Get to know the Portuguese geoparks that UNESCO has integrated into its World Network. They are unique territories with sites of high geological relevance that you can explore on walks of observation and contemplation or through adrenaline-filled sports and extreme activities.
Naturtejo Geopark was the first in Portugal to obtain the classification that recognizes the importance of its 17 geomonuments, such as the imposing Portas de Ródão along the Tagus River or the Penha Garcia’s ichnofossils. The Natural Park of International Tagus is where you can observe 154 species of birds and participate in activities such as climbing, canoeing, walking, and cycling.
Not far away is Estrela Geopark, where the highest mountain in mainland Portugal is located. Here, the marks of the last glaciation are visible in several places, such as the Zêzere Glacier Valley and the Lagoa Comprida. You can follow marked trails through the terrain that will lead you to viewpoints with breathtaking views to appreciate the lagoons, the naturally sculpted rocks, and rich flora and fauna.
A little further north, in Arouca Geopark, you can visit 41 different geosites with unique characteristics; Castanheira’s Breeding Stones and the Canelas’ Giant Trilobites are stand-outs. This mountainous territory, with its highest points in the Freita and Montemuro mountain ranges, is crossed by rivers with excellent conditions for canyoning, canoeing or rafting. The Paiva rapids are one of the best practice places in Portugal. Other must-visits are the Frecha da Misarela waterfall and the Paiva Walkways, which are eight kilometers of paths across the geopark – an excellent way to enjoy it.
In the Northeast of Trás-os-Montes in the Terras de Cavaleiros Geopark you will find about 180km of trails that lead you to 42 geosites of recognized scientific value, as well as places of great beauty such as the Azibo Reservoir Protected Landscape. The activities available are diverse and include bird watching, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking — or simply relaxing on river beaches. On a visit to this region, be sure to enjoy the delectable cuisine and the originality of local traditions. The festive Caretos de Podence enlivens the winter period and is really something to see.
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is the Azores Geopark, unique in the world with 121 geosites scattered across nine islands and the surrounding marine area, mirroring the archipelago’s vast volcanic geodiversity. Each of the islands has specific characteristics, yet share an intoxicating, overwhelming natural beauty. Volcanoes, calderas, lagoons, lava fields, fumaroles, thermal waters, fajãs, caves and volcanic caverns are just part of the list of the regions’ geological assets, which the majestic Pico mountain, with its cone still intact, seems to protect.
Venture out and discover unique landscapes as you walk paths enveloped in Nature.