Travel to Portugal
Day 2 Serra da Estrela National Park (115 Km.)
(in 18 km.) Serra da Estrela Natural park: We dedicate the day to touring the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. It is a mountainous system that has the only ski station in the country, and its maximum height is 1993 meters, in Torre, being this the maximum height of continental Portugal. From Seia we began the journey ascending its steep road that advances between landscapes full of large rocks eroded by the wind. We made our first stop at Lagoa Comprida, an artificial lake result of a dam. From the parking lot the views are quite ugly, but once you climb the dam you get a nice view over the lake. Although we did not do it, from here departs an excursion to the Covao Dos Conchos, a lake that stands out for its hole of "drainage" of 4.6 meters in diameter.
Serra da Estrela - Torre
(in 10 km.) Torre: We continue ascending until we reach the summit of the mountain range. Torre (Tower) is a monument that marks the highest point of Continental Portugal, and the second highest of the Portuguese Republic (only the Montanha do Pico, in the Azores, is higher). The altitude of the area is 1,993 meters, but with the tower built on this point you reach 2,000 meters altitude. Next to the tower we find the Vodafone ski area and a shopping area with a restaurant and shops with typical products of the region in which we buy one of the typical cheeses of this area, the Serra da Estrela cheese. The views from the summit are spectacular.
Serra da Estrela - Senhora da Boa Estrela
We begin the descent by the other slope of the mountain, towards Manteigas, and after a few meters, on the left side of the road, we find a small parking lot next to the Senhora da Boa Estrela. It is a monument of 7 meters high carved in the granite rock of Covão do Boi in 1946 that represents the Lady of the Good Hour, patron saint of the Shepherds. It was created by António Duarte, based on an idea of the local parish priest who wished to pay tribute to the Holy Protector of the Pastors who have been facing the inclemencies of this rural region for centuries.
Serra da Estrela - Zêzere valley
The Zêzere glacial valley has a length of 13 kilometers. From a viewpoint located next to the road in the upper part of the valley, we perfectly contemplate the "U" shape characteristic of the glacial valleys. In the upper part we find huge granite rocks eroded by the wind, while in the background we find green areas of grass through which flows the river Zêzere, affluent of the Tagus. We descend the winding road N338 until we almost reach Caldas de Manteigas.
Serra da Estrela - Poço do Inferno
(in 24 km.) Poço do Inferno: We take a detour to the right, and drive for about 5 kilometers along a beautiful road that goes under the shade of the trees, mostly birches and oaks, to the Poço do Inferno car park. It is a ravine in which stands out its waterfall 10 meters high. Unfortunately for us, water hardly falls and we have to imagine it. Under it is a pool of crystalline greenish waters. From this point there is a circular route of approximately one hour long and 2.5 kilometers long that runs through the environment. Next to the parking there are some tables where we had a picnic.
Serra da Estrela - Penhas Douradas - Miradouro do Fragão do Corvo
(in 20 km.) Penhas Douradas: After crossing the center of Manteigas, located at 770 m.s.m., we ascend the N232 road and after an infinity number of curves we arrive at the Miradouro do Fragão do Corvo, at about 1,450 meters above sea level. To access the viewpoint you have to follow a small dirt path for just about 10 minutes. The views over the Zêzere glacial valley and the town of Manteigas are spectacular. The landscape is again dominated by large blocks of granite.
Serra da Estrela - Vale do Rossim
(in 5 km.) Vale do Rossim: We dedicate the afternoon to relax in the dam of the Rossim Valley. It is a dam in whose environment we find a campsite, a restaurant, a beach with lifeguard service and rental of pedalos and canoes. We hired a couple of canoes for an hour, which the children enjoyed, while we refreshed ourselves with a swim on the beach of the lake, located at 1400 meters of altitude.
Serra da Estrela - Cabeça do Velho
(in 8 km.) Cabeça do Velho: We bid farewell to the Serra da Estrela by visiting the Cabeça do Velho, a granite rock eroded by the wind that looks like a profile head that reminds us a bit of a Moai on Easter Island. It is located on a curve of the N232 road, at a height of 1,200 meters. Next to it there is a small parking lot, but barely fit three cars.
(in 30 km.) Sazes da Beira: Before returning to our accommodation, we stopped for dinner in Seia, specifically in the "Pizzaria O Sole Mio", in which we were very well served.