Serra da Peneda Mountains, Portugal

Explore the Northestern end and the least visited area of the Peneda Gerês National Park.

Serra da Peneda, Portugal
Serra da Peneda 
© Paulo Pereira

The Serra da Peneda is found in the Northest end of the Peneda-Gerès National Park and is the least visited area of the park.

Sistelo, Serra da Peneda
Sistelo, Serra da Peneda 
© Paulo Pereira

Here, the lowest wooded hills are turned into massive peaks; some of them are crowned by contemporary powerful windmills, while in the flatter areas there stand old stone houses, packed around the shadows, with horses and cattle which wander half freedomly. Some of the stone walls sprout without apparently order, and the wind blows the grass full of wild flowers.

In this area, the quintessential activity is hiking, although the roads also lead to the discovery of numerous historical monuments. One of the easiest and most recommended tours begins in front of the access to Lamas de Mouro. It is an interpretative road of 4 kilometres which passes through a stream zigzaging between beautiful watermills, stone churches and community ovens.

Here is found the village of Castro Laboreiro, which owes its name to the endemic race of shepherd dog and it counts with the picturesque ruins of a castle on the 16th century which was built over a Moor castle of the XII century.

In Castro Laboreiro you will find another three interesting paths, the shortest one is 3 kilometres (medium level), but the most spectacular ones are the Trilho Castrejo, of 17 kilometres; and the Trilho Curro da velha, of 7 kilometres.

In Lamas de Mouro you can get maps and pamphlets about the paths, but you can also download them here.

A little bit towards the South, between Lamas de Mouro and Soajo, it is located Peneda, one of the most impressive villages of the park, divided by a deep precipice, which can be climbed, and a waterfall which sprouts tons of water. This little village celebrates the Festas da Senhora (the first week of September), with night processions, dances and concerts.

From the Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Peneda Church departs a 1 kilometre trail which snakes through the mountain until it reaches a picturesque artificial lake next to where wild horses usually graze.

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