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The natural beauty of Gerês

Updated: June 25, 2024
By: Frederik Pohl

The Portuguese Great Wide Open

Being in the natural beauty of Gerês means immersing yourself in the wilderness. It feels like you’re either being swallowed by the green around you. Or that you’re on top of the world overviewing the mountains.

You can find this unique place in the extreme northwest of the country. Perfectly tucked away between the regions of Alto Minho and Trás-os-Montes.

Frederik Pohl
Frederik Pohl, CEO
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What you need to know about Gerês

The beautiful green landscape was designated Peneda-Gerês National Park in 1971.

It’s also considered a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, given the quality of its soil and water, as well its diversity of flora and fauna. This designation by UNESCO was a way to preserve those attributes, by making it a protected area.

The park is very impressive due to its extension. It goes from Serra do Gerês, through Serra da Peneda, until the spanish border. Due to its high ecological and ethnographic value, it’s the only national park in the country.

If you’re worried about being away from big cities, you are close to Braga (50 minutes) and Porto (1 hour and a half). The park crosses 22 municipalities, so you will come across several villages no matter where you are.

It’s terms of wildlife, it’s common to find garranos (small wild horses), Castro Laboreiro (dogs guarding herds) and the region’s icon, the roe deer. The park is very quiet, with the occasional wolf howl at night.

Trails in Gerês
Old village in Gerês
Besides the wildlife, why visit Gerês?

When coming to Gerês, one can always count on old school camping and there are a lot of those distributed across the extension of the park. They differ in size, the type of camping facilities, distance to the park’s main trails and waterfalls.

Now, one can also count on the glamorous version of camping, glamping. Very popular, it joins the need of contact with Nature with the add on of sophistication and comfort regarding accommodations. A lot of glamping sites use domes and luxurious bungalows, with more appliances and resources you are expecting when camping.

Lots of people need or looking comfortable spaces to relax or help with  health conditions. They search for hotels or spas. If not, they search for the best of both worlds, the camping experience with the comfort of an hotel.

Most of the people planning their holidays or long stays on Gerês, take special interest in Trekking.  This is an outdoors activity based on following a series of pedestrian trails throughout the mountain, with different degrees of difficulty. Two of the most popular trails are the Trilho das 7 Lagos de Xertelo & Poços Verdes do Sobroso or Trilho da Cascata do Arado & Poço Azul.

You can do most trails by yourself, in group or with a guide. You can also do adventurous sports such as horseback riding, BTT, canyoning, rafting, tree climbing, paintball.

Gerês
Gerês
When trails meet waterfalls

The trails in Gerês are all about exercising, exploring nature and observe the best sights. The main watercourses in the national park are Rio Homem Rio Cávado, that while running through the mountainous terrain, create a series of pools and waterfalls. Some of the trails of Gerês take you to those pools, naturally inviting you to dip into the freshwater.

One funny Portuguese fact was the creation of a water brand Fastio after the famous water spring Nossa Senhora do Fastio. Some choose to buy the bottled water, some prefer the one form any fountains scattered in the area. Why? Well, there’s something about drinking directly from the source that feels different.

As you can see, Gerês has a great deal to offer. If you choose a vacation rental house, you all set for an amazing trip. If you wish to buy a property, to relocate, you know your surroundings and you have the opportunity to grow your own food, given the fertile land and freshwater. Your meals will never taste better!

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