Peneda-Gerês national park is “one of Europe’s best”

Portugal’s Peneda-Gerês national park has been featured in a list of “10 of Europe’s best national parks … that you’ve probably never heard of”, published online on Monday (March 30) by British newspaper The Guardian.

“These national parks offer extraordinary landscapes and wildlife – and far fewer tourists than the continent’s more famous beauty spots,” write Will Coldwell and Isabel Choat.

The duo describe the Peneda-Gerês park as an area of natural beauty with “compelling remains of human occupations, including a Roman road that winds through the park, marked with 2,000-year-old milestones”.

One can also find “wild Garrano ponies trotting about freely”, with the possibility of “hopping on the back of a domesticated one” for a tour through the park’s “oak forests and serras”.

Coldwell and Choat also point out that Serra do Gerês is the park’s “most popular settlement” and recommend visiting the village of Montalegre on Friday the 13th, when it celebrates ‘Noite das Bruxas’, which is a street party fuelled by local liqueur known as ‘queimada’.

The park, which is part of a larger cross-border park with Xurés in Spain, spans 22 parishes through the boroughs of Arcos de Valdevez, Melgaço, Montalegre, Ponte da Barca and Terras de Bouro.

The newspaper also features nine other parks, including Gran Paradiso (Italy), Triglav (Slovenia), Outlanka (Finland), Saxon Switzerland (Germany), Sarek (Sweden), Kalkalpen (Austria), Rago (Norway), Port-Cros (France) and Ordesa (Spain).