Portugal (Portuguese Republic)

Languages: Portuguese

Currencies: EUR · Euro (€)

Capitol: Lisbon

Continents: Europe

Borders: Spain

More useful information

Area: 92,090km2

Population: 10,305,564

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +351

Timezones: UTC-01:00, UTC

Last updated on April 29, 2024

I considered myself as someone who knows Portugal’s mainland in and out, until I reached Peneda Geres National Park. It was just another trip to Portugal and I was mostly looking for some adventurous traveling and adrenaline activities among natural landscapes. I chose northern Portugal since the park is known for rich biodiversity and beautiful environment. The park turned out to be a true natural wonderland filled with stunning scenery of canyons, forests and unique wildlife, with a long list of adventuorus things to do in Peneda Geres National Park.

The Park covers an area around 700 square kilometres and is a popular destination for water activities, hiking and mountain scenery. It is unreal how diverse is Portugal – from touristic Alrgarve on the south, subtropical heaven in Madeira and Azores, historical Lisbon, up to breathtaking oceanic landscapes in Ericeira and finally Peneda Geres – the only National Park in the country. 

Adventurous things to do in Peneda Geres National Park in Portugal.

Adventurous things to do in Peneda Geres.

Kayaking and Canyoning are two top things to do in Peneda Geres National Park for more adventurous travelers! Personally I think both activities are among one of the best water adventures I’ve done ever. There are plenty of tours to get your heart racing. The park also has several challenging rock climbing areas and if you’re up for a unique experience – you can try paragliding and take in the park’s stunning views from above. There are also many stunning hiking trails and walks you can combine with wildlife watching. 

Top adventurous things to do in Peneda Geres National Park in Portugal - Canyoning.

Kayaking and Rafting in Peneda Geres National Park.

If you think Kayaking might bore you after an hour of paddling, this tour will blow your mind. We booked our full day Kayaking experience, which was more half kayaking and half rafting, the tour passes through rivers, lagoons and even small waterfalls, some of Portugal’s best-kept secrets. Here is a Kayaking Tour from Porto. The footage provided by the operator (drone, GoPro and camera shots) was one of the best I’ve received from many adventures across the world. Alternatively you can check Canoa Raft Excursion in Minho River.

Adventurous things to do in Peneda Geres National Park in Portugal.

Hiking trails in Peneda Geres.

One of the best things to do in Peneda Geres national park is hiking. There are variety of trails that cater to all skill levels from easy walks to challenging treks, making it a great destination for families. The trails take you through the park’s diverse terrain, including rocky mountains and cascading waterfalls. The most popular trail is the “Seven Lagoons” hike, which takes you to seven magnificent lagoons that are perfect for a refreshing swim or picnic day among the nature. 

Popular Hiking and Swimming Tour in Peneda Geres – guided day trip from Porto is ideal for hikers and nature lovers, along a 8 kilometres round-trip trek.

Where to stay in Peneda Geres?

Me and my friend Camila hired a whole house with grill area and beautiful garden. You can browse all accommodation options on Booking.com. 

Wildlife watching in Peneda Geres.

Wildlife watching in Peneda Geres national park won’t disappoint. I was there ahortly after covid. Our guide told us the park used to be home to a variety of animals, which have dissapeared over the last decades due to human presence and activity. Only 2 years pandemic break were enough for number of spieces to return again, specifically some bird spieces and beavers – which were swimming along our kayak, which was adorable!

Peneda-Gerês National Park is a natural habitat for wolves, roe deers, goldern eagle and wild horses. You can take a guided tour to learn more about the park’s wildlife and their habitats. The park also offers birdwatching tours, where you can spot rare species like the Iberian imperial eagle and the black stork.

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Peneda Geres hot springs.

North of Portugal is known for many hot springs that are believed to have healing properties. If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity or resting after exhausting water adventures, you should visit one of the park’s thermal spas, where you can soak in the warm waters and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

There are two stays in the area with thermal spa welness:

Canyoning in Peneda Geres.

Canyoning in Peneda Geres has exceed my expectations in every aspect. The local tour operators are extremely professional and the full experience was a memorable experience. I booked a tour with Manawa organized by Toboga – Canyoning at Peneda Geres National Park.

Peneda Geres provides an ideal setting for canyoning along number of routes. This was a 4 hours adventure, which is quite exhausting, but the guide will adjust the trail to your fitness level. 

The tour includes high-level canyoning equipment and exceptional footage from your adventure. Each route typically cosnists of rapples, jumps, slides and swims in the natural pools of the canyon. Water can be extremely cold 😉 but the good news is it is crystal clear and drinkable. 

Canyoning in Peneda Geres National Park and best water adventures.

Local towns and cuisine.

One of the best things to do in Peneda Geres is taking a ride across the region to explore charming villages and taste exceptional local cuisine. Portuguese food is absolutely one of my favourite. Cod holds a special place in the national cuisine. 

  • Salted Cod (Bacalhau) is often prepared with onions, poptatoes eggs.
  • Caldo Verde – a trditional soup made with kale, potatoes, onions, chorizo and smoked sausage. 
  • Alheira – a sausage made of a variety of meats, typically smoked
  • Sea food – grilled langustinas with garlic butter.

Driving arocss the region you can witness traditional Portuguese life and traditional architecture. One of the most charming villages is Soajo, which is known for its ancient granaries and beautiful stone houses.

Most beautiful attractions near Porto.

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Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!