Top of the places to visit in Peneda-Gerês National Park

Peneda-Gerês National Park was created in 1971 and is located in Northern Portugal. It covers a total area of 72 000 hectares (177 915 acres).

Map of Peneda-Gerês Park

This park is located in Minho region, in Viana do Castelo, Braga and Vila Real districts, northwest of Portugal, about 100 km from Porto. The park is home to more than a hundred granite villages that have not changed since the creation of Portugal in the 12th century.

Granite house in Brufe village

The oldest villages are mainly gathered in Serra da Peneda and remain distant from modern life. The oxen are still steered along the streets by women dressed in black and shepherds still let their flocks graze all by themselves for five months.

A friendly cow posing for the camera

Some wolves, wild boars, badgers, deers and wild ponies still live in the remotest areas of the park. You can also find serpents and sometimes even black venomous vipers.

Aside from the wild animals, domestic species also inhabit the park and are easily seen such as cattle with long horns, goats and autochthonous sheep and the rustic shepherd dog Castro Laboreiro.

Flock of goats in Peneda-Gerês National Park

 Here are the places to visit in Peneda-Gerês National Park:

1. Castro Laboreiro

Castro Laboreiro Castle
Bridge in Castro Laboreiro

Castro Laboreiro is a village well known for its 16th-century castle ruins (a castle built in 1505 over the foundations of a 12th century Moorish castle), bridges, medieval churches, community ovens, windmills and its inhabitants lifestyle.

2. Peneda

Nossa Senhora da Peneda Sanctuary
Source: Rui Videira

Peneda is one of the most beautiful mountain villages and is located half way between Lamas de Mouro and Soajo. Near a deep ravine, with view to a round mountain and a waterfall, Peneda offers a fascinating spectacle.

Nossa Senhora da Peneda Sanctuary

The only hotel in the village (old pilgrim shelters) is next to Nossa Senhora da Peneda Sanctuary.

This shrine was built between the end of the 18th century and mid 19th century; with its 300-metre stairway and 20 chapels depicting the life of Christ (Nativity and Passion), it is the centre of pilgrimage of Senhora da Peneda that takes place on the first week of September and where people gather at the square to witness the candle procession.

3. Soajo

Old granaries in Soajo village
Typical Soajo street

Soajo is a secluded village overlooking Lima river. The main attraction are the old stone granaries where corn is stored. We can enjoy a magnificent view over the surrounding landscape and walking is a good way to discover the beauty of the protected area.

4. Lindoso

Lindoso Castle

Lindoso is a farmer and shepherd village (1300 inhabitants). This village is well known for its 1278 castle and its old granaries that, strangely, resemble mausoleums but with a very different purpose. These granite granaries were built over stilts and vented on the sides enabling the storage and curing of corn.

Old granaries next to Lindoso Castle

5. Vilarinho das Furnas

Vilarinho das Furnas submerged by water

Vilarinho das Furnas is a village that was submerged in 1972 by the construction and filling of the dam with the same name. In a legal twist, the submerged land is still in the hands of the former villagers, but the use of the dam belongs to the Portuguese state.

Old house in Vilarinho das Furnas

Visit Vilarinho das Furnas at the end of summer and/or autumn – at this time the water level is low and the walls of the old village emerge through the water.

When you get to Vilarinho das Furnas dam, you’ll see a barrier – walk beside it and you’ll find the old village 2 km away.

6. Geira Roman Road

Peneda-Gerês National Park
Milestones at Peneda-Gerês National Park
Source: : cncporto

This Roman road connected two important Iberian cities: “Bracara Augusta”, present city of Braga, and “Asturica Augusta”, present city of Astorga, in a distance of 215 miles (~318 km).

I invite you to visit the Roman road between Campo do Gerês and Portela do Homem, located in Mata da Albergaria, one of the most beautiful places in the park.

Mata da Albergaria
Source: : albano moreira

You can travel the distance between Campo do Gerês and Portela do Homem by car but you can’t stop or park along the way. To fully enjoy the beauty of the landscape, a mountain bike is the best means of transportation.

  •     Total distance: 8 km
  •     Mountain bikes location: equidesafios

 7. São Bento da Porta Aberta

Cript of São Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary
Source: : goncalo proenca
Souvenir shop in São Bento da Porta Aberta
Source: : antonioluisousa

São Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary is located in Rio Caldo village, in Peneda-Gerês National Park.

The monks of Santa Maria de Bouro influenced the beginning of the cult to São Bento. In 1640 they started building the chapel. According to tradition, this chapel had a porch and, as in many other chapels up in the hills, the doors were always open so people passing by could use it as a shelter. São Bento da Porta Aberta (“open door”) was named after this fact and is still known today for this name.

8. Miradouro (Viewpoint) da Pedra Bela

Peneda-Gerês National Park
Pedra Bela Viewpoint
Source: : joaoleitao

One of the most beautiful places to gaze at Peneda-Gerês National Park. This viewpoint is located 6 km from Gerês village.

9. Arado Waterfall

Arado Waterfall
Source: : mariofch

Arado Waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in the park and is located at 900 metres of altitude.

Ponte_do_ Rio_Arado
Bridge over Arado river

To get to the waterfalls you should:


Option 1Option 2

Follow the path from Pedra Bela viewpoint towards Arado waterfall. Park your car beside the bridge over Arado river and take the stairway on the right of the bridge.

From Gerês village take the road to Caniçada dam. A few metres ahead you’ll find a junction to your left with the sign “Ermida”. Go that way and follow the narrow road but with a beautiful view.

After 5 km, you’ll find a junction to your right with the forest sign “Cabril”. Take a turn and follow that direction but with caution because you’ll find some steep roads until you get to the bridge over Arado river. Park your car near the bridge and take the stairway on the right of the bridge.

10. Pitões das Júnias

Santa Maria das Júnias Monastery

Pitões das Júnias is a small village well known for its Benedictine monastery built in the mid-9th century. Located in a spectacular valley, the monastery was meant to shelter Benedictine monks. In the 12th century, the monastery was donated to the Cistercian Order.

  •     How many days are needed to visit the Peneda-Gerês National Park: 4 Days
TransportationWhere to eatWhere to sleepPark festivals Useful Information

From/To Peneda-Gerês National Park


The Empresa Hoteleira do Gerês connects Braga to Gerês village (3.50 €, 1h30m, once per hour from Monday to Friday and six times per day on Saturdays and Sundays)

Salvador buses cross Ponte da Barca in the week, twice a day, connecting Arcos de Valdevez to Soajo (2.10 €, 45 min) and Lindoso (2.20 €, 1 h) in Peneda-Gerês National Park.


Usually, the roads in the park are good but they can be tricky. Pay attention to small roads as they can be dangerous to your car, even though they don’t show up in the maps.

When I visited the park I used the car as means of transportation so I could easily move around and waste less time.

Where to eat

Saber ao Borralho

Saber ao Borralho has a great atmosphere, with excellent local dishes such as “posta à barrosã” (a meat dish), three codfish dishes and a tempting selection of desserts.


Prices: 18-20 € for 2

Opening hours: Open at lunch and dinner. Closed on Tuesdays

Location: Rua 25 de Abril, 1158, 4970 Soajo


Lurdes Capela

Located in Gerês village, this family restaurant is usually booked up because of its excellent cuisine. In the menu you’ll find fresh fish, potatoes and vegetables in butter, meat, codfish, etc.


Prices: 9-28 € per person

Opening hours: Open at lunch and dinner. Closed on Tuesdays

Location: Av. Manuel Gomes de Almeida, 77, 4845-067 Gerês

Where to sleep

Chalé de Soutelinho (affiliate link)

Located in Peneda-Gerês National Park, the peaceful Chalé de Soutelinho has a garden and an outside pool. The house was recently renewed and is on the outskirts of Gerês village.


Price: ~120 €/night, 3 bedroom apartment (max 6 people)

Services: Free Wi-Fi and free parking

Check-in: starting at 17h00

Check-out : Until 12h00

Location: Rua Dr. Manuel Gomes de Almeida, 54, 4845-067 Gerês

Peneda Hotel*** (affiliate link) 

Peneda Hotel is located next to Nossa Senhora da Peneda Sanctuary. Peinador and Francisco Sá Carneiro airports are at 70 and 140 km respectively. Bedrooms are comfortable, with modern amenities and private bathroom. The hotel’s restaurant serves Portuguese food.


Price: ~50 €/night, double room

Servies: Free Wi-Fi and free parking

Check-in: 15h00 – 23h30

Check-out : Until 12h00

Location: Lugar Da Peneda, 4970-150 Gavieira

Nossa Senhora da Peneda

The pilgrimage to Nossa Senhora da Peneda happens from 1 to 8 September of each year. The 5th and 6th September are the most important days with the Eucharistic procession and Portuguese folk music.

São Bento da Porta Aberta

  • 20 and 21 March: The death of S. Bento is celebrated on this date in Monte Cassino, Italy. The most important day of the pilgrimage is the 21st that used to be its celebration day;
  • 10 and 11 July: People celebrate the Festival of S. Bento, Europe’s patron saint;
  • 10, 11,12, 13,14 and 15 August: This is, by tradition, the biggest pilgrimage to S. Bento da Porta Aberta. On these days, thousands of pilgrims go to the sanctuary to keep their promises.

Entrances to the park: Lamas de Mouro, Mezio, Lindoso, Campo do Gerês, Paradela and Montalegre. You can use your PDA or GPS device to help you on orientation trails that you will find at one of the entrances to the park.

Peneda-Gerês National Park head office:

Booking central of the regions of Peneda-Gerês National Park:

For additional information go to: or

Useful tips for your trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park:

1- Pay attention to the weather forecast and avoid doing any activities if it’s going to rain or if a stormy or foggy day is expected.

2- Sudden climatic changes may happen above 800 metres. Be alert.

3- Choose plain and comfortable clothing and footwear. Avoid using the yellow colour and perfume because it will attract bugs.

4- In the summer, pay special attention to sun protection and take water if you’re going on a hike. Even in the winter, never forget to take water, food and a cell phone.

5- Take binoculars and a camera if you can.

Are you going to visit the Peneda-Gerês National Park ? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!

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About Tiago

Tiago, 30 years old, Parisian for 18 years, I decided to go on an adventure and make my dream come true: get to know our country from one end to the other. I believe that if we don’t know our origins we don’t truly know ourselves. Read more here