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Peneda-Gerês National Park Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês

Peneda-Geres National ParkPeneda-Geres National Park View slideshow

The Peneda-Gerês National Park extends along the Spanish frontier from the Castro Laboreiro plateau by way of the Peneda, Soajo, Amarela and Gerês mountains to the Mourela plateau in the south. Large areas within the park boundaries, which were officially defined in 1971, are protected nature reserves. The park can be explored by car, and also has several good walks. Accommodation is limited: there are a few pensions in the spa town of Gerês. Detailed information about the national park can be obtained from the visitors centers in Arcos de Valdevez, Gerês and Montalegre.

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Lamas de Mouro

The Lamas de Mouro entrance is at the north end of the park, about 10km/ 6mi southeast of Melgaço.

Castro Laboreiro, Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres

Castro Laboreiro is about 8km/5mi southeast of Lamas de Mouro. Its nearby castle was probably originally a Roman fortress, and was then rebuilt by Afonso Henriques and extended by King Dinis. It was, however, almost completely destroyed by an explosion when the powder tower was struck by lightning.

Mezio

The Mezio entrance is 18km/11mi northeast of Arcos de Valdevez.

Soajo

Espigueiros do Soajo, an old style warehouse. .
Five km/3mi south east of the Mezio entrance on a tarmacked road is the mountain eyrie of Soajo, its houses built of undressed granite blocks without the use of mortar. Its 10th C. pelourinho is the oldest stone column in Portugal.

Cidadelhe, Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres

A road runs south from Soajo through the valley of the Rio Lima, past electric power stations, to Cidadelhe, where the route described in Entre-Ambos-os-Rios can be joined.

Espigueiros

On the roadside there are a number of espigueiros, the small stone grainstores that are characteristic of this region.

Entre-Ambos-os-Rios

The Entre-Ambos-os-Rios entrance, 13km/8mi northeast of Ponte da Barca, is also often used for through traffic to Spain. The route runs east along what used to be the very scenic valley of the Rio Lima.

Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres, Lindoso

The road passes the rather gloomylooking mountain villages of Britelo and Cidadelhe, with their sombre granite houses, ascending to Lindoso (alt. 468m/1,536ft; pop. 1,000), just before the Spanish frontier. Looming over it is a castle built under King Dinis in 1287, and here you can see more of Minho's typical espigueiros.

Portela do Homem

Lindoso is the jumping off point for a good walk to the pass of Portela do Homem (822m/2,697ft) on the Spanish frontier, affording a magnificent prospect of the rocky valley of the Rio Homem.

Miradouro Leira do Canto

Lindoso is the jumping off point for a good walk to the Miradouro Leira do Canto, with a beautiful view of the Lima valley.

Sao Joao do Campo

From the Sao Joao do Campo entrance, 17km/10mi northeast of Terras do Bouro, you can either drive southeast along the narrow, winding little road to Caldas do Gerês, or take the old Roman road. This was built between A.D. 79 and 353, and runs along the southeast side of the Vilarinho reservoir up to the Portela do Homem on the Spanish frontier. It has the largest number of original Roman milestones on the Iberian peninsula.

Senhor da Saúde

Probably the most frequented road in the National Park runs from the Senhor da Saúde entrance, 32km/20mi northeast of Braga, near the Barragem de Caniçada. It is also the main road to the little spa of Caldas do Gerês (alt. 400m/1,312ft), scenically located in a narrow valley.

Caldas Gerês

Also known simply as Gerês, the spa specializes in complaints connected with the gall bladder and the liver, and is a good base for walking and climbing in the Serra do Gerês.

Carris

The route takes you east from Portela do Homem, on foot in places, to Carris at the foot of the Altar de Cabroes, which has a fine lookout point.

Paradela (Covelaes)

The easternmost section of the park has two entrances, Paradela (65km/ 40mi northeast of Braga, on the Barragem de Paradela reservoir), and Covelaes (75km/47mi northeast of Braga, 13km/8mi northwest of Montalegre), providing access to narrow, little used tracks leading to the prehistoric sites of Pitoes and Tourém.

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