What to do

Geopark Terras de Cavaleiros in Northern Portugal

Associação de Turismo do Porto e Norte, AR CC BY-NC-ND

We invite you to come through the nature in Trás-os-Montes to enjoy a fun and different holiday, featuring constant learning alongside professional geologists from around the world. Come to Geopark Terras de Cavaleiros in Northern Portugal, a protected area in the "heart of the northeast" of Trás-os-Montes, in Macedo de Cavaleiros.

Besides the geological heritage and the richness of its biodiversity, you will find everything in this place that makes for a good holiday: be welcomed with the characteristic affection of the transmontanos, sit at a table full of good flavours, and appreciate local products like olive oil, chestnuts, honey, together with excellent wines cereals that will delight you even more.

A Park that tells stories

At Geopark Terras de Cavaleiros, between 400m and 800m in altitude, you will be surrounded by mountains to the north (Serra de Nogueira), in the centre (Serra de Ala and Serra do Cubo) and to the south (Serra de Bornes). To these can be added Monte de Morais, whose rocks bear witness to the shock of continents colliding around 250 million years ago, with the consequent formation of Varisca mountain range, a rarity on our planet.

There are more than 40 geosites identified in the area with much to see and feel: minerals (shale, limestone and even talc that is used in the paper, paint, fertilizer and ceramics industries), hot springs, beautiful flora and valleys and other enchanting landscapes. If you take a guide along, you will be able to better identify every feature, and your visit can be recorded with the Morais Geological Interpretation Centre.

Throughout the park's 699.2km², wild natural habitats are preserved, inhabited by golden eagles, wildcats and wolves, perhaps enjoying the shade afforded by the oaks, holm oaks and cork trees that are found there. If any of these rare creatures pass you by, whether by land or air, capture the moment with a photograph.

Here, and unlike the “months of hell” that Trás-os-Montes is famed for, the climate is mild, with short summers and long winters, and days that neither too hot nor too cold, letting you choose the date of your stay calmly.

Feel the quality of life

There are several reasons to discover the region. Put on some comfortable shoes and enjoy the nature and the heritage constructed in the neighbouring towns. Take some trips out and about, whether by bicycle, on foot or on horseback. There are more than twenty available routes marked out, passing through rivers and streams, indigenous species and diverse local icons that give the region its fame.

Fishing and hunting, especially of butterflies (here you can find 1/3 of the butterflies in Portugal, among other insects), or simply watching the birds that nest along the Sabor river, are good ways to enjoy your days. Another option is canoeing through the Azibo Reservoir Protected Landscape. You must travel to see a beach voted one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal, with beautiful surroundings, garden areas, shady spots, parking and other facilities.

You will also have at your side the Fraga da Pegada River Beach, with Blue Flag status, where you can swim, and enjoy rowing, windsurfing and sailing. Climbing and orienteering will enthral you by putting your hands and feet in direct contact with the earth.

Land of Traditions: dancing, music, gastronomy and crafts

The region boasts countless cultural and historical references, starting with the name “Terra de Cavaleiros” (Land of the Knights) that stems from one knight's heroic act to save the future King of Portugal D. João I (then Master of Avis), during the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385.

If you like popular festivals, come and watch the Entrudo Chocalheiro (in February), with colourful "Caretos" leaping and exciting people, and giving the streets an air of mystery, together with other characteristic regional activities, and watch a demonstration of the pauliteiros de Salselas, a warrior dance (peaceful today) performed by men, and accompanied by bagpipes, drums and triangles. This land is also rich in cultural, theatre and recreational groups that perform over all the district throughout the year.

When hunger strikes, it's time to try out the famous smoked dishes of this land (smokehouse bacon with greens for example), or game dishes, such as roast goat. If you prefer a fish dish, try the baked cod, and for dessert, you cannot miss out on a chestnut pudding and the rosquilhas (a type of dry cake). The wines are the perfect drink to accompany the main dishes, enhancing all the flavours and aromas of your meals.

Through local crafts, you will discover the uses and customs of this region. Check out the beautiful wicker baskets (with several uses, such as in mushroom picking), lace, linen and embroidery, the bellows to stoke the fire, as well as the miniatures made from shale and wood. Ancestral knowledge is passed down to the present day through the hands of young apprentices of these arts who are very happy to share them with you.

With so much to discover, you deserve a whole night of rest and refinement in one of the local lodges, where Habitation Tourism and Rural Tourism dominate. Feel like part of the family.

How to arrive

By car, coming from Porto (around 180km), take the A4 Motorway. If coming from the south, reach Macedo de Cavaleiros via the IP2 Main Route. Lisbon is 505km and Madrid is 401km away. Bragança is the closest northern city, 44km away.

Travelling also means learning, and we love the fact that you travel with us. We regularly prepare new experiences for you, and we are here to give you suggestions and clear up any doubts that you may have. Contact us.

Where it is

Comments