Occupying an area of 70 290 hectares, 3 districts, and 5 different counties, Peneda Geres National Park is vast. It’s also a very mountainous region with areas of difficult access making trips even longer and therefore more important to correctly choose where to stay in Geres.
In this article, we will explore the different areas of the park, analyzing the best attractions, the advantages and disadvantages of staying in that area of the park. That way you can decide more where you want to stay in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. Additionally, we will also indicate one or more accommodation options in each area of Gerês, inside and outside the park.
Where to stay in Geres?
Gerês village and Caniçada Dam
This area is the central point of the park, and possibly the best place to stay in Gerês, particularly if it is your first visit. More than architecturally interesting, it is excellently located close to some of the most well-known and beautiful spots in the Park.
In fact, the most beautiful villages in Gerês are not here, but in the vicinity, however, we have several trails, such as the Preguiça (PR10 TBR) and the Miradouros (PR6 TBR). The Caniçada reservoir is closeby so it is the best place to practice water sports. It is also very close to Albergaria forest, Geira, several viewpoints, and waterfalls. For those who like spas, there are the historical baths of Gerês.
The downside of staying in Vila do Gerês / Caniçada is that it is mainly a touristy place, with lots of accommodation, leisure companies, and full of activities. If you don’t like this type of place, you might want to go a little further. On the other hand, some of the best hotels in Geres are here.
Hotel São Bento da Porta Aberta
Hotel São Bento da Porta Aberta is one of the most typical and best hotels in Gerês. Everything in the hotel exudes tradition and quality, from the decoration to the materials used, such as typical granite and white walls of Minho. But the biggest highlight of this hotel is the views from the rooms’ balconies are absolutely fabulous. There are not many better places in Gerês to relax.
In terms of location, it is right next to the São Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary, the largest in Gerês and the second largest in Portugal. There are several beaches relatively closeby, and the caniçada / Rio Caldo is about 2km away. It is a great place to be the base for visiting almost the entire park.
If you need more evidence of quality, the Hotel São Bento da Porta Aberta has a rating of 9.0 on booking with over 2500 comments. Check it here.
Hotel Lagoa Azul de Gerês
The Lagoa Azul do Gerês hotel is located in the village of Gerês and is therefore very close to Mata da Albergaria, Pedra Bela lookout, and Caniçada. It is another hotel with great views of the Caniçada reservoir. Overall it is a very pleasant accommodation option at an inviting price. It is an excellent option for families and couples. This hotel has the advantage that the rooms are actually studios with kitchenettes, which can save even more.
Adelaide Hotel is excellently located, right in the center of Vila do Gerês. It is one of the best options for those visiting Gerês for the first time as it gives easy access to all the attractions in the vicinity. It can also serve as a base for trips to more distant park areas.
It is a quality hotel, the rooms are comfortable with a private bathroom, TV, AC, and Internet. In summer there is an outdoor pool, which is always a bonus. The quality-price ratio is usually excellent.
Geres hotels – Soajo and Lindoso area
Soajo, Lindoso, and the surrounding area are perhaps the second most popular in the national park. The villages of Soajo and Lindoso are two of the most beautiful Gerês villages and have lots of things to see and do. Both are famous for the community granaries, but there is much more to see and do here.
In Lindoso, in addition to the granaries, we have the spectacular castle of Lindoso, and the relatively closeby Poço da Gola. While in Soajo we have the Soajo waterfalls, the Poço Negro do Soajo, and the Poço das Mantas, all very close to the village and fantastic for taking a dip in the pure and cold water of Gerês. There are some beautiful viewpoints in the area too, but the most beautiful is undoubtedly the Tibo Viewpoint halfway to Peneda and Castro Laboreiro.
This is a suitable area for those who want to experience the traditions and typical villages of Gerês. Nevertheless, it is also known for its natural beauty and some walking trails.
Due to the characteristics of the villages, the accommodations here are mainly local accommodations, with no hotels or hostels available. On the other hand, there are excellent hotels in Arcos de Valdevez and Ponte da Barca. Access from these cities is also excellent, and getting to the park is very quick.
Casa do Cavaleiro Eira
Casa Cavaleiro Eira is our favorite accommodation in Soajo. As we said before, there are no hotels in Soajo, so we have to stay at the local accommodations, but this is hardly a disadvantage. These houses have everything we need, from flat TV, dining area to an equipped kitchen, private WC to mountain views, and a delicious breakfast. No wonder the average rating is 9.4!
This accommodation has the possibility to accommodate 2 to 6 people, making it a good option for almost any type of traveler, but especially families.
RH Casas de Campo Design
RH Casas de Campo Design is in Parada, right next to Lindoso, and is a very different rural tourism project as it tries to combine rustic-style exteriors with contemporary furniture and interior. This is a luxurious project, but the quality is there to justify the price. Again, the fabulous rating given by previous travelers is not misleading.
Luna Arcos Hotel Nature & Wellness
If you want to stay in a hotel, our suggestion is Luna Arcos hotel Nature & Wellness, in Arcos de Valdevez. It is already well outside the park, but it is quite quick to get there. It is an excellent hotel, with an indoor pool, sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpool, and fitness center, all included in the price.
However, the best thing is the price. This is one of the hotels with the best quality/price ratio that we know in Portugal. We explored this hotel a little more in the article about Arcos de Valdevez.
Hotel Geres – Castro Laboreiro and Peneda
The Castro Laboreiro and Peneda area is quite extensive and covers mainly the northern end of the Peneda-Gerês National Park. It is a slightly different area of the Park, less visited but with some beautiful points of interest.
In the village of Peneda, we have the important Peneda sanctuary that attracts lots of religious tourists, while the waterfall of Peneda behind it is transformed into an imposing size during the winter. Don’t forget to stop at the Tibo viewpoint on the way to Peneda, which is one of the most beautiful in the Park.
Even further north, we have the historic village of Castro Laboreiro, with its ancient castle that also serves as a viewpoint and its native breed of dogs. In addition to the Castle, there are Roman remains here, and trails to explore it.
This area of Gerês is suited for those who have visited other parts more deeply or are simply looking for destinations with fewer people and tourists.
Moinhos Poço Verde
Moinhos Do Poço Verde results from the restoration of 2 mills that belonged to a chocolate factory in 1907. They are located in a very beautiful place surrounded by trees and next to a small stream. It is slightly out of the village, but it is well worth it.
The windmills are like a small house, with an equipped kitchen, TV, Internet, and a fireplace that warms and gives a priceless feeling of comfort. It is more than accommodation, it is an authentic experience.
If you are looking for a more ordinary experience, we suggest Hotel Miracastro, in Castro Laboreiro. Since it is right in the village, it is easier to go to restaurants serving local cuisine, which is always interesting. The hotel itself has a restaurant that serves some of these specialties.
It is not a big hotel, as it has only 14 rooms, but they are very functional and comfortable. It is also a hotel whose prices are quite low, so if you are looking for cheap options, this is possibly the best suggestion.
Casas da Peneda – Geres
If you prefer to stay in the Peneda area, the options are substantially smaller. Our suggestion goes to the Casas da Peneda as they are a pleasant accommodation with fireplace, living room, equipped kitchen, and even a patio and views of the lake. They also have a swimming pool to enjoy in the summer, which is undoubtedly a great advantage.
Hotels Gerês – Montalegre
The eastern part of the Peneda-Gerês national park is mostly comprised of the municipality of Montalegre and it includes some of our favorite attractions in the Park. However, these attractions are spread over a very large area and in several villages. Perhaps because of this, and because it is a little further from the big cities, some of these destinations are less popular and have few people.
This part of Geres includes the beautiful village of Fafião, with its new viewpoint and the famous Fojo do Lobo, the village of Pincães and its spectacular waterfall, the waterfall of Cela Cavalos, and the 7 lagoons of Xertelo. This is undoubtedly an area of spectacular waterfalls. Don’t forget that the famous Fecha das Barjas (also known as Tahiti waterfalls) is also relatively close to Fafião.
Finally, we have the stunning village of Pitões das Júnias, an authentic pearl of Gerês. Pitões das Júnias is at a considerable altitude (over 1000 meters) and is a typical mountain village. Yet, it has two attractions that are worth the distance, Pitões da Júnias waterfalls and the Santa Marta das Júnias Monastery.
As we said before, we love this region of Gerês because it has a little of everything, waterfalls to admire, waterfalls with wells to dive in, typical villages, ruins, monasteries… It’s great for any type of traveler, but especially for most adventurers. The biggest snag? It is farther away, and if you have little time, it might be best to stay in the most accessible areas.
Casa do Preto in Pitões das Júnias
Casa do Preto is the reference place in Pitões das Júnias. Whenever we go there, it’s in the Casa do Preto that we have lunch or dinner and if it is to stay for the night, it is where we spend the night. It is not luxurious accommodation, but it has the necessary basics. The rooms have AC, Tv, internet, private toilet…
The restaurant made Casa do Preto a reference, as it serves excellent traditional food and above all a fabulous steak. So, if you have dinner here, you don’t even have to worry about time or driving. You’re already at the destination!
Hotel Rural Misarela
Hotel Rural Misarela is very close to an attraction that we haven’t talked about yet, the Misarela bridge, waterfall, and trail. Given that the Misarela bridge is more or less halfway between Fafião / Pincães and Pitões da Júnias can be an excellent place to stay. Though technically it is outside the National Park, it is less than 1 km from it…
The hotel is very good, has a great peaceful vibe, with excellent breakfast, very comfortable rooms, and with everything you need (wifi, AC, etc.). However, the greatest asset of this hotel is the area where it is located and the views you get!
Hostel Retiro do Gerês
Staying in Fafião is an excellent idea, as we have the Fojo do Lobo, the viewpoint, several trails and several waterfalls closeby.
Unfortunately, the options are not many, however, the new Hostel Retiro do Gerês seems to be an excellent choice. We haven’t had a chance to stay there yet, but the information we have is that it has comfortable rooms and all the amenities you will need. Besides being right in the center of the village and next to an excellent restaurant.
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