For those looking to travel to Portugal, summer is usually synonymous with beautiful beaches and a lovely ocean with blue waters to discover. However, there are other ways to enjoy the summer months, so why not swap the usual with something equally beautiful with something special that can provide a different perspective of Portugal.

You may be wondering, isn't Serra da Estrela a winter destination? Well, it usually is, but Serra da Estrela can also be a paradise during the summer. Even without skiing, visitors can hike the highest mountain in Portugal and see places they probably won't see in winter due to bad weather.


Tower - highest point

If you have tried to go to the Tower in the winter, you may or may not have succeeded because very often, due to the snow, there is no way to climb it as the roads are closed. That's why it could be an even better experience to have in summertime.

Why visit this place? It is worth visiting the Tower, as it has an amazing viewpoint over the highest point of Portugal mainland, (which is 1993 metres above sea level). Afterwards, you can enjoy a traditional meal there or buy local products such as souvenirs. Good quality cheese and ham are very popular there.


Thermal Spas

Known for their therapeutic properties, the waters of these thermal spas are unique. There are several spas in Serra da Estrela and the best time to visit one is definitely in the summer.

Here are just a few of the spas that Serra da Estrela has to offer: the Aquadome in Termas de Unhais da Serra, which is the first mountain spa in the country and one of the biggest in Europe. Termas Caldas de Manteigas, in the heart of Serra da Estrela Natural Park, is indicated for the treatment of respiratory pathologies. Or, take the opportunity to visit Termas de Almeida - Fonte Santa, where you can also find natural waters and green views.


Waterfalls

There are several beautiful waterfalls in Serra da Estrela. The advantage of going on a summer visit is that you can see waterfalls that in winter are covered in snow and with limited access.


Poço do Inferno

Poço do Inferno or Hell's Well (in English) is located in the Leandres Stream and is a high point with 1100 meters. The Hell's Well, surrounded by mother nature, is the cause of all this scenic beauty. In the winter, several times the water freezes and this creates (even more) enchantment to this natural paradise with a height of 10 metres -it is a rare pearl to see.


Poço da Broca de Barriosa

Apart from the well-known waterfall bearing its name, the river beach is also worth a visit, as it is a perfect place where the waters are cold and crystal clear, typical of mountain waters. It is located in the extreme southwest of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, on the Alvôco stream, in the village of Barriosa, Vide. The site is rich in biodiversity and otters, kingfishers, herons and blackbirds can be found here.


Poço da Broca de Serapitel

It is situated between the village of Cabeça and Loriga, which is an old village known as the "Portuguese Switzerland". The Poço da Broca, Serapitel, results from the narrowing of the Ribeira de Loriga, which was used to open channels that diverted water to feed the crops on the region's farmland. To get there, just follow the path of the Ribeira de Loriga and find a large waterfall with fresh, crystal-clear water.


Trails

If you’d rather do some sport, then you are in the right place! Not for skiing as the weather in the summer doesn’t allow it, but there space for a good walk. Serra da Estrela has some of the best trails in the country, some of them also very accessible for children.

As an example, the Rota das Faias Trail - If you want to walk with your family and children, this is certainly one of the most suitable. If you’d like to try something different, there are the Rota do Javali and Poço do Inferno trails. Since the Poço do Inferno Route is short (2,5km) you can join it with the Javali Route, making a total of 14km.


Enjoy traditional villages

If you have enough time, the short distance to some beautiful villages makes Serra da Estrela an opportunity, and a strategic place, to visit some of the most beautiful and traditional villages that Portugal offers.

Piódão, Belmonte and Linhares da Beira are three that should be on your list. If you have not yet visited Piódão, then a visit to this charming village - is certainly a must. The dark tone of the houses, the result of their schist nature, contrasts with the colour of the windows.

Belmonte and Linhares da Beira also impress with their hilltop castles and history, as both are part of the Portuguese Historical Villages route.