Skiing in Portugal? Why not?
That's right - even if it seem surprising. In Portugal, there’s only one tiny ski resort, Serra da Estrela. Its highest peak, Torre, is located at an altitude of 1993 meters above sea level and during winter the slopes are crowded with Portuguese. Here, you can also ski during summer on the dry ski slopes in Seia.
The resort is located in the Central-Northern part of the country, in the highest mountain range in Portugal. Skiing in the Serra da Estrela is more like a bonus, an attraction rather than the tourist offer, after all it can hardly compete with the majesty and mind-blowing landscapes of the Alps. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great if you could boast of skiing in Portugal?
Skiing in the country of mandarins
Well, here we have only 4 ski lifts, and 9 pistes with a total length of 7.7 km (2 blue, 2 green, 4 red and 1 black). It can’t be denied that these numbers aren’t impressive, but that doesn’t ruin the charm of this modest resort. And despite of the fact that the pistes are mainly for the beginners, more experienced skiers will also find a spots that are suitable for them. There is also something a snow park for snowboarders well lit pistes for the skiers who prefer to ski during the night.
Portuguese people are very fond of their tiny resort, which explains the crowd in weekends. During the week it’s more quiet and, as it is written by a lot of people on the forums, it’s a great place to go together with friends and learn to ski. There is one ski school, rental service, restaurant, and among some winter attractions is snowmobiling, sleigh ride, or snowshoe walks.
As for the ski pass prices during the season 2012/2013, a day of skiing on the piste costs 25 € in high season (from November 2012 to May 2013) and 15 € for other months. Eager to start learning to ski will pay 30 € for an hour per person. You can follow the internauts, and say that Serra da Estrela is a great place to practice with friends – for an hour of ski learning in a group, for example of 5, you pay 50 €.
Caravaning in Portugal
Portugal is one of the favorite countries of tourists, who travel with campers. They praise the charm and beauty of this country, a large number of wild places with astounding views of the ocean, but also... the police, who treat the stops outside the camp more favorably than, for example, the Spanish police.
At the same time there are really a lot of the campsites, so those who want to see the snow on the slopes of Serra da Estrela, can easily come here with a camper. One of the campsites, which is worth visiting, is Toca da Raposa Camping (3405-351 Meruge). During the season 16.06-15.09 a night here costs 4 €, and from 16.09 to 15.06 it’s 3.5 € per night. The cost of the child stay is respectively: 2.50 and 2 € / night, for a parking place for vehicle we will have to pay 7-6 € / night, and for the puppy, regardless of the season, 1 € / day. Approximately 100 meters from the campsite there is a free, private car park at your disposal. The owners also offer daily meals.
Second year-round campsite is also noteworthy. It’s Ponte das Três entradas (3400-591 Santa Ovaia), located at the foot of the mountains, next to the National Park Serra da Estrela. In the high season adults pay 3.50 € per night and only 3 € off season, children - 2 and 1.60 €. For t for a camper you have to pay respectively: 4,50 and 4 € / day. Campground has 75 pitches located in the vicinity of the river and a small waterfall. It is not only beautiful here, but also relatively inexpensive.
Cão da Serra da Estrela
Approximately 150 km from the mountains you can hear the hum of the sea, and anyone who had the opportunity to see the coast of Portugal knows what a great experience it is to drive along it. Their sources in Serra da Estrela have 3 rivers: Mondego, Alva and Zezere, so if you love water, you will have a lot of opportunities to have a contact with it. Especially if you come here in the summer, then you can hit one of the many bike trails.
There is plenty to explore in this astounding area. In the town of Seia is a museum of bread, where you have the opportunity not only to see how the traditional Portuguese bread is made, but also to try it in a nearby restaurant. Speaking of tasting, it is worth to note that here, in Serra da Estrela the famous sheep’s milk cheese Queijo Serra da Estrela is produced.
In the opinion of tourists who visited these regions, there is no place similar to this. The area of Serra da Estrela is unique, and stuns with diverse Paleozoic forms of rocks where the erosion has left fancy grooves. There’s no lack of the old glacial valleys and steep peaks, which are a real challenge for mountaineers. The best example can be even Cantaro Magro.
We cannot forget about one more thing – from this region comes Estrela Mountain Dog (cão da Serra da Estrela). This beautiful shepherd is a pretty cool symbol of the region. Maybe your next trip to Portugal will be the very place of his birth?