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What to Do When Visiting Serra da Estrela  

Spend one of the most amazing trips in Serra da Estrela of Portugal.

Experience the mesmerizing tall mountains and scenic places to visit in this region.

Photo by Francisco T Santos on Unsplash

Apart from its love for football, Portugal is well known for its vibrant culture, sandy beaches, and port wine. It is one of the oldest countries in Europe that boasts captivating sceneries and historic aesthetics like the azulejos tiles.

One of the most mesmerizing places in Portugal is Serra da Estrela. It is a beautiful region that you definitely need to visit and cannot miss out on. Serra da Estrela means “star mountain range” in Portuguese.

It is a well-protected park that boasts the highest mountain range in the country. You will come across charming valleys that are towered over by beguiling granite outcrops. You will also find bewitching icy lakes and gurgling rivers.

The gorgeous natural landscape is inhabited by small, lovely villages. This place is great for sightseeing, trekking, hiking, climbing, and skiing. This article will discuss the various sites you can visit and activities you can do in Serra da Estrela.

Plan a Ski Trip

For knowing how to plan a ski trip, you need to do proper research of the venue online and know what ski essentials to bring. Serra da Estrela can be ideal for ski beginners and snowboarders. The landscape is also perfect for experienced and intermediate skiers. Snowboarders will definitely enjoy playing their sport on the terrain park.

The ski resort of Serra da Estrela is a tiny one. It’s one of the few places in Portugal with a properly equipped ski resort because it’s the only place with adequate snow for skiing.

The experience of skiing under the sunny skies of Portugal is incredibly unique and memorable. Despite having only four ski lifts with a total height of 130 meters, the facilities are excellent. It has nine ski paths which are about five miles in length. You can also ski from Torre mountain. From November to April, the resort is accessible to the general public.

Torre 

Torre means “tower,” and the name comes from a tower built in the 19th century. The tower extends the mountain height and makes it the highest point of the Estrela mountain.

From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy the invigorating breeze and get awed by the mountain slopes and picturesque views of the countryside. You can also see the Atlantic Ocean from this high peak and enjoy the breath taking scenery on a bright day.

Covão dos Conchos

This is one of the most fascinating sights in Serra da Estrela. It might seem like a mystic natural lake, but it is actually man-made. There is a distinct hole in the middle of the lake, and it is famous for its bell mouth spillway.

The spillway was constructed in 1955 to direct the water from Ribeira das Naves to Lagoa Comprida. Part of it functions as a hydroelectric dam system. This place can be reached on foot; however, it is definitely not a cakewalk.

The hike is a bit difficult, especially during the winters. Visitors should take the necessary precautions before coming to this site.

Stop by the Cheese Museum in Pêraboa

If you are a cheese lover and love the culinary arts, you will definitely love this place. This enthralling museum is called Museu do Queijo. It is situated in the charming village of Pêraboa.

The museum’s guide will give you interesting insights into how the sheep are nurtured and the shepherds skilfully take great care of them. The shepherds come from the descent of people who have resided in these mountains for centuries.

You will learn about how century-old methods are used to curdle the milk and make the delectable wheels of cheese. You will get a waft of the aromas of the various cheeses as soon as you walk into this museum.

They will provide you samples of the mouth watering dairy treat fondly known as the king of Portuguese cheese. The cheese has a distinct nutty and intense flavour with a soft and rich texture. It is made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk, and tasting it is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Visit Piódão

Piódão is a beautiful village situated on the valley side and encompassed by refreshing mountain springs, green forest, and lush greenery on the pastureland. The houses are stacked on each other and form an eye-catching view from a distance. The village houses an amphitheatre. The whole village looks stunning at night.

The narrow streets were constructed with local stones. The window frames of most buildings in this region are blue as there is only one shop that sells blue paint. You can understand that the place has historic value when you take a glance at the architecture and the stony paths.

Enjoy the Local Cuisine at O Albertino

This restaurant is the best place to get a taste of the local cuisine. O Albertino is run by a family and is located on this mountain. You can enjoy the pleasant views and cozy interiors whilst enjoying the flavours of the local food. The restaurant makes food from the local produce gathered from their own gardens.

They make their own smoked sausages and cheeses using ancient cooking methods. You can also purchase cured cheese, dried sausages, and rye bread and take them home. They also have a beverage menu offering various types of coffee and liqueurs.

Get Awed by Senhora da Boa Estrela

This historic landmark was made by António Duarte in 1946. It is a bas-relief sculpture depicting the protector Saint of the Shepherds, Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela.

It was carved skilfully into the rock, with a whopping height of 23 ft. It is the proper representation of the importance of sheep and dairy products in this region. A fun festival is held here every year, attracting a large crowd. The festival celebrates mouth watering cheese, wine, and historic cultures.

Museu Municipal de Arte Moderna Abel Manta

The museum is an impressive manor house from the 18th century. Walk into this majestic building and browse through the remarkable painting collections of Abel Manta. Abel Manta is known as Portugal’s most controversial and accomplished modernist artist.

Other well-known paintings are also displayed in this museum, including the artwork done by his son, João Abel Manta. Keep an eye on the windows and doors, and you will notice the extraordinary, intricate baroque details.

Get Mesmerized by the Igreja de Santa Maria

Igreja de Santa Maria is one of the most mesmerizing churches in Portugal. It was built in the 16th century and the entire structure is entirely clad in hand-painted blue and white tiles portraying the life of the Virgin Mary. It is located in the centre of the historic Covilhã and possesses 11 altars.

Hiking from Manteigas to the Poço de Inferno

The distance between Manteigas and the Poço de Inferno is about 7.5km. It is the ideal place for day hiking, especially for regular hikers. At the end of the ancient Zezere valley, the village of Manteigas is situated at an altitude of 2297ft (700m).

The best time to hike here is during the springs and summers where you can enjoy the fragrant flowers, lush greenery, and clean air. The splendid view throughout the trekking is breathtaking. The journey takes you from rocky terrain to meadows and finally to the Poço do Inferno waterfall.

The waterfall cascades down from a great height into the Ribeira de Lenadres gorge, providing spectacular views of the valleys.

Take a Trip to the Bread Museum

There is a museum called Museu do Pão located on the northern slope of the Serra da Estrela, in the city of Seia. If you love bread or simply love history regarding food, this is the perfect place for you. This museum is solely dedicated to the history, traditions and cultures, and the fine craftsmanship of making Portuguese bread.

When you step into the building, you will start to salivate from the delicious scents and aromas of freshly baked bread. The appetizing smell of bread comes from the restaurant where they serve all types of fresh Portuguese bread.

There are four exhibition spaces that showcase the origins, ancient baking techniques, and milling of the baked goods we know as bread. They also exhibit the social and religious importance of bread in Portugal.

The Nature Trails

Relish the clean air and the quaint distant views of the small villages from the distance by walking on the nature trails. Serra da Estrela has a sizable network of marked walking routes that run through the entire national park. The park has three main walking trails.

It takes around three to four days to complete each trail. Keep in mind that these walking routes are somewhat difficult and some trails require steep climbing. Some of the routes can also be long and tedious. Learn about these trails from the local guide and the internet, and prepare accordingly.

Overview

From hiking and skiing to sightseeing and indulging in Portuguese cheese and bread, Serra da Estrela has it all. You can immerse yourself into nature, the rich traditions and culture, and the ancient intricate details of the small villages in this national park.

If you want to spend your vacation somewhere and make the most out of it, Serra da Estrela is the ideal place.

One thought on “What to Do When Visiting Serra da Estrela  

  1. Drove up winding roads in Serra da Estrela last month and stumbled upon hidden viewpoints that left me breathless.

    The rugged beauty and the mountain breeze — pure magic!

    David

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