Geraz do Minho Things to Do Tips by Bwana_Brown
Geraz do Minho Things to Do: 5 reviews and 5 photos
Rugged Ridges of Parque Natural do Alvao
Although this nature park is actually a few kms south of the Geraz do Minho area, we decided to take the shortcut back to Lamego through it. The landscape is different here, coming into the area the slopes were either covered with man-made pine forests or looked like they had been clear-cut by logging activity. Something that I had never seen before was the large pine trees being milked for their yellowish sap. Each tree had a large plastic sac attached that was brimming with the stuff. Apparantly, it is used to make a glue used in both the furniture and paper industries. (Update from VT member 'JLBG' - In the Gascogne forest of France, collecting pinesap or 'gemmage' has been traditional for centuries. It is used to caulk boats, for organic sweets and as a chewing gum. After distillation, it produces turpentine and colophony)
After getting through that section, we came to the more natural looking barren slopes that you see here. The twisting road provided some great views out over the rugged and stark countryside.
Directions: Near Ermelo, northwest of Vila Real
Driving in the Serra da Cabreira
Our all-morning long drive from Lamego was finally paying off as we climbed up into the Serra da Cabreira north of Cabeceiras de Basto. This quiet little road ran along the side of a valley, offering great views of the villages below. The sun had come out and there was very little traffic so we had a great time taking in the sights of this new (for us) part of Portugal! Close beside the road is one of the ever-present grape vines so common to this part of the country. Off on the distant mountain slope, a field is covered in the bright yellow-flowering bushes that we noticed throughout Portugal. These weed-like 'yellow broom' plants are very eye-catching in the sunlight!
Directions: Near the village of Rio Douro
Village near Campea
One final photo of a small village, near Campea, as we neared the end of our mountain drive and were only a few kms from linking up with the main highway leading back to Vila Real and then Lamego. It was very nice to get a bird's eye view of the scenery on this part of the trip!
Directions: A few kms west of Vila Real
Snaking Over the Mountains!!
Driving through the mountains of the Serra de Alvao was a nice way to finish off our trip to the northern end of Portugal. Highway N304 from Mondim de Basto south to the E82 superhighway provided some great vistas.
My wife was not comfortable with some of the dropoffs (on her side of the road) as we twisted our way up the ridges and then back down. She claims to have a bigger right leg since our Portugal trip because of all the braking that she did for me while sitting in the passenger seat!
This photo gives you a good idea of how some parts were forested while others are bare slopes. You can also see our road as it snakes its way up and over each obstacle!
Directions: South of Mondim de Basto and northwest of Vila Real
Because of its colder and wetter climate than the more southerly regions of the country, many of the houses in the Minho are constructed with thick granite walls. To provide additional storage space sheltered from the weather, it is also the custom to generally have 2-story houses in these mountainous regions. As you can see from this photo, the windows are very small - probably to conserve heat. It is also more common to have slate roofs instead of the orange clay tiles used in most other locations.
Directions: Near Eiro on the N311 road into the Serra da Cabreira
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