Best things to do in Geres – Falls, lagoons, landmarks, villages, trails and more

Are you planning a visit to Peneda-Gerês National Park? In this guide, you will find all the information you need to plan a magnificent trip to the National Park. Let’s talk about the places to visit, including waterfalls, villages, lakes, the best trails, where to stay, and how many days you need, among many other things.

The Peneda-Gerês National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and one of the most sought-after destinations in Portugal by nature lovers, who want to hike in the mountains, dive in lakes, enjoy waterfalls, visit typical villages, and even some historical monuments.

Best things to do in Peneda Gerês National Park

Created in 1971, the Peneda Gerês National Park has an impressive wealth of tourist attractions, both natural and human-made.

Considered a natural biosphere reserve by UNESCO, it is a place with many natural attractions such as lakes, waterfalls, and forests. But scattered throughout the Park, we also have castles, Christian sanctuaries, Fojos do Lobo, and thermal baths, among other historical and architectural points of interest.

These points of interest are so numerous and diverse that it is difficult to make a thorough list that doesn’t become too long and exhaustive. That’s why we decided to organize the article into types of attractions, dividing them into waterfalls, lakes, villages, viewpoints, monuments, and others, while limiting the list to only five places per topic.

If you want to know more places of interest in Gerês, we suggest you check out our specific articles:

5 Best Waterfalls in the Peneda Geres NP

Closing of Barjas

Better known as the “Tahiti waterfalls,” Fecha das Barjas is probably the best-known waterfall in the Peneda Gerês National Park. It is visited by many thousands of people every year, especially in summer. However, it is also one of the most dangerous, so we advise you to be very careful.

Fecha das Barjas is located on the Arado River in Vilar da Veiga, Terras do Bouro, and is made up of several waterfalls of different sizes and a final waterfall with a height of 10 to 20 meters. So, we have several lakes where you can swim, which are perhaps the most idyllic waterfalls in Gerês.

Best things to do in Geres

Fecha das Barjas | Where to go in Geres

Arado Waterfall

Also on the Arado River, but a little further upstream, we have the Cascata do Arado – a stunning and impressive waterfall whose access by road is much easier and, therefore, fewer people accumulate than in Fecha das Barjas. It is also very visited, particularly in the summer, despite sometimes having very little water.

Arado waterfall is formed by three high waterfalls separated by three lakes. It is possible and relatively easy to go to the bottom of the waterfall as we only have to hike about 100 meters up the river to reach the last drop. However, the best way to appreciate these falls is through its viewpoint, which is accessed by stairs after crossing the bridge.

Falls, lagoons, landmarks, villages, trails and more in Geres
Best things to do in Geres – Arado waterfall

Peneda Waterfall

The Peneda waterfall is a typical winter waterfall, as it only appears in full force right after it rains. At that time, the water plunges violently from the top of the mountains behind the Peneda Sanctuary, creating a stunning scenery. After the waterfall, the Peneda River crosses the Sanctuary from below, giving it a unique sense.

In summer, or in times of drought, the waterfall has little or no water, losing much of its spectacularity. Furthermore, there is no lagoon at the bottom, so this is a waterfall to see and photograph, not to go into the water.

Best things to do in Peneda Gerês National Park
What to see in Geres? Peneda Sanctuary and Waterfall

Pitões das Júnias Waterfall

The Pitões das Júnias waterfall is probably the highest waterfall in the Peneda Gerês National Park. Located just a few km from the village of Pitões das Júnias, Montalegre, this waterfall is really impressive, especially after it rains, when the flow is strong.

It is impossible to go directly to the waterfalls, but the walkways take us to a viewpoint where we can see this wonder of Gerês. The walkways are on the stairs and descend continuously to the viewpoint, so the way back is tough and inaccessible to people with limited mobility.

Best Waterfalls in the Peneda Geres NP
Pitões das Júnias Waterfall without water

Pincães Cascade

The Pincães waterfall is perhaps the least-known on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Located relatively close to the Pincães village, Montalegre, access to the Pincães Waterfall is via a flat and easy trail almost to the end, where we have a rather challenging climb with some rocks.

When you reach the waterfall, you see a 10 to 15-meter waterfall, where the water passes under a huge boulder stuck between the cliffs, then falls into a beautiful lagoon where you can swim. The space isn’t much, but it’s a place worth visiting.

Best things to do in PGNP
One of the most beautiful waterfalls’s in Gerês- Pincães Cascade

Best Lakes in Peneda Gerês National Park

Seven lakes of Xertelo / Sete Lagoas do Xertelo

The Seven lakes of Xertelo (Sete Lagoas do Xertelo or Poços Verdes do Sobroso) are a set of small lakes on a high mountain that form in the bed of the Corgo do Sobroso. They are well-known for their beauty, crystal-clear, cold water, and small waterfalls between them. Despite the name, there are not seven lakes, but a lot more.

Access to the lakes is done via the “PR9 MTR Trail – Poços Verdes of Sobroso“, but it is not necessary to hike the entire route. Still, it takes 4.5 km of mountain hikes to get there. It’s not very easy, but don’t expect to have the lakes all to yourself, as it’s one of the most popular places in the National Park.

Best atractions of Peneda Gerês National Park
Poços verdes do Sobroso – Seven lakes of Xertelo | Beautiful places in Geres National Park

Poço do Dola

If the seven lakes are one of Gerês’ favorite destinations, Poço do Dola is probably the least-known place in this article. Even in summer, it is possible that you won’t find anyone else there and have the whole area to yourself.

Located in the municipality of Montalegre, about 2km from the M308 road, access to Poço do Dola is not easy, nor is it marked. It also implies following the trail on the GPS and/or the mariolas, as well as doing an arduous ascent and descent. But this is probably the best option if you are looking for a place with no one whose beauty is indisputable.

Lagoa dos Druidas

The Lagoa dos Druidas / Druids Lagoon is a small lake on the Peneda River, relatively close to the village of Tibo, Gavieira, Arcos de Valdevez. Access to the Lagoon can be done through the Mistura de águas trail or directly from Tibo. The fastest way is through Tibo, where we have to walk about 2 km towards the river. It’s a pretty hilly walk, but it isn’t too long, so it’s doable.

The Druids Lagoon is a mystical place full of legends but also a beautiful and delightful lagoon. It’s a great destination to dive into the waters of the National Park, especially if you’re looking for a place with few people, even in summer.

Everything you should do in Peneda Gerês National Park
One of the least known lakes in Gerês – Lagoa dos Druidas

Poço Azul

Poço Azul (Blue lake) is perhaps the most famous small lake in the National Park, and the reason is apparent: it is a stunning place with the water reaching unforgettable shades of green. Yes, despite the name, it’s mostly green, not blue. To go to Poço Azul, head to Cascata do Arado and then follow the path to Poço Azul for about 4 km.

Although access is not easy or fast, it is very likely that in the summer, Poço Azul will be crowded. In addition to all the independent hikers, it is one of the destinations used by the guides in Gerês. Even so, it is well worth going there as it is undoubtedly one of the icons of the National Park.

Best things abour Peneda Gerês National Park
Beautiful lakes in Gerês- Poço Azul (Blue lake)

Poço Verde de Fafião

Poço Verde of Fafião, or the Green lake of Fafião, was once one of the secret lakes in Gerês, but nowadays, it is pretty popular, and you can easily understand why. Access is “only” 2.5 km on a dirt road, without any technical difficulty, despite being quite steep.

Situated next to Fafião, one of the typical villages of Gerês, this is an idyllic lagoon with emerald green waters located in a place of rare beauty. Its popularity makes it a good idea to go early in the summer as, despite being quite large and having some space around it for sunbathing, it is very likely to get crowded quickly.

Best typical villages in the PGNP

Castro Laboreiro

Located in the northwest area of ​​the National Park, Castro Laboreiro is a village in the municipality of Melgaço and is considered one of the most typical villages in the Park. It is also one of the best known as it has a variety of attractions and unique characteristics, such as its own breed of dog.

The Castro Laboreiro Castle is the village’s main attraction, but there are also medieval bridges and churches, mills, and community ovens. In Castro Laboreiro, we recommend the Miradouro do Castelo restaurant, known for its good typical food with reasonable portions.

If you want to spend the night in Castro Laboreiro, we recommend Hotel Castrum Villae as it has good value for money. See more information here.

Everythings about Peneda Gerês National Park
Castro Laboreiro |Typical villages in the PGNP


Soajo is a village in the municipality of Arcos de Valdevez and one of the most traditional in the National Park. It is a typical village with granite houses known for its 24 granaries built on a huge rock. Next to the town, you will also find several small lakes; the best known is perhaps the Poço Negro do Soajo.

This is a very traditional village, full of charm with an old church and an enigmatic pillory. If you visit Soajo, don’t miss the opportunity to go to Restaurante Videira, one of our favorites in Peneda-Gerês. The cachena meat and side dishes are excellent, while the desserts are divine.

If you want accommodation in Soajo, we recommend the Casas do Cavaleiro Eira. See more information and prices here.

General informations about Peneda Gerês National Park
Granaries in Soajo | Where to go in Gerês


Situated very close to the border with Spain, in the municipality of Ponte da Barca, Lindoso is another typical village in the north of Portugal. With its old granite houses, the imposing castle, and the collection of around 50 granaries, Lindoso is one of the most beautiful villages in the Peneda Gerês National Park and a place not to be missed.

The Lindoso dam is also very close, on the other side of the national road. Unfortunately, we don’t know any good restaurants or quality hotels in Lindoso that we can recommend.

Best activities about Peneda Gerês National Park
Lindoso castle and Granaries |Typical villages in the PGNP


Known as the village of the wolves, Fafião is part of the parish of Cabril, Montalegre; it is one of the last community villages in the Peneda Geres National Park and, therefore, one of the most typical.

Formed by narrow streets and granite houses, it is an excellent starting point for the many attractions of the region, namely Poço Verde, Poços de Fafião, Miradouro de Fafião, and Fojo do Lobo (a traditional wolf trap). There are also several trails to trek, and it is close to several waterfalls, such as Fecha das Barjas and Pincães.

All you need to known about Peneda Gerês National Park
Fafião |Typical villages in the PGNP

Pitões das Júnias

Pitões das Júnias is a village located at the eastern end of the National Park in the municipality of Montalegre. It is a very isolated area, with high altitude, and for a long time, it was almost forgotten and little visited. However, the village is lovely and has two unmissable attractions in Gerês, the Monastery of Santa Marta de Júnias and the Cascata das Júnias, both mentioned in this article.

Nowadays, the village has much more vitality and has become a popular destination for those who like to explore Gerês. Yet, it is unlikely to encounter crowds. To enjoy Pitões das Júnias to the fullest, we suggest you go to Casa do Preto restaurant to eat an excellent Barroso beef steak. This is also the accommodation we recommend in this village. See more information and pricing here.

How to visit Peneda Gerês National Park
Pitões de Junias |Typical villages in the PGNP

Best trails in the National Park

Minas dos Carris Trail

The Minas dos Carris trail is one of the best-known and most difficult one-day trails in Gerês because of its length and altitude gain. The route starts at Portela do Homem, passes through the Portela waterfall, and then goes up the entire valley of the Homem River to the ruins of the Carris mines.

Finally, we must mention that this is not an official or signposted trail. Thus, we advise a lot of attention and extra care.

Seven Lagoons Trail

The seven lagoons of Xertelo trail, also known as the Poços Verdes do Sobroso, is one of the most beautiful in Gerês mainly because it takes us to the seven lakes of Xertelo, one of the natural wonders of Gerês, but also because the entire route is beautiful, with unique views of the Gerês mountain range.

With about ten circular km and at least one technically complicated part, it is still a trail of moderate difficulty. Still, it is not necessary to trek the entire trail to go to the Seven Lagoons. You can hike to the lakes, return, and save a few km of hiking and altitude gain.

Best trails in Peneda Gerês National Park
Seven Lagoons Trail

Miradouros Trail – PR6 TBR

Despite not having waterfalls or lakes, the PR6 TBR Miradouros trail (trilho dos miradouros) is one of the most spectacular in Gerês as it takes us to several of the most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês. However, it has about 800 meters of accumulated altitude gain in only 12 km, so it is pretty challenging. Since it starts and ends in Vila do Geres, it is also quite accessible, which is why it could not be missing from this list.

Best waterfalls in Peneda Gerês National Park
View from Miradouros Trail – PR6 TBR

Trail of Preguiça – PR10 TBR

Relatively close to the Miradouros trail, we have the Preguiça PR10 TBR trail. Starting and ending at Casa da Preguiça, this trail is much easier as it is only 5.5 km long and, therefore, a good alternative for those who don’t have so much resistance. The Preguiça viewpoint also has terrific views, but the highlights of this route are the Laja and Leonte waterfalls, especially when they have a high flow.

Best lakes in Peneda Gerês National Park
Laja and Leonte waterfalls in Trail of Preguiça – PR10 TBR

Poço Azul Trail

The trail from Arado waterfalls to Poço Azul is about 4.5km long (9 km round trip) and is easy to moderate. This route connects two of the main attractions of the National Park and is the best way to visit one of the most beautiful wells in Gerês. In addition, it crosses a great park area, witParklleys, rivers, forests, and everything we expect to see in the only National Park in Portugal.

This trail is also unofficial and unmarked, so we advise special care and attention when trekking it.

Best typical villages in Peneda Gerês National Park
Beautiful trial of Poço azul

Best Monuments of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Castle of Castro Laboreiro

Castro Laboreiro Castle is one of the best monuments in the National Park and the main attraction of Castro Laboreiro. Many Portuguese castles are imposing and showy, but Castro Laboreiro Castle is the opposite. It is hidden among rocks, becoming almost invisible at a distance.

This is an ancient castle, predating even the existence of Portugal, but there is no exact information on its construction date. It was conquered from the Moors during the Reconquista by D. Afonso Henriques, who reconstructed it in its current form. The castle’s towering position also functions as a unique 360º viewpoint, where you can enjoy some of the National Park’s best views.

Best Monuments of Peneda-Gerês National Park
Castro Laboreiro Castle | Best Monuments of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Castle of Lindoso

Built in the 13th century to protect the border with Spain, it is considered an important military monument due to its innovative techniques. However, it was only really used and relevant during the restoration war.

The castle is in excellent condition, and it is possible to visit it completely by going up the tower and walking along the walls. From there, you can see the imposing set of granaries. It also functions as one of the five gates of the PNPG, dedicated to the Park’s geology.

Best things to do Peneda-Gerês National Park
Castle of Lindoso | Best Monuments of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Sanctuary of São Bento da Porta Aberta

Located in Rio Caldo, Terras do Bouro, the Sanctuary of São Bento da Porta Aberta is right on the edge of the Peneda Gerês National Park. With around 2.5M pilgrims yearly, it is the second largest Sanctuary in Portugal and the most visited monument in the National Park. Its curious name is due to the fact that the original chapel always has its doors open to shelter travelers and pilgrims.

It is a mandatory stop for religious people. Still, even if you are not, you can enjoy the architecture of the Sanctuary and the views of the reservoir of the Paradela dam. This Sanctuary dates back to 1615 when a small hermitage was built, but the current building dates from the 19th century.

What to visit in Peneda-Gerês National Park
Sanctuary of São Bento da Porta Aberta | Best Monuments of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Ruins of the Monastery of Pitões das Júnias

The Monastery of Santa Maria de Pitões das Júnias is one of our favorite places in the Peneda Gerês National Park and is undoubtedly our favorite monument. Abandoned after the extinction of religious orders in Portugal in the 19th century, the Monastery was invaded by nature, and what remains today are its ruins and the church. It’s like a tiny Portuguese Angkor Wat.

Situated in a beautiful valley just 2 km from Pitões das Júnias, the ruins ended up being forgotten, becoming a bucolic place where you can relax. Despite being much better known nowadays, it is still possible to have the place to ourselves outside the high season.

What to do in Peneda-Gerês National Park
Ruins of the Monastery of Pitões das Júnias | Best Monuments of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Peneda Sanctuary

The Sanctuary of Peneda is located in Peneda, Gaveira, Arcos de Valdevez, in one of the most secluded villages in the National Park. Despite belonging to the municipality, Peneda is 51 km from Arcos de Valdevez. Despite the distance from urban centers, it is the stage for one of the most prominent pilgrimages in Alto Minho in the first week of September.

Built between the end of the 18th and mid-19th centuries, this Sanctuary is in an area of ​​unique beauty, with the Peneda waterfall behind and surrounded by mountains in a tight valley. We have four statues in front of the church representing Hope, Faith, Glory, and Charity.

Fun thins to do in Peneda-Gerês National Park
Peneda Sanctuary | Best Monuments of Peneda-Gerês National Park

Most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês

Pedra Bela Viewpoint

The Pedra Bela Viewpoint is perhaps the best known on this list, and for a good reason, as in addition to being spectacular, it has excellent access. It is located in the most popular area of ​​Gerês. Situated at an altitude of almost 850 meters in Terras do Bouro, it offers views over the Gerês river valley, the village of Gerês, and the Caniçada reservoir.

It is one of the unmissable points of Gerês and one of the most famous sights in the Park.

Most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês
Pedra Bela Viewpoint one of the most famous viewpoints | Most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês

Tibo lookout

Located on the side of the M202 road between Tibo and Adrão, Arcos de Valdevez, this viewpoint is one of the most accessible in the Peneda Gerês National Park. Sometimes overlooked because it is not in the central area of ​​the Park, it offers lovely views of the valley and mountains of Peneda, the valley of the Laboreiro river, and the Alto Lindoso reservoir in the background.

Best things in PGNP
Tibo lookout, you can see the Peneda Sanctuary | Most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês

Fafião Viewpoint

Situated at the top of Fafião, Montalegre, this is one of the most recent viewpoints in Gerês, and it quickly became popular on social media as it was built on a huge boulder, and access is done via a metal bridge. It is very insta-friendly!

In addition to the unique location, this viewpoint offers views of the Arado valley, the Fafião river, and the Salamonde reservoir in the background. Nearer by is also Fojo do Lobo de Fafião, the other main attraction of the village.

Everything about PGNP
Fafião Viewpoint | Most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês

Rocas Viewpoint

Between Pedra Bela and Ermida, at an altitude of 800 meters, we find the viewpoint of Rocas. Built on top of a granite cluster, as if it were a castle tower, the Miradouro das Rocas has complicated access. Still, the scenery up there is worth it – a 360º panoramic view of the Arado river and its bridge, to the summits of Gerês and the forests of the National Park.

Reasons to visit Gerês
Rocas Viewpoint | Most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês

Junceda Viewpoint

The Junceda Viewpoint is one of the highlights of the Lookouts trail – PR6. It presents us with a fabulous panorama with the value of the Gerês River, the Caniçada reservoir, and the tops of Pé do Cabril and Borrageiro.

Situated at over 900 meters altitude, this viewpoint is close to the Junceda guardhouse. The landscape is somewhat similar to that of Pedra Bela, but with the opposite angle, as it is located precisely on the other side of the valley and at a similar altitude.

places of interest in Peneda Gerês National Park
Junceda Viewpoint and pick nick area| Most beautiful viewpoints in Gerês

Other places of interest in Peneda Gerês National Park

Geira Romana

Also called Via Nova and Via XVIII, the Geira is the ancient Roman road that connected Bracara Augusta (current Braga) and Asturica Augusta (current Astorga), along 318 km, passing through the heart of the present Peneda Gerês National Park.

Even today, the Geira has many of its millenary landmarks, and you can walk along this road over 2000 years old. The best section of the Geira to visit within the Park is between Campo Gerês and Portela do Homem.

Interesting places in Peneda Gerês National Park
Geira Romana, Roman road | Places of interest in Peneda Gerês National Park

Fojo do Lobo of Fafião

As you can see, Fafião is a small village, full of attractions and points of interest. Today the wolf is the village symbol, but the relationship with the magnificent animal was not always so positive. And Fojo do Lobo is proof of that.

A Fojo is an ancient building that served as a trap for wolves. There are several in the Peneda Gerês National Park, with Fafião perhaps the best known and one of the best preserved, but not the biggest.

Still, this granitic construction is formed by converging walls with 64 meters in length and more than 2 meters in average height. At the point of convergence is the mouth of the fojo, a pit where the wolves fell in the wake of the pursuit that was made to them.

What to do in places Peneda Gerês National Park
Fojo do Lobo was used to catch wolves| Places of interest in Peneda Gerês National Park

Gerês Spa

The Gerês Thermal Spa is one of the most famous places in the only Portuguese National Park. The current buildings were built at the end of the 19th century, but there are records and historical evidence of their use for hundreds of years.

Located in the village of Gerês, Vilar da Veiga, Terras do Bouro, Termas do Gerês is one of the best thermal resorts in Portugal, providing different experiences and sensations. In addition to the curative services, they are also a place of rest and rest, ideal for those looking for leisure and well-being. It is also possible to stay at the spa hotel. See more information here.

Albergaria Forest

In our imagination, Mata da Albergaria is the heart of Gerês – it was the first area of ​​the Park that we explored and the one we know best. The main feature of this forest is the luxuriant vegetation formed mainly by centuries-old oak groves and some characteristic species of the fauna and flora of Gerês.

The aforementioned Geira crosses part of this forest, so you can see some of its millenary marks and the ruins of old bridges. You will also find the Portela do Homem and Mata da Albergaria waterfalls and lagoons in Mata de Albergaria.

Everything about Portugal's National Park Gerês
Albergaria Forest | Places of interest in Peneda Gerês National Park

Fenda da Calcedónia

Located next to the village of Covide, Terras do Bouro, the Calcedónia crack (Fenda da Calcedónia) is a very curious place, where two huge slabs are separated by a long gap that can be climbed and crossed. It is one of the great adventures to have in Gerês, but we only advise you to do it with a guide.

It is also in this area where an ancient Roman village called Chalcedon was located. Some traces of it can still be seen and gave rise to the name of the crack and the trail that passes through it, the PR1 – Calcedónia Trail.

What to do in National Park Gerês
Fenda da Calcedónia | Places of interest in Peneda Gerês National Park

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