Iberia’s western coast reveals wonderfully colorful architecture and less-traveled trails. On our Hiker’s Journey to Portugal, we bring you to the region’s very best cultural sites and rural hikes. One of our travelers shares her recent experience on this rewarding adventure.
From the day I set foot in Lisbon, I could barely resist the kaleidoscope of colors that beckoned me. And although the inescapable flaming orange rooftops and the striking azure of the famous Azulejos reeled me in, the detailed public murals most captivated me. Some adorn the façade of private homes; others celebrate Portugal’s vaunted history, as on on walls of Porto’s São Bento train station (below).
In the wine country of the Douro Valley, we explored Pinhão‘s history.
Vineyards are carved into the sides of the valley slopes, creating sinuous, sculptural forms and an ideal environment for growing grapes.
Traveling further south, we explored the hidden treasure of Belmonte, the birthplace of explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral. The area offers weary travelers a serene beauty and simple, pastoral pleasures.
The landscape is a visual marvel!
We were treated to a sensual feast as we explored the peaks and valleys of Serra do Geres: the rich granite and schist of the Serra Peneda hilltops where eucalyptus and oak trees dominate, and lush heather and broom carpet in rolling meadows.
Our hiking trails were often laced with wildflowers.
At Coa Valley, we visited the site of the largest open-air paleolithic art drawings in the world.
The majestic mountains, archaeological treasures, and intricate carvings are absolutely fascinating.
Here, we hiked past espigueiros (19th century granite grain storehouses) perched above the ground to keep vermin away.
The natural wonders of rural Portugal were astounding and truly enriching. Until next time—tchau!
—Text and photos by four-time WT adventurer Ghislaine Isidore, Hiker’s Journey to Portugal.