National PArk · Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês · Portugal

Portugal Wanderlust: Gerês!

Dear K,

It was a great surprise to find out you are spending this year in Europe as well. I’m really happy and I hope you enjoy it and take a lot of good memories back with you! The food at La Bien Aparecida looks delicious, you know I’ll want to go when I visit you =D Also, I’m glad you’re enjoying my road trip (part 1, part 2, part3, part4). It was indeed amazing and I haven’t showed you all of it. Our next stop was the National Park of Peneda-Gerês.

We got to Quinta do Bento in Vieira do Minho a couple of hours before sunset. We still got to enjoy the pool and the gorgeous view. Cristiano Ronaldo has a mansion in the area, so you can imagine how beautiful it is. Besides its beauty, the peacefulness of being in full contact with nature was really something.

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I know how you love sunsets and I’m sure you’d have loved this one. It was breathtaking and the weather was perfect!

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The next day we started our expedition with an early lunch at Restaurante Cávado, where we ate the famous posta. The meat melted in our mouths. Soooo tasty! This place is one of the many hidden gems in the interior of the country, just by Cávado river. I doubt you’d eat anything bad in this region. Every business is family-owned and super traditional!

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After lunch, we started exploring the denser nature and stopped by Miradouro da Pedra Bela, Cascata do Arado, Portela do Homem and Ermida. The views were absolutely breathtaking. We wish we could have seen more, but the Park is huge. I definitely recommend going with plenty of time to explore the National Park in more depth.

Late in the afternoon it was time to rest and enjoy the Tempus Hotel & Spa, 5 minutes away from the center of Ponte da Barca. The hotel was beautiful and a great value for the price. Gorgeous outside pool, eco-friendly rooms and astonishing landscape!

For dinner we went to O Moinho in Ponte da Barca. We ordered Barrosã Veal and Octopus. Both super traditional from the Portuguese cuisine :D

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We had too much food and therefore we had to walk it off a bit around Ponte da Barca. We fell in love with that place, so we decided to come back the following day to enjoy lunch and the views with daylight.

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The remaining of the evening was spent in the hotel room’s balcony enjoying Portuguese wine under the perfect sky. Talk about quality of life…

The next morning we couldn’t leave without enjoying the pool, so we requested a late check out and just laid down in the long chairs after breakfast. Perfect setting to read a book and tan a little bit.

After checking out the hotel, we went to Ponte da Barca and it was even better than the previous night. Everything was so clean and neat and we got such a good vibe while walking around.. It is really worth the visit!

We stopped by this place we found called In Tapas Veritas. The manager lived in New York until the prior year. He came on vacation to visit family and friends and decided to stay and help his friend out taking care of the restaurant. I’m telling you, Ponte da Barca really has something special that makes people fall in love and stay, or at least come back. We ordered a bunch of different tapas and everything was quite tasty!

We definitely ended our stay in Gerês on a high note! In general, every place was gorgeous and the views spectacular. You really feel like a small dot in this world. The only unfortunate situation was that most waterfalls and river affluents were really dry, due to the really hot summer without any showers. Other than that, it was a great experience and I want to come back soon to keep exploring the National Park of Peneda-Gerês.

NEXT & FINAL STOPS: Braga and Porto!

Can’t wait to see you,

– C

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