Are you dreaming of a trip to Northern Portugal and looking for things to do in Alto Minho, but still unsure about what to include in your itinerary? Don’t worry, we’ll help you out! In this article, we’ll explain the charms of the Alto Minho region in Northern Portugal, suggest where you can stay, and describe the region’s inexhaustible natural heritage, which serves as the perfect stage for a variety of outdoor activities.

Reasons to visit Alto Minho | Northern Portugal

If you’re a nature lover, this is undoubtedly the right destination for you! Alto Minho, located in the far north of Portugal, boasts lush landscapes thanks to its extensive mountainous area and the Peneda-Gerês National Park, also located in this region, which is rich in biodiversity.

Alto Minho offers mountains, rivers with stunning waterfalls, beaches where you can engage in various sports, breathtaking boardwalks, abundant fauna and flora, and an inexhaustible historical and cultural heritage. In addition to all this, Alto Minho offers excellent food and drink, as it is where the best green wines are produced and where dishes are served generously. And as if all this weren’t enough, this region is also ideal for those looking to embark on spiritual retreats or seeking calm and relaxing environments to take care of body and mind.

Visiting Alto Minho: Nature Activities

As you can already tell, this region offers plenty to do, and the challenge lies in choosing among so many possibilities. To help you out, in this article, we’ll list some of the best activities to do in Alto Minho related to nature and ideas for family or friends. You can aldo read: Rural Tourism in Gerês – Attractions for the Whole Family.

Hiking and Biking

For hiking in Alto Minho, there are various trails that may interest you, although some require more physical preparation than others. If you want to stroll while enjoying landscapes, fauna, and flora with your family on short to medium-distance routes, we recommend exploring the Sistelo Boardwalks (you can also read: Passadiços do Sistelo: Discover this hidden gem in Gerês and explore the ideal rural accommodation!) or part of the Escovia do Vez,due to stretching 32 km, can be explored over several days to make the experience less tiring.

On the other hand, if you’re up for adventure and want to delve into the mountains, then the ideal option is to tackle the Alto Minho Mountain Grand Route trail. This trail covers 165.3 km, starting from the beaches of Viana do Castelo, traversing the Alto Minho mountains, and ending in Entre Ambos-os-Rios, Ponte da Barca. The Grand Route is a challenging journey, requiring some physical preparation to tackle the terrain changes along the way, but it’s also an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime, a true immersion into the authenticity of Alto Minho, which can be done on foot or by bike.

The Trail of the Great Mountain Route of Alto Minho

Canoeing, Stand-up Paddleboarding, and Rafting

Alto Minho boasts stunning rivers with beautiful waterfalls and unique geographical features found only in this region. For this reason, the area is also popular for canoeing and, especially, river kayaking.

If you plan to explore the rivers of Alto Minho with your family, we recommend kayaking down the Lima River, as it offers calm waters suitable for children. Similarly, there are routes along the Vez River that can be enjoyed by the whole family, either by canoe or by practicing Stand-up Paddleboarding.

If, on the other hand, you’re into extreme sports like Rafting, we suggest tackling the white waters of the Minho River for one of the most thrilling adventures of your life, full of adrenaline. This is something you’ll definitely want to experience with friends, as the adventure of descending through various rapids and the turbulence of the waters provides hours of high-level excitement.

Horseback Riding

Northern Portugal is home to the native Garrano horse breed, known for being docile and ideal for learning to ride. Garranos are known to survive in adverse conditions, such as mountainous regions with harsh winters. Their compact and sturdy build allows them to traverse rugged terrain with ease. In the past, Garranos were used as working horses in agricultural and transportation activities in rural areas of Northern Portugal. Nowadays, they are mostly found in the wild and are widely used for tourism purposes, such as horseback riding trails.

Throughout Alto Minho, there are several tourism companies offering horseback riding tours, featuring diverse trails tailored for families and primarily using the Garrano breed for its authenticity and connection to the territory.

Some well-known and explored horseback riding trails in the region include:

  • The Equestrian Route from the Lima River to the Serra de Arga: This route starts in the city of Viana do Castelo and follows the Lima River to the Serra de Arga (approximately 37 km). It offers an immersive experience in nature, landscape appreciation, adventure, exploration, and discovery of the region’s evolution over time.
  • Mezio Equestrian Tours: These are approximately one-hour rides where people have the opportunity to explore the area on horseback, enjoy the landscapes, and have a unique experience with nature. These tours are suitable for both children and adults.

Horseback riding in Gerês

Yoga/Reiki and Meditation

While not as common, these activities are gaining interest in the region, attracting people from various parts of the country and the world. Alto Minho has a low population density, with vast mountainous areas and plenty of green spaces, making it attractive for those seeking spiritual retreats or simply for those who enjoy practicing yoga and need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while, connecting with nature to significantly reduce stress levels. The natural environment is known for its ability to calm the mind and promote a sense of serenity.

Within the region, there are already several accommodations promoting these types of activities, aiming to reach a more diverse audience and address some issues related to seasonality in the sector.

Where to Stay in Alto Minho?

If you’re looking for accommodation in the Alto Minho region, we have a great suggestion for you! Quinta Lamosa – Rural Tourism and Ecotourism, located in Arcos de Valdevez, in the heart of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, is the perfect refuge for a mountain vacation. Its location is close to various tourist attractions in Alto Minho, including:

  • Sistelo (Sistelo Boardwalks)
  • Vez Ecovia
  • Vila do Soajo
  • Peneda-Gerês National Park
  • Vodafone Paredes de Coura Festival (30 minutes away)

The place is ideal for spending holidays with family or friends. It is a space with comfortable and welcoming accommodations, offering ecological activities and authentic experiences. All rural houses and bungalows have Wi-Fi, television, air conditioning, heating, and a fully equipped kitchen. Depending on the number of people to be accommodated, Quinta Lamosa offers houses or bungalows with various capacities for two, three, or four people. The spaces are cozy, in a rustic style, and all of them feature wood as a prominent material to harmonize with the surrounding rural environment.

In addition to accommodation, Quinta Lamosa offers the possibility of engaging in ecological activities and nature experiences, including:

We hope this article has helped you to orient yourself regarding the type of activities you can expect to enjoy when visiting Northern Portugal, specifically Alto Minho, and has further piqued your interest in the region.

If you are a nature lover seeking things to do in Alto Minho, as well as holiday accommodation where you can contemplate nature and relax with all amenities, then Quinta Lamosa is the ideal space. Here you will find the opportunity to rest and enjoy a range of nature activities, away from the city’s pace.

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