Portugal: Hiking the North of Portugal – Part I

In order to escape the crowds we choose a more unknown and natural region of Portugal. The North, in this series mainly the area from Montaria – in the mountains – to Ponte de Lima. The idea was to go more local and explore the green heart of the north by foot. The region welcomed us with the last strength of summer, with 33 degrees – in the middle of September. After a short 45 minutes drive from Porto to Montaria, we could enjoy our first evening in the garden of the Serra de Arga Mountain Guest House.

Welcome to Montaria

Montaria is a small town in the northern region of Portugal. It is located in the inland only 15 kilometers away from the beach region of the North. The town itself provides several hiking trails e.g. the PR 1, PR2, PR3 and PR5. Which are either way return hikes or connecting hikes to other towns. Details can be found on a map in the centre of the town. As the town is really tiny, all can be done by food. Be aware that the town only has one restaurant and no supermarket or other supplies. Make sure you stay either way in an accommodation that provides breakfast or you have a car to get to a near by supermarket.

The center of town, with its big chestnut tree, is the main meeting point for the locals. The only restaurant was full every time we went there. They have great local dishes, that should be tried, especially the different sorts of Pires. If you are looking for a quite local place, Monataria will give you the local Portuguese experience.

Trilho do Pincho (PR 5) in Montaria

Our host provided us with great ingredients for our breakfast like fresh eggs, a bag of buns at the front door and self-made marmalade. With that I prepared a nice breakfast in the garden of the guesthouse in no time.  With enjoying the summer weather we started the day with bird singing and a gentle breeze. Every morning could start like that. With that said, this trip could not have started any better.

One of the hiking trails of Montaria, the PR 5, started directly behind our guesthouse. The trail is around 12 km and has a high difference of 300 meters. As we had the whole day for the hike, we decided to hike it counter clock wise. With doing so the first attraction of the hike, the Cascatas da Ferida, will be reached at first. Besides the main waterfall, which invited already a couple of locals. There are several other pools, down stream, that can be hiked to. In order to take a swim or only refresh the feeds.

Further the trail led through small path through the woods, along plantations and back to the town of Montaria. To hike the trail in this direction brings the benefit of ending the trail in the town of Montaria. In case wanted, a lunch could be taken in the restaurant in the center or only a cold wine or beer.

Hike from Dem to Caminha

Our second hike in the North of Portugal lead us from Dem to Caminha. After a short drive to Dem, we started our hike in a picnic area of the town. The trail led us over wider and small dirt road to the coastal town of Caminha. Overall the hike was 15 km long, and we had a 250-meter accent  and a 570-meter decent.

The summer showed us, on this trail, its last strength. With that the last kilometers until we reached the ocean, been a bit of a stretch. Nether the less, this part of the hike was completely different to the one in Montaria. The views at the beginning been going on the closed border to Spain and been amazing. In the town of Caminha, we could feel the pilgrim vibe. As the Portuguese part of the Camino de Santiago running thought this town.

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