Peneda-Gerês National Park A Haven for Wildlife and Nature in Portugal
Peneda-Gerês National Park A Haven for Wildlife and Nature in Portugal

Located in the north of Portugal, the Peneda-Gerês National Park is a natural paradise known for its stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and cultural heritage. Stretching across an area of 270 square miles, it is the only national park in Portugal and one of the country’s greatest treasures.​

History and Geography

The park was established in 1971 and covers parts of the districts of Viana do Castelo, Braga, and Vila Real.​ Named after two mountain ranges ౼ Peneda and Gerês ౼ that dominate its landscape, the park boasts an impressive variety of ecosystems ranging from granite peaks to deep valleys, dense forests, and crystal-clear rivers.

Flora and Fauna

Peneda-Gerês National Park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The park is covered with oak, chestnut, and birch forests, providing a habitat for numerous plant and animal species.​ Some of the notable species found in the park include the Iberian wolf, the Iberian ibex, the golden eagle, the goshawk, the wild boar, and the European otter.​ It is also worth mentioning that the park is home to several endemic plant species, making it a botanical gem.

Activities and Attractions

Visitors to Peneda-Gerês National Park have plenty of activities to choose from.​ Hiking is one of the most popular activities, as it allows visitors to explore the park’s diverse landscapes and discover hidden gems along the way.​ There are various well-marked trails catering to all levels of fitness and experience.​

For those who enjoy wildlife watching, the park offers excellent opportunities.​ Guided tours can be arranged to increase the chances of spotting some of the park’s most elusive creatures, such as the Iberian wolf.​ Birdwatching is also popular, with an abundance of species to observe.

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The park’s rivers and lakes are perfect for swimming, fishing, and canoeing.​ The crystal-clear waters are not only refreshing but also home to different fish species. Many visitors indulge in fishing or simply relax by the water, taking in the tranquility of the surroundings.​

Cultural heritage is also an integral part of Peneda-Gerês National Park.​ The park is dotted with historical villages, ancient ruins, and traditional shepherd shelters known as “espigueiros.​” These structures, built entirely of granite, were historically used to store grain and wood, and today they serve as a symbol of the region’s rural heritage.​

Conservation Efforts

The conservation of Peneda-Gerês National Park is of utmost importance.​ Efforts are made to protect and preserve its natural and cultural heritage, allowing visitors to experience the park’s beauty while ensuring its sustainability for future generations.​ The park is designated as a Special Protection Area for Birds and also has several protected areas within its boundaries.

How to Get There

The closest major airport to Peneda-Gerês National Park is Porto Airport, which is well-connected to major European cities.​ From Porto, it is approximately a two-hour drive to the park.​ Public transportation options, such as buses and trains, are also available to reach the park;

Once inside the park, private vehicles or guided tours are the best options for exploring the different areas.​ It is important to note that some areas require permits or have restricted access to protect sensitive habitats.​

Peneda-Gerês National Park is a true haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.​ With its diverse ecosystems, abundant flora and fauna, and a wide range of activities, it offers a unique and rewarding experience for visitors. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or a deeper understanding of Portugal’s natural heritage, this national park is sure to leave you captivated.​

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Why is peneda gerês national park so popular?

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