Groups accepted with a minimum of 6 pax.
Portugal is a country of astonishing beauty and amazing contrasts. Besides its famous coastline the majority of its mountains and forests are relatively unknown and therefore offer huge rewards to the walker in search of something special.
This holiday is in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, the “mountains of the stars”, the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal rising to 1993m.
The Serra’s landscapes of chestnut, beech and pine forests, lakes and glacial valleys all enjoy clean, crisp, mountain air.
The Natural Park is also the source of the Mondego, Zêzere and Alva rivers.
Dramatic crags and ravines make this region stunningly beautiful and a pleasure to explore. It is an acknowledged centre for rock climbing but our
walks enable us to access all this beauty on more conventional paths.
Sheep and goats play a traditional role in the manufacture of the famous Serra da Estrela cheese. Sausages and wine are also important to the local economy as are the smoked produce and embroidered cotton. Craftsman uses their skills in basket work using wicker and chestnut. The Serra da Estrela also has its own ancient breed of mountain sheep dog.
The villages of the Serra da Estrela date back to medieval times and beyond. Evidence of Roman presence and Arab influence can be seen in the area. This is truly a walker’s paradise not only for the amazing walking but also for the beauty that graces so much of this stimulating part of Portugal.
Our tour is centred in Manteigas, a picturesque town in the very heart of a glacial valley.
It will be our base for great walking amongst the beautiful scenery that nature has bestowed on the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. There are good paths which cover the park giving the opportunity to discover more of this stunning region.
If you like good walking and magnificent scenery, this holiday is a perfect choice.
Day 1 – Arrival in Porto
Arrival in Porto. Transfer to Manteigas.
Day 2 – Torre to Manteigas Walk
Our walk begins at Torre the highest point in mainland Portugal.
We walk back to Manteigas following a dramatic path along the Espinhaço de Cão and then walking down the glacial valley from Nave de Santo António back to Manteigas.
Day 3 – Nave da Mestra Walk
A glorious and iconic high mountain walk from Penhas Douradas to Nave da Mestra, a historic refuge in the heart of the mountains and returning down the ancient “charcoal” route to Manteigas.
Day 4 – Poço do Inferno Walk
A beautiful walk through one of the more wooded areas of the Park.
We visit ancient villages high in the hills and the cascade of Poço do Inferno before descending through chestnut forests into Manteigas.
Day 5 – The Beech Route Walk
This trail is the same one shepherds use to take their animals to the pastures through the magnificent beech forests. We can enjoy splendid landscapes, panoramic views over the mountains and the wonderful scents of wild herbs.
Day 6 – Vale Rossim Walk
Our walk begins by visiting one of the high mountain lakes, Vale de Rossim. We walk through the mountain settlement of Penhas Douradas where we can visit one of the most dramatic viewpoints over the Manteigas Valley before descending the wooded slopes into Manteigas.
Day 7 – Mondego Valley Walk
A walk to visit the valley where the Rio Mondego, Portugal’s longest river, begins its journey to the sea.
This high fertile valley is home to sheep from whose milk the famous Queijo da Serra is made.
In summer golden fields of rye line the river banks hiding isolated farms and tiny chapels.
We descend from this high valley to the attractive village of Sameiro where we can enjoy a break in the local café.
Day 8 – Departure
After breakfast transfer to airport.
You must be adequately insured to join our Guided 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.
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