The easternmost parts of the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês lie in Trás-os-Montes, cut off from the main section in the Minho region by the Barragem de Paradela and the towering Serra do Gerês mountain range. Drivers already in the main park can approach from the south on the stunning mountain route from Cabril, but from Trás-os-Montes it’s much easier to drive via Montalegre, from where the park and its villages are well signposted. Montalegre has both park information office and turismo, where you should be able to pick up walking leaflets, but even without them you’ll be able to find the trails since for once they are properly signposted. The best is at Pitões das Júnias, which is itself the single best target in this section.Read More
Pitões das Júnias
Pitões das Júnias
It’s a terrific drive to PITÕES DAS JÚNIAS, 25km northwest of Montalegre, and set in one of the wildest corners of Portugal. The clustered brown-stone, red-tile buildings of the village are framed by the most extraordinary jagged peaks (pitões) of the Gerês mountains, and the surroundings simply beg you to get out of your car and walk. Happily, there’s an enjoyable waymarked trail (4km, 1hr 30min) that descends a stone path into a hidden valley where a gloriously sited twelfth-century monastery and plunging waterfall await. Follow the brown signs for “Mosteiro” and “Cascata” and then the paint marks, which take you first to the monastery, then along a stepped boardwalk to the waterfall viewing point before looping back to the village. Pitões may be isolated, but it expects visitors: there’s a car park at the top of the village and, just beyond, the Casa do Preto, an agreeable restaurant and bar with decent rooms in a new adjacent granite building.