The Arribes, as it is called in Zamora, is a deep ravine that have been carved by the Douro. Zamora shares this space with Portugal, to whom the river makes a frontier and continues to Salamanca. In this trajectory, the Douro sometimes descends more than 400 feet, causing a spectacular canyon, a true geological throat whose slope has been exploited for the production of electrical energy. On the Portuguese side you can take a boat tour of the Douro and hear the authoritative explanation by a Portuguese biologist describing all the places you see from the boat.
On our motorcycle route on a summer day in northern Portugal (Ponte da Barca, Ponte de Lima and Viana do Castelo), we took the opportunity to visit the Church of Santa Lucia, which is located at the top of the mountain that shares the same name, from whose background you can see the ocean, the city of Viana and the estuary at the mouth of the Lima river. This location is considered to have one of the best views in the world by National Geographic. Besides being situated in gorgeous location, which you can walk to, get to by car and elevator, and it's amongst the lush green forests with the scent of fresh flowers and eucalyptus, and the ancient civilizations where the Celts lived in their huts. On the outskirts there are hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, etc., which allow for a great day of hiking, sightseeing and enjoying nature, all while enjoying views of the city, the sea and the Lima river. Great bike route!
The Natural Park of the North Coast has an area of 440 hectares and extends along 18 km from the estuary of the River Cávado in Braga and the town of Apulia. It is one of the principle areas to swim on the north coast of Portugal with empty beaches with clear waters and light sand dunes scattered with greenery. It is a protected area in the country.
During one of our visits to the northern region of Portugal, we crossed the wonderful Montesinho Natural Park, bordering the Sierra de la Culebra Zamora, a winding road. This nature reserve occupies the territories of Braganza and Vinhais, in the region of Tras-Os-Montes. With an area of over seventy-four thousand hectares, it is one of the largest natural parks in our neighboring country of Portugal. It has a beautiful natural landscape of rolling hills and boulders with a rich vegetation of poplars, alders, willows and large black oak forests, chestnut and oak trees. There is also a great diversity of rare and endemic tree species characteristic of this area. In this natural environment live many wild animals such as the wolf, roe deer and wild boar, as well as many birds and raptor species. The highest mountain points of the park are the Sierras de Coroa (standing at one thousand two-hundred and seventy-three meters) and Montesinho (standing at one thousand four-hundred and eighty-six meters). There are also valleys crossed by rivers such as the Mind, Rabaçal, the Tuela, the Baceiro, the Taste and Macas. Despite the winding road, it is worth the trouble to visit this natural environment, take a walk (no marked trails) or just inhale a breath of fresh air and admire the scenery, especially in spring and autumn.
The Acute Dunes Park, founded in the year 1997, is situated next to the Acute beach , in Vila Nova de Gaia. You can access it by the road, you just have to walk about 18 kilometers along the beaches of Vila Nova de Gaia. In the park you can see some plant species that only exist in that area. The visit is free. Once you enter, you can visit along the wooden paths that run throughout the park. Each species has little signs explaining the rigor. Its a very entertaining if you are around that area.
This beautiful park is located about 2 km from the old town, on the hill called Morro de Alcácima, site of the first settlement in the city in medieval times. It is a natural park which is accessed via stairs that start from nearby health center. On the way up (quite steep, by the way), I found some large cages which were empty, but were for birds and small animals. In this park there are many walking paths surrounded by greenery and pure nature. At the top of the hill is a viewing point and chapel. Formerly, this was the Tarouca castle, now defunct, which is remembered with pillory and a large coat of arms on the floor.
The hill or mountain of San Lorenzo (Sao Lourenço) is in Vila Chã. You can see the way clearly if you follow the signs to the Castro of San Lorenzo, a fortified village dating from the Iron Age found in this hill and worth visiting. The mountain is 200 meters high, overlooking the Firth of Cávado, so from the summit there are excellent views. As in many other parts of Portugal, there is a chapel at the top. I recommend you visit this mountain, taking a walk in its paths, which run through a pine forest. Every now and then you see huge, strangely shaped rocks. It's a nice place to relax and get lost and spend some time getting into nature. The views are great and you can admire one of the oldest archaeological sites on the peninsula.
The Natural Park of the North Coast of Portugal is a protected area that extends from the mouth of the river Cávado in Braga to Apulia, or about one ten iocho kilomentros. In the stretch of beach that lies between Esposende and Ofir, we found some small protected dunes with fences and sandbags. These were so that the sea didn't swallow the incredible momentum.
Das Pitões Junia is a high mountain town (+ 1200 m.), in the mountains of Peneda-Geres PN in northern Portugal, on the border of Spain. We went there on our routes passing bikers and following the Iberian wolf by the Baixa Limia and Peneda Geres. We always tried to go this mountain area, to stop for lunch or dinner for cod in the Portuguese flagship restaurant and other good meats and specialties of Tramontana. The entire area is perfect for hiking and mountain paths, cycling, etc.. In the tours around the village, while enjoying great views of the mountains at any time of year, we find ruins of typical urban (houses, furnaces, bridges, fountains, etc.), and also historical value when crossing the border to Spain, close to the reservoir of Maos de Salas (Casola do Foxo) . We also saw herds of wild horses, native cows, goats and sheep grazing in the meadows and mountains and surrounding towns Pitões, saved from attack by wolves breed mastiffs Castro Laboreiro, in view of eagles perched on poles!. The area has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The main resort in Ofir Esposende can be found just 3 kilometers away, where there is a long beach of fine white sand, although it is a bit windy. In front of the beach is where you'll find a promenade with restaurants and bars, and just behind an area of sand dunes and a forest full of pines. The shadow of these trees is a good place to shelter you from the wind and sun, especially at lunchtime, when it's pretty typical to see people picnicking. In summer traffic chaos because everyone who goes to the beach park in the pines, and the narrow paths become impassable. Immersed in the Ofir pine forest is a complex of chalets and Hotel Estalagem Parque do Rio
Visitors to Braga shouldn't miss climbing Mount Espinho, better known as Mount Bom Jesus due to its famous Sanctuary of Bom Jesus Christ, which is a major center of pilgrimage and popular devotion. However, one need not be religious to visit this mountain, it's a beautiful natural park in a pure state - you can go all day and breathe fresh air. It has multiple trails for walking and hiking, a lake, natural caves, kindergarten, picnic areas, several bars selling drinks and no less than 3 hotels and their respective restaurants surrounded by gardens. It's on a hill 116 meters above the city and is an excellent vantage point. It's about 5 km from the city and the easiest way to get there is to take the lift (funicular), otherwise you have to climb a long (yet gorgeous) stairway up the hill in a zigzag manner. If you go by car, you have to leave it in the parking lot at the foot of the funicular or steps.
Atlantic Eixo Park is a protected nature reserve in Vila do Conde's beach area, in the southwest corner of Avenida De Brazil. It's a dune ecosystem that's also present in 34 different cities in northern Portugal and Galicia. It's a good place to stroll while enjoying the natural dune environment with the sea as a backdrop, although it's mandatory to walk on the boardwalks to avoid damaging the ecosystem.
Nature Reserves in Terras de Bouro
Nature Reserves in Vila Nova de Famalicão Municipality