The Peneda-Gerês National Park, the first national park created in Portugal, is at the same time a sanctuary of endangered species and an area for the protection of the heritage and culture of the people that have inhabited those mountains in the north of the country for thousands of years.
Inside the park area, which comprises 22 parishes, there are several habitats of various species, some of them endangered such as the Iberian wolf that can find in Gerês one of its last refuges. The mountains are also the habitat of the golden eagle, the roe deer, the Iberian wild goat and, in the watercourses, of trout and eels.
The villages in Gerês still maintain some secular traditions, such as the transhumance between the “brandas” (where during the spring and summer the land is cultivated) and “inverneiras” (to where the livestock is moved to in the winter). The “espigueiros”, stone structures where the maize is dried, are icons of Gerês, and you can find throughout the park many other traces of human occupation.
The Mezio Anta, a megalithic tomb monument, the cave paintings in Penedo do Encanto, the remains of Castro do Outeiro and of the roman road, the monastery of Pitões de Junias or the Castle of Lindoso reinforce the idea of this being a unique place whether due to nature, culture or heritage, and it definitely is worthy of a visit.
The park may be visited by car, but there are several hiking trails where it is possible to know better every little corner in one of the most wonderful places in Portugal, where you can spot eagles, Garrano horses and Lusitanian-Galician horses that are no longer used as a labour force and nowadays run freely in the Gerês mountains.