that combine the pleasures of trekking with that of discovering sites of geological and historical interest. On the way, you will encounter mountain villages with thatched and slate roofs, houses made from shale and granite, haystacks, threshing floors and flour mills, all perched upon steep hillsides overlooking the valleys below. Beautiful!
However, if you’re seeking thrills of a more extreme nature, head to the Paiva, Arouca’s most torrential river. Although the river has a beach, the more adventurous types will no doubt want to leave the safety of land and experience what the river’s raging waters have to offer. This is one of the cleanest rivers in Europe and is a popular destination for rafting, canyoneering, canoeing and canoe-rafting. But be prepared, descending the Paiva rapids makes for the ultimate adrenaline rush.
The park is also one of the best places for mountain biking, orienteering, rock climbing and aerial adventure courses. With a bit of luck, at the end of the day you will also get to see herds of livestock returning alone to the villages. Here, there are also rare species of fauna, such as the Iberian wolf, wild boar and wildcat, and flora such as European holly.
Local cuisine: veal from Arouca and goat’s meat from Gralheira
There are two essential dishes to try when in Arouca: veal and goat’s meat, both of which are roasted in a wood-fired oven. When served with a glass of local vinho verde (‘young wine’), this makes for the perfect meal.
The meat in this region comes from animals bred locally in Arouca, whose meat is certified and has a protected designation of origin.
Roast veal, Aroucan chops and ribs, and Alvarenga steak are just some of the most popular local dishes to be found in any of the numerous quality restaurants in Arouca. Regional sweets such as sponge cake, pastries and the delicious melindres complete the feast.
We are sure that now you are eager to visit this beautiful and fascinating location. Need more information? Don’t hesitate to contact us. Embark on a journey back in time and immerse yourself in adventures, great food and the natural beauty of Arouca Geopark. So, when do you arrive…?