Discovering the essence of Gerês
The landscape is incomparable and its colors define the beauty of the Serra do Gerês. The municipality of Terras de Bouro represents the essence of this region, which has an integrated part in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. From Mata da Albergaria to Caniçada Dam, through waterfalls, belvederes, paths, trails and a rich heritage, embark on this trip to discover the essence of Gerês.
Mata da Albergaria:
Mata da Albergaria is one of the most important forests of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, consisting essentially of a secular oak forest that includes species characteristic of the Geresian fauna and flora. This forest is located between Caldas do Gerês and Portela do Homem and holds a section of the Geira Roman Road, with the ruins of the bridges and several milestones. Given the increase in human presence, the National Park officials introduced limits to the circulation of vehicles inside the Forest, to preserve its characteristics.
Vilarinho da Furna:
Vilarinho da Furna, also known as Vilarinho das Furnas, was an old community village in the parish of Campo do Gerês, which was submerged in 1971 by the construction of the reservoir of Vilarinho das Furnas dam. The depopulation took place between September 1969 and October 1970 and the settlement eventually dispersed through neighboring municipalities. When the flow of the waters is smaller it is possible to see the ruins of the houses, the paths and the walls of the old village. In Campo do Gerês there is a museum that depicts the history and heritage of the village.
Geira Roman Road:
Geira Roman Road is the name by which the route of communication, built by the Roman Empire, was known during the Flavian dynasty (between 69 and 96), linking Bracara Augusta, current city of Braga, to Asturica Augusta, now Astorga, totaling 318 kilometers. This route passes through the municipality of Terras de Bouro in an extension of about 30 kilometers (miles XIV and XXXIV) transversal to different parishes. Along the route you can see several milestones, Roman bridges and admire the natural beauty of the landscape.
Bridges in Rio Caldo:
On the river Caldo and designed by Edgar Cardoso, the bridges in Rio Caldo were built in 1954, considering the rising water level of the river Cávado and the creation of the water mirror, consequences of the construction of the Caniçada dam. These two bridges are part of the national highways 308 – which goes to the village of Gerês – and 304 – between São Bento of Porta Aberta area and the EN 103, between Braga and Chaves. The bridges in the parish of Rio Caldo, with a maximum height of 58 meters, stand out by the trays in reinforced concrete slab.
Marina in Rio Caldo:
Searched for the beauty of the landscape and excellent sports conditions, the Marina in Rio Caldo is a very searched place in the region, since it has access to Caniçada’s Dam, nautical sports companies and dining areas with terraces. In total there are 689 hectares of navigable water mirror through a recreational boat that offers a unique tour of environmental-friendly nature. In the zones around the marina there are also several small river beaches that in the summer months are filled with tourists.
In Terras de Bouro there are two thermal spaces that take advantage of the medicinal waters. Termas de Moimenta, in the village of Terras de Bouro, have recognized benefits in rheumatismal diseases and skin allergies, as well as relaxation treatments. Older, Termas de Gerês goes back to its origin to the Roman period, and it was during the reign of D. João V that the first bathing buildings were constructed. The positive influence of Gerês waters on liver and gallbladder diseases is recognized.
São Bento da Porta Aberta:
To speak of Gerês is to speak of religious tourism, mainly because of the presence of the São Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary, a centennial temple known for the unequaled devotion of the thousands of pilgrims who arrive there annually. The cult originated with the construction of a small hermitage in 1614. As was normal at the time, the chapel had a porch and the doors always open, serving as shelter to all who passed. With the growth of the cult there was a need for expansion, and the temple was erected at S. Bento from 1880 to 1895.
Gerês is one of the natural refuges of Portugal that attracts visitors by the number of streams and waterfalls that can be discovered. Of greater or less difficulty, with more or less water, walking through Terras de Bouro municipality means being prepared to, at any time, find beautiful natural waterfalls of limpid and crystalline waters. In this way, we highlight Leonte Waterfall, Fecha de Barjas Waterfall, known as Tahiti Falls, the Arado Waterfall and the Portela do Homem Waterfall.
A little over the whole territory are several viewpoints that allow to see beautiful landscapes, to admire mountains, to appreciate rivers and streams and to come in direct contact with the Geresian nature. Each of these viewpoints, with different access, allows a different perspective of the landscape and in them it is possible to observe the essence of Gerês. In the municipality of Terras de Bouro, the viewpoints of Pedra Bela, Junceda, Carris, Novo, Velho, Boneca, Leonte, Sobreira, Ventozelo, Formigueiro and Bom Jesus das Mós stand out.