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Serra da Estrela



Serra da Estrela presents its location in east and slightly to the north of Coimbra. Serra da Estrela is indeed Portugal's highest point and most admired range of mountains. It is a national treasure for lovers of the countryside and especially snow.

 The central mountains form a plateau with a high point of 1993m at Torre and  a considerable area above 1200m. Granite dominates the geology of these old- fold mountains. In the higher regions, the environment is hostile to human activities but the shepherds make intensive use of the natural grassland for summer pasturing. One of the most important products in the area is the Serra da Estrela cheese which is famous throughout the nation. Its quality is also reflected on the price and if you wish to buy a genuine Serra da Estrela Cheese you better bring your wallet provided with some euros. A medium size cheese can cost around 45 US dollars ( 35 Euros). However, we can assure you the money will be well spent for these Cheeses are indeed something out of this world.

Snow lies on heights above 750m usually from late November to mids of April, which has allowed the development of the Ski Resort at Penhas da Saķde. Actually several other ski resorts and Snow fun family activities are being build at Serra da Estrela for its value to Portuguese tourism has finally been recognised.

 Recorded hours of sunshine are equally generous over the year, it is estimated on average 2700 hours; July is the sunniest month. In 1976 the whole upland area was declared a Natural Park to protect and preserve not just the land itself, but the cultural activities which take place there and to control rural development. Walkers are also well catered for and a major network of walking routes has been establish in a detailed book - available in English - that can be picked up in any Park information Office in Serra da Estrela. We strongly advise you to do so.

 To start touring this magnificent place please begin at Penhas da Saķde above Covilh„, the route follows the fascinating, glacial ZÍzere valley to Manteigas before climbing west and leaving through Gouveia only to re-enter further north to visit the  historic town of Linhares, the focal point of the tour. The return heads south down the IC6 to Seia and recrosses the park via its highest, Torre, to complete the circuit.

 Going west on the IC12, which is the main route crossing the park from Covilh„ to  Seia, the right turn to Manteigas is shortly reached. This road leads almost instantly to the head of the remarkable ZÍzere Valley. The valley takes its name from the river ZÍzere which arises in the Serra da Estrela ans flows south, becoming quite a major river before eventually flowing into the Tagus.

 In sum, you wonít regret spending the weekend in Serra da Estrela. Several cabins are waiting to rent and if you really want to get in touch with this area of the country renting a cabin is the right thing to do. Take advantage of all benefits Serra da Estrela has to offer...we believe you will even find more points of attraction that the ones we referred here. Remember, Serra da Estrela is there just waiting for you and your family to discover it. Enjoy!!





Portugal: travel around and find out the essence of the Land!