"Serra de Estrela" Top 5 Page for this destination Portugal Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown

Portugal Things to Do: 760 reviews and 1,215 photos

  A Glacier-Carved Valley
by Bwana_Brown

We were definitely in the mountainous terrain of northern Portugal now! After leaving Monsanto, while on the way to Guarda, we decided to take a little diversion through Portugal's highest mountains, the Serra da Estrela located beside 'Covilha'.

After climbing our way up a zig-zag road out of Covilha, we reached the mountain peaks near the top of this 6650-foot (2000-m) range. Almost immediately, we were rewarded by the amazing sight of the glacier-carved Zezere Valley, shown here.

This 13-km valley was formed 20,000 years ago when a huge glacier moving in the direction of the view carved it's footprint into the mountains. By the time the valley ends in the village of Mantiegas, the river in the bottom of the valley has cut it's way down to 680-m above sea level. This longest glacier-formed valley in Europe still retains it's ancient flavour, with it's rugged appearance and very little modern development. We ended up taking the scenic drive down the valley along the road you see, enjoying a close-up look at the boulders dropped by the glacier in the river valley.

It was great to experience the change in landscape and weather that a few more hundred feet in elevation brought! This is ski country in winter!

Directions: Near Covilha

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 4, 2004
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