Portugal: Back in the Geres National Park (GR50 from Soajo)

Two weeks in Portugal went by like nothing, as we not been ready to face the Covid-19 situation in Germany just yet, we extend our stay in Portugal for another week. In Geres we got a taste of the Geres Nation Park and the GR50. In order to see more of the park we decided to go Soajo. A more quiet and countryside region of the Geres National Park. Also, here the GR50, a long distance walking trail is running through. We learned the whole trail is 190 km long and splits in 19 stages.

Hikes from/in Soajo

In order to settle in, we started in Soajo on two shorter local trails starting directly in the town. The trails that can be done are the PR7 and the PR2. The PR7 is named Caminhos do Pão e Caminhos da Fé and the PR2 is named Rota do Soajo (Romeiro da Peneda). Both trails are around 5 kilometers long and can be done in 2 hours. The PR2 trail is more adventure trail, as it leads over several stony parts. Compared to the Douro Region, the number of dogs are lower but the numbers of wild horses and cattle are high. Often animals are on the trail directly or nearby in high grass or the bushes.

Hike in Lindoso

In Lindoso several trails can be started directly at the Castle of Lindoso. First following once more the GR50 up the hill behind Lindoso. The top of the hill provides a great view on the Spain side overlooking the Encoro de Lindoso river. As we did the hike on a Sunday, we had the Sunday service of the church in the background all the time. It seemed that the church had an outside speaker, that nobody can miss it. Even that it all was in Portuguese, we understood at least “Amen”. The trail we choose led through several closed gates. On the way down we saw why. Around the closed gate we met a herd of cattle. One cow was particular unhappy that we passed the gate and made his displeasure known loudly.

GR50 Return hike from Soajo to Mezio

Today we wanted to enjoy more of the GR50 and chose 2 Stages of the long distance trail that can be done from Soajo. We started the hike with  the Stage 6 – from Soajo to Mezio. This part was 6.8 km long and is mainly uphill – 900 m gain. In Mezio we hike a small round, starting and ending behind the visitor center. On our way back to Soajo we hike among the Stage 5 – Mezio to Adrao on the GR50. This part until Adroa is 8.5 km long. We only hike 2/3 of this part before we took the turn back to Soajo. This 22 km round trip, showed us once more the diversity of the GR50. As it is running through forests, cobblestone paths, natural trails and on the steep streets in the mountains.

Hike in Parada do Lindoso

In Parada do Lindoso we followed once more partly the GR50. For this day we did a round hike, mainly rotating around Parada do Lindoso. The hike starts at the Cafe Mo, on the main street. Orientation is easy, just follow the 2 lines (yellow/red). They are marking nearly all the trails and are painted on stones. This is not only true for this trail, it is a pattern for all hikes in the regions.  In order to know where the trail is not going, an x with the same (yellow/red) colors are marking directions that are not following the trail.

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