It is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in our country, at the highest point of mainland Portugal, and between mountains and valleys and mountain villages, hide scenarios that are both inhospitable and idyllic. And the rails of Serra da Estrela are an excellent way to get to know this natural Park.
It’s just that here there is no hustle or confusion, everything lives in perfect harmony with nature in its purest state.
So, whether in summer or winter, visiting Serra da Estrela is always a good excuse for a getaway in nature. You can delight yourself with the natural lakes, or rest in one of the spas in the region and enjoy walks in the open air, all above 1200 meters of altitude.
Serra da Estrela trails not to be missed
Serra da Estrela is known for several reasons, including the numerous mountain trails that are absolutely unmissable. They are the ideal setting to let yourself be dazzled by the mountain landscape.
There are trails classified as ‘easy’ that are ideal for those with little or no physical preparation, such as Village Routeabout 2 kilometers long and offering magnificent views over the glacial valley of the Zêzere. Or even the Route of the Suna little longer, with about 4 kilometers, which can reach 8 if you follow some variants.
Still, despite these easier options, we decided to take a chance, and our suggestions are between medium and medium high difficulty levels. After all, the more demanding the path, the greater the reward.
This route is about 17 kilometers long and starts at the highest point of the Serra, Torre, side by side with the Zêzere River until you reach Manteigas.
As you descend through the Zêzere glacial valley, which contains one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, in fact it was a finalist in the 7 natural wonders of Portugal, you will cross green hills, where herds of mountain sheep paint the landscape.
This trail passes through several landmarks such as Covão do Boi, or Covão d’Amatade and has a medium level of demand. But it’s well worth it for the breathtaking views. Not to be missed is the image of Nossa Senhora da Boa Estrela, carved in granite.
Among the Serra da Estrela trails, the highlight is the Javali trail, which starts in the neighborhood of St. António overlooking Manteigas. These are 11 kilometers of medium intensity, on a route that takes you to the famous waterfall of Poço do Inferno.
Along this trail, the dense forest will be a landmark in the landscape studded with chestnut trees. Therefore, it is a trail to be taken calmly and with an obligatory stop at the waterfalls on the Leandres stream.
Corridor dos Mouros trail
On this trail, the stillness of nature is dappled by the marks of human presence – they are rye fields mixed with well-defined grazing land, which mix with houses sown here and there.
With an extension of about 15 kilometres, the Route of the Corredor dos Mouros, starts in Covão da Ponte and is characterized by the wave of the agricultural land, interspersed with several rest areas, in the heart of the forest and is one of the most beautiful trails in the Serra da Estrela.
Massif Central trail
We leave behind the trails of medium difficulty, to go up in level, heading to the Trilho do Massif Central, quite physically demanding, but absolutely unmissable for those who want to know the depths of the mountain range.
This route is done at altitude, above 1400 meters, in an almost divine combination between the rawness of the granite and the green majesty of the natural grandeur. Covão Cimeiro, Cântaros, Salgadeiras, Lagoa do Peixão or Ribeira da Candeeira are some of the landmarks on this route
There are 10 kilometers, which can reach 20, and a tempting proposal for those who want to explore the trails of Serra da Estrela.
This route starts at 760 meters and goes up to 1680 meters along its 20 kilometres. It is quite demanding, but full of history.
Thus, the Carvão trail is characterized by the presence of forests and thickets that blend in with the rocky cliffs such as Fraga da Cruz and Fragão do Corvo. This route crosses the Penhas Douradas, where you should visit the wildest Meteorological Observatory in the country. Still on this path, you will come across the water mirror of Vale Rossim and the unique beauty of Charca do Perdigueiro.
In this way, there are more than many reasons for taking a walk through the Serra. Whether for the natural beauty, the inspiring tranquility or the gastronomy, visiting the region is always a perfect getaway at any time of the year. And enjoy the fantastic trails of Serra da Estrela.
Serra da Estrela trails: useful tips
How to get
Those leaving the north of the country should take the A25 towards Viseu and then the N231 towards Nelas/Seia. Those coming from Lisbon should take the A23 towards Fundão.
Where to eat?
In Serra da Estrela, don’t miss the delicacies from the mountains, such as cheese from the mountains, wines and sausages, with dishes such as rice and carqueja, or kid goat, must be included in the menu. The Lenda Viriato restaurant in Unhais da Serra is a classic, as is the Margarida Restaurant in Seia.
Where to stay?
The Vale do Rossim Eco Resort is an excellent option for those who want to do the Carvão Trail and the Cró Hotel Termal Spa is incredible for those who want to take shorter walks and relax. There is also Casa São Lourenço in Manteigas, with a breathtaking view.