Gerês National Park is gorgeous year-round, but winter is truly a magical time to visit it. If you are looking to get away from the concrete and explore the outdoors during your city break in Porto then this is the place for you!Avoid the crowds and discover the wild essence of one of the most beautiful national parks in europe during the low season - Time for relaxation!
Within 90 mim from Porto, the diversity of Gerês National Park is unmatched, with rainforests, mountain peaks, lakes, streams and stunning and powerful waterfalls.
There are also plenty of opportunities to see wildlife in Gerês during the winter. Garranos (wild horses that live free in the park) are very easy to see and sometimes even touch (they are very friendly animals. There is also cows, goats, sheep, dogs and cats that wander around the villages!
Watch the Video:
During the tours we hike to reach waterfalls and lagoons, stop in a local village on the hills were the time stopped in the sixties, eat the most traditional portuguese food and then hike some more trought a Roman ancient road, marked with 2,000-year-old milestones.
The centenary forest Mata de Albergaria and the amazing lake of Vilarinho das furnas will prove you step by step why Gerês National Park is so special and why you should not miss the opportunity to explore it during you trip to Porto!
Daytime temperatures during the winter average the 18 degrees (°C), and the hiking trails are easy to moderate difficulty, so even if you travel with your family it is something that everyone can do!
Silence, wildlife, Waterfalls and amazing colors makes the Gerês National Park mandatory for all the nature lovers and all the travellers that want to know more about the other side of Portugal outside the cities.
To book or know more about this tours click here
Oporto Adventure Tours!
5. An open Heart
5 things you don´t need!
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein
Is an oppurtunity to learn!
It´s a way to contribute to the natural heritage preservation!
Rage against invasive species!
Responsible Tourism is emotional and grateful!
Do you feel inspired to join us?
To my fellow travellers,
I am a guide, as people called me by the title of Jedi. I bring people to our National Park to show them nature and tradition. But it's so much more than that! I bring them to what has become my world, a deep experience that I am privileged to have whenever I work. This world is old, fading out in loneliness and memories, replaced by modern ambitions or downright abandoned.
This story plays out in the village of Fafião, formerly a self-sustainable community village, in the Mountains of Gerês. The people there have been hardened by centuries of isolation, amongst trees, rocks and wolves. Work was hard, food was scarce and childhood brief, as in any other village in the interior of Portugal. Misery and hunger is what any old person will tell you if you ask. Call me a hippie or a romantic, but I can’t help thinking that this was a sustainable way of life, and that something should have been done to preserve it and make people have better conditions at the same time.
Development was in production, in bridges and highways and university diplomas. Villages were obsolete. The first waves of emigration departed in the sixties and seventies, to the cities, to Spain or to France. The young didn't want to stay. They left to get jobs outside, earning money and better life quality.
Now, we have an aged population. We have bridges and highways, but the villages feel somehow less connected. While my generation has university diplomas and is unemployed in a saturated market. I can’t help thinking that something failed...
"The people there have been hardened by centuries of isolation, amongst trees, rocks and wolves"
But let’s go back to Fafião, where I always bring travellers on my tours. There’s a primordial feeling of wellness, of peace and simplicity. A different lifestyle, where you learn from the earth and live at a slower pace. There are still some locals. Like granite, they resist the erosion of time. When I come, I try to take a place in the community, always talking with them. Funny situations occur when I try connecting people from arround the globe with them. Once, an old lady exclamed, when she didn’t understand what a dutch couple was saying:
"In different villages we speak in different ways, so sometimes we don’t even understand each other!"
The day finally came when I met the oldest lady of the village, Dona Maria Benta, 94 years old. What she told me touched my soul:
- I am very old, I have suffered hunger for a long time.. I had 10 children and raised them in the mountains. Now only four are left.. They all live in Lisbon..
She sat humble, her aged eyes wet with tears. This tiny woman, dressed in black, embodied Portugal. She moved me. I told her I could be her new grandson, and that I would bring her a flower the next time I came. She laughed sadly, saying she was too old for flowers.
"You are never too old for flowers!"
At so it was that 3 days after I came with a flower. I found her outside, sitting with her cousin, and offered the gift. Dona Maria Benta, who everyone says is harsh for having had a harsh life, was emotional, and said that boys nowadays are very sweet. She blessed me to “go with God” when I left.
I feel like we are making a difference to this community, making them both benefit and connected by tourism. I like to think that we’re not only passing by, that we became part of them as much as they have become part of us!
Written by Ricardo "Jedi" Guerreiro.
Lovely, isn't it?!
This is the authentic footages sent by Kairi Killin during her trip with Oporto Adventure Tours to Porto and northern part of Portugal. Certainly, our travellers just never cease to amaze us!
Atlas & Rita, our magical wheels.
Our 4x4 also have magical powers, seriously. Each morning, when I take them to work, they seem like any other machine. Atlas (Land Rover Defender) the white giant, roaring and rumbling through the streets of Porto; or the sweet Rita (Land Rover Discovery) smooth and stiff, with a posture of a true lady! (Yes, it’s true, you’re reading it right. We love our 4x4 so much we gave them names and personalities.) For a few minutes it’s just me and them, nothing special, everything normal... But just the moment the seatbelts are tighten up and the wheels start rollin' ... something happens.
"Just the moment the seatbelts are tighten up and the wheels start rollin"
It’s common to have persons from all around the world during our tours , different ages, different cultures and countries. So suddenly I look in the mirror of the 4x4 and I see and listen people completely strangers to each other, sharing a squeezed seat in the back of our jeep, heading to Gerês.
Would you believe me if I told you that, by the end of the day, they are all laughing and hugging like if they were family? I wouldn’t too, but it’s true...
"And I blame our 4x4 and the magic it casts on our beloved travellers."
The conversation starts flowing with the wheels turning, the bounces on the road become smiles and soon, the first shy hello turns into an amazing story, or experience, or even a joke! Suddenly everyone is talking and sharing and happy. And why wouldn’t they be? We’re all doing something that we love: a walk on the wild side.
But the funny thing is that nature involves silence; so every time the moment demands for a bit of quietness, we can see everyone respecting it, staying calm and taking a deep breath without another sound than the one made by the water falling from the waterfalls.
"The sweet Rita on the left, and the masculine Atlas 4x4 on the right"
It’s amazing to see how travelers respect each other and how deep is their mutual understanding. Can you imagine how rewarding it is for me to meet people like that?
Come to visit Porto, Douro and Gerês too! Because it’s the people we meet at our destinations that make the difference. Trust us, besides our guides and the local population of the park, the travelers you’ll meet in one of our tours will make your journey richer, unforgettable.
As a traveller you have the power to plan your own trip, so make every second and cent spent on it count. Make it worth it!
Author: Rui Coelho
(Oporto Adventure Tours guide)