25/09/2017

The 7 best natural parks in Portugal

Peneda-Gerês National Park

We start by the only National Park of the neighboring country. Peneda-Gerês is spread over 72,000 hectares, which occupy the districts of Viana do Castelo, Braga and Vila Real. In this extension of natural terrain are the Serra da Peneda and Serra do Gerês. In these two locations are located villages such as Pitões das Júnias and Tourém, where the millennial traditions are still alive and in harmony with the nature that surrounds them. Among the fauna, you can find species such as the Iberian wolf, the roe deer or the royal eagle. The vegetation is presided by the Gerês lily or the holly.

Peneda-Gerês National Park

Montesinho Natural Park

Located in the region of Trás-os-Montes, between Braganza and the border with Spain, this park has a great natural and cultural value. Its 75,000 hectares are home to plant species such as chestnut trees, oak trees in the lowlands, and heather and jasmine in the highlands. The animal species of the place are varied and among them are the Iberian wolf, the boar, or the fox. This park has different locations for practicing sports such as cycling or hiking. For people who also opt for a cultural immersion, Braganza offers different places of interest. Among them, the viewpoint of the Sanctuary of São Bartolomeu, its medieval castle or the palace of Távoras.

Montesinho Natural Park

Arrábida Natural Park

About 11 thousand hectares distributed by the municipalities of Palmela, Sesimbra and Setúbal form the Natural Park of Arrábida. This space is formed by three landscape reserves: the Solitary Reserve, the Integral Reserve of the Covered Forest and the Reserva Vidais. It also has the zoological reserve of Ilheu da Pedra da Anixa. Some 110 species of fish live in its surroundings, which is why there are totally protected areas where fishing is prohibited. The flora of the park is distributed according to the orientation of the sierra slopes and the geological composition of the terrain. You can find brave and meek pine, adernos, zambujeiros, medronheiros, aroeiras and dwarf palms. Among the most outstanding cultural assets of the park is the Chapel of Our Lady of Arrábida.

Arrábida Natural Park

Berlengas Islands Nature Reserve

Composed of 3 groups of islets (Estelas, Farilhões and Berlenga) and 10 kilometers from the city of Peniche, this reserve is in which vegetation grows in the wild.
Lovers of water sports and paradisiacal beaches can visit three arenales in the surroundings of this reserve: Baleal beach, Medão beach and Gambôa beach. The charms of this reserve are not limited to nature. In its surroundings are the Peniche Fortress, a 16th century construction of great relevance to the Portuguese, or the Fortress of São João Batista, built in the 17th century by order of D. João IV to protect the Berlenga islet of the pirate attacks.

Berlengas Islands Nature Reserve

Ria Formosa Natural Park

This is one of the most impressive spots in the Algarve and has about 18,500 hectares. It is a labyrinth of canals, islands and wetlands and is guarded by five islands and two peninsulas: Culatra Island, Barreta Island, Armona Island, Tavira Island, Cabanas Island and, finally, the Peninsula of Cacela and the peninsula of Ancão.
This park is included within the Natura 2000 Network because of its great animal wealth. And is that it is one of the most auspicious spaces for orniturismo by the large number of birds that are usually lodged in the place. Some 20,000 species gather in Ria Formosa in the winter.

Ria Formosa Natural Park

Sado Estuary Natural Reserve

As is the case with the Ria Formosa Natural Park, this reserve is especially suitable for bird watching, since it is home to 250 species. In its waters, a great variety of fish and cetaceans grow, like bottlenose dolphins.
Along its 23,000 hectares, sports such as canoeing, cycling or hiking can be practiced.

Sado Estuary Natural Reserve

Alvão Natural Park

The Marão mountain range, which separates the Miño river from the Trás-os-Montes region, is bordered by the rivers that appear on the 7,200 hectares of this park. An unsurpassed natural spectacle, but not the only one. Alvão is divided into two zones according to altitude: the highest point, 1,000 meters high, has a granite soil that favors a vegetation typical of the high mountain and, the lowest, 450 meters, is characterized by a predominance of greenish tones contrasting with rocky elements. But if something is characterized by this park is by the impressive waterfall Fisgas do Ermelo, 200 meters high.

Alvão Natural Park