There are trails everywhere! From 3 hour loops to 5 day expeditions towards the Spanish border. In the bigger villages there are tourist information offices which can give you maps, or just download Maps.Me and make your own routes! Most of the trails are well marked and it’s possible to camp so the adventure is as big as you make it!
You’ll feel really connected with nature in Peneda-Gerês National Park. The park runs through a selection of mountain ranges and valleys and is divided by rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Dense Oak forests, shrub and marshlands are home to snakes, bats, wolves, deer and golden eagles amongst many, many others!
Easy to reach
Trains and buses connect Porto and the South with Braga. Depending on what part of the park you want to visit, buses can take as little as 1 hour and cost only a few euros. Within the park buses connect villages and it’s also easy to hitchhike on the bigger roads!
They’ve got it just right! The locals living in or around the park compliment rather than hinder it and the trails are maintained and clear but not excessive. Nature flourishes and you get an amazingly pure, natural feel! When you hike along the trails litter is almost nonexistent. Tourism seems to be bringing awareness rather than destruction. Get those hiking boots off and have a dip in some of the crystal clear lakes!
Year round good weather
Swim in emerald blue lakes in the baking summer, cross stream beds and hike to waterfalls in Autumn and Spring and see snow capped mountains in the winter. Late Autumn and early Spring have higher levels of rainfall however we spent 5 days here in mid October and the weather was 22-27 each day. No rain, just a spot of wild fires!
Save your pennies!
It’s so much cheaper than the cities and the South of the country! We had a beautiful double room, balcony overlooking the mountains, huge shared kitchen and breakfast for €25. Whether your making a pack-up for the trails or ingredients for a evening feast, even the smallest villages have fruit and veg stalls with everything you need for vegan munching. Spend the day on the trails and the evening cooking with friends in the hostel and you’ll have plenty of money left over!
Did I mention it’s huge? The park is over 700-sq-km and filled with possibility! With tiny villages dotted through the mountains, outdoor enthusiasts take a map and a tent and you could spend months crossing the mountains, stopping by the ancient villages for supplies and to meet the local shepherds.
Off the beaten track
For such a stunning destination it’s surprising that Peneda-Gerês doesn’t see more tourists – but who’s complaining! You can really escape humanity here with whole mountain ranges to yourself. Some of the more popular towns can be busy in the summer with Portuguese holiday makers, but come out of the summer months or adventure further into the 700-sq-km park and it’s just you and nature!
Peneda-Gerês, Portugal’s only national park was created in 1971 however the history goes much further than that. With sites from the Megalithic period and the Roman occupation you can still see these ancient areas within the mountains, preserving Portugal’s ancient traditions. With 16th century castle ruins, submerged villages and roman roads, history buffs will have plenty to discover!
Whether you want to sit on a balcony and read a book, climb mountain peaks or try some of the local foods Peneda-Gerês has a lot to offer. The obvious draw to us was the miles and miles AND miles of hiking trails however the park is a hub to many other outdoor and adventure activities. The lakes have lots of watersport activities, as awell as being a good spot to chill out for the day or take a quick dip. There are also natural thermal spa’s and plenty of places to try local food and drink. Attracting more Portuguese tourists than international ones, it’s also a good place to experience local culture.