Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (2023)

You might not have heard of Peneda-Gerês National Park but if you love the outdoors you’ll want to read this article!

If you’re looking for a new hiking destination which beats the crowds and still has authentic local culture then Peneda-Gerês National Park should definitely be on your radar.

Less than 2 hours from Porto and sitting on the Spanish border, Peneda-Gerês National Park is a 700-km-sq natural playground ripe to be explored by all travellers.

And, it’s not just hiking. The whole area is filled with a variety of outdoor pursuits, rich history and charming local culture, all for an enjoyable price by European standards. We loved it so much we had to tell you about it!

Keep reading to see why Peneda-Gerês National Park could be the perfect place for your next adventure and all the details you need to plan your trip!

This is why you’ll love Peneda-Gerês National Park

The hiking trails are a dream

Whether you’re looking for 3 hour loops or 5 day expeditions towards the Spanish border, you’ll find it at Peneda-Gerês National Park. There are ridge walks along valley tops, easier paths through dense pine forests and trails leading you to beautiful waterfalls, all easily accessible.

The hiking infrastructure is well established so in most larger towns you’ll find tourist information offices which can advise and give maps.Alternatively you can download a GPS map like Maps.Me or take some inspiration from the routes on Wikiloc. Most of the trails are well marked and you’ll find conveniently placed camping spots and refuges so the adventure can be as big as you make it!

Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (1)

Unspoiled nature and conservation

Part of what makes Peneda-Gerês National Park special is how connected to nature you feel. The national park is in the middle of mountain ranges with forests, valleys, rivers, lakes and waterfalls dotted around the landscape. These beautiful habitats are home to vast amounts of wildlife, including snakes, bats, wolves, deer and golden eagles – you’ll have a good chance of sightings.

The region also seems to have made developments just to the right level. Whilst you’ll still find all of the practical amenities you need you’ll notice a very unspoiled, natural feel to the park. Trails are maintained and easy to follow but they’re not intrusive, nature flourishes and you get a wonderfully relaxed feel, free from rubbish and excessive developments.

All this is helped by the locals living in or around the park, who help maintain and conserve their surroundings. It’s awesome to see local communities complimenting the natural life and even tourism seems to be bringing awareness rather than destruction.

Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (2)
Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (3)

It’s huge and off the beaten track

With more than 700-sq-km to discover Peneda-Gerês National Park has options around every corner. Plan a bike tour, go on a long-distance hike or hire a car and really cover some ground, exploring all the natural wonders and tiny mountain villages.

Despite its large size you’ll still find plenty of places to stock up on supplies and water. Some of the small mountain communities are particularly hospitable and a great insight into the local culture. Just make sure you speak some Portuguese if you want a conversation!

Size aside, it’s also a great place to find some solitude as surprisingly this huge national park doesn’t see many tourists – but who’s complaining?

Whilst many other outdoors European destinations will be packed during the summer months this isn’t the case here. You can escape into the outdoors and have the whole trail to yourself, something especially nice if you’re only visiting for a short break.

And not just for hiking enthusiasts

If hiking isn’t your thing you’ll also find plenty of wildlife watching, climbing opportunities, mountain biking and water sports in some of the many lakes.

If you don’t fancy breaking a sweat then head to some of local village markets and absorb some of the traditional culture or try some local foods. The natural thermal water spas are a great place to unwind or you spend the day chilling by the lake with a good book.

Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (4)

History buffs welcomed

Peneda-Gerês is actually Portugal’s only national park, it was created in 1971 however the history goes much further than that. With sites from the Megalithic period and the Roman occupation you can still see these ancient areas within the mountains, preserving Portugal’s ancient traditions. With 16th century castle ruins, submerged villages and roman roads, history buffs will have plenty to discover.

You can save some wonga

Peneda-Gerês National Park is much cheaper than regular Portuguese cities and the south of the country. Everything from the accommodation, to transport and outdoor activity costs come with a pleasingly lower price than many other European destinations.

Whether you’re making a pack-up for the trails or ingredients for a evening feast, even the smallest villages have fruit and veg stalls with everything you need for vegan munching. Spend the day on the trails and the evening cooking with friends in the hostel and you’ll have plenty of money left over.

Looking for more hiking trails in Portugal?

Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (5)
Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (6)

Planning your trip

Where to stay in Peneda-Gerês National Park

With such a large area you have a lot of accommodation options spread across a number of different towns and villages. Gerês, Campo do Gerês, Villar da Veiga and towns around the Cavado river have the largest selection but you’ll find plenty of other place too.

Our personal pick was Hostel Gerês in Gerês, which was a real corker for the price and actually one of the best value spots we’ve found in Europe. The property is right on the valley side in the centre of a lovely village with breathtaking views right from your balcony. They’ve even got a pool, a games room and a super friendly cat!You can find it here for less than €20 a night including a pretty awesome breakfast.

If you fancy staying in a different region you’ll find the best selection through, Hostel World and also AirBnb. If you do go with AirBnb make sure you save £34 off your first booking here!

Within the national park there are plenty of exciting camping ground and you could also try Couch Surfing, though this will be harder in less developed regions.

If you’re camping do you know what you’re taking? Here’s a useful packing list

Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (7)
Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (8)

How to get there

Trains and buses connect Porto and the South with Braga. Depending on what part of the park you want to visit, buses can take as little as 1 hour and cost only a few euros. Within the park buses connect villages and it’s also easy to hitchhike on the bigger roads.

When to go

Cross stream beds and hike to waterfalls in autumn and spring, see snow capped mountains in the winter and swim in emerald blue lakes in the baking summer – it depends on what you want. Towns will be busier in summer months so late spring or early autumn are good optinos.

We spent 5 days here in mid October and the weather was 22-27°c each day. No rain, no crowds just a spot of wild fires!

Other things to consider

  • Depending on where you’re visiting from you may need a visa for Portugal
  • Guidebooks can be very useful if you’re planning to visit different areas – Lonely Planet is the most comprehensive
Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker's Paradise - Veggie Vagabonds (9)

Peneda-Gerês National Park: a Hiker’s Paradise

Did you think Peneda-Gerês National Park was as awesome as we did? Let us know in the comments box below!

Keep exploring…

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Is Peneda-Gerês National Park worth visiting? ›

You will find some amazing lagoons and mesmerising waterfalls hidden in the middle of the forest. You will climb incredible mountains, admire some of the local flora and fauna, and enjoy the amazing viewpoints that the Peneda-Gerês National Park has to offer. This is one magical place that will leave you speechless!

Where can I hike in Peneda Geres? ›

The Top 5 Walking trails to take in Peneda-Gerês National Park
  • Fojo da Portela da Fairra. ...
  • Cidade da Calcedónia. ...
  • São Bento. ...
  • Trilho dos Currais. ...
  • Trilho da Preguiça.
21 Sept 2021

What is the famous trail in Portugal? ›

The Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is the most popular day hike in Algarve and encapsulates some of the most impressive scenery in the region. The 5.7 km trail stretches between Praia da Marinha and Praia de Vale Centianes.

How many days do you need in Peneda-Gerês National Park? ›

However, Peneda Geres National Park is big and full of things to do, thus we advise you to take at least 2 days to really enjoy it! In case you don't want to drive, you can use public transports to go to Geres, there are buses from Braga and from Porto. Or, you can even go on a Private tour.

Which Croatian National Park is better? ›

Plitvice Lakes National Park is the best park for seeing waterfalls. Located in the center of the country, two hours from Zagreb and three hours from Split, vast Plitvice Lakes National Park was the first national park in Croatia, and it remains the largest today.

How long is the Benbulbin walk? ›

The Benbulbin and Kings Mountain Loop Walk is a moderate to strenuous 3.5 hour (8 km) walking route to the unique and distinctive plateau of Kings Mountain (462m) also known as Fionn mac Cumhaill (McCools) Table and the spectacular vertical gullies and cliffs at Benbulbin Head (526m).

How long of a walk is Wupatki? ›

The hike is approximately 18-20 miles round-trip over rough desert terrain at an elevation of approximately 4,500-4,900 feet. The route is cross-country; there is no designated trail.

How much does it cost to walk the Portuguese Camino? ›

Total Trip Costs

Most pilgrim budgets fall in the $30-60 (€25-50) per day range, meaning a 30-day walk would cost $900-1800 (€750-1500). If you don't already have hiking gear, new gear could easily cost $300-600 (€250-500) if you need to get new footwear, backpack and sleeping bag.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Portugal? ›

Oceanário de Lisboa, Lisbon

Arguably Portugal's most popular and family-friendly visitor attraction, Lisbon's oceanarium is brilliantly conceived to highlight the world's diverse ocean habitats.

How long does it take to walk the Portuguese Camino? ›

How long does it take to walk the Portuguese Camino? It takes approximately 25 days to walk the full Camino Portugues Central from Lisbon, although rest days are highly recommended and some stages can be shortened depending on accommodation availability.

What is the prettiest town in Portugal? ›

The 10 prettiest towns in Portugal
  1. Carvalhal. This little village sits among the pine forests, rice fields and dunes near Comporta with a wonderful white-sand beach that is the perfect setting for a gallop as the sun sets. ...
  2. Lindoso. ...
  3. Marvão. ...
  4. Cacela Velha. ...
  5. Belmonte. ...
  6. Amarante. ...
  7. Monsanto. ...
  8. Sortelha.
9 Apr 2022

What is the prettiest part of Portugal? ›

5 Most Beautiful Regions in Portugal
  • Algarve. The Algarve is one of the best regions to visit in Portugal if you're looking for a sunshine-filled beach break. ...
  • Lisbon and the Tagus Valley. ...
  • Alentejo. ...
  • Porto and Northern Portugal. ...
  • Central Portugal.
16 Jun 2021

Which city is most beautiful in Portugal? ›

What are the most beautiful cities in Portugal?
  • Lisbon. Lisbon is a city full of charm, culture and history, located on the banks of the Tagus River. ...
  • Porto. Portugal's second-largest city, Porto is a top destination for lovers of wine, good food and beautiful architecture. ...
  • Sintra. ...
  • Cascais. ...
  • Braga. ...
  • Faro. ...
  • Coimbra. ...
  • Obidos.
21 Sept 2022

How hard are the walks at Karijini? ›

The hikes in Karijini follow the Australian Hike Grading System. The trails below range from Class 2 to Class 5 in difficulty. Flash flooding is a real risk in the Karijini gorges, so do not enter when it's raining. Sadly lives have been lost at Karijini, even in good weather.

Is it worth going to Corcovado National Park? ›

Known as the largest lowland rainforest remaining on Central America's Pacific coast, Corcovado National Park is a must see for the dedicated nature enthusiast.

Is Voyageurs National Park good? ›

About Voyageurs National Park

From kaleidoscopic sunrises and sunsets mirrored on glassy waters of its lakes to some of the most spectacular displays of the northern lights you'll find anywhere on earth, Voyageurs is a true monument to the wonders of nature.

Which city in Croatia is the most beautiful? ›

Dubrovnik. No round-up of the most beautiful towns in Croatia would be complete without mentioning Dubrovnik.

How do you get to Peneda-Gerês National Park? ›

Driving or going by private transfer is the best and most convenient way to reach Peneda-Gerês National Park. The quickest route is on the A3 Highway, where you'll stay for the majority of the 66-mile (107 km) journey. You'll cross the Cávado River before merging onto the IC28 Highway.

Where is Geres National Park in Portugal? ›

The Peneda-Gerês National Park is located in the northwest of Portugal, extending through the municipalities of Melgaço, Arcos de Valdevez and Ponte da Barca (in the district of Viana do Castelo), Terras de Bouro (district of Braga), and Montalegre (district of Vila Real).

How long is the Fishermans walk? ›

The Fisherman's Trail is a 4-day coastal trek in Portugal. The trail stretches from the coastal town of Porto Covo in Alentejo to the inland town of Odeceixe in Algarve. Hugging the undeveloped Vicentina Coast of Portugal, this outstanding trek grants hikers access to Portugal's most wild and remote coastal areas.

How long is the Fisherman's walk? ›

Enjoy this 4.3-km out-and-back trail near Dolwyddelan, Conwy. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 12 min to complete.

How long is the arboretum walk? ›

There are plenty of grassy spots and benches along Three-Mile Walk that are perfect for picnicking.

Is Sunset Crater still closed? ›

The Sunset Crater Volcano Visitor Center is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday - Tuesday. The Visitor Center is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Holiday closures include Thanksgiving Day, December 25 and January 1.
All Park Hours.
Christmas DayDecember 25, 2022Sunrise–Sunset
10 more rows
5 days ago

Is there a fee for Wupatki National Monument? ›

You can find more details at our Operating Hours & Seasons page. For each vehicle, $25.00 covers the entry to both Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments. Motorcycles may enter for $20.00, and the entry fee for bicyclists and pedestrians is $15.00.

Can you climb Sunset Crater? ›

Why can't we climb the volcano? The trail to the top of Sunset Crater was closed in 1973, due to the deep ruts and erosion caused by the feet of thousands of hikers.

Is Camino walk difficult? ›

It's relatively short, 321 km but it's considered to be one of the toughest routes due to many steep ascents and descents. The Camino Primitivo starts in Oviedo, Spain.

What is the best time of year to walk the Camino? ›

While the Camino de Santiago is passable all year round, the months of April, May, June, September and October are optimal months for experiencing the trail. For those opting for the popular Camino Francés, the Pyrenees mountain chain can see deep snow and inclement weather in wintertime.

Are people walking the Camino in 2022? ›

Start planning your Camino de Santiago pilgrimage for 2022

With the news that Pope Francis has extended the Jacobean Holy Year to 2022, there's now more opportunity to take part in a pilgrimage during the Holy Year and to celebrate the festivities on the way of St James.

How many days in Portugal is enough? ›

Any Portugal travel itinerary should be a minimum of seven days long to ensure you can immerse yourself in the local culture, customs, and traditions. Those with more time can enjoy traveling further afield or staying longer in one destination to scratch beneath the surface.

Is Portugal expensive to visit? ›

The answer is not expensive at all! It's actually ranked as one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe and is famous for its affordable food costs, cheap accommodation options, and reasonable transportation costs.

Is Portugal friendly to tourists? ›

The good news is that Portugal is often considered one of the safest countries in Europe to visit. It even ranked third out of 163 countries on the Global Peace Index. The index is scored by considering factors like crime rate, terrorist acts, violent demonstrations, political scene, and relations with other countries.

Which Camino is the most beautiful? ›

Camino del Norte. The Northern Way is arguably the most scenic, running along the Bay of Biscay coast from foodie San Sebastián, via Bilbao and Santander and an array of beautiful beaches, to Oviedo; from here you can join the Camino Primitivo to reach Santiago.

What is the hardest part of the Camino? ›

The hardest day of the Camino is on the first day of the French Way, where you have to cross the great mountain range of the Pyrenees over the Napoleon Pass. You must hike 26km to get to the first stop, but you are awarded with a stay in the stunning monastery town of Roncesvalles and two days later Pamplona.

Which is the easiest Camino to walk? ›

According to the Pilgrims' Reception Office in 2021, 10 980 people (6% of all pilgrims who arrived in Santiago) completed the Camino Inglés. For us, the English Way was our 6th Camino de Santiago that we completed in a year and probably the easiest one due to its short distance.

What month is best for Portugal? ›

The best time to visit Portugal is in spring (March-May), when the country is in bloom and waking after the winter. You could also go in fall (between September and October) when the sun is still shining, the weather is warm, and many of the crowds have dispersed.

What is the safest city in Portugal? ›

10 Safest Cities in Portugal
  • Lisbon.
  • Braga.
  • Porto.
  • Ponta Delgada (the Azores)
  • Funchal (Madeira)
  • Aveiro.
  • Portimão.
  • Coimbra.

What is the warmest city in Portugal? ›

1. Amareleja – Alentejo region. The highest temperatures in Portugal tend to occur inland. The town of Amareleja is one of the hottest places in Europe during the summer, with a high temperature of 47.4°C (117.3 °F) recorded on August 1, 2003.

Which is better for vacation Spain or Portugal? ›

Head to Portugal if you're a seafood fanatic wary of crowds, or if you're on a budget. Portugal is an up-and-coming destination that will surprise you. If you're really into fine dining, world-class museums, or rock climbing and hiking, Spain is a great choice.

Why is Portugal so famous? ›

Portugal is famous for its typical seafood dishes, popular beach destinations, and 16th to 19th-century architecture, from when this country was a powerful maritime empire. It's also known for its soccer legends, fado music, historical cities, and port wine.

Is Portugal a cheap place? ›

If you're looking to scope out the best Europe has to offer without letting go of a massive chunk of cash, look no further than Portugal. Considered the cheapest destination in Western Europe, this affordable hotspot has something for everyone.

What is the richest part of Portugal? ›

Where the rich live in Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril. The Portuguese Riviera has been known for being home to wealthy families for many years. Once a small fishing community, Cascais has become a cosmopolitan retreat for the wealthy in the past century.

What is so special about Voyageurs National Park? ›

With 218,055 acres, Voyageurs National Park is an adventure wonderland all year long full of exposed rock ridges, cliffs, wetlands, forests, streams and lakes. This is a place of transition between land and aquatic ecosystems, between southern boreal and northern hardwood forests, and between wild and developed areas.

What is uniqueness of Akagera National Park? ›

Akagera has an inspiring conservation story as it is now home to lions and rhinos, and is the only Big Five park in the country. Just two hours' drive from Kigali, it is a beautiful and convenient savannah landscape to visit, and an easy site to add on to before or after visiting the gorillas.

Why should I visit Voyageurs National Park? ›

Voyageurs National Park is a remote and stunning wilderness in northern Minnesota. The park offers a variety of activities, from boating to hiking, with a wide range of top sights to see along the way. Voyageurs is home to four large lakes and many smaller ones scattered throughout the park.

Can you visit Corcovado without a guide? ›

Everyone that wants to go into the national park needs ​a certified licensed guide​ and entrance permits. No one is allowed to enter Corcovado without a guide for day hikes or overnight hikes. Please contact the guides we recommend above to arrange your tour and to buy your permits several weeks before your stay.

How much does it cost to go to Corcovado National Park? ›

Corcovado is a government managed national park. The park is open from 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM daily. There are ranger stations at La Leona, Los Patos, San Pedrillo and La Sirena, each offers public restrooms. The entrance fee to Corcovado is $15 per person and a permit is required.

How long is the drive from San Jose to Corcovado National Park? ›

The direct drive from San Jose to Corcovado National Park is 60.9 mi (98 km), and should have a drive time of 1 hr 56 mins in normal traffic.

What is the best time of year to visit Voyageurs National Park? ›

A Season for Everyone

The air is temperate during June, July, and August when periods of fine, mild weather prevail. The frost-free season averages 120 days from June to mid-September. The average ice-out date is May 3rd but varies year to year.

What time of year can you see the northern lights in Voyageurs National Park? ›

Northern lights can be seen anytime of the year, however the best chance to view them is in the winter. The smallest chance of seeing northern lights is in the summer. While northern lights can occur at anytime, we are only capapble of seeing them when it is dark out.

How often can you see the northern lights in Voyageurs National Park? ›

The Voyageurs National Park Service claims you can see the Northern Lights 200 times per year here in Northern Minnesota.

What vegetation is found in Akagera national park? ›

Akagera is a savannah montane and swamp vegetation mainly. Akagera national park is one of the biodiverse protected swamps in Africa covered with mainly savannah montane vegetation and swamp vegetation.

What is Rwanda popular for? ›

Rwanda is renowned for its rare mountain gorillas, and rightly so. Some 400 of our primate cousins roam the rainforests of Volcanoes National Park, with ten groups available for tracking. But this tiny country has so much more to see.

Are there grizzly bears in Voyageurs National Park? ›

What kind of bears are in Voyageurs National Park? Voyageurs only has black bears, although the color of their fur varies from brown to black. To reduce the potential for bear/human interactions, all developed tent sites have metal food lockers for food storage. The lockers are 52” wide x 36” deep x 21” high.

How do I spend a day at Voyageurs National Park? ›

Best Things to Do in Voyageurs National Park
  1. Paddle in a Canoe. ...
  2. See the Northern Lights. ...
  3. Explore Ellsworth Rock Gardens. ...
  4. Go Fishing. ...
  5. Camp on Your Own Island.
4 Oct 2022

Can you visit Voyageurs National Park without a boat? ›

The interconnected waterways provide recreational boaters with an unparalleled opportunity to explore the northwoods lake country. Visitors can access the park by car or air. State Highways 53 and 11 lead visitors to the park's gateway communities and visitor centers.

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