Walking in Peneda National Park: Portugal’s Hidden Wilderness

Small Group Walking

Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights

A showcase of great landscapes, the Peneda-Gerês National Park is an exquisite environment of outstanding beauty.

In this high country the air is crystalline and the waters pure.

This national park contains some of the most beautiful and varied scenery found in the whole of the country and here you’ll find an abundance of rare wild flowers, birds of prey, herds of wild horses and other wildlife.

  • Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax

Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax.

 

A showcase of great landscapes, the Peneda-Gerês National Park is an exquisite environment of outstanding beauty.

In this high country the air is crystalline and the waters pure.

This national park contains some of the most beautiful and varied scenery found in the whole of the country and here you’ll find an abundance of rare wild flowers, birds of prey, herds of wild horses and other wildlife.

Peneda Sanctuary - Peneda National Park Portugal

Peneda Sanctuary – Peneda National Park Portugal

Our two-centre holiday in the northwest of the Park is centred in the Serra da Peneda. It is designed so that you visit the most spectacular and interesting parts of these mountains.

Our remarkably varied walks will circle the dramatic crags and granite landscape of Meadinha and follow ancient trails down the lush valley of the river Peneda.

The somewhat remote location has protected the park. You will not only enjoy the beauty of the region, from dramatic rolling moorland to towering granite crags, but also visit many of the ancient hamlets dotted about the countryside and enjoy the legendary hospitality of the mountain people.

Our first centre is in the mountain village of Castro Laboreiro overlooked by its ancient castle.

Group Walking in Peneda National Park Portugal

Group Walking in Peneda National Park Portugal

Isolated traditional villages with high mountain meadows and rolling moorland stretch to the frontier with Spain to the east. Yet, walk out of the hotel to the west and we are amongst towering granite crags and hidden wooded valleys.

The village with its cafés and a remarkably comfortable and well-appointed hotel gives us the ideal place from which to explore and then to relax at the end of our day.

We are able to walk across the mountains to our second location in the beautiful, remote, yet famous, sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Peneda.

Our hotel in Peneda, once the pilgrims’ hostel, has been imaginatively converted into a high quality hotel. It is set to one side of the sanctuary with a backdrop of trees, crags and waterfalls with the grand stairway of the Sanctuary descending into the valley below.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival to Porto

Fly into Porto & transfer by road to Castro Laboreiro (approximately two hours from Porto Airport).
If time allows we suggest a familiarisation walk around the village.

Peneda National Park Portugal

Castro Laboreiro Castle

Day 2 – Castro Laboreiro Castle and Penedos de Castro Laboreiro

A short walk to the remains of the castle above the village of Castro Laboreiro. The castle dates back to the founding of Portugal and is accessed by a circular route from the village. An ideal morning walk before an elevenses stop in the village cafés.
After that we’ll take a walk into and amongst the dramatic rock outcrops to the west of the village of Castro Laboreiro. Initially following narrow mountain trails up into the hills, then returning on easier paths and tracks.

Peneda National Park Portugal

Castro Laboreiro bridge

Day 3 – Castrejo

Based partly on a local waymarked route this walk explores the valley below Castro Laboreiro and visits many of the tiny villages in the area letting us see some traditional farming and the way of life of the area.

Outstanding beauty Peneda National Park: Portugal

Geres

Day 4 – Alto de Gontim

A contrast to our other walks in the area, this walk goes along pleasant easy tracks and through villages and explores the moorland area to the east of Castro Laboreiro. As the walk climbs to the border with Spain it gives extensive views over the whole region.

Penade Hotel Peneda-Gerês National Park

Peneda

Day 5 – Castro Laboreiro to Peneda

This walk links our two centres.
We head east on an ancient trail over the mountains and descend to the area of Lamas do Mouro where we have a mid-morning break and visit one of the main information centres for the National Park.
After walking up to the head of the Peneda Valley we then follow the old route as it descends alongside the River Peneda to our next hotel at one of Portugal´s iconic pilgrimage centres with its remarkable sanctuary and grand staircase.

Peneda-Gerês National Park group walking

Geres

Day 6 – Meadinha and Bouça dos Homens

This walk passes through some of the most dramatic granite scenery in these mountains and visits the isolated village of Bouça dos Homens where the local populations still spend their summer months before retreating to the valleys in the winter along with their animals.

Peneda-Gerês National Park outstanding beauty

Peneda-Gerês National Park outstanding beauty

Day 7 – Valley of Rio da Peneda

A walk descending the valley below Peneda. We begin by going down the dramatic staircase of the Sanctuary and then continue on the ancient trail that leads down the valley.
As we descend into the lower, warmer, valley we see lush vegetation and fascinating villages where the milder climate enables a more varied agriculture.
Much of our walk again accompanies the local rivers as they cascade down the valley and we visit the confluence of the rivers Peneda and Pomba.

Peneda National Park Portugal

Peneda Sanctuary – Peneda National Park Portugal

Day 8 – Departure

Transport by road to Porto airport

What's included

Accommodation

  • 7 nights in a twin standard room for two pax

4 nights in Castro Laboreiro
3 nights in Peneda

  • Shared ensuite room with a travelling companion of the same sex
  • Single supplement available with a surcharge
  • Extra nights available on request

Meals

  • 7 buffet breakfasts at the Hotel
  • 7 Dinners with drinks included

Transport

  • Meet & Greet Airport Transfer to the hotel on the first day – group bus transfer to Hotel
  • Transfer from the hotel to the Airport on last day – group bus transfer to Airport
  • All transports to walks and activities (as outlined) with dedicated driver and vehicle
  • Additional transfers available on request at an extra cost

Tour Leaders

  • Dedicated English speaking local tour leader
    The tour leader will assist and guide the group throughout the holidays, handle all the arrangements and other needs that might arise, making sure that you don’t have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday
    Each evening, your tour leader will discuss the details and program for the following day

Walks and Activities

  • Walks according to program

Exclusions

Any services not listed as included

  • Flights to and from Portugal
  • Meals, tips/gratuities, baggage or personal insurance (except as outlined)
  • Admission fees to castles & attractions or events (except as outlined)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplements
  • Guide services inside monuments

Insurance

You must be adequately insured to join our Guided holidays and Self-Guided holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday.

BeCool Travel has partnered with WorldNomads.com to keep you travelling safely. WorldNomads.com Travel Insurance is designed for independent and adventurous travellers, with coverage for overseas medical expenses, cancellation, baggage, and other expenses.

Please consult our Travel Insurance page, where you’ll be able to get more detailed info about insurance requirements and an immediate quote for your trip.