We really do want you to experience the very best of Portugal so we’ve put all of our favourite destinations in one place so you can get a feel of what we have around us.
We have everything here, from beautiful views for those insta photo opportunities, amazing lakes and rivers that are perfect for swimming and kayaking, 1000’s of km of offroad tracks for 4×4’s, quadbikes and motorbikes, all varying in difficulty level from beginner to intermediate, perfect picnic spots, mountain bike trails, hiking or casual walks…you can pretty much explore every inch of this place any which way you like!
Wherever the adventure take you.
For ease of you planning your trip we have categorized ‘places to visit’ in the distnce it is from us.
30 Minutes or Less
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 30 Minutes- 30km
We absolutely love this place and it’s only 30 minutes away from us. The village itself is beautiful, you can explore the castle ruins and go right up to the top, once there you can look down on the barragum with the lake surrounding the top part and just below you can see some pretty little houses.
A little further down the street you will find the geo park which is one of our favourite places to head for a swim when the afternoons heat up, there’s areas of shade which is perfect for picnicing, the water is shallow on one side so great for little ones and deeper on the other side which is great if you fancy an actual swim.
If you enjoy a bit of walking there is also a 3km trail which take you round to see the fossils.
Everything is free to do and there is plenty of parking which is also free too!
So what’s the history? The castle ruins in Penha Garcia date back to the 12th centuary when King Sancho used it to defend Penha Garcia from the Leon. It was then given by King D Dinis to the Kights Templar over one hundred years later and returning back to the crown in the 15th century.
The Penha Garcia fossils can be seen in the walls of the rocks and are believed to be from creatures that lived 490 millions ago.
Off Road Trails
Pick a track, any track at all and it will take you to amazing places.
OK so this one is a bit of a cheat because you could travel a few hours for some off road trails or you can find some 30 seconds away.
Driving along the main road you will see lots of turnings that look like you’re probably not supposed to go there…but quite simply you can. So go and enjoy.
Exploring the area off road is one of our favourite things to do in our down time and has taken us to some truly extraordinary places that we never would have found on foot. From gushing rivers (that we figured would be great for a bit of white water kayaking!) to the highest hilltops, travelling through woodland jungles that you would only normally see in movies, finding plenty of abandoned buildings and houses that are intriguing and mysterious along the way.
Barragem da Meimoa
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 23 Minutes- 23km
Another favourite place of ours is the barragem in Meimoa. It’s a very tranquil place to just sit and enjoy the moment. It’s a man made dam with a huge lake where you can fish, swim, picnic, kayak and paddleboard. Sometimes we spend a whole afternoon here just chilling out and getting in the water when we fancy cooling off a bit or taking the kayak and going for a paddle.
There is a road that goes right around the whole lake which is around 10km long and you can stop off and picnic wherever you want. There are no parking fees!
On one side of the barragem there is a place you can hire kayaks, a jetty with a kids pool limiting the depth and another pool slightly deeper if you prefer not to swim in wild water, however if you do fancy a rough swim out into the lake theres a diving board and steps you can venture out on. There is also a cafe and toilets if you wanted to grab a bite to eat.
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 30 Minutes- 23km
Monsanto is one of the original villages of Portugal. The whole village is built into the side of the mountain with impressive boulders housing some of the bars and properties.
The views are absolutely beautiful and you can look across Portugal for miles.
There are lots of places you can walk through to catch a glimps of the views over the mountain and also public toilets part way up.
It is a bit of trek to the top where there’s a castle ruin so make sure you do this one when you’ve had a good sleep and are well rested… the hills are pretty steep.
As with most of the places in this part of Portugal there are no parking fees. There is a parking area on your right as you’re driving up the mountain. You can take a quad bike or a bike further up but it’s too tight for anything larger.
There is a cafe opposite the car park and a handful of small shops as you go further up.
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 27 Minutes- 23km
This is a small village on the Ponsul river. The ruins date back 1st Century BC.
The grounds of the old ruins have walk ways that go around the entire area. Here you can explore and see remnants of old buildings that are from various times in Portugal history.
There are beautiful gardens to stroll around with plenty of greenery and colourful flowers. There’s also a stream that is perfect for a little paddle. You’ll also find cafes and lots of places to park which once again are free!
1 Hour or Less
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 35 Minutes- 33km
Fancy lazing on a river beach under big oak trees, having a little swim to cool off when you get hot, beer in hand, the sound of birds chirping, frogs croaking and the noise of the water running down the stream over the brook into the river?
Sabugal is a stunning place, with a beatiful river you can walk along for miles or sit and relax beside. There are steps for getting in and out of the water, a play park and big sandy river beach with a bar for refreshments.
Sabugal also has a beautiful castle which is illuminted with golden lights at night, sat aptop of a hill in full view of the town. There are plenty of ancient historic battle stories to be heard around this area as the castle dates back further than the 1100’s.
Sabugal is also home to our ABSOLUTELY MOST FAVOURITE DELICIOUS AMZING pizza resturant we have ever been to! And is totally worth the 35 minute drive to get there. Grab a pizza at lunchtime and it will still be warm when you get to the river beach, its just 2 minutes away! You can take a look over in our ‘cafes, bars and resturants’ page.
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 37 Minutes- 36km
If you are looking for a place that leaves you quite literally speachless then Sortelha is a place you have add to your list.
From the moment you see the arch way entrance where you can drive or ride in and park you will be in awe of the whole place.
The village is built inside the walls of a castle ruin. The houses are built around boulders, some of which you have to climb over to get around, there are cafes and restaurants and also clean and tidy public toilets.
You can walk all the way around the castle wall which is from there you will see the most amazing views. Trying to explain exactly what your eyes can see is just about impossible, a camera doesn’t even give you the whole extend either. The only way you can truly appreciate the beauty of Sortehla is by experiencing it.
Once a year they have a medievil festival. There are stalls, food, drink and a ‘treasure hunt’ where you walk around and find out sotries from Sortelha, each story you hear you have your card stamped and at the end you recieve a goody bag.
2 Hours or Less
Serra Da Estrela
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 1 hour 19 Minutes- 68km
Serra da Estrela is the second highest mountain in Portugal. Through the summer you will find the most breathtaking views and fantastic meandering road climbing 2000 meters above sea level.
There are plenty of pull-ins for epic photo opportunities and views that you won’t find anywhere else with deep valleys that cut right through the mountains and the sun reflecting off the bodies of water.
In the winter months this place tunrs into a ski resort! It’s a great place to go at christmas when the snow has fallen making for a perfect festive feel. There is a shopping centre that you can buy tabogans, slippers, locally made woolen clothing, warm boots, hats, gloves and scarves and also plenty of local cheeses, meats, aguardent and other food produce.
3 Hours or Less
Praia da Vieira
Distance from Vista de Penamacor– 2 hours 45 minutes- 221km
If you want a beautful sandy beach with a pub lunch and clear waters Leiria is great plcae to visit. We took a trip here when Mike picked up his new car in a town a few kms away and decided to pop to the coast.
The beach is so clean and clear and the water was warm clear, I have to say it was really nice having the waves crashing at your feet feeling the cold water on your skin. It felt like a real day off.
The sea front is adorned with restaurants and cafes so the is no lack of choice for places to stop eat and drink.
There is plenty of parking alng the front too so don’t be dissapointed if it looks busy…there is loads of parking further up.
Definitely worth the drive if you fancy a day at the beach.