Peneda-Gerês National Park
Sourced from Wikivoyage. Text is available under the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.Peneda-Gerês National Park is the only national park in Portugal.
Located in the districts of Viana do Castelo, Braga and Vila Real; set along the mountains of Peneda, Larouco, Geres, it is one of the most spectacular in the Iberian Peninsula.
Flora and faunaThe park has a large variety of fauna - including deer, wild horses, wolves and birds of prey - and flora such as pine, yew, chestnut and oak trees, as well as medicinal plants.
- Soajo - a town known for its large number of granaries, constructed to protect crops from rodents. The town's chapel also merits a visit or pilgrimage.
Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Peneda18th-century shrine, inspired by the Bom Jesus shrine in Braga. It includes a staircase known as the "staircase of virtues", the "Yard of the Evangelists" and a church. In 1220, the Virgin Mary is said to have made an appearance in person.
Santuário de São Bento da Porta Abertaphone: +351 253 390 180Built in the 19th century, this shrine is famous for the blue tiles inside the main chapel.
Mata da AlbergariaA botanical reserve of great importance, which hosts many oak trees which are emblematic of the region's vegetation. It is also notable for the trace remains of an old Roman road, which crosses the reserve and once linked Braga with León in Spain.
There are a couple of nice hiking opportunities in the park. You can get free maps and information at the tourist information centre in Gerês, but they only offer information for nearby tracks. For information on other tracks you have to go to an office of the national park itself.
Hiking tracks from Gerês
- PR 3: starts and ends in Gerês; duration: 5 hr:
Goes up the mountain close to Gerês through beautiful forest until a viewpoint, where you can see all over the valley and the lake. Then, the trail goes on a plateau with very nice rock formations, where you can see some wild horses and cattle. Then down you go again through forest and the valley back on an asphalt road (no traffic) to Gerês.
- PR10: “the lazy trail”: starts and ends in Gerês; duration: 2 hr:
A circuit through the forest at the mountain in Gerês.
phone: +351 251 460 010Traditional gastronomy in family-friendly surroundings. Located in the hotel of the same name.
LodgingThere is lots of accommodation in Gerês.
phone: +351 253 391 119address: 21 Rua de ArnaçóHas dorms and double rooms with/without bathroom. Nice terrace, big common area, kitchen. Good spot for meeting other travellers.
phone: +351 251 460 010Casual and traditional hotel, with on-site restaurant and bar. Clean rooms and free wifi.
Lamas de Mourophone: +351 251 466 041address: Veigas de Lama, Lamas de Mouro,
phone: +351 926 503 332address: Lugar de Igreja, Entre Ambos-os-Rios, Ponte da Barca
phone: +351 253 351 005