At 1,993 metres, Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain in mainland Portugal, only behind Pico, in the Azores, which is home to the highest mountain in Portugal, at 2,351 m above sea level.
Due to this high altitude, snowfall in the colder months doesn't surprise the locals, but can impress those who don't usually associate Portugal with snow topped roofs.
Despite being a much visited place during the summer (due to its beautiful landscapes, trails and natural swimming pools and waterfalls) in the winter, Serra da Estrela is without a doubt one of the most visited places in Portugal. If you are interested, note that snow can fall anytime between October and May, and mainly in February.
A trip to Serra da Estrela is something awesome! To better enjoy your trip - here are seven places that you can’t miss:
This place, which in English means Tower, is the highest point in Portugal that everyone goes when arriving Serra da Estrela, at least to take a picture. Despite being the top of the mountain, it is a very accessible road.
With all these breathtaking views, the Torre is the kind of place where you have to take your camera with you as everyone wants to take a picture when they reach the highest point in mainland Portugal. However, you should always check before you go, as road access is sometimes restricted due to bad weather.
The Torre’s altitude is 1,993 metres above sea level and near the Torre there is a ski centre, a restaurant and stores selling traditional products. Also, there you will find a monument that symbolises the Torre.
Túnel Da Serra da Estrela
At about 1,700 metres above sea level, we find a curious granite massif tunnel on the road. Located in Covão das Vacas on the EN338, this tunnel is a frequent place where many people pass, and one of the most photographed by visitors, as it provides one of the most beautiful views of this mountain.
Indeed, although walking is always great, driving in Serra da Estrela can also reveal some unexpected landscapes.
I couldn't talk about Serra da Estrela, without mention Seia. You've probably already come across this word because this small town is known for its famous and delicious cheeses.
In addition, Seia has many attractions and many museums to visit, such as the Bread Museum, “Museu do Pão”, the Seia Electricity Museum "Museu da Eletricidade" and the Toy Museum "Museu do Brinquedo", which can be very fun to visit with children, but also for adults, as there you will find vintage toys that will take you back in time.
Village of Sabugueiro
Sabugueiro, often called the highest village in Portugal, is a small village in the municipality of Seia, which you will probably pass through if you are on your way to Serra da Estrela. If that's the case, I advise you to take a break, park your car and walk through this small village.
Here you can stop for lunch or a snack. There are many cafes and small restaurants with typical ham sandwiches. Sausage lovers generally love it. Then there are traditional shops where you can buy things to play with in the snow or to keep you warm. If you like to buy souvenirs, don't miss the chance, as you won't find them anywhere else in Portugal.
Poço do Inferno
Poço do Inferno is a 10 metre waterfall that comes from a tributary of the River Zêzere. The waters are crystal clear and very inviting for a dip, at another time of year, of course!
Access is not very difficult, but you need to check before going to avoid getting lost. The trail has a lot to offer for photography and exercise lovers due to its richness in fauna and flora. In the winter, as it is 1,000 metres high, the waterfall can freeze, which can be unique to look at.
Poço do Funil
Also in the heart of Serra da Estrela is Poço do Funil. The word “poço” in English means well, but Poço do Funil is not really a well, on the contrary, it's a natural pool - but that's what the locals call it. There are many “wells” in that area, but Poço do Funil is nothing less than one of the most beautiful places in Serra da Estrela.
With a stream and a short waterfall, this is a wild and lovely place to share with family and friends.
Covão dos Conchos
Last but by no means not least, this is a real hidden gem that you cannot miss. It's called Covão dos Conchos and it's a huge funnel in a lake where the waters mysteriously fall and disappear.
In fact, this funnel has human hands behind it’s construction. It was built in the 1950s with the aim of channeling the water collected from the lake to Lagoa Comprida where hydroelectric energy was produced.
This place is a precious gem, but it's not the only one. The beauty of the entire Serra da Estrela is lovely to see whether by car or on foot, as there's nothing like leaving the comfort of your car and discovering the mysterious paths that lead to several hidden places.