Exploring Peneda Geres National Park, Portugal

We were so excited when we found out about Oporto Adventure Tours, a new company which offers tours from Porto and Braga to Peneda Geres, the incredible national park. The company has made one of the best parts of Portugal accessible for tourists to visit in just a day – making it a must-do for anyone visiting Porto. Together with Carla, our guide, and 3 Portuguese couples, we jumped in the Jeep and started our adventure along the narrow winding roads to the park.

Horse Riding Through a Village

After driving further and deeper into the park, and stopping by to swim in a crystal clear lagoon, we arrived in a small rural village.

The tiny village has only 100 residents, and being so far from civilization they don’t use money – instead, they trade services with each other.

The car stopped by a horse stable, where a little boy greeted us with a big smile – we were all supposed to jump on a horse and ride through the village. My legs were shaking already before I climbed on the horse, and for some stupid reason I chose the biggest one because I made up in my head that it was older and wiser. This turned out to be completely wrong, since me and my horse didn’t get along at all..!

As soon as we set off, my horse went straight for the bushes on the road side and branches above his head – all he wanted to do was eat, eat and eat, and he was getting increasingly frustrated by my nervous commands.

It didn’t matter what I did, because my horse had a will of his own; he stopped to drink when he wanted and ate when he wanted, and while Nathan was enjoying the incredible views and atmosphere, all I could focus on was my horse. While I was blaming everything on the horse, I knew that it was probably just me again. I guess I should have learned my lesson from last time in New Zealand when a horse kicked me so hard I flew several meters in the air – at least this time I didn’t fall off, so maybe I’m getting better?

Waterfalls and Secret Lagoons

The Portuguese couples we traveled with had been to the park many times before, but the reason they went with Carla on the tour was because they wanted to explore parts of the park that they didn’t know about. Carla took us to places that are not only unknown to foreigners, but to many of the locals.

After an exhausting walk through some of the park’s most rugged areas, soaked in sweat, we finally arrived at one of the most beautiful lagoons I have ever seen.

The water was turquoise and absolutely crystal clear, surrounded by smooth cliffs and a pouring waterfall in the corner. Although we had already taken a swim in another lagoon (that one with green clear water) we were so warm and sweaty we couldn’t wait to jump in. We spent a long time cooling off in the pure ice cold water, jumping from the cliffs and sunbathing on the rocks – it was freezing, but your body gets numb after a while so it’s fine 😉

Views and Wildlife

The nature in Peneda Geres is incredibly varied, from lush forests, cascades and massive waterfalls, to rugged rocky hills. There is a lot of wildlife in the park, from wolves to wild horses and the Cachena Cattle, which are typical for the area, and which were everywhere on the road side as we drove back home. Carla had really given us a unique experience and showed us places we would never have been able to find on our own, and we would definitely recommend that you check out their tours when you visit Porto.

Oporto Adventure Tours Overview

Price: €65
Website: www.oportoadventuretours.com
Facebook: facebook.com/oportoadventuretours

Many thanks to Oporto Adventure Tours for hosting us on this adventurous day in Peneda Geres National Park – all opinions are, as always, our own.

13 Responses to Exploring Peneda Geres National Park, Portugal

  1. crazy sexy fun traveler October 4, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Sounds like a fun day :) I always get one of those horses too who never obeys my commands :) Loving the lagoons!

    • Sofia October 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      Typical isn’t it 😉 The lagoons were amazing!

  2. Addison October 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    Wow, this is really cool. This is a side of Portugal that a lot of people don’t see. Having traveled to Brazil a lot, I run into a lot of people from Portugal, and they talk about this National Park. Now, I see what all the cool buzz is about! I’ll definitely have to add this to my bucket list.

    • Sofia October 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      I would definitely say it’s something you should check out when you visit northern Portugal, it was one of the most beautiful national parks I’ve seen, it’s really too bad that not many people know about it.

  3. Maria at inredningsvis.se October 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Tack så mycket för så fina ord på bloggen hela tiden:) det värmer i Göteborgs regnet man kom hem till haha. Vi verkar ha samma inredningssmak då jag också gillar sidengardiner och orientaliskt stuk:)

    ha en kanonhelg och skriv om du har något på hjärtat att dela med dig av, bara kul:)

    LOVE Maria

    • Sofia October 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Ja jag gillar kombinationen skandinavisk och orientalisk, det blir stilrent med färgglada och intressanta detaljer.

      Fortsätt med vad ni gör på bloggen, ni gör det jättebra.

  4. Mary October 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Peneda Geres National Park seems like it offers many wondrous place and interesting animals. I love the lagoons and the waterfalls. I should never miss this wonderful place.

    • Sofia October 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

      Next time you’re in northern Portugal, go and check it out, photos only captures a small part of what it’s really like :)

  5. Eva October 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    This seems to be very interesting and beautiful place to visit. It is very strange that the place was not so famose and many people didn’t know about it, But now we know :) and if I be in Portugals some day, I will exactly check this place out!

    • Sofia October 13, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      Hi Eva, yes it is really too bad that it’s not famous.

      I think one of the reasons is that there is no public transport to the park.
      The best way to truly enjoy Peneda Geres (which really is a must place to visit) is to either hire your own car, or take this tour, which I can’t recommend enough!

  6. Julie Dawn Fox October 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    The photos look amazing and I empathise with your experience on the horse. I can never seem to get them to do what I want but I still love the different perspective you get from seeing a place on horseback.

  7. Michael October 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Peneda Geres National Park is one of most wonderful natural landscapes in Portugal. It´s ideal for those who appreciate peace and tranquility, as well as a direct contact with nature​.

  8. Sonya October 15, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    Love this story! National Park travel is still so underrated by travelers. This one in Portugal looks fab!