There are many activities to discover in Serra da Estrela. Please find below a few of our suggestions with links to further reading.
Walking and Hiking
Serra da Estrela offers a wide range of routes to suit every level of hiking. The best time to enjoy the area’s trails is from late spring to summer when the rocky terrain, meadows and rich landscape can be truly appreciated. The “Discovering the region of the Serra da Estrela” is the most comprehensive guide to the hiking trails that have been created within the entire Natural Park. The guide can be found at the local tourist office’s in Serra da Estrela.
River beaches offer a tranquil haven to enjoy a spot of sunbathing and a dip in the fresh water’s of Serra da Estrela. A complete contrast to the busier coastal beaches of Portugal, visitors can enjoy quiet natural places often with picnic area’s, gardens and café’s. The nearest river beach to Rainbow Lodge is the RibaMondego which is a 15 minutes drive away. Also worth a visit is Ponte de Juncais, near the village of Fornos de Algodres and Vale do Rossim situated in the Rossim Valley in the heart of Serra da Estrela mountains. You can find a list of river beaches here: http://www.praiafluvial.pt/
Serra da Estrela flying area is a popular spot for paraglider’s. The area has a wide range of high plateaus and vast open valleys. The cross-country flying season starts in February and lasts until as late as November. Linhares da Beira is an hour drive from Rainbow Lodge and is one of the main flight centre’s in the area, it also hosts several international events. For further information please see here: http://clubevertical.org/index.php/en/
Mountain Biking and Dirt Biking
The Serra da Estrela is an excellent location for adrenaline seekers. Its vast stunning scenery of hilly, stone walls and castles, country roads and dirt tracks weaving through historical villages makes it a popular choice for biking enthusiasts. The Grande Rota das Aldeias (The Grand Route of Historical Villages) is popular 535 km route which encompasses the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. The route offers the hardy mountain biker a challenge with it’s roughly cut dirt tracks, long climbs and thrill seeking descents. Theres plenty of opportunities for pit stops along the way at the area’s many river beaches and traditional Portuguese village cafe’s. For more information and route maps please see here: http://www.aldeiashistoricasdeportugal.com/en/routes/grande-rota/
Serra da Estrela is included in the TET Trans Euro Trail, Europe’s leading Dirt Road biking routes. This provides an epic journey through some of Europe’s most remote, diverse and inspirational landscapes. Light weight motor cycling offers a fantastic way to see the area and become immersed in the land and it’s culture. More info here: https://www.transeurotrail.org/portugal/
Skiing and Snowboarding in Serra da Estrela
The Vodafone ski resort is a small ski resort in the municipality of Seia just under an hours driver from Rainbow Lodge. There’s 4 ski lifts and 9 pistes totalling 7.7km in this one terrain park. This resort is best suited to beginners and snowboarders. Visitors can also enjoy dog sledding, snow mobile rides, snowshoeing and hang-gliding. The ski resort operates from December to April with the best skiing in February, full ski resort info available here: http://www.skiserradaestrela.com/
Visit the Glacier Valley’s
The Glacial Valleys of Serra da Estrela offer outstanding beauty and tranquil landscapes, many with trails to experience the captivating landscape and track the formations that have remained untouched for thousands of year’s. There are several glacier valleys, each with their own unique beauty and points of interest; Zêzere, Alforda, Loriga, Covão Grande and Covão do Urso. For more information, see: http://www.centerofportugal.com/glacial-valleys-route/
Poço do Inferno
Poço do Inferno (meaning Hell’s Well in Portugeuse), is a 10 metre high waterfall near Manteigas and hours drive from Rainbow Lodge. Situated on the Leandres stream at around 1100 meters altitude is a wonderful place to visit in the summer due to the forests biodiversity and shade during the hotter months. During the winter, the waterfall freezes presenting unique photographic moments. More info here: http://museuvirtual.activa-manteigas.com/index.php/places/geologia-2/poco-do-inferno/
Covão dos Conchos
And finally Covão dos Conchos is a man made waterfall-like hole in the middle of a lake in central Serra da Estrela. Although it looks like a mysterious natural phenomenon, the hole was created in the 1950’s to direct water from the Ribeira das Naves to Lagoa Comprida. It takes around 2 hours to hike the 6 miles up to Covão of the Conchos.