Man hiking at Peneda-Gerês National Park

Here’s just some of the reasons you’ll love Peneda-Gerês National Park

Whether you’re an outdoors enthusiast, a history buff, a culinary traveller or a weekend jetsetter, Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal has something to offer everyone. Less than 2 hours from Porto and sitting on the Spanish border Peneda-Gerês National Park is a 700-km-sq natural playground ripe to be explored by all travellers.


Hiking trails

There are trails everywhere! From 3 hour loops to 5 day expeditions towards the Spanish border. The bigger villages have tourist information offices with maps available or just download Maps.Me and make your own routes. For lots of detailed hiking information check out Wikiloc. Most of the trails are well marked and it’s possible to camp so the adventure can be as big as you make it!



You’ll feel really connected with nature in Peneda-Gerês National Park. The national park is in the middle of mountain ranges with valleys, rivers, lakes and waterfalls dotted over the landscape. Dense Oak forests, shrub and marshlands are home to incredible amounts of wildlife, including snakes, bats, wolves, deer, golden eagles and many, many others.


Green forest with sun shining through at Peneda-Gerês National Park
Immersed in the greenery


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. 



In Peneda-Gerês they’ve got it just right – the locals living in or around the park compliment it rather than hinder it and tourism seems to be bringing awareness rather than destruction. The trails are maintained and clear but not excessively,  nature flourishes and you get an amazingly pure, natural feel so don’t expect to see much rubbish. After a long days hiking you can make your way down to the lake and have a dip in the crystal clear waters.


Year round good weather

Cross stream beds and hike to waterfalls in autumn and spring, see snow capped mountains in the winter and swim in emerald blue lakes in the baking summer. 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°c each day. No rain, just a spot of wild fires!


Wildfire smoke in mountains
Forest fires aren’t the best conditions for hiking…


It’s bloody huge

Did I mention it’s huge? Peneda-Gerês National Park is over 700-sq-km filled with adventuring possibility around every corner! 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.


Save your pennies!

Peneda-Gerês National Park is much cheaper than the Portuguese cities and the south of the country. You’ll find beautiful double rooms, balconies overlooking the mountains, good kitchen facilities and breakfast for easily less than €20. This was our personal pick, Hostel Gerês was a real corker for the price and was actually one of the best value spots we’ve found in Europe.

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.


Girl overlooking balcony with lunch

A Whole Bunch of Reasons to Visit Peneda-Gerês National Park


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 in the shoulder seasons 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 water sport activities, as well as being a good spot to chill out for the day or take a quick dip. There are also natural thermal water spas and plenty of places to try local food and drink. As it attracts more Portuguese tourists than international ones it’s also a good place to experience local culture.


Looking for accommodation?

  • Budget travellers and hostel lovers check out Hostel World who have a huge range of budget options all over the globe.
  • Comfort seekers and flashpackers has the biggest selection of hotels and mid-range accommodation choices, plus they often have great deals and sales.
  • Home away from home or something quirky? Airbnb has some incredibly unique properties in fantastic locations, now you can save £25 off your first booking with this code.
  • Indecisive? If you can’t decide on accommodation take a look on TripAdvisor and see what other travellers think.
  • Free spirit? Turn up and see what you can find, embrace the outdoors and camp or learn about local culture by Couch Surfing


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A Whole Bunch of Reasons To Visit Peneda-Gerês National Park

Did you think Peneda-Gerês National Park was as awesome as we did? Let us know in the comments box below!


If you liked this article you might want to check out 

A Visitor’s Guide to Sintra, Portugal

Why Sintra Isn’t a Day Trip

A Brush with Fire at Peneda Geres National Park

Vegan Portuguese Caldo Verde Recipe

Vegan Portuguese Honey, Almond and Orange Cake Recipe


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D S Rao

I love Vietnam and wish to visit sometime. I have no idea how to survive there being a vegetarian. I feel this site may throw some light and useful in my pursuit.

Hey hey!

What is the name of the hotel you stayed? The view looks amazing 🙂

Great food combined with great hiking! A dream come true – adding this to the bucket list for sure!!

Great post! I didn’t know about Peneda-Gerês National Park! Adding it to my list!

The year-round amazing weather and easy access are a huge plus for me! I also like that there are a variety of options. When traveling with other people, it’s great to have options as everyone has different interests 🙂

I love the look and sound of this national park! I would love to visit some time, for sure. 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful post.

Wow, Peneda Geres looks incredible. Great to know its vegan friendly 🙂 Love all of your photos. Hopefully heading to Spain later this year so we will have to add it to our list 🙂

The hotel does look amazing and those views are incredible. Did you manage to see any wild animals? It looks like a perfect habitat for bears. There is nothing like taking a bit on time in nature this place looks amazing.

That lunch looks mouth-watering. I’m not big into hiking but this definitely seems like a great place to visit.

That looks great! exactly the type of travelling I would be doing. Give me a map, a big national park with mountains and cheap accommodation and I won’t come out for days haha! Ps! Your lunch just made me hungry..

Looks like an amazing national park. Plus, there is not a lot of visitor traffic and expenses are cheaper than other regions! I’m sold. I would love to hike some of those back road trails with amazing, tall trees and climb some boulders.


Yep, this looks like a good place to travel to. It’s wonderful how there are so many places in the world where you can experience different activities out in nature reserves and NPs. I love the cities, but it’s nice to be able to walk and hike and even camp in some of these spots.