Peneda Gerês National Park, Northern Portugal

The  Peneda-Gerês National Park located in Minho region, Northern Portugal was created in 1971 and comprises the mountains of Peneda, Soajo, Amarela and Gerês and nowadays is the only National Park in Portugal.

Peneda Gerês National Park (in Portuguese: Parque Nacional da Peneda – Gerês – PNPG) covers an area of 70 000 ha and comprises 22 rural villages divided through the towns of Arcos de Valdevez, Melgaço, Montalegre, Ponte da Barca and Terras de Bouro. The National Park together with the Spanish Nature Park Baixa Limia - Serra do Xurés forms transboundary Biosphere Reserve Gerês-Xurés, declared by UNESCO in 2009.

"The National Park is home to endemic fauna and flora, as Gerês lily, Iberian wolf, wild horses, ibex and deer - the park’s symbol."

Aside from the wild animals, domestic species such as barrosã and cachena cows with long horns, goats and autochthonous sheep also inhabit the park and can be very easily seen. The history of the National Park is also imprinted in the local heritage: the castles of Castro Laboreiro and Lindoso, the Roman road, megalithic monuments, granaries, seasonal settlements - a living testimony of human occupation over the years.

With its granite landscape, oak forests, traditional villages, streams and valleys, Peneda Gerês National Park offers breathtaking scenery for nature lovers.

"Fabulous 6-day cycling tour on the stunning Portuguese Coastal Way, an alternate pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostelo, and arriving in the walled medieval town of Baiona, Spain, was unforgettable. Each day had special moments – such as a private tour and tasting at a small vinho verde winery – and the daily picnic lunches were spectacular."
Ann - Canada