Torre is mainland Portugal’s highest mountain. Its summit, which is accessible by road, stands at 1993m. But while the journey up is spectacular and the surrounding planalto (high plateau) wild and windswept, Torre's summit is a rather peculiar place: a tarmacked roundabout with two ageing golf-ball radar domes and drab shopping arcades. At its centre is a 7m-high tower erected by João VI in the early 19th century so Portugal could claim its highest point was exactly 2000m.
The main reason to make the tortuous drive up to the Torre is to ski in winter (December to mid-April) or simply to admire the thrilling scenery. The road from Manteigas is particularly breathtaking, crawling up the glacial Zêzere valley before traversing the Nave de Santo António – a highland sheep pasture – and climbing through a surreal moonscape of crags and gorges. Visible near the top is the Cántaro Magro, a fearsome rock formation that rises 500m from the valley below.