Gerês is the perfect place for nature lovers. A nook in the North of Portugal, where the views are breathtaking. We will let you know what to do, eat and where to stay in Gerês. And we've also rounded up the best extreme activities! If you are thinking of visiting Gerês, you have everything you need to know in this article.
What to visit in Gerês? What are the main sights of Gerês?
Viewpoint of Pedra Bela
The viewpoint of Pedra Bela, located at 829 metres of altitude, is a place where you can enjoy all the beauty of Gerês with a 360º view. Most visitors advise visiting at the end of the day, so that the bright colours of the sunset can be appreciated.
It is possible to get to the viewpoint by car and there is even a car park. Or try to make the Currais Trail. A pedestrian route of about ten km. On site, access is made through stairs on the rocks. The viewpoint of Pedra Bela will provide you with the best views over the village of Gerês and Albufeira da Caniçada.
The popular Tahiti Waterfalls are actually called Fecha de Barjas Waterfalls and are one of the most visited in Gerês. To visit the waterfalls you must go down the left bank of the Arado River. Here, you will find a paradisiacal setting, with very clean waterfalls, a little cold, however. It is possible to stay in place, cool off in the water and sunbathe on the rocks, however the space is not recommended for children due to the difficult access.
Portela do Homem Cascade
The Rio Homem Cascade, better known as Portela do Homem Cascade, is located near the border with Spain and is one of the most beautiful places in Gerês. In this cascade there are options for every taste.
The bravest can jump from a few metres high into the water and those who prefer something calmer can just relax in the crystal clear water. The best option is to drive from the village of Gerês, following road N308-1 towards the Portela do Homem Parking place, next to the border with Spain.
The place is 50 metres from road N308-1. The first waterfalls can be seen from the Bridge over the river Homem.
The Arado cascade is on the outskirts of the Hermitage and is one of the most beautiful landscapes of Gerês. In this place, you will find several cascades that merge into an incredible waterfall.
Near the waterfall, you have the Arado viewpoint. Surrounded by nature, this is the ideal place to get that fantastic photo. Comparatively, the Tahiti Waterfall transmits more security and better ease of access. The Arado Waterfall is located in the parish of Vilar da Veiga and a short distance from the bridge over the Arado River.
To get there, you can head towards Vilar da Veiga along the N308-1 road until Pereiró. Then, you follow the CM1276 road towards the intersection near the village of Ermida (Vila da Veiga - Terras de Bouro) and, at this intersection, you will already start seeing signs indicating the Arado Waterfalls. From there, you only need to travel approximately three km to find the place.
Miradouro da Boneca
Miradouro da Boneca is 750 metres high. Here, you have the view of the entire valley of the rivers Gerês and Cávado and also the bridges of Rio Caldo. Near the viewpoint, you can also find the Boneca Fountain, where you can freshen up.
Access is made via a dirt road near the junction with the road that joins Campo do Gerês to Vila do Gerês (M-533). Take the opportunity to get to know these places through a trail!
The 7 Lagoas are a wild place of difficult access, but they are also one of the most beautiful in Gerês. The lagoons are in the village of Xertelo on the river that runs through Cabril.
If you choose to take the route on foot, you have a hike in rough terrain with ascents and descents ahead of you.
You can start the trail from three different locations:
- Village of Xertelo (5 km lasting +/- 1h30)
- Village of Cabril (11 km with the duration of +/- 3h)
- Misarela bridge, on the border between Montalegre and Vieira do Minho (15 km lasting +/- 4h)
If you prefer to go by car, you have to be careful, because the path has rocks, holes and no two cars pass at the same time. It is necessary to be careful and take appropriate footwear, as well as water and sunscreen. These accesses are shadowless and often there is no cellular network.
The Pincães cascade is another unique place you can find in Gerês. This cascade is not as popular as those mentioned earlier, but promises not to disappoint you. And, therefore, you will be surprised by the silence and tranquillity of this place.
The lagoon is quite large and you will have space to enjoy long baths. Getting to the Pincães Cascade is not difficult: you go from Fafião to Cabril, by E.N. 308, and in the middle of the route you will find the town of Pincães.
To access the waterfall, you can leave your car in the centre of the village of Pincães. Follow the levada on foot, for about 2 km (20 min) and quickly reach the cascade.
Poço Azul is a very appreciated location by trail lovers , since from the Cascata do Arado to this well the path gives you extraordinary landscapes. When you arrive at Poço Azul, you will be enchanted by the colour of the water and all the surrounding green. The space is in the vicinity of the village of Ermida and you can take the trail of Poço Azul.
You can start after the Arado Bridge and the only way to get there is on foot. From the Arado Bridge it is about 3 km to the Tribela. There is an intersection cut to the right. Then it is another 3 km to the Waterfall (approximately a 3 hour round trip). This is undoubtedly one of Gerês's magical places that you cannot miss.
Lagoa dos Druidas
Lagoa dos Druidas is still a very secret lagoon in Gerês. Few know this lagoon and, therefore, it remains a quiet place and in perfect communion with nature. This lagoon is located in the middle of Serra do Soajo, in the Peneda-Gerês National Park and runs along the banks of the Veiga and Peneda rivers. The only way to get to the Druid Well is on foot. You can do the Mistura das Águas Trail, +/- 6 km round trip and the suggestion is to start in the village of Tibo. If you need to find peace, Lagoa dos Druidas is undoubtedly a good option.
What are the best activities to do at Gerês?
Gerês is a great destination to go on an adventure and there are many extreme sports at your disposal. If you love water activities you can go canoeing, water hiking or canyoning.
If you prefer something more relaxed, you can go for a horse ride or take a hike on the trails. For all these suggestions to be carried out safely, you should resort to adventure sports companies, such as Geresmont, where you will have the help of certified professionals. Gerês is the ideal place for an experience in nature and has activities for the whole family. Find out the best suggestions below and start outlining your activity plan now!
Gerês is one of the best places in Portugal to go on trails. There are immense paths already defined with views that leave no one indifferent! These tracks should be chosen according to your physical abilities, and there are paths from easy to extreme difficulty. All you need to do is choose one and set out to discover the Peneda-Gerês Natural Park. If you like hiking surrounded by nature, you will undoubtedly love this activity that Gerês has to offer.
At Gerês, you will find several companies that offer horse riding. The landscape of this site becomes the best setting for outdoor riding, because while you enjoy the ride, you can see all the natural beauty of this northern corner.
If you have never tried this type of activity, don't worry, there are also horse rides for beginners. You will be accompanied by professionals and you will never be alone.
Canyoning is a radical activity for the most adventurous, which consists of exploring a river, overcoming various obstacles, which can be both vertical and amphibious making use of various techniques and equipment. Basically, in a session of Canyoning you will be able to do climbing, jumping and extreme trails all on the same journey. Gerês is a spectacular place to experience Canyoning, since there are several waterfalls and the paths of the activity go, as a rule, through some of them.
Stand Up Paddle
Stand Up Paddle is probably the modality of the moment in Portugal. The success of this practice can be explained by the fact that it is easy for anyone to slide over the water, since the paddle board is extremely stable and of great quality.
The sport consists of standing on the board and paddling with a high paddle. You can carry out this activity at Stand UP Gerês, a company specialised in stand up paddle, which offers private lessons, water tours, rental of water gear and other activities. Stand UP Gerês is located right at the entrance of the Peneda Gerês National Park (towards Braga-Gerês).
Entertaining the little ones is not always easy, but there is something that practically everyone likes - inflatables! At Water Park Gerês, there are several giant inflatables that promise to entertain both kids and adults. The space is a water park with a great offer of activities right in the middle of the Caniçada reservoir.
Flyboard is an activity that consists of hovering over water with the help of a water jet. This is one of the summer sports trends that you are sure to love. Several companies offer Flyboard in Gerês, such as Water Park Gerês or Portugal 4 Fun. Get out of your comfort zone and try something different!
Paintball needs no introduction and is an excellent option for a good time with friends or even co-workers.
In the idyllic setting of the Peneda-Gerês Nature Park, the conditions for the practice of Paintball are fully met. Gather the teams and it’s every man for himself!
Gerês has amazing places to practise canoeing. Albufeira da Caniçada, next to the village of Rio Caldo, is considered one of the best places for this activity. Alone or accompanied, canoeing doesn't have much science. If you've never tried it, this might be the place to go.
A go-kart ride can become an unforgettable experience! These nature tours are guided tours and the tracks can be on asphalt and dirt. It is mandatory to have a category B driving licence.
If you are passionate about vehicles of this kind, Gerês also gives you a great offer in this area and there are plenty of tours you can do with Kartcross. A bonus of this activity is that it gives you access to unique landscapes of the Peneda Gerês National Park.
If you are a bike lover, MTB is the perfect sport to practise in Gerês. In this place you will find a great offer such astrails, guides and companies that rent bicycles. Of course, you can always take your own mountain bike and practise the sport for free. Be prepared for all types of trails and, in addition to water, take company!
Where to eat in Gerês? What are the best restaurants in Terras do Bouro?
The gastronomy of the Peneda-Gerês National Park is very diverse and of great quality. In some areas of Gerês, the most typical dishes include Goat Meat, Ham Steaks, Papas de Sarrabulho, Rojões, Roasted Barrosã Veal and Stuffed Trout. The most traditional cheese in this area of the country is Cachena cheese, a typical bovine from the region that grazes freely in the mountains. Do not miss the opportunity to delight yourself with the flavours of Gerês, during your stay!
Petiscos da Bó Gusta
Petiscos da Bó Gusta is an excellent option for those looking for a restaurant in the centre of Vila do Gerês and gastronomy to “eat and cry for more”. At the tapas restaurant Petiscos da Bó Gusta you can find a relaxed atmosphere, with rustic decor, fine wines and food seasoned with local products — from olive oil to honey.
This restaurant serves tapas, as well as more complete meals. We advise you to go a little early to the restaurant, since the place does not accept reservations and tends to queue.
Like the previous restaurant, Lurdes Capela has a great location, as it sits in the centre of Vila do Gerês. In this option, you can make reservations or even request take away and eat in the comfort of home.
As for the menu, the most requested dishes are the Codfish with bread, the Posta à Lurdes Capela, the Wild Boar, the Deer, Pedaço do Gerês, the breaded Veal Steak with Corn Semolina accompanied with Punched Potatoes, Sauteed Cabbage, Shallots and Cherry Tomato confit in Gerês Honey.
The Casa Capela restaurant, located in the centre of Vila do Gerês, has a very cosy atmosphere and offers dishes made on a wood-burning stove. This restaurant has as main dishes the Posta à Gerês, the Veal Chop with aromatic herbs, the Veal Roasted in the Wood Oven, the Cabritinho Roasted in the Wood Oven, the Capela Cod, the Boar Chop and the Deer. The most famous dessert of this house is the unmistakable Pudding Abade de Priscos. Are you mouth-watering already?
Adega Ramalho has been bringing tradition to the visitors' table for 41 years. This rustic space, in Vilar da Veiga, is heated by a fireplace that delights customers on winter days. Roasted Veal and Veal Chops are some of the specialties you can't miss!
Cantinho do antigamente
Cantinho de Antigamente is a traditional family restaurant and its typical dishes are Veal (Posta) and Cod Pataniscas, accompanied by Bean Rice and seasonal Vegetables. Located in the parish of Covide, this restaurant has a very curious feature, inside the enclosure there is a granary. For those who have never heard of it, it is a stone structure used in the past to dry corn.
Baltazar Hotel & Restaurante
Baltazar Hotel & Restaurante is a hotel in Vila do Gerês with a restaurant highly appreciated by visitors. The building itself is very beautiful and will make you travel to the 19th century.
Now rebuilt, the Baltazar Hotel & Restaurant is the place where you can enjoy a good meal and also enjoy your stay. The menu combines tradition with some innovation and modernity, highlighting the dishes and wines typical of the region.
Essentia do Gerês
Essentia do Gerês privileges regional flavours and traditional cuisine prepared in a contemporary manner. The specialties are the Chef Cod, Veal Loaf and Veal Cuteletão. The venue, in Terras de Bouro, in addition to presenting a very large living room, also has a very pleasant terrace. So, if you go to Gerês in the summer, you have a great suggestion here!
Adelaide Hotel features a restaurant with fantastic panoramic views of Pedra Bela. In this restaurant, there is a varied offer, the big bet of the house is the traditional Minho cuisine. If you are looking for an exquisite place to have lunch or dinner in Terras de Bouro, this is a must in your travel itinerary.
Vai Vai Gerês
Vai Vai Gerês is an excellent option for a breakfast with everything you are entitled to. If you prefer a faster meal, a delicious dessert or a simple snack, you can also choose this space. In this café/ice cream parlour, you will find francesinhas, pizzas, toasts, ice cream and delicious crepes. Vai Vai Gerês is right in the centre of Vila do Gerês and is one of the most popular spots in the area.
O Abocanhado is in the typical village of Brufe in Terras de Bouro. In this restaurant you can try the Goat and the Barrosã Veal, which feed freely on the beautiful fields of Brufe. The restaurant is an excellent space located in an idyllic setting which, according to customers, “has good meat and good regional wines'.
Where to sleep in Gerês? What are the best accommodations in Gerês?
You want to enjoy a day out with the family and you don't know where to stay? We can help. From rural houses to 5-star hotels, the offer of accommodation in Gerês is very diverse. Here are some of the best options.
Cantinho Verde T1
Cantinho Verde T1, situated 2.7 km from Sanctuary of São Bento da Porta Aberta, is an apartment with a bedroom, a bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen and a children's playground, with barbecue facilities and a terrace.
Casa Lola Príncipe
Casa Lola Príncipe is located in Gerês, a 3-minute drive from the city centre. The accommodation has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, full kitchen, so you can prepare your own meals, and a terrace with barbecue to gather family and friends. If the idea is to have one of those dinners at sunset, Casa Lola Príncipe is a place to highlight.
Chalet da Fonte
Offering panoramic views of the banks of the Cávado River and an outdoor pool, Chalé da Fonte is perfect for enjoying a holiday in the quiet of nature. The accommodation, ideal for three to four people, is in Rio Caldo and is fully equipped so that you can enjoy it in full. In addition, it has a location conducive to hiking, cycling, trekking and picnics.
Hotel São Bento da Porta Aberta
Located in Serra do Gerês, this hotel has rooms with balconies that allow you to have an unparalleled view of the São Bento da Porta Aberta church. The air-conditioned rooms have various configurations and can accommodate up to four people. The 4-star hotel offers breakfast and a restaurant with typical Minho dishes, plus a Spa and Wellness Centre.
Hotel Eco Salvador
Hotel Eco Salvador is situated in front of the river beach of Alqueirão and offers a pleasant outdoor pool. The hotel lounge also has a pool table, TV and a fireplace to cosy up for colder nights. Canoeing, fishing and hiking can be enjoyed in the vicinity of the hotel.
Casas das Guimbras
Quinta das Guimbras has three Villas with private outdoor pools. The villas are rustic and overlook the Peneda-Gerês hills and the Cávado River. Deep down, it's almost like being in your own home, but surrounded by nature. You can count on a fully equipped kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms and barbecue area.
Casa do avô Chico - Gerês Lake House
Casa do Avô Chico is ideal for groups, with a maximum capacity of ten people. The space is an authentic oasis overlooking Albufeira da Caniçada and you can enjoy very pleasant spaces, such as the garden, barbecue and water sports facilities. With your eyes set on the lake, this is an excellent option for a lively holiday with family and/or friends.
If you are looking for a quiet spot, Hotel Universal do Gerês is an excellent option. At this hotel you can make use of an interior courtyard with a suspended garden and a garden with outdoor swimming pool.
The 3-star hotel in Caldas do Gerês follows a vintage-style décor, which proves to be very welcoming. The space also has a bar and pool to enjoy on warmer days.
Pousada Gerês Caniçada
Pousada Gerês Caniçada is a fantastic place for those who enjoy long walks, since near the inn there are several trails to do.
In this accommodation, you can take the opportunity to enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool and get carried away by the panorama that the Peneda-Gerês National Park offers. Located in Caniçada, this Inn has a Chalet-style architecture and features an outdoor pool and terrace for breakfast with one of the best views of Gerês.
Where to camp in Gerês?
For people who like to be in full contact with nature, there is nothing better than camping. We give you five amazing places to feel the Peneda-Gerês National Park up close. Ready to meet them? Let's get to it!
Ermida Gerês Camping
The campsite Ermida Gerês Camping is a fantastic park for mountain activities in the Serra do Gerês. If you are with a group of friends who like new adventures, this park will offer you several possibilities for fun and discovery.
Cerdeira Park is located in Campo de Gerês and is one of the most popular camping options in Gerês. In this park you can do camping, caravanning or stay in one of the bungalows or cabins. The park has several interesting features, such as a swimming pool and a restaurant.
Ponte Saltos Gerês Camping
The Ponte Saltos Camping Park offers amenities such as: barbecue, toilets, washbasins, fun spaces and direct access to the Caniçada Dam. Near this park, you can visit: the Arado Waterfall, Pedra Bela, the Mata da Albergaria, the Rio Homem Lagoons, the Caniçada and many others.
Lima Escape presents itself as a “true refuge in nature”. The venue provides space for tents, for caravans and motorhomes, offers bungalows, glamour tents camping and colourful bungalows. The park is characterised by the surrounding nature and tranquillity.
Lima Escape also offers landscapes marked by the Lima River and has a bar with a terrace facing the mountains. The space also allows the realisation of numerous activities, such as guided tours of e-bike, horse, Buggy or 4×4 vehicle, canoeing, Stand Up Paddle, canyoning, among others.
Campsite Lamas de Mouro
The Camping Lamas de Mouro is the ideal place for various radical activities. You can do tree climbing, climbing, abseiling, slide, yoga, among others. Located in Lamas de Mouro, it is a very friendly space to decompress and spend some romantic or family moments.