Things to Do in Portela Portugal

things to do in Portela Portugal

If you love hiking, then visiting Peneda-Geres National Park is a must! This park has a unique granite landscape and countless villages that haven’t changed since the creation of Portugal.

Take a hike to the Portela Viewpoint and admire mountain peaks, villages in the bottom of the valleys and the Nossa Senhora da Peneda sanctuary. The viewpoint is perfect for both sunrise and sunset.

1. Visit Porto Santo

The tiny island of Porto Santo is renowned as a beach paradise. A 5.6-mile (9-km) strip of golden sand is the focal point, dotted with bars and restaurants that make for dreamy sunset walks. Ferries and flights depart for Porto Santo from Funchal throughout the year, with more connections available in summer.

But the island has far more than a stunning coastline to offer. From volcanic landscapes to distinctive heritage, there are fascinating things to do in Porto Santo that add depth and intrigue to your vacation.

One of the most enlightening is the Casa Museu de Christopher Columbus, where old tools and equipment fill the museum’s interior like a window into an agrarian past. Though the exhibits may seem dry, the museum is a worthwhile diversion for historians and Columbus enthusiasts.

2. Explore Peneda-Geres National Park

Peneda-Geres National Park is a huge, largely unexplored protected natural area that has more than a hundred stone villages frozen in time. If you have a car, you can explore the park on your own or join a day tour that will take you to the most interesting locations of this national park.

If you are interested in hiking, there are many trails that lead to the most beautiful places of this national park. Some of them climb mountain peaks for breathtaking views, others pass through old ruins or lead you to waterfalls.

One of the most popular destinations in this region is Portela do Homem waterfall, a natural wonder that combines a unique natural environment with a stunning turquoise water. It is also worth visiting the forest Mata da Albergaria and the Roman road (Geira) that passes through this national park.

3. Visit Braga

Braga is the perfect place to explore on foot, with the compact city center offering a chance to uncover historic sights, unique monuments and traditional family-run cafes. The city is also home to some beautiful parks and gardens, including the Jardim de Santa Barbara, a pretty 18th-century garden whose flowerbeds are a riot of color.

The multifaceted Pio XII Museum is a must-see for culture vultures. Its archaeological exhibits provide insight into the city’s illustrious past, while the displays of jewellery, ceramics, glassware and paintings by 20th-century portrait artist Henrique Medina are also impressive.

Wander around the Baroque palace of Palacio dos Biscainhos and admire its spectacular ornamented ceilings, or explore its collection of decorative objects such as furniture, glassware and ceramics. Then step outside to stroll the one-hectare grounds, enriched with fountains and sculpture, and framed by a medieval tower and Baroque oratory. It’s a gorgeous sight and, at the top of the hill, you can take in some mountain views.

4. Visit Serra Da Estrela

Serra Da Estrela is a vast mountainous region dotted with picturesque villages. The most notable feature of this protected area is the mounds of rounded granite boulders that appear like clouds, only more permanent. Some resemble animals or human figures and are a sight to behold.

If you’re visiting the park, make sure to visit some of its charming villages like Piodao, Belmonte or Linhares da Beira. They’re all part of Portugal’s Historical Villages route and offer a glimpse into traditional Portuguese life.

You can also sample the region’s delicious cheese, a strong, creamy sheep’s milk variety called Queijo de Ovelha de Seia. This is available in local restaurants as well as at the information centre in the town of Seia.

Another highlight of this natural park is Portela do Homem waterfall, located close to the border with Spain. It’s a stunning landscape, which shows how the park changes from rocky to full of life in just 200 metres!

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