(GERMANY OUT) Valley (the "Vale da Candeeira") in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, Portugal   (Photo by Forster/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

ullstein bild via Getty Images

Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela

Portugal’s oldest and largest protected area, the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela encompasses 888 sq km of the country’s highest mountains. At its centre, rising above a wild, boulder-strewn planalto (high plateau), is Torre (1993m), continental Portugal’s highest peak. Below, steep mountain roads inch past icy lakes and vast granite outcrops as they corkscrew down thickly wooded valleys. The Serra’s rushing rivers – including the Mondego and Zêzere, which have their sources here – historically provided hydropower to spin and weave the local wool into cloth. Nowadays traditional shepherding is giving way to a service economy catering to weekending tourists.


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Jagged peaks and a glacial lake in the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela

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The Serra da Estrela: exploring Portugal’s ‘star mountain’

Aug 18, 2017 • 5 min read