The National park of Peneda-Gerês extends from the plateau of Castro Laboreiro to the plateau of Mourela, covering the mountain ranges of Peneda, Soajo, Amarela and Gerês. Discover this vast amphitheatre sculptured by geological formations, winds and water.
Take a hike on the mountain and see the effects of the last glaciation, meet the locals in the traditional village and indulge in the local cuisine.
The National park of Peneda-Gerês was established by decree in 1971 with the aim of enhancing, for educational, scientific and tourist purposes, human activities and the natural resources of this privileged landscape set in the mountainous areas in northeast Portugal. The soil, water, flora and fauna have all been preserved.
Places of interest
Planning has proved fruitful and biodiversity is today one of the features of this protected area. Nature, relief, altitude variations and the Atlantic, Mediterranean and continental influences have enabled the presence of bushes, oaks and pines, birch forests, lush vegetation along river banks, pastures and crop land.
Take a stroll through the woods of Ramiscal, Albergaria, Cabril and focus on this new type of landscape. You will hardly find, in Portugal, a place like the upper valley of Homem River and the Gerês mountain.
If you’re lucky, you will catch a glimpse of a wolf, the Golden Eagle and the Pyrenean desman that live in these hills.
Don’t Forget to visit the castles in Castro Laboreiro and Lindoso, from the Megalithic period, testimonies of the Roman occupation, and the Roman road or “geira”. Notice the interesting milestones on the remaining stretch of the old Roman road that was once used by the legionaries to go from Braga to Astorga.
Note the quaint towns, the architecture formed by the terraces and the granaries that characterise this rural landscape.
Visit the traditional villages. Walk through the narrow streets of Campo do Gerês, also known as São João do Campo, with its granite houses, threshing floors, granaries and mills, and visit the Ethnographic Museum of Vilarinho das Furnas, which is a reminder of the village submerged as a result of the dam with the same name, built in 1972.
This quaint village is 15 Km from Terras de Bouro and, in its surroundings, it offers a Roman-medieval bridge and a milestone from the old Roman road linking Braga and Astorga, transformed into a stone cross.
The road linking it to Caldas do Gerês, across the mountain, offers unforgettable views.
Whether on foot or by car, there are several paths that allow visitors to come into close contact with nature. The National park of Peneda-Gerês offers short pedestrian trains, with conventional signs on site, and some trails with map orientation, some of which with GPS-supported PDAs.
Since the geological interest of the trails of Castro Laboreiro, Meadinha, Mezio, S. Miguel de Entre Ambos os Rios, Junceda-Campo do Gerês and Pitões das Júnias is unique, additional information is provided to visitors.
The road infrastructure in the National park of Peneda-Gerês is good. So, if you want to get around this area by car, take small children or people with reduced mobility, or even are on a tight schedule to visit the park), you’ll be happy to know that you can also have a hands-on experience of the rural atmosphere of Gerês by car.
Sleeping and eating
The typical dishes of Gerês include goat meat, ham, sausages, sarrabulho porridge, seasoned pieces of pork loin, Portuguese stew, “caldo verde” soup, cod fish fritters, cod fish with bread panade, giblets rice and the famous bean and cabbage stew from the Caldo River area.
Finish your meals enjoying the local sweets, in particular the Santa Eufémia pastries and the orange roll of Amares, among many other monastery-made sweets.
The Park offers private accommodation or lodges under concession where visitors can stay overnight. If in addition to being a nature lover you enjoy camping, you’ll be glad to know that there are campsites in Campo do Gerês, in the council of Terras de Bouro, and Cabril (Eiredo), in the council of Montalegre.
The Aquafalls Spa Hotel Rural is near the Park, in Vieira do Minho. This is the place where time goes by very slowly and where calmness and comfort provided by the overwhelming beauty of the green and granitic hills and the clear blue water of Caniçada reservoir are priceless. Sleep in one of the suites in the private bungalows, scattered around the 30 thousand sq.m property.
The Youth Hostel in Vilarinho das Furnas is another alternative.
In Gerês, you can and should buy local handicrafts and products, such as therapeutic teas, honey and jams. Caldas do Gerês, in Terras de Bouro, is the right place for shopping.
The thermal baths of Gerês, in the heart of the National park of Peneda-Gerês, one of the most famous resorts in the country, were once explored by the Romans. Enjoy the surrounding landscape of rare beauty and enjoy the traditional shops that complement the thermal bath activity.
One of the most iconic items you can buy here is the tea bags to treat ailments of the liver, gall-bladder, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
You can also find embroideries and items in linen and wool, the traditional Valentine handkerchiefs, baskets, toys and wooden clogs.
How to get there
There are flights from Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Munich, Dortmund, Zurich, Liverpool, London, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Dole, La Rochelle, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Rodez, St. Etienne Toulouse, Tours, Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Bologna, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and New York.
The best way to go from the International Airport Francisco Sá Carneiro to the city centre is to take the underground. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
Take the A3 from Porto to Braga. You’ll need about 1h to drive about 50 Km.