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Best National Parks in Portugal

by Benjamin Kerns

Aug 6, 2018

Cascais, Portugal © Sam74100 | Dreamstime.com

Tips / Destination

Portugal has only one official national park. But with so many ecological wonders and preserves, there’s no shortage of beautiful places to head outdoors within the country.

 

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is a stunning marine habitat located along the coastline of the Algarve. Along with a striking abundance of plant and animal life, you’ll also find shallow water lagoons, sand dune islands and more than one dozen nature trails to explore. Bird watchers will appreciate the impressive array of observation hides speckled throughout the preserve.

 

Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela

The Serra da Estrela, or Star Mountains, is the highest peak in Portugal. The plateau is a dramatic natural feature of the country created by glacier-cut valleys and granite escarpments and a favorite spot for skiers in the winter. Hiking is a great option here, where you’ll find the villages Linhares and Valezim tucked along the hillsides. The summer months provide the best opportunity for exploration, but head during the tail end to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks.

 

Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês

The only true national park of Portugal covers more than 700 square kilometers in the northeast Minho region. Sweeping valleys, cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes are around seemingly every corner, providing homes to some of South America’s most unique wildlife. Hikers will find plenty of options here, from two-hour treks to multiday trails. Wolves and wild boar still live in the more remote regions of the park, so take precautions.

 

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