The Peneda-Gerês National Park is the only National Park in the country (even though many Natural Parks, Protected Landscapes and Reserves do exist throughout its territory), situated in Portugal’s High Northwest, on the border with Spain, with an area of about 72.000 hectares, comprising a ridge of mountain ranges, such as the Gerês, Soajo, Amarela and Peneda ones and the Mourela and Castro Laboreiro Plateaus. The Park has several watercourses running through its lovely territory, in an rocky area with mainly granite, and also some schist.
This is a beautiful and immense Park with astonishing landscapes, with mountains, plateaus, valleys, damns, waterfalls and a very rich fauna and flora that this park aims to protect, while preserving its value to the existent human and natural resources, with tourism and education as other goals to achieve.
Beyond all this astonishing natural beauty there are also traditions and costumes that have survived the passage of time, in this region inhabited since pre-historical times, rich in archaeological vestiges such as megalithic monuments (in Castro Laboreiro or in Soajo) or Roman vestiges (in Mata da Albergaria), among many others.
In fact, this region is rich in small-communitarian villages where all the main activities were elaborated and achieved according to a communal project and way of life.
The valleys have an exuberant display of vegetation, with Oak trees, Holly, Strawberry trees, Portugal Laurels, among many other species, some of them only existing here.
The Fauna is also quite special in the Park, with several species with all this water and vegetations abundance, and in the area one can find the almost extinct Pyrenean Ibex, locally known as the Gerês Goat, Wolves, Golden eagles, Roe deers, Wild Boars, Otters, Wild Cats, Squirrels, Falcons, Eagle owls, Vipers, Water snakes, Salamanders, among many, many other interesting and protected species.
Worthy of mention are the “Garrano”, a breed of small horses that mostly live in the wild but, since they are also bred, have no significant fear of humans; and the Castro Laboeiro Dog, a hunting dog original from this region.
Along the Park there are several Trails designed to a better knowledge of this gorgeous site, and also quite diversified, either hiking, bike, car or horse trails with specific signage and information.
Also available is an Information Centre, and Interpretation Centre, an Eco-Museum, and a Campsite, as well as several Park quarters at Arcos de Valdevez, Terras de Bouro and in Montalegre.