In the interior Central region of Portugal lies the mountain range of Serra da Estrela, the highest point in the mainland and the only place where a natural ski resort can be found. Due to its weather and altitude it is the most favourable place for the occurrence of snow, rain and hail, which happens almost every winter and, despite the landscape being lovely in the summer months, this mountain lives from the winter tourism.
The protected area has more than 88 thousand hectares and comprises several rocky massifs of granite, schist and traces of glaciers. The Torre is the highest point of this range of mountains and also of the mainland, standing at 1.993 meters high and it is only second to Montanha do Pico, in Azores, that stands above the 2.000 meters.
The Serra da Estrela is a great natural park with fauna and flora of its own. In those mountains can be found boars, otters, wolves and a lot of sheep flocks. The famous buttery cheese from Serra da Estrela has its origins in this place as well as one of the most popular Portuguese dog breeds: the Estrela Mountain Dog. This is a large shepherd dog with a coat that suits the mountain weather well and, additionally, it is an excellent guard dog.
The park has some tourist information centres where during the summer can be found some suggestions for hiking in the mountain trails. In the winter the tourists have the snow and the Vodafone ski resort to enjoy some different holidays in a country with mild weather, beaches and a lot of sun.