Following the delights of the Serra
A trip through terraced valleys, past rivers that come to rest in dammand lakes and through villages set in an unforgettable landscape. A trip that is always set in the Serra da Estrela Nature Reserve.
Leave Guarda by Av. Francisco Sá Carneiro and continue along the road 16. Cubo and Prado are roadside villages with a view of Caldeirão Dam and Castro do Tintinolho Hill to one side. Beyond Chãos the road 16 becomes a view point over the Valley of the River Mondego. At km 166 leave the road 16 and turn left to Faia and Ramalhosa. Go down as far as Quinta da Ponte, cross the River Mondego and breathe in the loveliness of the site. Follow the sign to Mizarela, along fertile slopes where country estates and manor houses around.
Mizarela and Pêro Soares are villages separated by the Mondego but joined by an old bridge. Here the river runs over a carpet of granite slabs and you can visit windmills with their centuries old grinding stones.
Continue on up to the wall of the Caldeirão Dam where the scenery is of endless terraced slopes. The Mocho Real view point is on the dam wall and rising to one side is a wall of granite for those who enjoy rock climbing. Go ahead to Corujeira, along the dammed lake of Ribeira do Caldeirão, until you reach Trinta. On the road to Videmonte enjoy the magnificient landscapes, see how the water of the River Mondego goes through an underground tunnel into the dammed lake, and get to know unrivalled for locations for trout fishing. Videmonte is a stone built village, with flocks of sheep and fine Serra cheese, but this is where the road ends. Return to Trinta and then go on to Meios and Fernão Joanes, across a plain full of fine rural sights and lofty chestnut trees. The River Caldeirão rises in Alto de Famalicão where its valley begins, and from there pick up the road 18-1. Turn right and follow the Famalicão Valley to the historical town of Valhelhas, on the banks of the River Zêzere. Stop first of all in Famalicão to see a typical olive press and a landscape decorated with the snow topped peaks of Torre. Valhelhas was a Roman town, and was given a castle and a charter by King Sancho I in 1189, before Guarda. The Church of Santa Maria with its tall belfry stands in Largo do Pelourinho. Go in the direction of Belmonte and at the bridge over the River Zêzere turn left to Gonçalo where craftsmen make baskets and cane furniture. The village has old streets, manor houses and Manueline style doorways. On the way to Seixo Amareo, the road climbs its way up among woods and lovely views. In returning to the road 18-1, turn right and then continue on to Guarda along road 18, to see Castro de Jarmelo and the dolmen at Pêra do Moço.