3 days on Serra da Estrela

Place: Loriga
Photo: Paulo Magalhães
Photo: Paulo Magalhães

At the top of Portugal 

This 3-day tour across the Serra da Estrela mountain range starts at Seia with a morning devoted to children.

First, an educational, fun visit to the Toy Museum to see toys from all eras, and in all shapes and sizes. Then, at the Bread Museum, the little ones will enjoy learning how to knead bread dough and make biscuits which they can take home with them. And, if it is time for lunch, this is the right place for a family meal to appreciate the flavours of the regional cuisine. Before leaving Seia, you must stop at the Information Centre to learn about trails and activities in the Natural Park. 

To reach Torre, mainland Portugal’s highest point, you can choose a more mountainous road running through Sabugueiro and Lagoa Comprida, or an alternative one that leads you through a number of mountain villages such as Lapa dos Dinheiros, Sazes da Beira and Valezim. A detour is necessary to get to Loriga and Alvoco da Serra, but it’s well worth it for the fabulous views over this glacier mountain. As regards accommodation, Tourism in the Country is the right choice, since it allows you to fully appreciate this bucolic environment and the hospitality of its people.

The ski resort is located at Torre, and the Covões do Meio and Ferro Lagoons, with their beautiful landscapes to admire, are situated nearby. For yet more breathtaking scenery, we suggest a detour to Penhas da Saúde, and if time permits, you can go down to Covilhã to visit the Wool Museum devoted to the region’s main economic activity, fed by its huge flocks of sheep. The faithful sheep dogs that herd them belong to an indigenous breed bearing the name of the Mountain, and their cubs will delight the little ones.

Back on the Mountain road, you can carry on to Manteigas. The Skiparque is located here, offering a wide variety of radical sports and an artificial snow piste where you can ski or snowboard at any time of the year.

The last day of this tour starts with a visit to Folgosinho castle to admire the view over the Mondego valley, followed by another castle at Linhares da Beira. On clear days, the skies over this well-preserved historical village are enlivened by the colourful spots of the paragliders who find ideal flying conditions here. Anyone game for it can experience this sensation; all you have to do is book a lesson at the local School.

You can then continue to Celorico da Beira to visit yet another castle, as well as the Solar do Queijo (Cheese Manor House), where you can taste and buy the most appreciated product in the region; the tour will end in Guarda, the highest city in the country.

This suggestion of a journey that goes through the municipalities of Seia, Covilhã, Manteigas, Celorico and Guarda may be a way to get to know a little of the Estrela Geopark, which UNESCO recognised due to the geological richness of this landscape, a good reason to explore the region.

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