A winding, undulating 43km route from Vouzela heads over the 1000m peaks of the SERRA DA FREITA to Arouca, via a beautiful, terraced landscape littered with dolmens, crumbling villages and waterfalls. Vines grow on precipitous slopes, while the roads snake through pine forest and then high across the heather-dotted moorland. A regional map available from Arouca turismo details all the local sights and attractions, as well as several breathtaking hikes, and you could easily spend a day or two touring and walking in the hills.

AROUCA itself is a handsome little town which – though largely unbothered by tourists – is a real gem. It was probably established by the Romans, though nothing of the period remains; today, the town is famous for its monastery – the vast, medieval Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Arouca, whose imposing walls loom over the main road that cuts through town. The central square holds a couple of pavement cafés, and the medieval backstreets are great for a bit of aimless wandering, with some beautiful old houses bedecked with wisteria.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Portugal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 best beaches in Portugal

The 10 best beaches in Portugal

For many travellers, Portugal is synonymous with images of golden sun-baked beaches. And with a generous 1700 kilometres of coastline, there’s enough sand for…

20 Jan 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Undiscovered Portugal: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Undiscovered Portugal: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Although Portugal is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, it is surprisingly easy to get away from it all and escape the crowds. Most people hea…

17 Jan 2017 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
What’s all the fuss about Lisbon?

What’s all the fuss about Lisbon?

Those in the know have been quietly enjoying Lisbon’s charms for years, but the city is currently having a bit of a moment. In recent times, it’s seen the o…

12 Jan 2017 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month