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20 best things to do in Serra da Estrela – Trails, waterfalls, villages, and more

With a maximum altitude of 1993 meters, Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain in mainland Portugal and the only place where you can practice snow sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. But it’s much more than that.

Serra da Estrela Natural Park is ideal for nature lovers – it has trails to explore, waterfalls, lakes, granite formations, and picturesque villages.

In addition, the Serra da Estrela Natural Park has excellent geological importance, being recognized by UNESCO with the status of Estrela Geopark – since it presents traces of the last glaciation that occurred 30 thousand years ago.

This guide will give you all the information you need to plan a magnificent trip to Serra da Estrela Natural Park. We will talk about the places to visit, including geosites, waterfalls, villages, lakes, trails, where to stay, and what to eat, among many other things.

Geosites and other main attractions in Serra da Estrela Natural Park

Torre (tower).

Torre is at the top of Serra da Estela mountain and the highest point in mainland Portugal, with 1993 meters of altitude. At the top of the mountain is a geodesic landmark that King D. João VI built in the 19th century. The landmark is 7 meter-high to complete the 2000 meters altitude.

Torre is one of the most popular places in Portugal as it is one of Portugal’s best places to find winter snow. It even has a resort with ski slopes and chairlifts where you can practice snow sports. But if you prefer, you can just play in the snow or go sledding.

At the top of Serra da Estrela is a shopping center selling regional products such as the famous Serra da Serra cheese, sausages, and ham. They also sell wool clothing and snow sports materials, such as sledding. It has a cafe selling hot drinks and a bathroom.

If you want to know the weather at the top of Serra da Estrela, click here .

Serra da Estrela ski resort

The ski resort is located in the Serra da Estrela tower. Here is the ideal place to ski or snowboard in Portugal. The resort has several slopes with different levels of difficulty.

For times when there is less snow, the resort has an artificial snow generator that ensures 120 to 150 days of snow.

Also, Ski or Snowboard lessons are available, and you can rent equipment. If you want to know more information about prices and schedules, click here on the official website.

Bread Museum, Seia

The Bread Museum in Seia is a museum dedicated to bread. The museum explores the bread production cycle and its social and religious importance. It’s a museum for all bread and food lovers and a great place to learn about this simple cooking ingredient.

In the museum, there is also a shop where you can buy regional products from Serra da Estrela, such as sausages and cheese, as well as bread from Serra da Estrela that is produced in the museum. A restaurant also serves food from Beira and incorporates bread into the main dishes.

We have to mention that Serra da Estrela bread is delicious. When you go there, you have to take the opportunity to buy and try the bread.

Zêzere Glacier Valley

The Zêzere Glacier Valley is known for its “U” shape. It has this format due to the existence of a glacier that shaped the landscape and is composed of steep slopes covered with granite stones.

The valley has an extension of 13 km that goes from the Central Massif of the Serra to the village of Manteigas. The Zêzere Glacier Valley is one of the largest glacier valleys in Europe.

There are two ways to appreciate this geological formation. You can enjoy the Zêzere Glacier Valley on the road that connects Manteigas to the Tower on National Road 338. Or from the viewpoint that is located near the tower on the N 339 road.

From this viewpoint, you can appreciate the extension of this valley, especially when there is no snow. When there is snow, perceiving the valley’s famous “U” shape is more difficult.

One way to explore the glacial valley is to walk the 17 km Glaciar Route trail that goes from Torre to Manteigas.

Our Lady of Boa Estrela

Our Lady of Boa Estrela is a 7-meter statue carved into the rock in Covão do Boi. Our Lady of Boa Estrela is the patron saint of shepherds.

António Duarte sculpted the statue in 1946 to honor the saint of shepherds. Every year, on the second Sunday of August, there is a celebration in honor of the saint.

The statue can be found on Nacional 339 on the way to the Torre if you come from Manteigas or Covilhã. It is possible to reach the statue via a set of stairs from the viewpoint of the road.

Cabeça do Velho (Old Man’s Head)

The Old Man’s Head is a granite rock formation with a profile of an old man that was formed with erosion. There are several rock formations in Serra da Estrela, but the Cabeça do Velho is the most famous and is a rite of passage for the Portuguese when they visit Serra da Estrela.

The head of the Old Man is located on National Road 232, between Manteigas and Gouveia. Plus, it’s worth stopping by to take a picture and be part of the ritual.

Covão da Ametade

Covão da Ametade is one of the most beautiful places in Serra da Estrela Natural Park. It is located at the beginning of the Zêzere Glacier Valley and also has a glacial origin.

In the valley, you will find the bed of the river Zêzere, which rises in the mountain range and gains volume in Covão da Ametade. The river is surrounded by trees, mainly birch trees, creating a beautiful setting. It has a pick nick area and lots of places to relax. It is also the starting point of several trails and a good place for mountaineering.

It’s a lovely spot, especially in summer and spring. In winter, when it is covered by snow, it may not be accessible.

The covão da Ametade is located on National Road 338 between Manteigas and Torre. And it is a mandatory place to visit in Serra da Estrela.

Covão dos Conchos

Covão dos Cochos is an artificial lake in Serra da Estrela. This lagoon has a peculiarity, it has a funnel in the middle that looks like a portal out of a science fiction movie.

The funnel is not a portal but a tunnel that connects the covão of the troughs to the long lagoon. The 1.5 km tunnel was built to drain the waters of Ribeira das Nevas, making the lagoon a surprising and fascinating place.

Covão dos Conchos is only accessible on foot. There is a 5 km trail that starts from the long lagoon that goes to Covão dos Cochos. The trail is not difficult, but when there is snow, it is not recommended as it can become dangerous.

What to visit in Serra da Estrela – Villages, Towns, and Typical Cities

Folgosinho is one of the most picturesque mountain villages in Serra da Estrela. Located in the municipality of Gouveia, it is at an altitude of 930 meters. It is known as the birthplace of Viriato, a famous warrior who fought to expel the Romans from the Iberian Peninsula.

The village has a small but lovely castle that sits on a quartz lode, making the place different and fascinating. The village also has a fountain with tiles with funny sayings.

But one of the village’s main attractions is the Albertino Restaurant, where you can eat until you can’t eat any more delicious food.

Sabugueiro is known for being the highest village in Portugal. It is generally a place of passage to reach Torre. Located at an altitude of 1120 m, it should be noted that despite its fame, it is not the highest village in Portugal.

It is a typical mountain village with granite houses, a community oven, still working, and the famous blacksmith fountain. Plus, how could it not have a typical church?

The village is said to have emerged from a cluster of shepherds’ huts. In addition to all this, it is the birthplace of the renowned Serra da Estrela dogs.

As if that weren’t reason enough to visit the village, it’s a place where you can find delicious mountain food.

Linhares da Beira

Linhares da Beira is one of the 12 Historical villages of Portugal. Visiting the village is like going to an open-air museum, going back to medieval times in the 17th century.

The village has several points of interest, including a beautiful castle, the Jewish house, the Solar da Corte Real and Pina Aragão, a Roman road, and several medieval churches. This village will enchant anyone who loves history.

But in addition to its historical testimony, the village is lovely and well preserved with a granite house and small alleys. It’s very captivating.

Belmonte is another of the 12 Historical Villages in Portugal. The village’s name is related to the place where it was built, Belo Monte. But it’s not just the mountain that is beautiful, the village is very charming on its own.

The village is known for being the birthplace of Pedro Alves Cabral, who discovered the sea route to Brazil. There is a statue in his honor. It also has a medieval castle and an impressive Jewish quarter. For many years, there was a considerable Jewish community in Belmonte.

Belmonte is a great place to discover Serra da Estrela and learn about the history of Portugal.

Guarda is the highest city in Portugal at an altitude of 1056 m. It is one of the most important cities in Serra da Estrela, the capital of the Guarda District.

Sometimes, Guarda is overlooked on a trip to Serra da Estrela, but it’s a shame as the city has a lot to see and do. It is also the perfect base to visit the Mondego Walkways and other attractions in the northern part of Serra da Estrela.

One of the main things to do in Guarda is to visit the Sé da Guarda. It is one of the most beautiful churches in the country. It also has the advantage of climbing to the cathedral’s roof and enjoying the surrounding landscape. It also has a castle and walls.

What to do in Serra da Estrela – Trails and Hiking

Mondego walkways.

The Mondego walkways are one of the most beautiful walkways in Portugal. The walkways connect the village of Videmonte to the Caldeirão dam near Guarda. It is possible to hike the trail in both directions.

The route is beautiful, following the Mondego River and surrounded by mountains. The trail is mainly made on footbridges, but parts are mountain paths. It is 12 km one way and has moderate difficulty due to the distance and having to go up and down many stairs.

However, the effort is rewarded by enjoying the magnificent landscapes of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park.

Poço do Inferno trail (Hell’s Pit trail)

The Poço do Inferno route runs from Manteigas to the Poço do Inferno waterfall. The trail is only 2.5 km long but is a technically challenging route.

It is not recommended for people with mobility difficulties and a fear of heights. On the other hand, it has spectacular views and a beautiful waterfall at the end.

Trail to Covão dos Conchos

As mentioned before, Covão dos Conchos is an artificial lagoon with a tunnel in the middle. To get to Covão dos Conchos, you must take a 5 km trail from Lagoa Comprida.

In addition to the lake being a remarkable site, the route is beautiful. It is in the middle of Serra da Estrela at an altitude of 1500 m, with the mountain range’s rocky landscape and undergrowth characteristic. This trail is not technically challenging, but you must hike 10 km there and back.

We do not recommend making this trail when there is snow since the ground is very rocky and can become dangerous.

Where to go in Serra da Estrela? Waterfalls and Lagoons

Rossim valley lagoon.

The Vale do Rossim lagoon is an artificial lagoon created with the creation of a dam. It is located in a glacial valley at an altitude of 1437 m.

In addition to the valley being extremely beautiful, the lagoon has the advantage of having a river beach in the summer with a lifeguard. It has an area with sand where you can put your towel and areas with shadows. The water is not very cold as the lagoon is not deep.

The Vale do Rossim lagoon is close to Aldeia das Penas Douradas, an area with many accommodations, from hotels or Eco Resorts to camping.

Lagoa Comprida (Long Lagoon)

The Long Lagoon is a natural lagoon on which a dam was built with the aim of hydroelectric production. It is the largest lake and the main water reservoir in Serra da Estrela.

The long lagoon receives water through underground tunnels from Covão dos Conchos and Covão do Meio. It is a beautiful lagoon at an altitude of 1600 m in Serra da Estrela. In winter, it is usually covered with ice.

The lagoon is found on Nacional 339 on the way to Torre for those coming from the village of Sabogueiro or Seia.

Loriga river beach

The river beach of Loriga is one of the best river beaches in Portugal. It is even distinguished from the Blue Flag.

It is located in a glacial valley 1 km from the village of Loriga. It is formed by several terraces and small lakes bathed by the Loriga stream.

It has excellent access conditions with a parking lot for cars and bicycles. A bar with a terrace, a park for children, a WC, and a pick-nick area. It is a river beach guarded by lifeguards.

Poço do Inferno Waterfall

The Poço do Inferno waterfall is impressive, over 10 meters high, and located 10 km from Manteigas. It is formed by the waters of the Ribeira de Leandres, creating a lagoon with very fresh and transparent water.

To visit the waterfall, you can go by car, take a 3-minute walk, and climb some stairs to a viewpoint where you can enjoy the waterfall, the Zêzere, and the Manteigas valley.

Or, if you prefer, you can take the 2.5 km trail mentioned above – the Poço do Inferno Route.

It is possible to bathe in the Poço do Inferno lagoon, but we only recommend it in summer as the water is extremely cold.

Poço da Broca Waterfall

The Poço da Broca waterfall resulted from human intervention that diverted the course of the river water, creating an incredible waterfall and well. The aim was to reuse water for agriculture and make the region fertile.

Indirectly, they created one of the most famous river beaches in Serra da Estrela. You can swim in the crystal clear waters at Poço da Broca, but remember that the water is very cold. And if you go up the river, you’ll find more waterfalls and wells.

Near the waterfall is a restaurant called Guarda Rio that serves traditional Portuguese food.

Where to Stay in Serra da Estrela

One of the best places to stay in Serra da Estrela is Penhas da Saúde. Located in the heart of Serra da Estrela, close to the tower and the ski resort. Manteigas, Seia, and Covilhã are also areas with various hotels and are well located.

  • Luna Hotel Serra da Estrela

Located in Penhas da Saúde, this is a comfortable and relaxing hotel. With a beautiful traditional restaurant with delicious food. With an indoor and outdoor pool. It’s a great mountain getaway. Book your stay here.

  • Pousada da Serra da Estrela

It is located in Penhas da Saúde and is a historic inn, one of the oldest in Serra da Estrela. It has a spa area with indoor and outdoor pools and a gym. It has beautiful decor and is located near the tower. See prices and availability here.

  • H2otel Congress & Medical SPA

The H2otel hotel is expensive, but staying overnight is a fabulous experience. It is well worth coming to Serra da Estrela just to stay in this hotel. It has a spa area with several pools with hot water, even outdoors, Turkish baths, and saunas. And it serves a hearty breakfast.

It is a place that we strongly recommend, but its quality is reflected in its availability. It is almost impossible to book rooms without being well in advance. See if there are rooms available and book here.

  • HI Serra da Estrela – Youth Hostel

This is an ideal budget hostel if you want a comfortable but affordable place to stay. It has a good quality/price ratio. You have the option of staying in a shared or private room. And best of all, breakfast is included. We’ve stayed there before and recommend it. See prices and availability here.

What to eat in Serra da Estrela

  • Serra da Estela cheese is mandatory, you cannot come to Serra and not eat the cheese. It is a buttery, cured cheese made with sheep’s cheese. It is usually eaten with bread from Serra da Estrela.
  • Cabrito is another typical dish of this region. Usually baked in the oven accompanied with potatoes, it is delicious.
  • Juniper Rice is malandro rice with juniper (wild berries used to flavor) and sausages.
  • Wild boar is a specialty from Serra da Estrela and is usually stewed.
  • Talassas is a typical sweet from Covilhã.
  • Serra Biscuits, also known as crests.

Where to eat in Serra da Estrela

  • O Albertino – An obligatory stop in Serra da Estrela located in Folgosinho. You pay per person, and you can eat whatever you want. And it’s all so good. The house’s specialty is roasted suckling pig and kid, rice with rabbit giblets, wild boar with beans, and finally, custard, rice pudding, and curd cheese with pumpkin jam.
  • Varanda da Estrela – Located in Penhas da Saúde. It is a restaurant with delicious food and a cozy, authentic mountain hut with a roaring fireplace. The specialty of the house is juniper rice.
  • As Thermas – Restaurant in Unhais da Serra with typical food from Serra da Estrela

How to get to Serra da Estrela

Public transport.

There is no adequate public transport to visit Serra da Estrela as a tourist. You can take a bus to Seia from Porto and to Covilhã from Lisbon, but then you have to take a taxi to the tower or most of the attractions mentioned in this article.

The best option is to go by car or on an organized tour.

Going to Serra da Estrela from Lisbon or Porto is not easy. You have to go on several highways and mountain paths. Also, the road to the Serra da Estrela tower is sometimes closed due to snow.

But it is the best option to go to Serra da Estrela.

From Lisbon, the best way to reach Serra da Estrela is via the A1 and A23 motorways and then the national road. It is 300 km long and takes 3h30. The highways are paid, and you can pay the toll with cash or a card.

From Porto, the best way is to take the A1 and A25 motorways and then the National road. It is 200 km long and takes 2h40. The highway is paid, and you can pay the toll with cash or a card.

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We♥️Lisbon - The best tips for the Lisbon Region

Estrela – Away from the Tourists

Want to escape from the mass tourism in the city centre of Lisbon? The we advise you to go to the Estrela neighbourhood. This district is a spacious area with lots of green and not yet discovered by the tourists. There are not as many attractions as in the city centre of Lisbon, but for rest and relaxation this district is definitely a must to go.

Park Jardim da Estrela, Lissabon

Ideal with children

Because this neighbourhood is located just outside the centre, the prices of a hotel or an AirBnB are still reasonable. Another plus is the fact that Estrela doesn’t have a lot of hills, so you can easily get anywhere on foot. Especially if you are traveling with children and you are sporting a buggy or baby carrier, then you will notice that this neighbourhood is particularly suitable.

We travel with our three year old daughter. We quickly noticed that Alfama or Bairro Alto are very nice to visit, but if you go back to your hotel (with a tired toddler) every night, it’s nice that you don’t have to walk up hill. In all these cases, Estrela shows itself to be a great alternative.

Estrela: on the route of tram 28

Despite the fact that the final stop of Elétrico 28 is in front of the main entrance of the Basílica da Estrela, not many tourists stay until the end. And that’s a shame, because if you do get off, you’ll have a few interesting sights in Lisbon within 10 minutes.

How do you get to Estrela?

There are no subways to Estrella, but both the bus and Eléctrico 28 take you to the stop Basílica da Estrela. A visit to this district can also be done on foot. Within 30 minutes you can walk from the Chiado to Estrela. Keep in mind that you’ll be walking up and down during the trip. If you’re not an experienced walker, it can be quite tough.

Places of interest in Estrela

Basílica da estrela.

Basílica da Estrela, Lissabon

If you look at the Lisbon skyline, the 2 domes and the tower of Basílica da Estrela stand out. For me, this church is one of the most striking sights.

More about de Basílica da Estrela »

Jardim da estrela.

After (or before) your visit to Basílica da Estrela you can relax in Jardim da Estrela . This city garden has much to offer for young and old to escape from the busy city centre.

More about Jardim da Estrela »


Lisbon Budget Inn: The low budget hotel is a 5-minute walk from Jardim da Estrela. There is a communal kitchen and a communal outdoor area. You can walk to the Bairro Alto in less than 20 minutes. For 38 GBP you have a small room with bunk beds and ensuite bathroom.

Hotel da Estrela : is located in the stylish Condes de Paraty Palace. The double rooms have a private bathroom and prices include breakfast. Marquês de Pombal is a 30-minute walk away. An overnight stay for 2 persons costs 122 GBP.

Estrela Penthouse : The air-conditioned apartment consists of 3 bedrooms, a kitchen with a dining area and 2 bathrooms with a bath. The apartment has a terrace with stunning views over Lisbon. Within 20 minutes you are in the Chiado. The apartment can accommodate up to 6 people. An overnight stay with four people costs 140 GBP.

»More about the other neighbourhoods in Lisbon »

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Porto - Braga - Aveiro - Douro - Guimarães - Monsanto - Lamego - Chaves - Serra da Estrela - Trancoso

The Serra da Estrela by car; a 1-day driving tour

The Serra da Estrela mountains offer some of the most dramatic natural scenery in Portugal.

These towering granite mountains include the highest point of Portugal (Torre 1993m), deep glacial valleys and quaint farming villages.

To explore the rugged lands of the Serra da Estrela a car is needed, but fortunately, the roads are of a good standard and even reach the summits. This article will provide a one-day driving tour of the Serra da Estrela, and has been designed to get the most from the region in just a single day. Related article: The Beira region

Highlights of a driving day tour of the Serra da Estrela

Zêzere valley Serra da Estrela

The spectacular Zêzere Valley carved out by an ancient glacier

Linhares da Beira

Linhares da Beira, a delightful hilltop village with an imposing castle and traditional stone houses

Covão do Curral  Serra da Estrela

The scenic mountain lake of Covão do Curral (image above) and the Comprida reservoir

Torre  peak Serra da Estrela

Torre - The plateau summit of Serra da Estrela and the highest point of Portugal. Torre is actually a bit of a bleak place, with two ageing radar domes and a tourist shopping centre, but as it is the highest point, you will want to visit.

mountain roads Serra da Estrela

Over 60km of stunning mountainous roads, with every twist providing unique landscapes and picturesque views. This image is of the roading leading down the Zêzere valley to the town of Manteigas

A suggested 1-day tour of the Serra da Estrela

Below is the recommended 1-day driving route of the Serra da Estrela. The route, marked in green, begins in the village of Linhares and ends Zêzere valley. The most scenic sections of the driving tour are highlighted in red, while the grey markers show additional sights and the optional drive to Manteigas

Sights of the route: 1) Linhares (village) 2) Folgosinho (village) 3) Gouveia (town) 4) Sabugueiro (village) 5) Covão do Curral lake 6) Comprida reservoir 7) Torre summit 8) Senhora da Boa Estrela 9) Mirador do Vale Glaciar viewpoint 10) Covão d'Ametade 11) Vale Glaciar do Zêzere 12) Manteigas (town) 13) Penhas da Saúde (village) Note: Details of the entire route are given towards the end of the article

Warning: This driving tour is only from May to October when the weather is good. Always check the weather before departing as the Serra da Estrela mountains can have very changeable and unpredictable weather. We strongly advise against driving in the mountains if there is any chance of frost or snow – which can drift extremely high due to the strong winds.

For details about skiing in the Serra da Estrela, please see the official website

Why this route through the Serra da Estrela?

This route covers the best of the region, which can be realistically fitted into a single day of sightseeing.

The day begins in the pretty foothill villages of Linhares and Folgosinho; the morning is the best time to visit them when there are the fewest tourists and they are at their most tranquil.

The route has been designed so that the standard of the natural scenery is constantly improving throughout the day, and ends with the most spectacular landscapes (the section between the Torre peak to the Zêzere glacier valley). It is a shame to begin the day with the highlight, and then everything else is not as impressive.

All of the designated roads are of a high standard (wide enough for two cars to pass and lined with safety barriers on treacherous sections), there are no dirt or very narrow roads.

The larger towns of Covilhã, Seia and Manteigas are not included, but could be visited if you have longer in the region (though Viseu, Guarda, Monsanto and Trancoso are all much more historic and characterful).

The largest town on the route is Gouveia, and visiting this charming town could extend the day trip. Locations to stop for lunch could be in the touristy village of Sabugueiro, pretty Gouveia, or nondescript Penhas da Saúde.

The Torre Peak

Everyone is drawn to the Torre peak as it is the highest point in Portugal, but in actual fact, it is a bit disappointing. Instead of being a clear summit, it is a wide and flat plateau on which two ageing radar domes were constructed along with a tourist-focused shopping arcade. The actual summit (at 1993m) is in the centre of a large roundabout and is marked by a 7-meter-high stone pillar, just to make the point 2,000m!

Torre is only 520m from the main road (the N339), so we recommend driving in, seeing it, then heading onto the much more scenic areas to the south-east, and returning later if you have time.

Torre peak  Serra da Estrela

The marker for Torre peak sits within a roundabout…..

Torre cable car portugal

The bitterly cold winters and reliable snow, have made Torre a centre for skiing, but in the summer the disused cable car adds to the bleakness of the region.

Details of the driving route

Linhares is a delightful medieval village set on the northwestern foothills of the Serra da Estrela. Within the village, cobbled streets lined with traditional rural granite houses meandering up to the impressive castle. Linhares is extremely charming and will be one of the highlights of the day trip.

Linhares  Serra da Estrela

The appearance of Linhares has barely altered in 500 years

Castelo de Linhares

The Castelo de Linhares with its views over the entire western Beira region

Folgosinho is another charming village, which perches on top of a craggy hill. The unique building of the village is the stone watchtower that stands at the top of the rock outcrop.

Folgosinho  Serra da Estrela

The view over Folgosinho from the watchtower

Folgosinho portugal

It is quite a climb to the top of the tower

Gouveia is a pretty town, of parks, plazas and views into the mountains. At the centre of the town is the Igreja de São Pedro church, with its exterior lined with blue and white tiles.

After Gouveia, the road starts to climb into the mountains and offers some wonderful viewpoints looking westwards. Along the route is the Cabeça do Velho (Old man's head) rock feature. Advice: The N232 eventually leads into the town of Manteigas, but the final section of the road has so many twists and switchbacks that it is best avoided (the road takes 15km to travel just the 1 km down the hill!). We suggest turning off before and heading to Sabugueiro.

Cabeça do Velho Old man's head

The Cabeça do Velho, supposedly this looks like an old man….….

Sabugueiro is famous within Portugal as being the highest village in the country (1,250m).

The village originally sheltered shepherds and their sheep, to avoid the harsh winters on the upper slopes. Today Sabugueiro has a very touristy atmosphere, but is the best location for lunch, before heading into the more remote mountains. Insight: The region is famous for Quejio Serra da Estrela, a cheese produced from sheep's milk. In Sabugueiro there will be many shops selling this delicious cheese.

Sabugueiro Serra da Estrela

Apart from being very high up, Sabugueiro is not dissimilar from many other Portuguese towns

The reservoirs and lakes

After Sabugueiro, the road twists and climbs through the treeline to some barren but dramatic landscapes.

Within these windswept peaks are three reservoirs. The first lake to drive past is the Covão do Curral, and this one provides the most beautiful scenery. The road then runs along the base of the massive Marques da Silva dam, which holds back the largest body of water, the Lagoa Comprida. The third reservoir is the Covão do Forno and is reached via a scenic hiking trail from Comprida lake.

At the dam is a car park and this leads to a stone beach (known as the Praia da Lagoa Comprida) where it is possible to swim in the freezing waters. Insight: The Covao dos Conchos, with its famous flora covered bell-mouth spillway, is a 1-hour hike from Comprida lake.

lakesl Serra da Estrela

The lakes are man-made to provide hydroelectricity, a reliable source of freshwater and to control the springtime snowmelt

After passing the Serra da Estrela ski resort (which can be missed as it is positioned lower than the road) the road climbs to the junction with for Torre. As indicated above, you will want to see the Torre complex but will probably leave a bit underwhelmed.

Torre  peak Serra da Estrela

Torre is not much to look at….

West of Torre and to the Zêzere valley

Some of the most spectacular scenery of the Serra da Estrela is found to the west of the Torre plateau.

Advice: This area is the most popular for sightseeing, but as it is so mountainous, there are few decent pull-ins or car parks. For the tour, we suggest driving through the area twice; once downhill to Covão d'Ametade (or the town of Manteigas) and then uphill, on the return to your accommodation (via the town of Seia and the N17) The first feature along the road is the Cântaro Magro, a craggy granite outcrop, which can be viewed from the pull-in on the N339 road.

Cântaro Magro Serra da Estrella

The Cântaro Magro, one of the most challenging climbing peaks in the Serra da Estrela

Slightly downhill is the Senhora da Boa Estrela, an image of Mary carved into the side of a granite cliff face. The carving dates from 1947, and is of the patron saint of the shepherds who worked these inhospitable lands.

The Nava de San Antonio is a flat plateau between the steep Alforia valley (to the north) and the Zêzere valley (south). The glacier which once covered the plateau pushed the boulders from the central grasslands and condensed them on the northern side. Tilting at the top of the ridge is the massive Poio do Judeu, the largest bolder in the Serra da Estrela.

Nava de Santa Antonio Serra da Estrella

The Nava de San Antonio, with the Cântaro Magro to the right and the peat grasslands on the left

The Alforia valley drops steeply down from the Nava de San Antonio and high above the valley is the Padre Alfredo dam and lake.

Padre Alfredo dam Serra da Estrella

The Padre Alfredo dam

Once driven around the Nava de San Antonio turn left (northwards) towards Manteigas, which then drops down into the Zêzere valley. 20,000 years ago this "L" shaped glacial valley had an ice thickness of over 300m and extended for almost 7.5km. Today, huge boulders are scattered through the deep valley, and a stream (the Rio Zêzere) runs the length.

Zêzere valley

Looking down into the Zêzere valley

Covão d'Ametade is a rustic camping site set amidst dramatic natural scenery, and there is a pleasant short walk to the Nascente do Rio Zêzere (source of the river Zêzere). There is also a large car park which also helps!

The day trip could be extended by continuing down the valley to Manteigas, but the road narrows and all of the best natural scenery as at the top of the valley.


The town of Manteigas looking up the Zêzere valley

End of the Serra da Estrella tour

To leave the Serra da Estrela, the best route is along the N339 either west to Seia or east Covilhã. The N232 east from Manteigas to Belmonte is another good road, but it ends on the eastern side of the Serra da Estrela. Advice: The N232 to the west has so many switchbacks and turns it is best avoided.

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Top 10 Things to Do When You Visit Serra da Estrela

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  • Where is Serra da Estrela?
  • Is Serra da Estrela worth visiting?

Imagine beautiful, snow-capped mountains, cozy log fires and the best skiing in Portugal! Winter is here so if you’re looking to escape the big cities in Portugal, then head inland to Serra da Estrela, the country’s first and largest national park.

Serra da Estrela is an exceptional place, expanding over 101,000 hectares (390 square miles) and distributed across six municipalities. It is home to the highest mountain ridge in Portugal with an altitude of almost 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) at its highest point, the Tower (“Torre”). The lowest temperatures in Portugal are recorded here, sometimes reaching as low as -20°C (-4°F). For skiers and snowboarders, the only ski resort in Portugal is situated in Serra da Estrela and is one of the main attractions for the Portuguese. In winter there is real snow, but even in summer you can ski on artificial snow.

skiing Serra da Estrela Portugal

Today, we will provide information on things to do in Serra da Estrela, how to get there, accommodation options available and weather in Portugal .

Top 10 things to do in Serra da Estrela

As mentioned, skiing is the main attraction in Serra da Estrela for the locals. It is one of the only places in the country that receives snow, making it a novelty for locals and tourists. The ski resort,  Estância de Ski da Serra da Estrela  (website is in Portuguese), is open every day from November to April and offers runs for all experience levels, beginner to advanced.

2. Climb up the Tower (“Torre”)

The Torre is the highest point on Estrela mountain, from here you can soak in the magnificent views of the countryside, admire the mountain slopes, and appreciate reaching the highest point in Portugal.

Torre Serra da Estrela Portugal

3. Visit Covão dos Concho

This is a curious site and one of the most natural and mysterious wonder in Serra da Estrela. The Covão dos Conchos is a waterfall-like hole in the middle of the Lagoa Comprida lake. The hole was created in the 1950s to direct water from the Ribeira das Naves to Lago Comprida. It is possible to visit this by foot, but we recommend taking extreme caution and doing your research beforehand.

4. Walk the nature trails

The Serra da Estrela boasts a large network of signed walking routes, which cover the entire national park. There are three main trails, which each take between three to four days to complete. These trails are considered moderately difficult to difficult and there are some steep climbs and long distances involved – be prepared.

5. Explore the local villages

There are some small local towns nearby Serra da Estrela, which are worth visiting if in the area. There is Piódão , which lies on the southern edge of the national park; it is a charming, historic village with stone homes and ancient roads. There is also Guarda , located in the northeastern side of the park which, in the past, has even helped protect Portugal from European invasions.

Piodao Portugal

6. Visit the Bread Museum

Situated in the city of Seia , at the north slope of the national park, is a museum (“Museu do Pão”) (website is in Portuguese) dedicated to the traditions, history and art of Portuguese bread . Inside you will find four exhibition spaces and a restaurant serving all forms of Portuguese bread baked fresh in their bakery.

7. Taste and buy Serra da Estrela cheese

Seia is also home to its very own type of cheese, “Queijo de Ovelha de Seia”, which is a strong, creamy, sheep cheese. It is a local favourite, but its flavour may not suit people who prefer mild cheese.

8. Drink fresh water from the river!

As in many regions where there are natural falls, it is safe to drink water from the river in Serra da Estrela.

9. Buy some local souvenirs

The region produces woollen socks or contemporary design pieces which are made from Burel, a traditional Portuguese woollen fabric.

10. Admire the wildlife

Take advantage of being immersed in one of Portugal’s most natural landscapes by observing the diversity of plant and animal life. There are plenty of birds and flocks of sheep herded by Estrela Mountain dogs .

How to get to Serra da Estrela from Lisbon

There are three ways to get from Lisbon to Serra da Estrela: Train, bus or car. The journey by train, run by Comboios de Portugal (CP), will take around four hours from Santa Apolónia to Covilha which you can then take a taxi to Serra da Estrela (25 minutes) and total costs will be between €36 and €60. There are two bus companies that make the journey to the mountain: Citi Express   (website is in Portuguese) Time: Approximately four hours travel time from Sete Rios to Covilhã and a taxi can take you to Serra da Estrella which takes around 25 minutes. Total cost: €32 to €41. Rede Expressos Time: Approximately six hours travel time from Sete Rios to Loriga and a taxi can take you to Serra da Estrella which takes around 23 minutes. Total cost: €37 to €48. By car, the drive from Lisbon takes around three hours as it’s around 300km (186 miles) towards the north east. Our recommended mode of transport from Lisbon is to take the bus; it is the cheap and quick method, and also means you can sit back and relax.

How to get to Serra da Estrela from Porto

To get to Serra da Estrela from Porto, there are three methods to choose from: Bus, train or car. The Combois Portugal (CP) train takes roughly four hours to Nelas with a change in Coimbra. You can then take a taxi from Nelas to Serra da Estrela which takes about 50 minutes and total costs will be between €50 and €70. The two bus companies are: Citi Express   (website is in Portuguese) Time: Approximately four hours from Campo 24 de Agosto to Covilhã and then by taxi to Serra da Estrella which takes around 25 minutes. Total cost: €30 to €40. Barquense coach travel   via Viseu Time: Approximately five hours from to Covilhã with a stop in Viseu and then by taxi from Covilhã to Serra da Estrella which takes around 25 minutes. Total cost: €40 to €56. Alternatively, to drive from Porto, the journey will take around two hours. If you would like to take the hassle out of your trip, we also recommend a guided tour to Serra da Estrela with Get Your Guide . It’s cheap and great fun.

Weather in Serra da Estrela

When visiting Serra da Estrela, you must always be well prepared for the weather. In winter , the temperature can reach well below 0°C (32°F) and it snows. Sometimes strong winds can occur without notice. The summer is a different story, often the days will be warm but the nights very cold. Expert tip: Always bring warm clothing, no matter the season.

Where to stay in Serra da Estrela

There are many easy accommodation options for a range of budgets in Serra da Estrela. Staying in the mountains tends to be a bit more expensive than the cities, because there are less options. Here are a few hotels we suggest staying at: Pousada da Serra da Estrela (€115 per night) is located inside the national park in Covilha , you will have breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains or the greenery of the highest mountains. At the Pousada, you will be treated to a spa with sauna, Turkish bath and a heated indoor swimming pool, free parking, restaurant and a bar, and games room – perfect for the kids.

Pousada hotel Serra da Estrela Portugal

H2otel Congress and Medical Spa (€150 per night) is the perfect combination of a big mountain hotel combined with traditional Portuguese elements. The hotel features 90 rooms with stunning views of the Alforfa Glacial Valley and the southwestern slope of Serra da Estrela. It also offers meeting, banquet and lounge rooms, a restaurant, media center, gym and games room. Purala Wool Valley Hotel and Spa  (website is in Portuguese) (€70 per night) is also located in Covilha and features 100 guest rooms with impressive views of the mountain side. It offers a full-service spa, perfect for those wanting to relax, a restaurant and bar, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, health club, childcare and business centre. Luna Hotel Serra da Esterla (€70 per night) is just 10 minutes drive away from the ski resort. They provide a ski school and year-round sporting activities. Rooms are traditionally decorated and equipped with modern amenities. There is a Medieval restaurant which offers regional wine and local spirits. They also offer the convenience of childcare services and playgrounds.

Yes! In the summer or winter months, mainland Portugal’s highest mountain and surrounding national park is the ideal place to immerse yourself in nature. Serra da Estrela offers unique opportunities for hiking and climbing, unlike many other regions in Portugal. For lovers of sport and adventure or those simply wanting to take a break from city life, then yes, take a trip to Serra da Estrela! Have you been to Serra da Estrela? We would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below. Don’t miss a thing from bePortugal. Subscribe to our free newsletter today.

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(GERMANY OUT) Valley (the "Vale da Candeeira") in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, Portugal   (Photo by Forster/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

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Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela

Portugal’s oldest and largest protected area, the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela encompasses 888 sq km of the country’s highest mountains. At its centre, rising above a wild, boulder-strewn planalto (high plateau), is Torre (1993m), continental Portugal’s highest peak. Below, steep mountain roads inch past icy lakes and vast granite outcrops as they corkscrew down thickly wooded valleys. The Serra’s rushing rivers – including the Mondego and Zêzere, which have their sources here – historically provided hydropower to spin and weave the local wool into cloth. Nowadays traditional shepherding is giving way to a service economy catering to weekending tourists.


Must-see attractions.

Burel Factory

Burel Factory

The burel factory originally opened in 1960 and employed 1000 people at its height (burel is a wool fabric similar to felt). After a decline in the…

Museu de Lanifícios

Museu de Lanifícios

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Igreja de Santa Maria

Igreja de Santa Maria

In the heart of Covilhã's gritty historic centre, the 16th-century Igreja de Santa Maria is a startling sight. Its facade is entirely clad in blue and…

Poço do Inferno

Poço do Inferno

This waterfall, which descends the steep gorge of Ribeira de Lenadres, is a magnificent spectacle, particularly in spring. To get there from Manteigas,…

Museu Municipal de Arte Moderna Abel Manta

Museu Municipal de Arte Moderna Abel Manta

This fascinating modern-art museum pays homage to Abel Manta, a (controversial) Portuguese modernist painter, who was born in Gouveia in 1888. Around 23…

Centro de Interpretacão da Serra da Estrela

Centro de Interpretacão da Serra da Estrela

In a park to the west of the town centre, this centre provides an excellent introduction to the Serra da Estrela region. A nine-minute film in English or…

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Museu do Brinquedo

This museum, housed in a lovely converted mansion, traces the history of Portuguese toys, from the Victorian to the contemporary, providing an interesting…

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Museu do Pão

This popular museum, set in a huge complex with mill wheels, a restaurant and rustic buildings, celebrates the history of traditional bread making. The…

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Formação de gelo, Serra da Estrela, Portugal

Naturpark Serra da Estrela

The Serra da Estrela Natural Park is a anthem to nature. An unforgettable destination to admire nature's works of art. Not only in winter, but in all seasons!

Climb the highest point of the Portuguese mainland in Serra da Estrela, in Torre. Hike from Seia to Manteigas, the heart of the Estrela. See the famous Covão dos Conchos lake up close. Admire the largest glacial valley in Europe and the Zêzere River.

The Serra da Estrela is a destination with numerous outdoor activities, countless trails and beautiful landscapes.

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Activities in Naturpark Serra da Estrela

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Attractions in Naturpark Serra da Estrela

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This route takes place on the plateau adjacent to the Penhas da Saúde (Health Cliffs) and is an excellent way to easily introduce ourselves to the ...

Wild nature. Medieval castles. Places replete with legends, flavores, and traditions. Whether on foot or by bicycle, follow the Grande Rota of the ...

The oldest long distance route of Portugal and freshly certified as "Best of Europe" !

At the top of mainland Portugal, the Torre da Serra da Estrela is at an altitude of 1993 metres.

The outskirts of the village of Manteigas, in the heart of Serra da Estrela, hide magnificent ...

The beautiful Poço do Inferno isá located in the heart of the Serra da Estrela, at 1080 metres ...

The Covão d'Ametade is one of the most beautiful places in the Serra da Estrela. Once a deer pasture, ...

In the center of Portugal, in Serra da Estrela Natural Park

A trip to the Serra da Estrela Natural Park is the ideal escape from the urban life. To escape the cars, the traffic, the pollution in the cities and to avoid mass tourism. Back to the source, to nature, to well-being, to tranquility, high up in the Serra da Estrela, to breathe clean air. Hike after hike, bike ride after bike ride you will find harmony, in the middle of the countryside, in the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela.

  • Unhais da Serra. Serra da Estrela. Portugal. Photo: Francisco T Santos, CC0 , Unsplash
  • Walking Serra da Estrela Photo: Portugal A2Z
  • Beech trees - Manteigas - Serra da Estrela Photo: Ncletorosa, CC BY-SA , Wikimedia Commons
  • Salgadeiras. Serra da Estrela. Portugal. Photo: LuisMAfonso, CC BY-SA , Wikimedia Commons
  • Formação de gelo, Serra da Estrela, Portugal Photo: Henrique Eugénio, CC0 , Unsplash
  • Inverno na Serra da Estrela, Guarda - Portugal Photo:
  • Serra da Estrela, Guarda - Portugal Photo: CC BY ,
  • Serra da Estrela. Portugal. Photo: Rafael Romano
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  • Pastorícia. Serra da Estrela. Portugal Photo: PauloSeia, CC BY-SA , Wikimedia Commons
  • Covão d'Ametade. Serra da Estrela. Portugal. Photo: Hurtuv, CC BY-SA , Wikimedia Commons
  • Covão dos Conchos, Serra da Estrela, Portugal Photo: JC Ferreira - Fotografia, CC BY-SA , Wikimedia Commons
  • Vila de Manteigas, Serra da Estrela, Portugal Photo: Mike Abrants, CC BY , Wikimedia Commons
  • Penhas Douradas, Serra da Estrela, Portugal Photo: Vitor Oliveira, CC BY-SA , Wikimedia Commons
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No topo da Serra da Estrela, no topo de Portugal.

  • Naturpark Serra da Estrela Summit Torre da Serra da Estrela Photo: Paula F. Souza, CC BY-SA , Wikimedia Commons

As Grandes Rotas de caminhada e as Grandes Travessias de BTT que podes percorrer na Serra da Estrela.

Queres saber onde podes mergulhar em praias fluviais na serra da estrela, so viele wege zu entdecken.

  • Open Hiking route · Portugal PR17 CVL - Rota das Pontes
  • Nature Trail · Portugal The Coal Route in Serra da Estrela
  • Open Hiking route · Portugal PR15 CVL - Thermal Springs Route

Percursos de ciclismo de estrada na Serra da Estrela.

  • Road Cycling · Portugal Historical Villages of Portugal Grand Cycle Route - Loop South
  • Road Cycling · Portugal Historical Villages of Portugal Grand Cycle Route - Loop North

Discover the region

Authentic experiences and guided tours.

  • from €499.00 Mountain bike · Centro de Portugal Mountain Bike Tour in the Great Route of Zêzere (GRZ)
  • from €2,190.00 Trekking · Centro de Portugal Guided Luxury Walking Tour in Serra da Estrela

Trip planning

  • Webcams · Centro de Portugal Manteigas Santa Maria

Destinations in Naturpark Serra da Estrela

trip internet estrela


Why the serra da estrela is the star of central portugal.

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Views, Serra da Estrela

Mainland Portugal’s highest mountain, at 1993 metres altitude, is called the Estrela, which means Star. I’m fortunate that the Serra da Estrela mountain range is only an hour and a half drive from where I live in central Portugal but it’s about 3 hours from Lisbon and 2.5 from Porto.

Dotted with remote villages, river beaches and patches of forest, the dramatically beautiful landscape is strewn with granite boulders that form interesting shapes like devil’s horns and an old man’s head.

Road through the Serra da Estrela Mountains in Central Portugal

This magnificent mountain range is the largest protected area in the country and Portugal’s only ski resort.

Not being a fan of the cold or getting stuck on icy roads, I have no strong desire to drive up there in the winter, although people often do it just to see the snow. I did accidentally go snow hiking in the Serra da Estrela , which was other-worldly.

Lagoa Comprida in the snow, Serra da Estrela, Portugal

It’s also where the famous Serra da Estrela sheep’s cheese comes from so it’s not uncommon to hear the muted clanging of sheep and goat bells near the villages.

You can sample some cheese and wonderful landscapes on this half day off road tour.

As well as cheese, you’ll also find woolen socks and sheepskin slippers and rugs for sale in local shops. Even it’s not practical for you to buy a whole cheese, I recommend having a sandwich while you’re there.

Hiking in the Serra da Estrela

Sadly, as in much of Portugal , hiking independently in the Serra da Estrela can still be a rather hit and miss affair. The Visit Portugal website claims that there are 375 km of marked trails but it can be a challenge to track them down and follow a whole one from start to finish.

That said, the new Passadiços do Mondego, aka the Mondego Boardwalks, is an easy way to appreciate parts of the countryside that were previously extremely challenging or impossible to walk. Read my in depth account of what to expect here.

Otherwise, if you’re on holiday, I recommend going with a guide if possible to make sure you don’t get lost.

At the very least, make sure you’ve got a trail route downloaded onto your phone but it’s best to check with your accommodation or the Serra da Estrela Interpretation Centre (CISE) to find out about the status of local routes before setting off.

Here are some of my experiences of walking in these mountains:

Lapa dos Dinheiros Rota da Caniça trail 

Views on the Lapa dos Dinheiros hike in Serra da Estrela, Portugal

I did this marked 7 km circular trail with Helen from Espirito da Liberdade , who also drove me there from a town near Coimbra, as part of the service that she offers to clients who want to explore the trails in central Portugal on foot.

Starting in the village of Lapa dos Dinheiros, we followed the hiking trail through an ancient forest to reach the river beach. Even though it was out of season, the water is crystal clear and inviting.

We took a slight detour to see some waterfalls then enjoyed the views on the way to the irrigation channels that lead to a quirky rock formation called Cornos do Diabo. The return to the village was through a pine forest and offered amazing views of the surrounding landscape. 

Cornos do Diabo - Devil's Horns rock, Serra da Estrela

The PR10 (SEI) Rota da Caniça walk was challenging in parts, so it was comforting to go with someone who knows the route and to have the back up of a support vehicle waiting nearby. It is quite well marked so in theory you could do it independently but make sure you are adequately equipped and reasonably fit – it’s not suitable for everyone.

If you want to stay overnight in lapa dos Dinheiros, there’s actually a beautiful, modern 5-star hotel in the village with 3 pools and a spa, called Casas da Lapa Nature & Spa Hotel .

A botched attempt at walking the Shepherd’s Path

In the part of the mountain range known as Penhas da Saude (Crags of Health), the fresh mountain air was found to be beneficial for people suffering from tuberculosis and a sanitorium was built here in 1944, along with private houses.

Nowadays, a motley collection of houses, hotels and cafés mildly mars the natural beauty of the landscape but you only need to walk a short distance to be well away from manmade structures.

My friend and I set off confidently from our hotel, map in hand, intending to walk the Senda dos Pastores (Shepherd’s Path). It wasn’t long before we started to wonder how useful the route leaflet would prove to be. The short answer is not very!

Unless things have improved in the last couple of years, there are no trail markers and, although the landscape is spectacular, it was impossible to follow the trail. 

We did have an adventure trying to work out where to go, and met some goats and a giant sheepdog, but in the end, we abandoned hope and followed the road back to our hotel rather than risk getting lost in the mountains. Next time, I want a guide!

Goats grazing with Torre in the background, Serra da Estrela

Walking to “the naval” at Covão dos Conchas

You may have seen mysterious photos of a magical-looking sink hole in a lake in Portugal and it’s nickname is the naval, as in belly button. It’s actually an overflow pipe that drains from the small Covão dos Conchas lake into the Lagoa Comprida reservoir.

I’ve done this easy linear walk (approx 10 km in total there and back) several times now and felt confident enough to try it without a guide the last time I went as it’s quite straightforward and also a popular route so there are other walkers around should you need help.

I still haven’t seen it at its photogenic best – it’s either been covered in ice or the water level has been so low that you can see the rim of the concrete pipe, which removes the mystery and magic somewhat. But it’s still a nice walk and you can swim in Lagoa Comprida when you make your way back to the car park.

Naval, Serra da Estrela

Practicalities : If doing this without a guide, park at Lagoa Comprida and follow the trail behind the café/gift shop, passing the lake on your right. When you reach a house overlooking the lake, keep left at the fork to stay on the main trail and follow it around to the smaller lake. When you’re done, retrace your steps.

Panoramic Walking Route of the Loriga Valley

We asked in the local tourist information office about hiking trails near Loriga and chose the easiest one, a circular route that took around 2 hours.

This was a largely successful walk with good views and a reasonably well-marked trail, at the time. You can read more about our experience of the walk and river beach in my article about Loriga .

Terraced fields, Loriga, Serra da Estrela

Other things to see and do in the Serra da Estrela

Look out for rock formations .

Although the landscape varies considerably within the Serra da Estrela, there’s no escaping the mounds of rounded granite boulders that litter it. 

Much like cloud formations, only more permanent, some of these clusters resemble animals or humans. One of the most famous is the Cabeça do Velho (Old Man’s Head) on the N232 between the villages of Gouveias and Manteigas.

Cabeça do Velho, Serra da Estrela

Visit Manteigas to see a traditional wool factory/museum with a twist

Once you start the descent into Manteigas, however, the road meanders through mature pine forest before reaching the glacial valley in which the village sits. If you don’t like hairpin bends, this is not for you!

For me, the highlight of the village is the Burel factory, which used the original machinery to process wool then turn it into colourful, modern pieces. You can read more about the Burel fabric and factory in this article .

Wool machine, Burel factory, Manteigas, Portugal

In theory, there is a walking trail through the village but, even armed with maps, we were unable to successfully follow the Village Route so I suggest you do what we did and just pick streets that look interesting. 

Encounter traditional architecture in the calm cobbled streets of mountain villages

Poço do Inferno waterfall

In English, Poço do Inferno means Hell’s Well, which is a strange name for such a pretty spot. I’m sure it’s much scarier in winter when the full force of the waterfall is surging through the rocks but in summer there’s barely a trickle pouring into the pool of clear water.

Just make sure you’re wearing non-slip shoes because you’ll need to negotiate some awkward steps around the rocks to get to a rickety wooden bridge to fully appreciate the waterfall.

Bridge, Poço do Inferno, Serra da Estrela

There is, in theory, another hiking trail that incorporates Poço do Inferno but either I’m simply incompetent when it comes to using these leaflets or they just aren’t as practical as they need to be.

Whatever the case, we got a bit lost, scrambled through a forest and made it back to the car in one piece. Eventually. 

River beaches in the Serra da Estrela

Loriga river beach.

This idyllic spot was voted one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal and I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. The icy water was a shock to the system but the setting was perfect. Read more about about Loriga and it’s lovely river beach .

Not sure what river beaches in Portugal are all about? Read this article .

Infinity pool, Loriga river beach, Serra da Estrela

Lapa dos Dinheiros river beach

I haven’t been there when it’s operational between July and August but it’s an inviting spot. The water won’t be deep enough to swim in until they put the boards in to dam the river and create a pool but its crystal clear and surrounded by granite boulders and trees.

Lapa dos Dinheiros river beach, out of season, Serra da Estrela

Unhais da Serra

Unhais da Serra is a picturesque village to the south of the Serra da Estrela mountains with a river running through it. Just outside the village, there is a recreational area and again, although it wasn’t the season for river beaches when I visited, it’s clear that this is used as one in the summer and it is a gorgeous spot.

If you want to stay overnight, there are several options including a 4-star hotel with spa, indoor and outdoor pools and a hydrotherapy circuit . For a more traditional country house type accommodation with pool, try Quinta da Vargem .

Weir, Unhais da Serra, Serra da Estrela, Portugal

Lagoa do Vale do Rossim

You can swim in the lake at Vale do Rossim and there’s a café/restaurant as well as an Eco Resort on site if you want to stay overnight . In the summer months, you can also kayak or go out on the lake on pedaloes.

Pedaloes, Vale de Rossim river beach, Serra da Estrela, Portugal

Where to stay in the Serra da Estrela

As well as the places I’ve mentioned for individual villages, there are several other options, including these:

I’ve stayed at Casas das Penhas Douradas near Manteigas which I would happily recommend. It’s run by the same people responsible for reviving Burel, the traditional woollen material that’s recently become fashionable. You’ll see plenty of examples of Burel in its many colours and applications in the stylish design hotel that fits in well with its surroundings. It also has a heated indoor pool and a lovely spa. You can hire bikes and they provide free kayaks for use at the nearby lake plus information about local walks.

Casa das Penhas Douradas

If you’re less fussy about sympathetic architecture, the yellow and black Hotel Serra da Estrela in Penhas da Saude may look quite garish but it’s a reasonably comfortable base and good value for money. 

For cosy stone cottages that are pet and family-friendly and clustered around a natural swimming pool, Chão do Rio near Seia is an excellent option.

If you like farm stays with style and charm, Madre de Água Hote Rural de Charme near Gouveia is ideal. They produce wine, cheese and olive oil and have plenty of animals – you can even participate in farming activities if you wish. There’s also a pool and it’s pet-friendly.

If you want to stay in Covilhã, where there’s a train station, Puralã – Wool Valley Hotel & SPA is a good option with a pool.

Getting to Serra da Estrela

Public transport is extremely limited and may be non-existent at the weekend so you’re much better off exploring with a car, if possible, or using a tour operator to get you there.

There are trains to Covilhã but you’d need a car or taxi from there to get into the mountains.

Here are my Tips For Hiring A Car In Portugal .


We had to visit and hike in the Manteigas district until we read about its devastating fire last August that burnt something like 20% of Serra da Estrela natural park. It was so difficult to get info about conditions in Manteigas after the fire and the rainstorms later that we changed our itinerary and bypassed Manteigas. Am curious how Manteigas and Serra da Estrela are faring since the fire.

Hi Susan, I haven’t been to that part of the Serra da Estrela since the fires. Ove the spring, the affected areas will have greened up as far as grass, bushes and flowers, and the trees that survived, but, burnt trees will still be a grim reminder of what happened. I will report back after I next visit…

I’d like to visit Cabeca do Velho and other rock formations. I have short time to do this, and exact place is important me. How far are they from Manteigas route N232

It’s a 30-minute drive according to Google Maps –,+N232/@40.4173419,-7.5950596,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0xd3cd8cd8f81599b:0x9e3d6cfab7ed396a!2m2!1d-7.5383393!2d40.4022206!1m5!1m1!1s0xd3cd9da83b0bed5:0xecc289759318b9e5!2m2!1d-7.6028405!2d40.435699!3e0

Hi Julie. thank you for the information. we are planing a trip to Serra da Estrela in the end of august. Have you been there in the summer?i am a bit concerned because of the heat. thank you Hagit

Hi Hagit, yes. I went in August and because of the altitude, it was pleasant, rather than sweltering. Still hot but bearable unless you plan on doing strenuous trekking.

Lovely post Julie and great photos. We used to live about 80km from Serra da Estrela and would go there usually once or twice in winter to take the kids to see the snow.

Thanks, Sami. I am curious as to how it all looks in the winter but I hate driving in snow so I’m not sure how soon I’ll get around to it 🙂

Really enjoyable post. Pleased (in a perverse kind of way!) that we weren’t the only ones who had difficulty with those maps,Julie.We got lost so many times last year and ditched them (almost). We fortunately had a map reader among us who got us back on track.Our brief account of that trip through central and north east Portugal is here:

Hi Brid, Likewise, I’m ‘glad’ it’s not just me! Your trip sounds great, by the way. You managed to pack in quite a lot in two weeks!

A beautifully descriptive piece, Julie, accompanied by wonderful photos! Most enjoyable!

Thank you, Vivienne! Glad you enjoyed it. Have you been for a drive in the Serra yet? Even if you’re not up to walking far, there are plenty of viewpoints along the road and the scenery is fabulous.

Hi Julie, you should have had a look at this website before you went walking, lots of trails with maps, photos and descriptions, all ready to print out…

Hi Peter, they are the very ones I had such problems with. The pack looks fabulous and the map and leaflet really seemed promising but in practice, they fell short. I couldn’t identify the start of the walks or find signs to indicate where to go when necessary. Perhaps if you’re using them in conjunction with good GPS gadget, it might work but I found the GPS signal on my phone disappeared just when I was trying to work out where we had ended up to and establish how to get back to the car without simply retracing our steps. We tried two of the 10 walks in the pack.

I got on much better with a leaflet I picked up in Loriga that described the walk in words, telling me when to turn left and right and what to look at at various points along the trail. Even though it would have been nice to have a route map, the descriptions helped me to know I was on the right track and provided interesting facts at the right times.

Over to you. Please share your thoughts in a comment. Cancel reply

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Enter your dates and choose from 471 hotels and other places to stay, check out these popular cities in serra da estrela, covilhã, unhais da serra, penhas da saúde, alvoco da serra, aldeia viçosa, stay in serra da estrela's best hotels, star rating, review score.

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H2otel Congress & Medical SPA

Hotel in Unhais da Serra

This hotel is in Unhais da Serra, a village tucked away in Serra da Estrela Natural Park. It features a large landscaped pool, and specializes in spa and spa treatments. Staffs are friendly and professional

Hotel Berne

Hotel in Manteigas

In the Serra da Estrela Mountains, this Manteigas hotel offers guest rooms with balconies overlooking forest landscapes of Serra da Estrela . We were made to feel very welcome. Everyone was friendly. The place is warm and cosy. The room was clean and comfortable. Shower pressure was excellent. We specifically asked for a room with a balcony and that is what we got.

Sport Hotel Gym + SPA

Hotel in Covilhã

Located in the heart of Covilhã, Sport Hotel Gym + SPA offers air-conditioned rooms with a TV. Facilities include a mini market within the hotel. The Serra da Estrela National Park is only 3.7 mi... Very friendly staff, excellent location and view, nice shower, clean room, gym is good, enjoyable breakfast

Quinta do Rio Noémi

Hotel in Guarda

Located in Guarda, 3.5 miles from Guarda Castle, Quinta do Rio Noémi provides accommodations with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden and a terrace. The very warm welcome from the owner, his care and attention to your comfort; he will go the extra miles to make your stay as comfortable as possible . He even provide welcome food and drink, when I arrived after a long car journey! Fantastic breakfast , quiet room and lovely room , amazingly well renovated farm ! To be highly recommended !

Casa das Muralhas

Casa das Muralhas features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, garden, a shared lounge and terrace in Covilhã. Beautiful, well kept property with all modern amenities. Staff were excellent and very attentive. Very happy with our stay.

Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Mountain Hotels

Located in Manteigas, 15 miles from Parque Natural Serra da Estrela, Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Mountain Hotels has accommodations with a garden, free private parking, a terrace and a restaurant. Beautifully designed hotel located in the picturesque surroundings. We really enjoyed spa, sauna and massage were great. Dinner was delicious. We could not enjoy our stay more and we hope to come back

Madre de Água Hotel Rural de Charme

Hotel in Gouveia

Just a 5-minute drive away from the city of Gouveia, in the slopes of Serra da Estrela Mountain, Madre De Água Hotel Rural de Charme is located in a producing wine, cheese and olive oil farm. The place is lovely, the staff is outstanding! The surroundings are beautiful and peaceful, and the breakfast was superb. It was the second time I stayed here and will come again.

Casas Da Lapa, Nature & Spa Hotel

Hotel in Seia

Casas da Lapa is a modern hotel ideally located on a hill top, inside the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela. It is located within a characteristic mountain village, Lapa dos Dinheiros. Very nice place. Good sized room. Privatized pool/spa for 30min per day. Helpful staff. Good breakfast.

Casa das Penhas Douradas - Burel Mountain Hotels

Located in Serra da Estrela Nature Park’s mountains, this design hotel offers mountain-view rooms with amenities including an LCD TV. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Very unique and pleasant design, lot of attention was given to all details. Wood work done to the highest level. The team were very very supportive. It felt like a family run place. Raphael was exceptionally friendly and helpful. Food was unbelievably good, all fresh ingredients and served beautifully. We stayed 3 night each dinner was different and tasty.

Casas do Durão-Memories House

Hotel in Lajeosa

Located in Lajeosa do Mondego, municipality of Celorico da Beira – the Serra Cheese capital – Casas do Durão-Memories House is set at the base of the Estrela Ridge and offers a tranquil stay. A magical place with the family history that is around on the walls through pictures and family tools. The house housed a museum containing antique items that have been useful for the past 200 years. The hospitality was warm and generous and the generous breakfast with the beautiful dishes was a celebration.

Hotels with extra health and safety measures

Find hotels in serra da estrela with added hygiene measures plus high cleanliness ratings, h2otel congress & medical spa, casas da lapa, nature & spa hotel, hotel da vila, most-booked hotels in serra da estrela in the past month, luna hotel serra da estrela.

Popular with guests booking hotels in Serra da Estrela

LAM Hotel dos Carqueijais

Puralã - wool valley hotel & spa, santa eufémia covilhã hotel, hotel covilhã dona maria affiliated by meliá, hotel lusitania congress & spa, hotel santos, vila gale serra da estrela, serra da estrela's best hotels with breakfast, pousada da serra da estrela.

Offering an outdoor pool and an indoor pool, Pousada da Serra da Estrela is located in Covilhã. Featuring panoramic views of the surrounding landscape this hotel provides free WiFi access. very big hotel, the rooms are comfortable and big, the breakfast was tasty and the staff was...

Located in the historical center of Guarda, this hotel is 492 feet from the city’s cathedral. The green areas of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park are a 10-minute drive from the Hotel Santos. The hotel had a awesome vibe something different from a regular hotel .

Hotel Solneve

Just a 6.2 mi from the ski slopes of Serra da Estrela, Solneve offers relaxing accommodations in the center of Covilhã. Guests can benefit from free Wi-Fi. I am giving 10 because for what it was and the price you can't expect better.

Hotel Lusitania Congress & Spa

Lusitânia Hotel offers rooms with private balconies, just 10 minutes by car from Guarda’s historic city center. It offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools and an extensive spa area. Nice dinner and breakfast. Great decision from the hotel to have a Tesla Supercharging on-site,...

Located on the outskirts of the historical city of Covilhã, the Hotel Covilhã Dona Maria Affiliated by Meliá, offers stunning views over the Cova da Beira valley and surrounding mountains. All the staff were really helpful, the restaurant had amazing food not just for breakfast, but for...

Santa Eufémia Covilhã Hotel, just recently renewed, offers neatly furnished rooms and free parking just a 5-minute drive from Covilhã center. Very comfortable room and quiet. Checkin was easy. Bed was very comfortable

Puralã - Wool Valley Hotel & SPA

Puralã - Wool Valley Hotel & SPA offers air-conditioned rooms and a buffet-style breakfast. It features Nature Club and Spa which offer various beauty treatments and massage therapies. This hotel was beautiful and very comfortable.

Vale do Zêzere Hotel

Located in Manteigas, within 11 miles of Parque Natural Serra da Estrela and a 11-minute walk of Manteigas Hot Springs, Vale do Zêzere Hotel provides accommodations with a bar as well as free private... Warm, welcoming, fantastic room with a great view.

Budget hotels in Serra da Estrela

Casa do brigadeiro.

The Casa Do Brigadeiro is a 19th century granite mansion located in the city of Lageosa Mondego in Portugal’s historic Beira Alta Province. Modern amenities include free Wi-Fi and central heating. What a fun place to stay; like a medieval palace! Full of old world charm.

Albergaria Senhora do Espinheiro

Nestled high in the mountains of Serra da Estrela Natural Park, this guest accommodations features panoramic views of valleys and lakes. It offers an on-site restaurant. great view, great location, friendly staff

Hotel Quinta dos Cedros

Hotel in Celorico da Beira

Tucked away in a village bordering Serra de Estrela Natural Park, easily accessible via motorway, this 3-star hotel radiates an unpretentious atmosphere. Carolina was ever so friendly and the waiter too

Hotel Eurosol Gouveia

Located in Gouveia’s city center, the Hotel Eurosol Gouveia Hotel gives its guests easy access to the surrounding areas of Serra da Estrela. The staff was pleasant and helpful

Superbly located in the Serra da Estrela Mountains with panoramic views over Cova da Beira valley, this mountain resort features a unique architecture with modern décor and an outside pool. The location and the views are absolutely incredible.

Hotel Mira Serra

Bordering the Serra de Estrela Natural Park, this family-run hotel features air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony. Staff excellent. Food very good. Private parking for motorcycles

Hotel Pombeira

Only 3.1 mi from the historic center of Guarda, Hotel Pombeira is located just off the A25 and A23 Motorways. It offers great-value accommodations in spacious rooms and free private parking. Everything about this hotel was excellent.

Casas da Lapa is a modern hotel ideally located on a hill top, inside the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela. It is located within a characteristic mountain village, Lapa dos Dinheiros. Very nice place. Good sized room. Privatized pool/spa for 30min per day. Helpful staff.

Hotels in Serra da Estrela you can book without a credit card

Located in Lajeosa do Mondego, municipality of Celorico da Beira – the Serra Cheese capital – Casas do Durão-Memories House is set at the base of the Estrela Ridge and offers a tranquil stay. A magical place with the family history that is around on the walls through pictures and family...

Abrigo da Montanha Hotel Rural

Hotel in Sabugueiro

Located in Sabugueiro, within the natural landscape of Serra da Estrela Natural Park, this 4-star hotel features an à la carte restaurant and a bar. Very friendly staff. Good hospitality Will refer to friends and family.

INATEL Linhares da Beira Hotel Rural

Hotel in Linhares

Inatel Linhares is located in the historic village of Linhares, surrounded by the Serra da Estrela Mountains. It has a swimming pool, tennis court and 24-hour front desk. The grounds of the hotel were nice and the village, although remote was beautiful and quaint.

Hotel Eurosol Seia Camelo

Hotel Eurosol Seia Camelo occupies a prime location in Seia’s city center, being a part of Serra da Estrela Nature Reserve. The breakfast was wonderful and very good!:) Employees of the hotel were excellent - very helpful!

Hotel Covilhã Jardim

Hotel Covilhã Jardim offers a café-bar on site. It is located a 14-minute walk from Covilhã Train Station and 6.2 mi from Serra da Estrela ski slopes. Location and staff were amazing Good TV, with many channels

FAQs about hotels in Serra da Estrela

What are the best cities to stay at in serra da estrela.

Covilhã , Guarda , and Manteigas are popular with other travelers visiting Serra da Estrela.

How much does it cost to stay at a hotel in Serra da Estrela?

On average, 3-star hotels in Serra da Estrela cost $79 per night, and 4-star hotels in Serra da Estrela are $128 per night. If you're looking for something really special, 5-star hotels in Serra da Estrela cost around $438 per night (based on prices).

What are the best hotels to stay at in Serra da Estrela?

H2otel Congress & Medical SPA , Hotel Berne , and Sport Hotel Gym + SPA are some of the popular hotels in Serra da Estrela.

In addition, Quinta do Rio Noémi , Casas Da Lapa, Nature & Spa Hotel , and Casa das Muralhas are also popular in Serra da Estrela.

What hotels in Serra da Estrela have nice views?

Casa das Penhas Douradas - Burel Mountain Hotels , Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Mountain Hotels , and INATEL Linhares da Beira Hotel Rural in Serra da Estrela have received great reviews for the views from their hotel rooms.

Guests staying in Serra da Estrela also loved the views from their rooms at Hotel da Fábrica , Hotel Versatile , and Hotel Berne .

How much is a hotel in Serra da Estrela for this weekend?

The average price per night for a 3-star hotel in Serra da Estrela this weekend is $93 or $185 for a 4-star hotel. Looking for something even fancier? 5-star hotels in Serra da Estrela this weekend cost around $329 per night (based on prices).

How many hotels in Serra da Estrela are listed on

There are 348 hotels in Serra da Estrela you can book on

How much is a hotel in Serra da Estrela for tonight?

On average, it costs $89 per night to book a 3-star hotel in Serra da Estrela for tonight. You'll pay around $164 on average if you stay at a 4-star hotel tonight, while a 5-star hotel in Serra da Estrela will cost around $275 (based on prices).

What hotels in Serra da Estrela offer great breakfasts?

Hotels in Serra da Estrela that offer highly-rated breakfasts include Casas do Durão-Memories House , Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Mountain Hotels , and Quinta do Rio Noémi .

Breakfast at these hotels in Serra da Estrela are also highly-rated: Casa das Muralhas , Puralã - Wool Valley Hotel & SPA , and Casa das Penhas Douradas - Burel Mountain Hotels .

What hotels in Serra da Estrela are good for couples?

Couples traveling to Serra da Estrela loved staying at Quinta do Rio Noémi , Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Mountain Hotels , and Casa das Muralhas .

These hotels in Serra da Estrela are also highly-rated by couples: Casas Da Lapa, Nature & Spa Hotel , H2otel Congress & Medical SPA , and Casa das Penhas Douradas - Burel Mountain Hotels .

Which hotels in Serra da Estrela are good for families?

Many families visiting Serra da Estrela loved staying at Quinta do Rio Noémi , Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Mountain Hotels , and Casas do Durão-Memories House .

Casa das Penhas Douradas - Burel Mountain Hotels , Casas Da Lapa, Nature & Spa Hotel , and Hotel Berne are also popular among family travelers.

Explore guest reviews of hotels in Serra da Estrela

Pena d'água boutique hotel & villas.

Hotel in Covilhã

We recently spent 3 nights at the Pena D'Agua while touring Portugal, and the stunning Serra Da Estrela national park which the hotel is located close to. The hotel’s tasteful decor and cleanliness, plus the friendliness of the staff impressed us. The rooms were impeccably maintained, and the overall ambiance was inviting. We highly recommend this hotel for anyone looking for beautiful, clean, and good priced accommodation. Also, a special thank you to Carlota for going out of her way to help us when we had car issues.

The remote location, right in the heart of Serra da Estrela is amazing. The design of the hotel is cosy and warm. The 2 common rooms with the fireplaces allow you to relax and enjoy the moment. The limited number of rooms and architecture of the space allows the guests to feel a sense of privacy at every moment of their stay. Highly recommended the spa treatments. Remote location + massage = happiness Don't forget to try the indoor pool. Nor the shorter or longer nature trails. The views are breathtaking!

Santa Eufémia Covilhã Hotel

The hotel has been renovated sooner my last stay and looks very modern. Everything is new and looks/works very well. Very friendly and helpful staff. Amazing view at Cova da Beira (stayed at the 6th floor). Covilhã is also the best place to stay as it has lots of points of interest and is central to several others in the area. Also a safe haven during more intense snowfall because you never get locked in as in other locations closer to the Serra da Estrela's Torre (mountain top)

SerraVale - House & Nature

I recently stayed at SerraVale for three nights and was thoroughly impressed. The hotel was impeccably clean, the hospitality was exceptional, and the breakfast was amazing. Located in the heart of Manteigas, it offered convenience and easy access to everything. The owner, Elsa, one of the best hostesses in Portugal, made my stay truly memorable and welcoming. Highly recommend SerraVale for a wonderful experience in Manteigas and in Serra da Estrela.

Madre de Água Hotel Rural de Charme

It's a high end hotel, but with low to medium price. Beautiful building, amazing suite with a view of a gorgeous sunset. They produce their own wine, cheese (including a DOP Serra da Estrela cheese) and olive oil in the property, and you can visit the orchards and meet the sheeps! Just make sure to book everything in advance. Great restaurant inside the hotel, with a really good breakfast. The staff is beyond helpful. More than recommend.

Casa do Vidoeiro

It was one of the best nights during my 10-day trip in Portugal. We arrived late to check in as we found some snow while driving at Serra da Estrela, and the owner was very welcomed, giving all instructions by phone to arrive safe and get the keys and codes. The bed and the shower were amazing, and the breakfast was incredible. You can see and feel the care and the personal touch in this boutique hotel. I would definitely recommend.

Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Mountain Hotels

Beautiful hotel in the Serra da Estrela mountains. Our bedroom was nicely furnished and extremely comfortable. The staff were friendly and helpful (e.g. preparing us a packed lunch for our hike, ironing a shirt before dinner, reserving spa facilities). Breakfast and dinner in the restaurant were delicious and we enjoyed stunning views. Highly recommended if you want a quiet break in nature (and worth the drive!)

This was a marvellous place. We went with three kids aged 8-12, and that was good, yet the hotel does value peace and quiet and relaxation. We were warmly welcomed every day, had excellent dinners and food overall, and were happy with price-quality balance. The hotel is also in a great location for hikes and trips to the Serra da Estrela, and overall we had a really great time.

The hotel was clean and comfortable and the staff worked hard to answer all our questions about the region. Perfect for exploring Serra da Estrela Natural Park. In particular, Paula was very helpful in securing a time slot for the spa for the evening we wanted to use the pool. The restaurant staff was very nice as well and the meals exceeded our expectations.

Cabeço das Fráguas - apartamento centro cidade da Guarda

Vitor was very helpful since we booked this apartment, he answer SMS txt so quickly and give a bunch of tips to go to Serra da Estrela. The woman who cleaned the apartments was so kind and lovely. The apartment was 10/10, comfy and cozy, many utensils to cook, very cleanly apartment and groceries are close to the apartment.

Gouveia Vintage House

The location was great, walking distance to everything, right in the center of town. Near a park, a garden and if climb up to the Paixotao, you will see incredible views. Parking also available. If you are more adventurous go to Serra da Estrela, which is the highest point in all of Portugal & absolutely nature at its best.

Casa na Serra 2, Sabugueiro

Lurdes was very welcoming and the apartment was warm and cozy when we arrived. The apartment was very spacious and bright, the balcony had a beautiful view, the kitchen is fully equipped and even has a washer/dryer and the beds were very comfortable. It was the perfect place to stay in Serra da Estrela with our kids.

Casas do Soito

Probably the swimming pool with the best views in Serra da Estrela. Good breakfast delivered to the house at 9am, super spacious ensuite rooms and comfortable beds. House has everything needed for a comfortable stay and is cleaned everyday. We liked the decoration too, very un-hotel like. Super quiet hamlet.

The location and the building where Pousada da Serra da Estrela is are amazing. Super close to Penhas da Saúde and Torre by car. Great view over Covilhã. Great indoor swimming pool and games room. It was nice to have a small kids club right next to the games room. Rooms are spacious and comfortable.

Super friendly staff that give you nice guidance on what to visit and where to go. We got a room upgrade which we really enjoyed. Room was brand new and fully equipped with an amazing view over the city. I think it was the best view you can get from a hotel in Serra da Estrela.

Pedras Lavradas

Teixeira de Baixo

This hostel is located in a very quiet area in Serra da Estrela, where you can enjoy the silence and nature. They also have a bar, so it's not a problem there's no groceries around. The breakfast was amazing and the serra da estrela cheese is super!

I was absolutely captivated by the hotel's prime location in the heart of Serra Da Estrela, but what stood out the most was the exceptional service. A special shoutout to Monica, Ruben, Daniel, and all the wonderful staff who made my stay unforgettable.

Great staff and beautiful location in the heart of Serra da Estrela. Cozy, mountain-like vibe around the hotel with plenty of space and hang-out areas plus a breakfast that should suit everyone's needs and wishes :-) Also, the heated pool was great.

Room was cosy and comfortable, with a balcony with a view to the village. Location was excellent for exploring serra da estrela's trails. Hotel staff is very helpful and professional. Nice breakfast and the hotel restaurant is very good.

We used the hotel as a base for exploring the Serra da Estrela on our motorbike. Great location, friendly staff, comfortable rooms, and a good breakfast. We were able to park our motorbike under cover just outside the main doors.

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The peaks of the Serra da Estrela are the highest mountains in Portugal, rising dramatically to the southwest of Guarda. The range is basically a high alpine plateau cut by valleys, from within which emanate two of the country’s greatest rivers, the Mondego and Zêzere – the only rivers to begin and end in Portugal rather than crossing the border from Spain. The mountains – snowcapped into late spring – soon impose themselves upon any approach, while the lower flanks on either side of the range reveal a patchwork of small villages that retain much charm. The odd Portuguese visitor comes to the serra to ski in winter; many more clog the narrow roads in summer looking for picnic space. A network of hiking trails covers the peaks and valleys, though relatively few people take to the paths to explore the region.

Hiking in the Parque Natural

Mountain life.

Around 1000 square kilometres of the mountain range is protected as the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, which stretches for around 55km from north to south and around 25km east to west at its widest point. From the west, access is from the N17, through the small service towns of Seia or Gouveia and then on over the high mountain roads, deep into the park; the smaller western-flank villages of Linhares, Folgosinho and Loriga offer a prettier introduction to the mountain landscape. The valley town and spa of Manteigas, pretty much in the centre of the park, is the single best base for hiking and touring, while the tiny ski industry – such as it is – centres on the road between 1993m Torre, the country’s highest peak, and Covilhã, south of Manteigas. Covilhã lies just outside the park proper, and is the only town of any size in the region.

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If there’s one town in the Serra da Estrela with a true mountain air it’s MANTEIGAS, 700m up, whose whitewashed houses run along the contour above the Rio Zêzere. The approach from any direction is dramatic: from Sabugueiro and the west the road winds down in convoluted switchbacks; from Belmonte and the east the river scenery is at its most bucolic; while from the south there is the breathtaking descent down the glacial valley of the Rio Zêzere. The latter route brings you into town past the therapeutic spa of Caldas de Manteigas and to the fertile valley bottom of the Zêzere, with Manteigas itself spreading across the steep slope opposite.

There’s no public transport further into the park from town, but with a car you can use Manteigas as a base to visit Torre, the glacial valley and ski fields, and the nearby villages. The town is on two of the official walking trails, but local routes are on the tough side since – south and west at least – you have to climb steep and far to get anywhere. There’s one easy circular walk to the Poço do Inferno, though most other routes are point-to-point, requiring a taxi ride out or back, which can be easily arranged.

A circular walk from Manteigas to the Poço de Inferno

The best circular walk from Manteigas is to the Poço de Inferno waterfall and back, which takes around four hours. Most of the paint-mark trail signs are missing or faded, but it’s a straightforward route with some gorgeous views. The walk starts in the Zêzere valley bottom, from the small bridge and picnic area reached down the steep road behind the turismo in Manteigas.

Cross the bridge, turn left (signposted “Leandres”) and walk for 500m along the road, past the recycling plant, before turning right onto a clear forestry track. Keep straight on, ever upwards through the woods – the first yellow paint sign is on a tree on the right-hand side (6min) and there isn’t another until you reach a ruined white house in a clearing (45min) marked with the words “Matas Nacionais”.

Five minutes' walk after the house is the only turn off the main path – to the left (with paint marks before and after the turn). In another fifteen minutes the path ends at a bend in a tarmac road. Walk uphill (there’s a yellow paint mark almost immediately) and it’s twenty minutes further up the road to the Poço do Inferno, “Hell’s Well”, where the Leandres River pours down the narrow gorge into clear pools overlooked by viewing platforms.

To return, follow the minor road around past the falls, heading back towards Manteigas. This road actually runs steadily down to Caldas de Manteigas, though this would be a long (8km) and unnecessary return to Manteigas itself. Instead, after an hour, at a large water tank by the right-hand side of the road (there’s also a white house, just before a small bridge), turn right down an ancient track – walled in parts – which drops in zigzags through the trees. Ultimately, there are several divergent paths, but as long as you keep going downhill you’ll end up in the group of houses by the Albergaria Berne (another 30min) – from where it’s a steep fifteen-minute climb into Manteigas proper.

Just outside the eastern park boundary, and 44km south of Guarda, the prosperous town of COVILHÃ lies immediately below the highest peaks. It’s busiest on winter weekends, when it’s used as a base for trips to the ski slopes, but it has a life independent of the mountains, which makes it an agreeable place to visit at any time. Virtually every thoroughfare looks out across the plain below or up to the mountain crags – the café in the pretty town gardens has the best view, serenaded by practice sessions in the music conservatory opposite.

A market town since the Middle Ages, Covilhã developed a textile industry in the seventeenth century using wool from the local sheep, which also provide the milk for the renowned queijo da serra (mountain cheese). Later, the woollen industry harnessed water-power from the mountain streams; factories today, down on the plain below town, are powered by hydroelectricity. You can view the enormous vats used in the traditional wool-dyeing processes in the Museo de Lanifícios, located in the former Real Fábrica de Panos (Royal Textile Factory), a short walk downhill from the centre.

In theory, various hiking trails cut across the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, though it’s much harder to walk in the serras than it should be. The park information offices tend not to have English-speaking staff, and it’s rare for the personnel to have any first-hand experience of the trails – often, you’ll simply be pointed to dated or unreliable hiking guides and maps. Moreover, the waymarking (red-and-yellow paintmarks) in the park is unreliable: maintenance doesn’t appear to be a priority and signposting at village trailheads is woeful or non-existent. Well-prepared walkers will need to be self-sufficient in order to complete the longer trails. The best time to walk is from May to October. For the day-hiker, who just wants a taste of the mountains, try the easy circular route from Manteigas to the Poço do Inferno waterfall. Alternatively, you could tackle a short stretch of the lower-level T2 – Linhares to Gouveia, via Folgoshinho, is a good full day’s walk, with facilities in each place – though you’ll need to take a taxi back to your starting point.

In the last decades of the twentieth century, and to a lesser extent more recently, life in the mountains changed almost beyond recognition. Farmers have moved from stone mountain houses to more modern dwellings on the valley floor while many of the former intensively cultivated Zêzere valley terraces have been abandoned in favour of spreading pine plantations. Meanwhile local village production is often now directed towards tourists – delights such as the local queijo da serra, an unctuous mountain cheese, as well as rye bread, fruit preserves, honey from the fertile valleys and blankets made from the wool of grazing upland sheep are all widely available.

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written by Mani Ramaswamy

updated 17.04.2024


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Ultimate Serra Da Estrela Natural Park Guide 2024: 9x Best Things To Do

  • Updated on: April 8, 2022

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One of the best places to explore in Europe is Serra da Estrela Natural Park in western Portugal. However, visiting here can be daunting as a first-time visitor. Don’t worry; this post covers all of the best things to do in Serra da Estrela!

Luckily, I’ve been to Serra da Estrela Natural Park before and now know exactly what’s worth doing there and what’s not. I even discovered that if you don’t have your own method of transportation, you can take a Serra da Estrela day trip from Lisbon for an affordable price.

Taking the time to plan your itinerary when visiting this national park in Portugal is the key to a successful visit! By the end of this post, you’ll know all of the activities that you can’t miss during your visit to Serra da Estrela Natural Park.

Where is Serra da Estrela?

Serra Da Estrela how to get there?

By car the drive will take you around 2 hours, see the map above for the best route.

In 4 hours the Combois Portugal train will take you to Nelas, don’t fall asleep because you will need to change in Coimbra. From Nelas you need to take a taxi drive from around 50 minutes to Serra da Estrela which will cost you between € 60 – € 80.

Use Rome2Rio to check the best routes by bus to get from Porto to Serra da Estrela, which will take you 3 hours and will cost between € 8.00 and € 16.00.

How high is Serra da Estrela?

Serra da Estrella is with 1.993 meters the highest point of mainland Portugal. To give you an overview about the other summits check out the table below:

List of Mountains in Portugal

Is serra da estrela worth visiting.

I can be really short to answer this question: YES, it’s absolutely worth is all year around. The national park offers great opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, climbing and so much more.

Best time to visit Serra da Estrela

I can’t tell you the best time, because this really depends what your reason is to visit Serra da Estrela. The periode between June and August is the busiest and you really need to think about book tours and accommodations in advance. For more information about the temperatures and rainfall, check the table below.

Weather in Serra da Estrela

As the national park is located in the highest area of Portugal the weather can change in just a couple of minutes, so always be prepared for bad weather conditions. During the winter months the temperature can be below zero as it snows and the roads can be icy, so be careful. While the winter is perfect for winter sports, during the summer it can be really hot, during hiking and other outdoor activities you need to stay hydrated. 

Must Read: 25 Incredible Things to Do in Lisbon for Outdoor Lovers

Video: Serra da Estrela Natural Park Inspiration

1. Go to the top of the Serra da Estrela mountain range

Mountain Top Serra da Estrela Portugal

Arguably, one of the best things to do in Serra da Estrela Natural Park is going to the top of the mountain range. As the highest mountain range in Portugal, the view from the top is one you won’t want to miss. 

The best way to get to the top of Serra da Estrela without hiking is to go to Torre, which you can get to by driving. This part of the mountain peak offers incredible and breathtaking views of the surrounding area. 

At Torre, there are also some shops and even a ski resort. When visiting, be sure to take the time and walk around this area so that you get to fully experience what it’s like here so that you don’t regret it. This mountain peak is luckily beautiful year-round, so no matter what time you visit, you’ll surely enjoy the view.

2. Serra da estrela natural park hiking

Serra da Estrela Portugal

If you’re wondering what to do in Serra da Estrela Natural Park and you love outdoor adventure activities, consider going on a hike! This mountain range has quite a few excellent hiking trails that range in difficulty. Below, learn about some that I most recommend!

Fraga das Penhas and Albufeira de Vale do Rossim

Fraga das Penhas and Albufeira de Vale do Rossim

First is a 7.3-mile trail with just over 1,000 feet of elevation gain on the way up. This loop trail is moderate, so if you’ve been hiking before, you will most likely be able to do this hike easily.

Bear in mind that the majority of this trail is right in the sunlight, and there’s not a shady spot along it, so you’ll want to make sure you pack your sunscreen. It’s best to do this hike when it’s not incredibly hot so that you don’t overheat along the way.

Click here or on the title of the trail on the right corner of the map, to get more information about this trail.

PR 2 MTG Rota do Javali

PR 2 MTG Rota do Javali - Portugal

Another great moderate trail with over 2,000 feet in elevation gain in this Portuguese Natural Park is PR 2 MTG Rota do Javali. It’s also 7 miles, and its main feature is a waterfall that has truly unparalleled views. 

This trail essentially circles all the way around a mountain instead of going to a summit, but it makes for exciting and beautiful scenery. A lot of the trail is quite rocky, so it might be a bit trickier to hike than other trails rated as moderate. 

Click here or on the title of the trail on the right corner of the map, to get more information.

Poco do Inferno

Poco do Inferno

Last but not least is Poco do Inferno, an easy hike of just under two miles. It’s a loop trail with around 480 feet in elevation gain. Because this trail is easy, you’ll be able to enjoy the incredible views that come from hiking Serra da Estrela Natural Park in Portugal, no matter your hiking experience. 

Ensure you wear sturdy shoes because the beginning is very rocky, and it soon turns into a forest.

Check out: The Perfect 10 Day Road Trip Itinerary From Lisbon to Porto

3. Serra da estrela mountain bike

Mountainbike Serra da Estrela Portugal

One of the top things to do in Portugal ‘s Serra da Estrela National Park is to go mountain biking! If you didn’t travel with a bike (as most people wouldn’t), don’t worry. You can rent one nearby so you can participate in fun activities like this. Here are a few of the best trails in Serra da Estrela for mountain biking.

Unhais da Serra a Torre

Unhais da Serra a Torre - Portugal

This 12.5-mile trail is a point-to-point and has just shy of 5,000 feet of elevation gain. It’s a challenging trail that is best used by those who have adequate mountain biking experience, but the views are unmatched!

Part of the trail is paved, but some of it is also rocky. Doing a path like this could take quite a few hours, so make sure you pack a backpack for yourself and plan wisely.

GR22 7 Valezim a Piodao

Piódão - Portugal

For a more accessible trail, consider going on this one in Serra da Estrela Natural Park. It’s just under 20 miles, but the elevation gain is closer to 4,000 feet, and it’s a moderate point-to-point trail. This mountain biking trail will bring you near tons of beautiful quaint villages in the area!

Must read: Cycling in Portugal Guide: 3 Incredible Routes for Bike Touring

4. Serra da estrela skiing

Wintersport Serra da Estrela Portugal

Are you wondering what to do in this National Park in Portugal during the winter? You’re in luck because this mountain range is home to tons of popular winter sports. Instead of heading to Switzerland or Austria this winter, go to Serra da Estrela!

Snowboarding and skiing in Portugal

One of the classic winter activities here is snowboarding or skiing in Serra da Estrela. There’s a popular ski resort here called Vodafone Ski Resort that’s located directly in the mountain range. While the slopes here aren’t great for really advanced snowboards and skiers, this is the perfect place to go if you’re a beginner or intermediate.

Another great thing to do in this Portuguese National Park is sledging! This is great fun for all ages, and you should be able to rent or purchase a sledge in one of the villages or at the ski resort. The best place to go sledging is at the ski resort, but if you can find another area that looks safe for sledging, by all means, go for it!

Snow activities

If you’re wondering what to do here, but you’d rather do it on a tour, consider participating in snow activities. This tour , in particular, will give you access to a must-visit cheese factory and to the slopes. 

5. Serra da estrela hole in lake – Covão dos Conchos 

Covão dos Conchos - Portugal

Exploring Covão dos Conchos is one of the top things to do in Serra da Estrela National Park! This is a big park in the mountains that is most popular for its glorious lakes, but it also has some fantastic hiking trails. 

We’ve been here before, but it was dry at the time that we visited. Keep in mind that what you see there won’t always be like what you see in pictures! 

What is Lagoa da Serra da Estrela?

Back in 1955 engineers were building a dam in the highest mountain range in Portugal ‘Serra da Estrela’ and needed water in a lower lake ‘Lagao Comprida’ and created a 15 meter hole to transport the water. So there is no waterfall or secret world underneath, but it’s really functional. 

The best trail that we can recommend here is Lagoa Camprida e Cavao dos Conchos . Hiking this trail is the perfect way to get some of the best views of the area, and you’ll also get some great exercise along the way.

It’s a 5.5-mile trail round trip with an elevation gain of just under 800 feet. If you drift off the trail slightly, you may also be able to do a route all the way around the lake instead of this out and back trail.

6. Villages

When visiting Serra da Estrela Natural Park, you absolutely must take the time to check out a few of the villages. Here are some that we most recommend. 

Piódão - Portugal

First up is Piódão, a 14th-century historical village that is situated right on the mountain. It looks like a town straight out of a fairytale, and all the houses in this village are almost identical. The cobblestone walkways here feel genuinely magical. Because this town is so tiny, you should also visit local restaurants and mingle with residents!

Guarda - Portugal

Guarda is another must-visit village in Serra da Estrela. It’s a lot bigger and is in the northern part of the mountain range. The highlight here is Sabugal Castle, a historic castle that the town was built around. You’ll also want to be sure to visit the Gothic Se da Guarda Church, which is truly beautiful. 

Check out: Portugal Hiking Guide + 9 Greatest Hiking Trails

7. Find the Serra da Estrela dogs 

Serra da Estrela Portugal Dog

Believe it or not, but one of the oldest dog breeds in this area of the world is the Serra da Estrela dogs! These mountain dogs are historically used guarding and herding, and they grow to be quite large. While they’re pretty rare outside of Portugal, they’re popular within the country.

You’ll find that many people in the area own these dogs, but you can also find them at local dog kennels. Consider meeting up with a local or visiting a kennel to meet these dogs and give them some love.

8. Learn about Portugal’s food

Portugal Dish

Take the time to visit the Bread and Cheese Museum (Museu do Pão) to learn all about its religious importance to this area of Portugal near the Serra da Estrela National Park. The museum is filled with exhibits that will introduce you to the milling process from start to finish. 

This museum is very kid-friendly, but of course, adults will enjoy it too. That’s what makes this such a must-do attraction when visiting here!

Be sure to book your museum tour ahead of time if you know this is an activity you want to partake in!

9. Go on a 4×4 Jeep adventure in Serra da Estrela National Park

4x4 Jeep Portugal

Last but not least, one of the most fun things to do in Serra da Estrela National Park in Portugal is hopping on a 4×4 Jeep adventure ! This adventure lasts approximately 6 hours, so the price is well worth it.

The tour guide is available in either Portuguese or English. Along the adventure, you’ll learn more about the Serra da Estrela mountain range, taste some of the best delicacies (smoked ham and cheese!), and more, all while exploring the area in a 4×4 Jeep. 

Where can I stay near Serra da Estrela Natural Park?

There are plenty of options for accommodation in the national park, for all kind of budgets.

Serra Da Estrela Natural Park Hotels

  • Budget: Sport Hotel Gym + Spa
  • Budget: Quinta de Leandres
  • Midrange: Vila Galé Serra da Estrela

Tip to save money: Book your stays with  and get a free night for every 10 nights you stay.

Serra Da Estrela Natural Park Camping

If you prefer to spend your night on a campground, there are nice campings in the national park. For more information see the camping map below:

Best Tours Serra da Estrela

Faq serra da estrela national park, what is the highest point in portugal.

The Estrela Mountains is the highest point of mainland Portugal. The highest point of Portugal is Pico 2.351 meters located on Azores.

Do you need to book in advance to visit Serra da Estrela?

If you want to visit the National Park by yourself you don’t have to book, tours need to be booked in advance.

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The Top Things to See and Do in Serra da Estrela, Portugal

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The highest mountain range in continental Portugal , the Serra da Estrela offers all manner of things to see and do for travellers of every stripe. Portugal might be best known for its sandy beaches and surf, but it’s also home to Serra da Estrela, a protected 888sqkm (343sqmi) park boasting the country’s highest mountain peaks. In this region, you’ll find icy lakes and granite outcrops towering above thickly wooded valleys and rushing rivers. This beautiful natural landscape is dotted with charming villages and is a great spot for hiking, climbing and skiing as well for spotting quirky cultural sights.

1. complete douro valley wine tour.

Natural Feature

Enjoy a full-day tour in the Douro Valley, including wine tastings, a traditional Portuguese lunch, and a scenic river cruise, showcasing the region’s renowned wine culture.

2. Hike up Torre Mountain

At the centre of Serra da Estrela, rising above a wild, boulder-strewn plateau is Torre, mainland Portugal’s highest peak at 1993m (6539ft) and home to its only ski resort. Torre literally means Tower and it gets its name from a tower built here in the 19th century to extend the mountain to 2000m (6562ft). The views are spectacular and on a bright day, you can see the Atlantic Ocean over 100mi (161km) in the distance.

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Historical Landmark

A hotchpotch village on a valley side and surrounded by lush pastureland, mountain springs and evergreen forest. The stacked arrangement of houses is much like an amphitheatre and at night, when the lights are turned on, the village looks magnificent. The winding narrow streets were built from local stone and it is said that the window frames are all blue because the one shop only had blue paint to sell. Enjoy a step back into an ancient time.

4. Sintra and Cascais Small-Group

Visit the picturesque towns of Sintra and Cascais on this small-group day trip from Lisbon. Highlights include Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca, and the scenic coastline.

5. Hike from Manteigas to the Poço de Inferno

This hike is on a 7.5km (5mi) loop inside the Serra da Estrela Park and it’s the perfect day hike for fit intermediate hikers. The village of Manteigas is located at an altitude of 700m (2297ft) at the end of the ancient Zezere valley and the best time to hike from here is spring and summer. The hike will take you across rocky terrain and meadows to the Poço do Inferno waterfall, which descends a steep gorge of Ribeira de Lenadres and offers incredible valley views.

people cheering on a mountain

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6. Small group tour to Sintra

This tour covers Sintra’s Pena Palace, Cabo da Roca, Quinta da Regaleira, and Cascais. It combines natural beauty, historical sites, and architectural marvels.

7. Hit the slopes at Estância de Ski

Skiing in Portugal – who would have thought? The Serra da Estrela is one of the only places that gets enough snow for skiing and has the only fully-equipped ski resort in the country. The resort is open from November to April and, with only four ski lifts, it is on the small side. Still, with 130m (427ft) of vertical descents and nine pistes in total, the novelty factor of skiing in sunny Portugal makes it worthwhile and facilities are good. The nearest airport is in Porto.

8. Visit the Cheese Museum in Pêraboa

Hold your nose and learn the full story of cheese-making in Serra da Estrela. This cheese museum – Museu do Queijo – is located in the small village of Pêraboa. The museum’s guide, Pedro, will share funny and fascinating yarns about the docile sheep and witty shepherds who have lived in these mountains for centuries while you try samples of what is known as the king of Portuguese cheese. Made from raw sheep’s milk, it is soft with a rich, intense flavour.

9. Savour local produce at O Albertino

Restaurant, Portuguese

A rustic family-run mountain restaurant that thrives on the views from its windows and local produce such as Serra da Estrela cheese and sausages from the family’s farm produced using ancient smoking methods. You can also buy dried sausages, cured cheese and rye bread to take home with you after enjoying a delicious tasting menu including liqueurs and coffee.

10. Fátima, Nazaré and Óbidos Small-Group Day

Explore the religious site of Fatima, the coastal town of Nazare, and the medieval village of Obidos on this small-group day trip from Lisbon, offering a diverse cultural experience.

11. Marvel at the Senhora da Boa Estrela

A spectacular landmark in Covão do Boi, right in the heart of the Estrela mountains, this bas-relief sculpture was carved into the rock by António Duarte in 1946 to represent Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela, the protector Saint of the Shepherds. The sculpture is more than 7m (23ft) high and stands as a reminder of how important sheep-related products are to this region. A festival here every August always attracts a big local crowd.

12. Stop-off at the beautiful Igreja de Santa Maria

Hands down one of the most beautiful churches in Portugal, if not the world. Standing in the heart of Covilhã’s historic centre, the 16th-century Igreja de Santa Maria’s facade is entirely clad in blue and white hand-painted tiles depicting the life of the Virgin Mary. This traditional creation, added in the 20th-century, contrasts markedly with the street art that appears on several nearby walls. Inside are no less than 11 altars.

13. Browse the collection at the Museu Municipal de Arte Moderna Abel Manta

Inside this gorgeous 18th-century manor house you’ll be able to browse a collection of paintings by one of Portugal’s most distinguished and controversial modernist artists, Abel Manta. Around 23 of his works are on display, along with paintings by other well-known Portuguese artists including his son, João Abel Manta. Look out for fine baroque details on the doors and windows.

14. Visit Covão dos Conchos

One of the most amazing sights in the Serra da Estrela is without a doubt a waterfall-like hole in the middle of a lake. Although it looks like a mysterious natural phenomenon, this hole was created in the 1950s to direct water from the Ribeira das Naves to Lagoa Comprida . While it is possible to visit this spot on foot, the hike isn’t for beginners and becomes more difficult during the winter months, so visitors are cautioned to do their research first and be careful.

Nina Santos has contributed additional reporting to this article .

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This Portugal Mountain Range Is Home to Tiny Medieval Towns, Locally Made Beer, and Hidden Swimming Holes

The centuries-old villages of the Serra da Estrela, in Portugal’s Centro region, make for an easy, evocative road trip. Kieran Dahl gets lost in the magic of the mountains.

After driving up to the summit of Torre, the highest peak in Portugal's Serra da Estrela mountain range, I had a childlike urge to climb even closer to the clouds. I spotted a narrow concrete plinth and hoisted myself onto it. Finding my balance, I raised my arms shakily in triumph. "Do you realize," I called down to my girlfriend, Diana, "that I'm higher up than every single person in continental Portugal?"

She rolled her eyes, unmoved. Never mind that we'd driven up a long, winding road to Torre's summit. Diana had been skeptical of my idea to head straight for the mountains. This was, after all, a country shaped by the Atlantic Ocean, with coastal cities , balmy beaches , and seafood in abundance. Now, I felt vindicated.

All that climbing and driving had left us famished, so we scoured the Centro Comercial da Torre (351-911-546-037) , a cramped general store filled with cured meats, sheepskin-lined clothes, liqueurs, and local dairy products. I bought a loaf of bread, a chunk of tangy cheese, and two seven-ounce bottles of Super Bock, the unofficial beer of Portugal.

Outside the store, sitting on its sweeping back deck, we could hear the skeletal chairlift of the country's lone ski resort, idly twisting in the wind until next winter. The aging towers of the abandoned observatory glinted in the summer sun. We ate our peaceful picnic while staring out at the drama of the Serra da Estrela.

That morning, we'd driven nearly three hours south from Porto through the Centro region, which stretches across the heart of Portugal from the Atlantic Ocean to Spain. We wanted to explore the rugged environs of the Serra da Estrela, and get a sense of the area's rich history.

In the 1600s and 1700s, the Portuguese-Spanish border was a violently contested battleground. Settlements were transformed into fortified villages, strategically located on hilltops; some date as far back as the 12th century. Today, 12 of these towns make up a government-designated network known as the Historical Villages of Portugal.

We hadn't factored white-knuckle driving into the equation. With me behind the wheel and Diana in the passenger seat, we drove 45 minutes down the zigzagging road from Torre, stopping at a 25-foot bas-relief sculpture carved into the side of a mountain. The work depicts Senhora da Boa Estrela, the protector saint of the shepherds. We parked on the roadside and ascended a small set of stairs to the statue's base, looking up at the two-story saint in awe.

Our final destination that day was Belmonte, a city of 7,000 built around a Roman-era castle. We checked in to the Pousada Convento de Belmonte , a 13th-century monastery that has been converted into an elegant hotel. The building's ecclesiastical past gave it an air of weighty stillness. The living room had once been a chapel, and still had a vaulted ceiling. Diana and I spoke in hushed tones, as if back in Sunday school, and slept deeply in our tranquil bedroom. In the morning, we watched from the stone-lined swimming pool as the sun rose over the jagged peaks of the Serra da Estrela.

Refreshed, we got back in the car and drove toward the castle, past houses decorated with flowering window boxes. Little more than the exterior walls of Belmonte's castle remain. From its ornately carved window, looking out over the green shades of the Zêzere valley, I tried to picture the medieval past, the armored knights who once protected the structure. We drove to the Torre de Centum Cellas, a crumbling structure from the Roman period. Historians have never been able to determine whether it was used as a temple, a prison, a villa, or something else entirely. Its open-air ruins reminded me of a crown, the battlements silhouetted against the purple sky.

In the early evening, we set out for the Quinta da Barroquinha , a quaint cottage set on a seven-acre farm near Vale de Prazeres and the perfect home base for the next two nights. The cottage had once been a shepherd's hut; the rough stone walls and woodstove showed its past lives. After our host welcomed us with a small bottle of olive oil made on the property, Diana and I cooked pasta and split a bottle of Portuguese red on the patio. As we ate, the scattered lights of the valley gave way to twinkling stars.

After stopping for breakfast the next morning in the nearby town of Alpedrinha — by now, "pastéis de nata" and "café, por favor" had become our daily refrain — we drove up a rocky hill to Monsanto, a village that is built beneath, between, and atop enormous granite boulders. The tiny cobblestoned lanes are too narrow for cars, so we walked through the streets marveling at the stone walls. We saw a house with a roof formed by a globular mass of granite. Boulders on either side of another property squeezed it like a corset. One home was carved directly into the rock, with a low-slung wooden door.

From the impressively preserved ramparts of the castle that crowns Monsanto, we could see for a hundred miles in any direction. Birds floated on the wind at our eye level; the sun was strong overhead, and we felt beads of sweat on our foreheads. To get out of the heat, we skittered downhill to the homey Taverna Lusitana . We sat on its terrace at a minuscule table, on seats that had been carved out of boulders, and shared a pizza and beers from the taverna's own brand, Cerveja de Guerreiros. The ice-cold mugs soothed our sunburned faces. In the corner of the terrace, an artist was sketching the valley. The drawing depicted everything from the stretch of land below to the village's barrocais , or "chaos of blocks," that shape several old towns like this across the region.

After leaving Monsanto, we explored Castelo Branco, a Templar stronghold that dates back to the early 1200s. All that remains of its castle is a wall and two crumbling towers. The garden, Jardim do Paco Episcopa, verdant and blooming, brought the whole experience to life for us. We wandered through the maze of waist-high hedges to a chorus of delicately trickling fountains, imagining the lives of the first inhabitants.

A short drive away, we arrived at a remote village, Penha Garcia, where a well-worn path brought us to the highest point in town. From there, signs directed us on a two-mile tour through a series of narrow streets.

We passed old mills, rocks containing fossils that locals called "painted snakes," and a natural pool. We hadn't thought to bring bathing suits and towels, so the water's alluring, blue-green tint may as well have been a mirage. But looking at the map, we saw that farther down the gorge lay another, more isolated body of water, a man-made reservoir ringed by an empty beach.

A bumpy off-road drive tested our rental car's mettle, but it led us to this quieter spot. Alone but for the pine trees rustling in the summer breeze, we decided to skinny-dip in the placid pool. As I swam in lazy circles, Diana retreated to the shore to eat cheese and smoked sausage. When I looked back at her, she was holding a lemon she'd plucked from a tree, as round and large as an apple. The past was tangible here, on a remote edge of Portugal, in the shadow of an ancient castle.

A version of this story first appeared in the July 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "Time Travel."

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Serra de Estrela walking tour

Level 3: Walking levels: Moderate day walks are interspersed with more strenuous excursions, 4-6 hours per day (excluding breaks) on hilly to mountainous areas using well kept, sometimes stony paths. Cycling levels: Biking in hilly areas for the fit and frequent cyclist. The daily distances vary between 35 and 65 km. but you will encounter some steep or extended climbs up to 500m. You will need a bicycle with at least 21 gears

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Comfort level 3:

Good hotels, inns, B&B, agriturismo (farmstead) with ensuite bathroom, often well located and serving good meals.

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Serra da Estrela walking trip

Portugal’s highest mountain range window.settimeout(function(){document.getelementbyid('deferhtml_6698b6290dd1e').innerhtml=window.atob('cqkjcqkjpgegcmvspsjub2zvbgxvdyigighyzwy9ii9ob2xpzgf5cy9zzxjyys1kys1lc3ryzwxhlw5hdhvyzs1wyxjrp3bkzj0xij4kcqkjcqkjctxpbwcgc3jjpsivaw1hz2vzl3vpl2ljb24tcgrmlnbuzyigagvpz2h0psizmci+cgkjcqkjctwvyt4kcqkjcqkj');var scripts=document.getelementbyid('deferhtml_6698b6290dd1e').getelementsbytagname('script');var scriptsclone=[];for(var i=0;i.

  • Serra da Estrela: Portugal’s highest mountain range
  • Surprising rock formations, lush valleys, waterfalls and authentic alpine villages. 
  • A Natural Park with the highest summits in Portugal 
  • An excellent network of way-marked walking paths 
  • Accommodation situated in or near Medieval villages
  • 1 night at a luxurious “quinta” or country estate

Spectacular walking trip through the Serra da Estrela , Portugal’s highest mountain range, with impressive granite landscapes. Surprising rock formations and open plateaus combine with lush valleys, waterfalls and authentic alpine villages. Olive trees and stout chestnuts are completely at home in the valleys, as are larch trees and firs higher up. Most of Portugal’s highest summits are found here, inside the Natural Park limits, including the very top, La Torre at 2000m, a veritable tower of granite. Here, an excellent network of way-marked walking paths allows you to explore this fascinating terrain. Your accommodations are situated in or near Medieval villages, adorned with traditional Portuguese decorative tiles. The trip includes 2 nights at a luxurious “quinta” or country estate.

Map walking in Portugal-Serra de Estrela


Start:  Celorico da Beira     Finish: São Romão

From Porto Airport, you take the metro to the city centre. Then you get a bus from Porto to the historic village of Celorico da Beira . The journey takes about 4 hours. Upon arrival, there is still time to explore this historical town, its castle and Medieval walls. 

Challenge : Travel to Serra da Estrela

Villages along the way : Celorico da Beira

Today's route begins in Celorico da Beira , traversing open areas with magnificent views to reach the top of the Serra do Ralo . With the hum of windmills from above, you will enjoy sweeping panoramic views before starting the descent to Linhares . On the way down, you will walk through pine forests, holm oak woods and wide pastures. Once in the medieval village of Linhares we recommend visiting its castle, the Roman Forum and royal houses built by the aristocracy, scattered throughout the town. 

Challenge: 16 km / 10 mi, 5.5 - 6 hrs, 620 m ascent, 350 m descent

Villages along the way : Celorico da Beira, Linhares, Folgosinho

After breakfast you have a taxi transfer to the beginning of today's route, in Folgosinho or the chapel at Nossa Senhora de Assedasse (luggage continues to your next accommodation in Manteigas). This walk is more demanding than the previous one, and the sections in ascent and descent are rewarded with spectacular views. You traverse a remote area, with no villages along the way, and will need to enough carry water and provisions for the whole day. The first section is a steep ascent from Folgosinho, along an old Roman Road that ascends through a valley. When you reach the highest point, Portella do Folgosinho , you’ll have views to Pico de La Torre . Continuing through nearly deserted valleys and richly diverse forests, the route ends with a steep descent to Manteigas , a lovely village situated in a lush glacier valley beneath high peaks and full of small shops and cafes.

Challenge: 21 km / 13 mi, 6.5 - 7 h, 700 m ascent, 550 m descent

Villages along the way : Folgosinho, Manteigas

For the next two days you will explore the heart of the Serra de Estrella from your base in Manteigas . Today you can choose between a well-deserved rest day, with a visit to the local trout farm, or a trip to the impressive waterfall at ‘ Poço do Inferno ’ (the Devil’s Well), walking through Buraco Valley with its strange rock formations. A varied and changing landscape with beautiful wooded sections and magnificent views.

Challenge: 14 km / 8,5 mi, 6 - 6.5 hrs, 650 m ascent and descent

Villages along the way : Manteigas

A lovely walk awaits today, to the north of Manteigas. Starting off in ascent, you follow a historic route protected by the shade of a pine forest, to reach Pousada de São Lorenço, (elevation 1290 m) with stunning views of Manteigas Valley. Next you follow a dirt track through open terrain and vast colourful farmland. Finally, another descent - with more shade - leads back to Manteigas. 

Challenge: 14 km / 8,5 mi, 6 - 6.5 hrs, 630 m ascent and descent

Villages along the way: Manteigas

Today you choose between 2 options:

The first option traverses the beautiful glacial valley of Zézere , which leads to La Torre, and you walk through valleys, mountain meadows and forest tracks. At the end of your route, you have an included taxi transfer to your next accommodation, situated in the beautiful mountain village of Loriga .

Challenge: 18 km / 11 mi, 6 hrs, 835 m ascent, 110 m descent

The second option begins with a short transfer to La Torre recreation area. This strategic location (at 1993 m, the highest summit in Portugal) provides magnificent views. You will enter the granite massif of Serra da Estrella, a whole different world with wide glacial valleys which recall the last Ice Age. Your route begins with a gradual descent from La Torre toward the western sector of the Natural Park. Traversing high pastures, narrow lanes, abrupt peaks and crystal-clear lakes, you make your way back to the lovely village of Loriga .

Challenge:  12 km / 7,5 mi, 4.5 - 5 hrs, 50 m ascent, 1230 m descent

Villages along the way: Loriga

The last walking route on this programme leads inland through wooded areas, passing typical villages clinging to the slopes of the “Mountains of the Stars”. On your way you will pass two interesting sites: Más Tumba and Cabeça da Velha , before you reach the pleasant village of São Romão , with several chapels. Your accommodation for tonight is a renovated traditional “Quinta”, now a beautiful hotel with swimming pool, situated just outside the village.

Challenge: 19 km / 12 mi, 6.5 - 7 hrs, 775 m ascent, 550 m descent

Villages along the way: Loriga, Seia, São Romão

Your arrangement comes to an end today after breakfast.

Challenge : Departure from Portugal.

All hotels of this trip are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. Accommodations are located in or near Medieval villages. All rooms are en-suite. You can find the standard hotels of this trip. If a hotel is fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked. Extra nights : You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way.

Casa do Castelo (Celorico da Beira)

Casa do Castelo de Celorico is a comfortable stone house located in the bucolic village of Celorico da Beira.

Hotel Inatel Linhares *** (Linhares da Beira)

Located in a historical village situated in the foothills of the Serra da Estrela mountains that takes pride in its imposing, powerful castle, whose architecture is essentially military in style. The hotel has 26 welcoming and fully equipped rooms. Meeting room, swimming pool, tennis court, Wi-Fi and private parking.

Hotel Berne

With a quiet and a welcoming atmosphere this hotel is perfect to escape from routine and to rest in harmony with nature. The hotel has 17 rooms with balconies with mountain views. The rooms are comfortable and their are decorated in a basic but nice way. the restaurant has large windows and panoramic views and it offers a good quality gastronomy including many typical Portuguese specialities as well as international ones.

Hotel O Vicente

This accommodation is 800 meters from the river beach – Loriga. Located in the middle of the Serra da Estrela park, at an altitude of 770 meters, O Vicente is a family-style accommodation with views of the Serra da Estrela and the village of Loriga.

Quinta do Crestelo

The property of 18 ha in which this hotel is located spreads along a green valley surrounded by oak forests and with three streams running through it. The hotel is in a former farm that was restored maintainig its original personality.

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You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October.

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The nearest airports to Serra da Estela are:  Porto airport (OPO)  and Lisbon airport (LIS)

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Arrival in Celorico da Beira

From Porto Airport (OPO) , you take the Metro or Bus to O Porto city centre. There is a direct bus run by Rede Expressos. You can also take the Metro (line E to “Trinidade” stop) where you change to line D direction “D. João I”. Get off at the second stop and follow signs to the bus terminal “Rede Expressos” in Rua Alexandre Herculano.

From the bus station in Porto, take a bus to the historic village of Celorico da Beira (2.5 - 3 hours). More info at

From Lisbon Airport (LIS) . Get a shuttle bus to Sete Rios Bus Station in Lisbon city (line 96). You can also take a taxi. From the bus station take a bus to Celorico da Beirawith the company Rede Expressos (4.5 - 5 hours trip).

Departure from Sao Romao

To Porto airport from Seia: Take the bus from Seia to Coimbra (direction “Lisboa”), where you change buses to connect to O Porto. From Porto bus station take a bus or taxi to the airport 

To Lisbon airport from Seia: Take a bus from Seia to Lisbon, most combinations require you to change buses in Coimbra). Around 4.5 to 5 hours trip. From Lisbon bus station there’s a shuttle service to the airport. 

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GPS tracks are available on request.

  • 7 nights´accommodation with breakfasts
  • Luggage transfer according to program
  • Private transfers according to programme on Days 2, 3, 6 & 7
  • Digital detailed route notes and maps in English
  • Access to the trip on our navigation app
  • 24-hour telephone assistance

Not included

  • Lunches and dinners
  • Travel insurance
  • Tourist Tax
  • Transfers by public transportation 
  • Transfer to first/ from last accommodation
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, tips, phone calls, additional transfers, etc.
  • Any items not especifically mentioned in this program
  • Extra night/s at any of the accommodations of the programme
  • Single Room Supplement(s)
  • Solo Traveller Supplement
  • Shipment of printed documents to the first accommodation

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How to Get High-Speed Wi-Fi When Traveling

Looking for reliable, fast wi-fi when traveling?

If you’re having trouble getting affordable, reliable internet on the road, we feel your pain. In almost 20 years of traveling together, we’ve suffered through weak wi-fi signals at hotels, cafes, and in more restaurants than we can count. Sure, sometimes we luck out and get reliable internet, but that’s not always the case.

At this point, we’ve used almost every kind of internet connection available when we travel, whether overseas or domestically.

The Best Options for Wi-Fi When Traveling

In this post, we’ll guide you through your options for getting reliable, fast wi-fi when traveling, and the pros and cons of each type.

Whether you’re looking for temporary internet for a vacation home, internet for a laptop or phone while you travel, or even internet while traveling in an RV on a road trip, here are some of your best options.

Beg, Borrow, or Steal Free Wi-Fi

When we first started traveling together, we spent a lot of time and hassle trying to find free internet for travelers. Over the years, I swear we’ve used the free wi-fi at every hotel chain and fast food chain around.

Sometimes the wi-fi is fast and reliable, but most of the time it’s spotty and unreliable. We’ve had more than our share of times where the internet was completely down, or where we couldn’t get the wi-fi signal in our room.

Pros : It’s free. Most hotel, restaurant, and public place wi-fi is free (though there are exceptions). It’s also easy to access.

Cons : Security is a major issue here, as it’s relatively easy to intercept your data. A password manager and a VPN can help with security, but you’re always taking your chances with free wi-fi. If you use a VPN, be sure to pick one that has a no logs policy, like the reputable Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN .

Use Roaming from Your Mobile Provider

Likely the easiest way to get wi-fi on the road is to simply use roaming data from your existing cell phone provider.

The danger of this is that you’ll get slammed with outrageously expensive roaming fees when you get home. To avoid the price shock, contact your cell provider and see if they offer a more affordable roaming plan.

Pro : Easy, instant and generally reliable and secure.

Con : May be prohibitively expensive. To share your cell’s data with a computer or other mobile, you’ll need share your connection via wi-fi, USB, or Bluetooth. This is called tethering, and can result in slowing down the data connection, and may drain your phone’s battery quickly.

Get a Mobile Hotspot

In the last five years, we’ve become huge fans of mobile hotspots for internet access.

A mobile hotspot is a small device (usually the size of a deck of cards) that gets you internet access wherever you go, whether that’s on a road trip near home, or in a country half way around the world.

You’ll pay a fee to rent the portable wi-fi hotspot for travel (or you can buy it outright), and then pay for a data plan. Depending on where you are in the world, data plans can run from $8 a day internationally, or $49 for unlimited internet in the USA for up to a week.

Most hotspots let you connect up to 10 devices, so they’re great for groups or families, but they don’t offer SMS texts or voice phone calls (though you can always use an app like Fongo or Google Voice to call).

  • GlocalMe portable Wi-Fi hotspot review
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Pros : Convenient, easy to use, reliable connection in most countries and fast speeds, some with unlimited data. Great for groups.

Cons : More expensive than free hotel Wi-Fi.

Buy a SIM Card at Your Destination

Buying a local SIM card at your destination can be a great way to save money, and save you from expensive roaming charges or scrounging free wi-fi.

Companies like Orange Travel can offer great savings, when compared to roaming or paying for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Right now they have an Orange Holiday Europe 20GB deal on, which includes includes unlimited calls and texts in Europe.

However, depending on your destination country, tracking down a local SIM card can be tricky. Occasionally, you can find a kiosk selling SIMs in the airport, but we’ve often had to schlep around a new city to find a cell provider. You can usually get a local SIM at convenience stores, news stands, and vending machines.

The biggest negative with a SIM card is that if you’re traveling to multiple countries, a local SIM may not work in all of the countries you visit. It’s also harder to share your connection with other members of your family or group.

Some countries may also require that you’re a citizen, or need a local address, to get a local SIM card, so a local SIM isn’t an option everywhere.

You’ll also have to physically remove your mobile phone’s old SIM card, store it somewhere, and insert the new SIM card, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Pros : Generally affordable, and speeds are usually good.

Cons : Finding a local SIM can be inconvenient, and it may not work in more than one country. You’ll also need an unlocked phone for this to work. To share your connection, you’ll need to create an internet tethering connection or a hotspot on your phone to share the internet connection to a laptop, tablet, or other phones.

Buy a Roaming SIM Card at Home

You can buy a local SIM card when you get to your destination, but that can be inconvenient, especially if you’re short on time.

Some companies simplify travel internet by letting you buy a SIM card at home for use as you travel. The SIM comes with a data plan, and also usually lets you make phone calls and get SMS messages while abroad. To use it, you’ll just need to remove your old SIM card, and insert the travel SIM once you arrive in your destination country.

Pros : Affordable (generally under $50).

Cons : Same as the previous one. To use internet on computers or other phones, you’ll need to create a mobile hotspot connection (called tethering). You’ll also need an unlocked phone.

Internet Cafe

We’re really showing our age here, but when we first started traveling together back in 2001, we relied almost exclusively on Internet cafes (also called cyber cafés) for how to get internet away from home.

Their rows of boxy monitors and beat up desktop computers used to mean an instant connection to the internet, for the cost of a small hourly fee. In 2001, internet cafes were used by almost all travelers as a place to get together, and get good internet. Today, cell phones and free wi-fi have all but obliterated the good old internet café.

While you’d be hard pressed to find an internet café in most tourist spots today, they do exist in much less developed areas. If you’re looking for one as you travel, also look out for gaming centers or gaming cafes since many have gone that route, however their gaming computers can still be used to browse the web, print things off and chat with loved ones back home.

BTW, the last time we used a dedicated internet café was in the Philippines back in 2008, and we used it to access a printer, not for the internet connection, though we have jumped into a few gaming centers over the years to cool down with their aircon and let the kids game for a while.

Pros: No computer or mobile phone needed, affordably hourly cost, generally high connection speeds.

Cons : Security issues with using a shared computer, often noisy environment and overall lack of privacy.

What’s your preferred method of internet access when you travel? Let us know in the comments.

Finding reliable wifi when traveling is always a concern. Free wifi always has security concerns. I like your idea about purchasing a local SIM card to avoid roaming charges.

Getting high speed Wi-Fi when travelling is such a blessing! Sometime the connection at your hotel is weak and I completely understand the security threat. Great to learn a few options on having Wi-Fi on the go. Thanks for this informative post.

We have been begging, borrowing and stealing while on the go when it comes to Wi-Fi connection. A local sim card is a great option to get affordable and uninterrupted connection I feel. Besides it is easy to contact the provider and promptly get things sorted in case of technical glitches. Wonderful post!

Informative Post. I think buying a sim card at the destination is always a good choice, however its best to do your own research since there are many vendors at airports looking to get your on their most expensive plan which is overpriced.

My favorite part of this article is a password manager and a VPN can assist with security, but with free wi-fi, you’re constantly taking chances. Someone recently told me about this and it is different from what I understand. Thanks for helping me understand internet service plans.

Loved your blog, thanks for the information, I find it really interesting.

My favorite hotspot is the local library. Most towns even small have one and they are free to hook up to their WiFi as a guest.

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trip internet estrela

Just out of the center, yet close enough for convenience, you'll find Estrela. Estrela offers a happy medium for most who choose to live there. If you’re a couple, family, or individual moving to Lisbon for the first time, this Lisbon neighborhood is a great place to start.

Estrela offers plenty of green areas to relax and hang out with friends, most notably Jardim da Estrela - the focal point of the neighborhood. This neighborhood is so popular, partly on account of the unique integration of Portuguese and foreign residents. This popularity has driven house prices to rise, and coworking spaces remain few.

Popular sub-neighborhood: São Bento

trip internet estrela

🏠 Property prices:  Slightly higher than average

📸 Tourist density:  Medium

🌳 Green areas and parks:  Several

💻 Coworking density:  Few coworkings

🌍 Nomad/expat popularity:  Extremely popular

📍 Distance from the city centre:  Relatively central

🚌 Public transportation:  Bad

🚇 Access to metro:  No

I lived later in Santos/Madres area, nice local vibe, great smell of coffee being roasted on Monday and Tuesday am's. 15min walk to central, good bus routes nearby. Good run route from there down to Belem along the river. I was 'digital nomad' staying for 1 year. I'd choose different area's if I was with a partner or had kids. - Vertex , December 2020

Santos: After a few intensive days looking for apartments a few years ago, Santos became the obvious choice. Not too touristy (like Chiado), everyone speaks English, friendly people, lots of cozy places, and the area is always evolving to the better. Walking distance to almost everything of interest in town. Not too much traffic around. Some of Lisbons best cafes and restaurants are in this area too, so you rarely have to walk more than a few minutes to find great options. - Markus , November 2020

Charming, beautiful, calm (but not boring), has great infrastructure (public transport, parking places, banks, shopping, medicine, sports, great restaurants, park). It is close enough to down town to go there by foot, but has enough distance from (stupid) mass tourism. Hotels and airbnbs are very discreet and normally not disturbing locals. Great local (portuguese and international) community. One of the few (2-3) areas in Lisbon, where quality life with kids is possible without being in suburbia kind of situation. - Anastasia , October 2020

The neighborhood is close to the important things in the centre (10-15 min walk) but feels cozier and less touristy. There are lots of families and friendly people, and Estrela Park is a highlight. There are also many markets close by. - Therese , June 2020

São Bento retains the charm of the historic city centre, it's close to the action and the waterfront while offering a peaceful sanctuary away from the crowds. - Michal , August 2020

Hi, my own one ( Sao Bento ). It's a lovely mix of foreigners and Portuguese. Centrally located without being in the tourist throng. - Susan , June 2020

Sao Bento : It's so many things at once depending what time of day you walk thru, so alive. - Justin , April 2020

Estrela. I love how close it is to many of my favorite cafes, restaurants, and miradouros, but still quite calm and quiet and near to the park. - Timea , August 2020

Santos: An eclectic mix of historic and modern, a fantastic community and possibly the best integration of expats and locals in lisbon. - Rishav , May 2020

Close to the centre, yet quiet and not full of tourists, Ideal for families, beautiful park. - Martin , September 2021

A peaceful, colourful neighbourhood full of independent shops and restaurants, close to the city centre without the noise and inconvenience of living there. Oh and Jardim de Estrela is fantastic too. It’s calmness and beauty, and feeling as if you are in a bubble. I could quite happily never leave this neighbourhood. - Mairea , April 2020

👋 Add Your Review

Similar Neighbourhoods in Other Cities

🇩🇪 Mitte in Berlin

🇬🇧 Chelsea in London

🇺🇸 Westside/Santa Monica of LA

🇸🇪 Östermalm of Stockholm

+ Suggest a similar neighborhood


🌳 Green areas and parks: Several Praça de São Bento, Jardim 9 de Abril, Jardim da Estrela, Tapada das Necessidades,  Jardim das Francesinhas, Jardim Olavo Bilac, Jardim Elisa Baptista Sousa Pedroso, Jardim de Santos, Jardim Cinco de Outubro, Jardim da Parada dos Prazeres

🥑 Local market: Mercado de São Bento

🏥 Hospitals: Hospital CUF Infante Santo (private)

🏊 Swimming pools: 0

🖥️ Coworking spaces:  3 Scape, LASC, Draper Startup House

👀 Viewpoints: Miradouro da Rocha de Conde de Óbidos, Miradouro da Basílica da Estrela


🚇 Metro:  No metro station

🚂 Train stations (intercity):  Santos

🚌 Bus station (intercity):  No bus station

🏖️ Direct bus/train to the beach:  Yes, direction Cascais (train from Santos)

🚲 Bike lanes density:  Low

Real Estate Prices

💸 Average price:  5.974 €/m2

📊 Comparison with the last year: +15,7 %

⚖️ Average price in Lisbon: 5.084 €/m2

trip internet estrela

Pictures by:  @ markusjalmerot , @ n.ch_eva , @ topportugalplaces_ , @ d.basnet_ , @ the_fworld_

Overview of Estrela

Estrela, a neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal, is an enchanting area boasting a blend of historic charm and modern appeal. Its residential streets emanate calm and tranquility, offering a refreshing escape from the tourist hustle and bustle of the city center.

Conveniently located, it's within a 15-minute walk of the city center, making it an ideal setting for both locals and foreigners. The district is an idyllic mix of family-friendly ambiance and the dynamic energy of city life, attracting a diverse crowd.

Public transport, parking, and a wide variety of services such as banks, shops, and medical facilities are readily accessible, further enhancing the appeal. Estrela Park, a local highlight, adds a splash of green to the urban setting.

The neighborhood offers an eclectic mix of dining options, from cozy cafes to top-notch restaurants, and a delightful community spirit that seamlessly integrates expats and locals. In addition, Sao Bento, a charming area within Estrela, offers a vibrant yet peaceful haven close to the waterfront.

Overall, Estrela stands as an example of harmonious city living, rich in culture, community, and convenience.

Find the best neighborhood to live in Lisbon

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trip internet estrela

When Donald Trump was shot, the internet unleashed wild conspiracy theories

M ILWAUKEE — The 2024 Republican National Convention opened Monday with the unprecedented and grisly backdrop of its presumptive nominee having survived an assassination attempt. 

Former President Donald Trump arrived for the convention in Wisconsin on Sunday, a day after a shooter fired a bullet that Trump said struck him in the upper ear just minutes into a campaign rally in Butler, Pa. Authorities say the suspect, Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, of Bethel Park, Pa., shot and killed Corey Comperatore, a former volunteer fire chief, and critically injured two more attendees before the Secret Service returned fire and killed him.

Twenty-four hours later, Crooks’ motive remained unknown.

Conspiracy theories that the assassination attempt on Trump was staged flooded the internet almost immediately after the shooter opened fire. Members of Congress joined prominent social media accounts in filling the void with evidence-free assertions about what inspired the shooter and his political beliefs.

"Donald Trump continues to play in our faces!! This was SO staged!!! If someone REALLY wanted to take him out, they wouldn’t use a BB Gun!!" one person posted on X a little more than an hour after the shooting. 

Some social media users even falsely claimed that Trump faked the blood coming from his ear with a "blood pill." 

The "staged" claims are  Pants on Fire . The FBI is investigating the shooting as an assassination attempt. It was witnessed by thousands of rally attendees, including dozens of news photographers and reporters.

Secret Service personnel shot and killed Crooks, the suspected shooter, shortly after he opened fire, the agency said. Law enforcement officials recovered an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle from a nearby building’s roof, according to The New York Times.

Law enforcement officials continued to investigate a potential motive the day after the shooting.

The shooter, the U.S. Secret Service said, fired multiple rounds from an "elevated position outside of the rally venue"; social media photos showed a body on a roof. Trump had blood trickling down his face as agents rushed him offstage, the agency said. Trump later said on Truth Social that the bullet hit the upper part of his right ear.

Innocent people wrongly identified as the shooter online 

It took officials until the early hours of July 14 to release the suspected gunman’s name. The internet quickly amassed dubious information.

As people worldwide flocked to platforms such as X and TikTok to learn the latest on the assassination attempt, they found a flurry of suspect names that were purportedly confirmed, along with photos that were anything but legitimate.

One Italian sports blogger found his words and likeness transformed into something false and malicious. 

"The #Trump shooter, Mark Violets, has been killed. He uploaded a video on YouTube before the attack, claiming ‘justice was coming.’ Well justice came for nobody but himself," one Facebook post said.

This was  Pants on Fire . The man in the video had nothing to do with shooting. Marco Violi posted a statement in Italian on Instagram denying involvement in the shooting.

"I'm in Italy, I'm in Rome and I didn't have the slightest idea what happened," Violi said, according to Instagram’s translation of the post.

None of Violi’s posts on Instagram over the past few months has mentioned Trump or U.S. politics.

On Meta’s Threads platform, a user claimed to have information on the shooter. "Trump Rally Shooter has been identified as 32 year old, California resident, Hank Pecker," the text in the photo read.

This, too, was  Pants on Fire . This time, a reverse-image search showed that the Threads post’s photo was uploaded in February 2022 by Twitch streamer Hasan Piker. According to Dot Esports, an esports and gaming news site, Piker has role-played a "gun-loving, self-proclaimed libertarian" character named Hank Pecker in his videos.

One more: Social media posts quickly claimed to reveal a portrait of the suspect, showing a side profile of a long-haired blond man wearing a blue shirt and eyeglasses.

The man can be seen in a video claiming responsibility for the attack. "My name is Thomas Matthew Crooks," he said. "I hate Republicans, I hate Trump and guess what, you got the wrong guy."

Pants on Fire.  The man in the video is not Crooks. The photos and video surfaced online several hours after officials confirmed the real shooting suspect was dead.

Yes, some Democrats wanted to strip Trump’s Secret Service protection

Country musician Travis Tritt, Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., accused Democrats of weakening Trump’s protection and risking his safety.

"Just this congress," eight Democratic House members "all cosponsored legislation to TERMINATE Trump’s Secret Service protection," Greene  tweeted July 13.

This is accurate and relates to Trump’s criminal cases.

In April, Democratic Reps. Troy A. Carter Sr. of Louisiana, Barbara Lee of California, Frederica Wilson of Florida, Yvette D. Clarke of New York, Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Jasmine Crockett of Texas, Joyce Beatty of Ohio and Steve Cohen of Tennessee co-sponsored  HR 8081 , a measure that would have  redefined who qualifies  for Secret Service protection, saying it would "terminate for any person upon sentencing following conviction for a federal or state offense that is punishable for a term of imprisonment of at least one year."

That would have covered Trump, and the bill’s title — "Denying Infinite Security and Government Resources Allocated toward Convicted and Extremely Dishonorable Former Protectees Act," or "DISGRACED Former Protectees Act" — was clearly directed at Trump, who was convicted in New York City for falsifying business records. The jury found Trump guilty on all 34 counts.

The way it was written, the bill would have lumped together all types of recipients of Secret Service protection, without distinguishing between former presidents and current presidential candidates, which are both categories that include Trump.

The legislation stalled after it was introduced, and the vast majority of Democratic House members did not co-sponsor it.

Baseless claims that ‘Biden sent the orders’

Before many facts about the shooter were known, U.S. Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., said that "Joe Biden sent the orders" to assassinate Trump. 

There is zero evidence that Biden ordered Trump’s assassination.

In his post, Collins cited a  post  by Steve Guest, who identifies himself in his account as a "conservative communicator." Guest’s post said, "Joe Biden on 7.8.2024: "We’re done talking about the debate, it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye."

This refers to remarks  reported by CNN  in a July 8 call to donors. CNN described its source as "a recording of the call obtained by CNN from a participant not authorized to release it."

According to CNN, Biden said it was time to turn his own and the nation’s focus from his debate performance June 27, which many pundits and politicos panned. 

"We’re done talking about the debate," Biden said, according to CNN. "It’s time to put Trump in the bull’s-eye. We can’t go another day, another day, without explaining what he’s doing, and we have to go after him."

This quote does not demonstrate that Biden "sent the orders" to assassinate Trump. 

The X account of the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee  amplified  the same Biden quote but didn’t go as far as Collins did in saying Biden ordered the assassination. The committee’s post said, "Joe Biden: ‘It’s time to put Trump in a bullseye.’ That just happened."

On July 14, the day after the attempted assassination, Biden, in brief remarks, said, "I've been consistent in my direction with the Secret Service to provide (Trump) with every resource capability and protective measure necessary to ensure his continued safety."

Where was Biden when the shooting happened? When did he respond?

Immediately after the attempted assassination, some social media users asked where Biden was and whether he would speak.

Reports from journalists who travel with the president said Biden arrived at 5:43 p.m. ET at St. Edmond Catholic Church in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

The president was spending the weekend at his second home and celebrating Saturday evening Mass, according to the journalists’ reports.

The U.S. Secret Service said the shooting occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m. ET.

The president came out of the church at 6:19 p.m., according to a pool report a traveling journalist filed at 6:23 p.m. It said reporters asked Biden whether he had been briefed on the shooting. He said, "No," the report said. 

Biden headed to his Delaware home from church. At 6:45 p.m., the journalist’s report said, the president received an initial briefing on the shooting. He released a statement at 7:58 p.m. on X, saying he had been briefed about the shooting at Trump's rally and was "grateful to hear that he’s safe and doing well."  At 8:13 p.m., Biden  spoke  from the Rehoboth Beach Police Department.

After speaking to Trump, Biden returned to the White House at 12:37 a.m. July 14, according to the journalist’s report.

Chief correspondent Louis Jacobson and staff writers Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Samantha Putterman, Maria Ramirez Uribe and Loreben Tuquero contributed reporting.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: When Donald Trump was shot, the internet unleashed wild conspiracy theories

July 15, 2024; Butler, PA, USA; Investigators, including a man on right wearing an FBI shirt, review the stage Monday morning July 15, 2024, where former President Donald Trump was shot Saturday afternoon. He was shot during a rally at The Butler Farm Show Grounds in Butler, Pa, north of Pittsburgh. Mandatory Credit: Doral Chenoweth/Columbus Dispatch

Riley Cross began learning braille from home but his tutor helped take his lessons on the road

Riley standing on rocks near a beach.

Riley Cross's family travelled around Australia in a caravan for three months, and his braille teacher joined them on the adventure.

The 12-year-old, who is legally blind, began remote braille lessons from his home in northern New South Wales last year.

When his family decided to travel around the country's southern coastline, they didn't want Riley's lessons to stop, so they adapted the classroom along their trip.

Riley sits at a table overlooking the ocean, while his study materials and computer rest on a boogie board in front of him.

Riley would take video calls with his braille tutor outdoors, while his computer and brailler — a device that turns online files into braille — rested on a boogie board.

On days filled with hours of driving, the family pulled off to the side of the road or stopped in a town along the way for the lessons.

"We were doing it five days a week, half-an-hour lessons on the road," mum Tammy Cross said.

When internet service was limited, Riley and his mum would visit the information centre and "hook up to power and do the lesson" there.

Riley and Tammy looking at his computer while sitting in a visitor information centre.

"It was crucial to keep the consistency with Riley's progression with braille," Ms Cross said.

Riley said he wanted to learn braille to make it "easier" for him to get through school.

"I was still trying to learn on the road," he said.

Learning materials sitting next to a computer and braille display device.

Braille maps and tactile animals

His braille teacher — Tricia d'Apice from NextSense in Sydney — feels like she'd been around Australia, too.

In the lead-up to the three-month holiday, Ms Cross provided her with an itinerary of the family's trip.

The tutor created a map of the family's journey, fact sheets about each destination, and a quiz about the trip — all in braille.

Tricia holds up the braille learning materials she created for Riley.

"I got to research all the stuff, and then be on the holiday with them," Ms d'Apice said.

She also created tactile pictures of animals native to the areas the family were visiting.

"I could put that onto a thermal paper and, when it was heated, the lines were raised on it so he could get the actual shape of the animal he might encounter in that area," she said.

Riley was sent all the resources ahead of the road trip and, once the family took off, Ms d'Apice began video-calling to guide him through the material.

"It didn't really matter where Riley was, as long as he could get internet access," she said.

The Cross family sitting together on a rock at a lookout, with mountains and the ocean in the background.

She said the braille tutor noted all the different backgrounds and sounds during the lessons.

"[Ms d'Apice] would say, 'Where are you parked today? I can see out the window'," Ms Cross said.

"Then she could hear our background, so she's like, 'Oh, that's a different bird noise. You're in a different place today.'

"It was awesome to share the journey with her."

Ms d'Apice said remote braille lessons weren't a new concept, beginning long before learning and working online became popular during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Riley studying his computer and course work from a table in the family caravan.

"I personally have been doing remote braille lessons for about 17 years," she said.

"They started researching the process in 2001, so it's been a while."

Ms d'Apice said learning braille is crucial for people who are blind and low vision.

"Braille is just as important to blind people today as print is still important to sighted people," she said.

Tricia teaching, holding braille worksheets up while sitting in front of a computer.

'We'll keep that forever'

The regular lessons on the road helped improve Riley's fluency and progression in learning braille.

"Because of the consistency of the lessons, there was definitely a big improvement towards the end," Ms Cross said.

Riley holding a live crab while standing on the beach with his brother and dad.

Riley said, "It was cool getting to know stuff before we went there".

Ms Cross said she was so grateful to Ms d'Apice for making it possible.

"The book about our trip, we'll keep that forever because that was pretty amazing," she said.

  • X (formerly Twitter)

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    Discover hotels in Estrela with Free Wi-Fi. Enjoy fast, stable Internet connection to stay connected, work, and play wherever you are. Check room rates, hotel reviews, and availability to find your perfect stay on

  2. 20 best things to do in Serra da Estrela

    Folgosinho. Folgosinho is one of the most picturesque mountain villages in Serra da Estrela. Located in the municipality of Gouveia, it is at an altitude of 930 meters. It is known as the birthplace of Viriato, a famous warrior who fought to expel the Romans from the Iberian Peninsula.

  3. Estrela, away from the Tourists

    After (or before) your visit to Basílica da Estrela you can relax in Jardim da Estrela. This city garden has much to offer for young and old to escape from the busy city centre. More about Jardim da Estrela » Accommodation. Lisbon Budget Inn: The low budget hotel is a 5-minute walk from Jardim da Estrela. There is a communal kitchen and a ...

  4. The Serra da Estrela by car; a 1-day driving tour

    A suggested 1-day tour of the Serra da Estrela. Below is the recommended 1-day driving route of the Serra da Estrela. The route, marked in green, begins in the village of Linhares and ends Zêzere valley. The most scenic sections of the driving tour are highlighted in red, while the grey markers show additional sights and the optional drive to ...

  5. Top 10 Things to Do When You Visit Serra da Estrela

    As in many regions where there are natural falls, it is safe to drink water from the river in Serra da Estrela. 9. Buy some local souvenirs. The region produces woollen socks or contemporary design pieces which are made from Burel, a traditional Portuguese woollen fabric. 10. Admire the wildlife.

  6. The Serra da Estrela: exploring Portugal's 'star mountain'

    Located in the middle of Portugal, the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela is easy to access. You can reach one of the region's main villages, Manteigas, via several routes; the most scenic way is from Covilhã, where the road rises steeply through pine forests before reaching a boulder-topped plateau. Jagged peaks and a glacial lake in the ...

  7. THE 10 BEST Serra da Estrela Tours & Excursions

    per adult. 10. Lisbon to Portugal Highest mountain cheese factory & bread museum. Food & Drink. 6+ hours. In the North of Serra da Estrela explore the artisanal process of crafting Serra da Estrela Cheese, renowned for its quality…. Free cancellation. from. $322.

  8. Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela travel

    Europe. Portugal's oldest and largest protected area, the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela encompasses 888 sq km of the country's highest mountains. At its centre, rising above a wild, boulder-strewn planalto (high plateau), is Torre (1993m), continental Portugal's highest peak. Below, steep mountain roads inch past icy lakes and vast ...

  9. Pousada Serra da Estrela

    The Pousada da Serra da Estrela is located inside the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, in Covilhã. The breathtaking views are of snowcapped mountains or the greenery of continental Portugal's highest mountains at an altitude of 1,993 m. Inside the building, the walls are pristine white, the ceilings are high and the traditional tiles are ...

  10. Naturpark Serra da Estrela Travel Guide & Travel Tips

    A trip to the Serra da Estrela Natural Park is the ideal escape from the urban life. To escape the cars, the traffic, the pollution in the cities and to avoid mass tourism. Back to the source, to nature, to well-being, to tranquility, high up in the Serra da Estrela, to breathe clean air. Hike after hike, bike ride after bike ride you will find ...

  11. How To Explore The Serra da Estrela In Central Portugal

    Mainland Portugal's highest mountain, at 1993 metres altitude, is called the Estrela, which means Star. I'm fortunate that the Serra da Estrela mountain range is only an hour and a half drive from where I live in central Portugal but it's about 3 hours from Lisbon and 2.5 from Porto. Dotted with remote villages, river beaches and patches ...

  12. Search hotels in Serra da Estrela, Portugal

    Located in the historical center of Guarda, this hotel is 492 feet from the city's cathedral. The green areas of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park are a 10-minute drive from the Hotel Santos. The rooms were very clean, and the hotel is located in the heart of the city. Show more. From $55 per night.

  13. The Serra da Estrela

    Beira Alta and Beira Baixa Travel Guide. Around 1000 square kilometres of the mountain range is protected as the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, which stretches for around 55km from north to south and around 25km east to west at its widest point. From the west, access is from the N17, through the small service towns of Seia or Gouveia and ...

  14. 10 Best Hikes and Trails in Serra da Estrela Nature Park

    Due to its mass and altitude, Serra da Estrela is the main mountain in mainland Portugal. The largest element of the Cordillera Central, where the Tower is located, with 1,991 m of altitude. The Serra da Estrela Natural Park (PNSE), with 89,132.21 ha, is home to a varied landscape, namely lakes and highland pastures, peat bogs, oak and candlewood groves, areas of bush and production forest.

  15. Ultimate Serra Da Estrela Natural Park Guide 2024: 9x Best Things To Do

    9. Go on a 4×4 Jeep adventure in Serra da Estrela National Park. Last but not least, one of the most fun things to do in Serra da Estrela National Park in Portugal is hopping on a 4×4 Jeep adventure! This adventure lasts approximately 6 hours, so the price is well worth it. The tour guide is available in either Portuguese or English.

  16. The ultimate road trip for anyone visiting Serra da Estrela

    Whether for the snow or for the heights adrenaline, Serra da Estrela is a must-see place at this time of the year. Make yourself be accompanied by the white landscape and the warmth of the fireplace to savor your Christmas Dinner or New Year's Eve, but go even further: accept the All About Portugal challenge and get ready for an irresistible road trip.

  17. The Top Things to See and Do in Serra da Estrela, Portugal

    Hike from Manteigas to the Poço de Inferno. This hike is on a 7.5km (5mi) loop inside the Serra da Estrela Park and it's the perfect day hike for fit intermediate hikers. The village of Manteigas is located at an altitude of 700m (2297ft) at the end of the ancient Zezere valley and the best time to hike from here is spring and summer.

  18. Estrela Neighborhood Guide: The Stunning Star of Lisbon

    Estrela means "star" in English. Its name comes from the five streets that fan out from the main square in front of the Basilica de Estrela but also emanates from the majestic feeling you get when wandering its streets.. The name "Estrela" is relevantly new. In 2012, the Administrative Reform of Lisbon merged the former parishes of Lapa, Santos-o-Velho, and Prazeres and created Estrela.

  19. This Portugal Mountain Range Is Home to Tiny Medieval Towns ...

    The centuries-old villages of the Serra da Estrela, in Portugal's Centro region, make for an easy, evocative road trip. Kieran Dahl gets lost in the magic of the mountains.

  20. Serra da Estrela walking tour I S-Cape Travel

    For the next two days you will explore the heart of the Serra de Estrella from your base in Manteigas.Today you can choose between a well-deserved rest day, with a visit to the local trout farm, or a trip to the impressive waterfall at 'Poço do Inferno' (the Devil's Well), walking through Buraco Valley with its strange rock formations. A varied and changing landscape with beautiful ...

  21. How to Get Fast, Reliable Wi-Fi When Traveling (2024 )

    To use it, you'll just need to remove your old SIM card, and insert the travel SIM once you arrive in your destination country. Pros: Affordable (generally under $50). Cons: Same as the previous one. To use internet on computers or other phones, you'll need to create a mobile hotspot connection (called tethering).

  22. Estrela, Lisbon, Portugal: Guide & Reviews

    Estrela, a neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal, is an enchanting area boasting a blend of historic charm and modern appeal. Its residential streets emanate calm and tranquility, offering a refreshing escape from the tourist hustle and bustle of the city center. Conveniently located, it's within a 15-minute walk of the city center, making it an ...

  23. Canberran receives $45,000 ambulance bill from Tasmanian government

    Canberran receives $45,000 ambulance bill from Tasmanian government after rolling her ankle on hiking trip By Monte Bovill

  24. When Donald Trump was shot, the internet unleashed wild ...

    The internet quickly amassed dubious information. As people worldwide flocked to platforms such as X and TikTok to learn the latest on the assassination attempt, they found a flurry of suspect ...

  25. RT New York / New Jersey to Los Angeles or Vice Versa $173 ...

    works in reverse.... Both JetBlue and United Airlines have round trip airfares travelling to and from New York City area (JFK or EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX) for $173 nonstop. These are basic econom ...

  26. Video shows Trump rally shooter stopped by Secret Service

    Eyewitness video shows the moment Thomas Matthew Crooks opens fire on former President Donald Trump and is quickly stopped by Secret Service.

  27. Riley Cross began learning braille from home but his tutor helped take

    The tutor created a map of the family's journey, fact sheets about each destination, and a quiz about the trip — all in braille. Tricia d'Apice created special materials, relevant to Riley's ...