Surround yourself with nature and Portuguese culture on this walking holiday in Gerês National Park.
If you’re a nature lover then you’ll love this 5-day tour exploring Gerês National Park in the northern region of Portugal. During your stay you will have the opportunity to not only enjoy the fauna and flora of this forested area, but discover its natural sculptured geological formations and water paths. An area of 70,000 hectares and recently declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2009, this beautiful National Park full of forested mountains, rivers, streams and waterfalls is an absolute must-see.
Discover its hidden gems and picturesque locations whilst exploring this area on foot, with hikes that can be adapted to suit your preferred level. You’ll also have time to visit the traditional villages here, renowned for their ancient monasteries, medieval castles and stone granaries. Old community customs are very much kept alive here, and your local guide will ensure you walk away with a real insight.
During your stay, you’ll be staying in an exclusive cosy countryside house with all the privacy, comfort and authenticity you need to make this a memorable stay. Think fireplace in winter and BBQs in the garden come summer. We’re certain you’ll feel at home in this cosy old mill located on the bank of the Lima River. It’s located in a quiet spot just 6km from the centre of Arcos de Valdevez, a nice little village next to Gerês National Park.
We recommend hiring a car to fully explore this spectacular area. With so many activities on offer here, you might want to supplement your walks with some kayaking or cycling during your free time.
Visit traditional villages where ancient community customs are still alive today
Stay in a comfortably converted old mill on the bank of the Lima River
Enjoy Gerês’ most iconic viewpoints while you rest your feet
Get to know the agricultural methods of local people as well as the geological past of this region
Your Local Host:
Born and raised in the delightful city of Porto, apart from a two year stint living in Scotland in my younger days, I have lived in Portugal all my life. When I was around 35, myself and a couple of my travelling friends (one of which is my brother), decided to set up our company. We set out scouting Portugal, visiting the places no one visits, meeting people, exploring landscapes discovering all these authentic towns. We know the country like the back of our hands, so when you go on one of our experiences you get an experts insight and learn so much more than you would visiting alone.
You’ll be greeted at Porto Airport by a member of our local team who will assist you with your rental car pick-up at Porto International Airport. It’s then a self-drive to Gerês National Park (approx. 106 km/1hr drive). Today you have free time to settle down and enjoy the fresh air at your accommodation; an old mill located on the bank of the river. Or you might decide to go further afield, such as visiting Ponte de Lima and its historical city centre, or the typical stone granaries of Soajo, which were originally used for storing grain, and are both a good place to start when it comes to exploring.
Today you have a full-day hike. We’ll pick you up at your accommodation and take you deep within the National Park, with your local guide explaining the flora and fauna of this natural paradise. We’ll visit several landmarks of the park, such as historical villages lost in time and stunning waterfalls where you can enjoy a refreshing swim.
Another day for you to explore Gerês, with a half-day hike along Peneda-Gerês National Park. From Soajo and Peneda mountains to Sistelo’s terraces (known as “Small Portuguese Tibet”) you will cross Arcos de Valdevez on foot by choosing one of the available trails provided by your guide and dependent on what level you’d prefer. Enjoy the pure mountain air, and learn about the history and culture that continues to be passed on through the generations. Get to know the agricultural methods practiced in this area, as well as its geological past. Today is a culture day as well as an opportunity to keep those legs moving whilst enjoying the mountain air and scenery.
For this day we have planned a beautiful and adjustable half-day hike with a set of selected paths that only our local guide knows, offering you the best natural beauty and wonders that you may find in this natural park. We’ll finish with a traditional picnic lunch in one of Gerês most iconic viewpoints while you rest your feet and admire the gorgeous surrounding scenery.
Drive to Porto airport for your rental car drop-off and departure.
Located in northern Portugal near the Spanish border, Peneda-Gerês National Park is home to forested rugged hills and traditional villages. You’ll not only get a good dose of fresh air and nature, but also a slice of Portuguese culture and tradition. Rivers and streams flow through the mountain ranges, with waterfalls and reservoirs adding to the breathtaking landscape. The area is also home to deer, Iberian wolves, golden eagles and small wild horses that roam freely.
Nearest airport: Porto Airport (approx. 1 hr drive to the park). Transfers can be arranged (at an extra cost) with the host directly and the driver will meet you at the airport.
By car: if hiring a car, a member of the local team will meet you and assist with the rental car pick-up at the airport. The full address and directions to your acommodation will be given to you upon booking.
By train: to Braga (the railway station is 500m from the National Park headquarters)
The converted old mill comes with 2 x bedrooms with double beds, and a sofa bed in each of these bedrooms which can accommodate 1 extra person. We can opt for a different house depending on the total number of guests, their ages and preferences.