In the National Park of Peneda Gerês, there is much to discover, from its rich historical and cultural heritage well preserved, the fascinating megalithic necropolis, the remains of the Romanization and the ice age.
It is a mountainous area teeming with life, a natural sanctuary where countless habitats are home to various animals, such as the imposing Iberian wolf or the stunning golden eagle. The Park is truly a universe apart, a retreat in the North of the country.
If all of the above is not enough to convince you to visit Portugal’s only national park, then let us tell you about the leafy waterfalls and lagoons, which are undoubtedly one of the territory’s ex-libris and much sought after by visitors.
There are waterfalls and lakes with fresh, crystalline waters that tear through the green landscape and form idyllic landscapes. Water flows in abundance in the Peneda Gerês National Park, even during the summer.
Some of the waterfalls are in areas of restricted access, on steep paths with slippery rocks, due to erosion caused by exposure to the elements. Some of these paths have no official signposting and the risk of getting lost is great. There are 70 thousand hectares of Nature in its purest state, a Nature as beautiful as it is dangerous, especially for those who venture into the unknown.
As well as needing a good pair of lungs, legs and some adrenaline, we recommend that you choose to visit with one of our specialised guides, who know the Park like the back of their hands.
This is the best way to guarantee a safe visit to the waterfalls and lakes of Gerês, without the risk of getting lost on the trails and without the risk of missing details that escape the more inattentive eye, from fauna, flora, to habitats and geological formations of interest.
What are the lakes and waterfalls that you must visit in Peneda Gerês? We have selected 5.
1. Fechas do Malho
📍Local: Castro Laboreiro, Melgaço
The Fechas do Malho are 4 deep wells with 4 majestic waterfalls in the Rio Laboreiro, in Melgaço, and form a border between Portugal and Spain. This sequence of fantastic waterfalls in the Laboreiro River is about 6km on foot from Aldeia de Pontes, in Ribeiro de Baixo.
Also known as Poças do Malho, these 4 waterfalls and 4 lagoons form a stunning landscape. They are located in Castro Laboreiro, in the heart of the Peneda Gerês National Park. You can view these waterfalls from a viewpoint or, if you feel confident and have the proper physical preparation, you can embark on a Deep Canyoning adventure with monitors prepared to make sure the adventure is safe.
2. Cascata do Arado
📍Local: Ermida, Terras de Bouro
The idyllic Arado Waterfall is located in the Arado river, about 8km from Gerês village. At an altitude of 900 metres, this waterfall creates a succession of cascades that tear through the landscape in all their splendour.
In the heart of Gerês, you can access the waterfall by car, and the last kilometre will be done on a dirt track up to the bridge over the river Arado and then up some stone steps that lead to a viewpoint. The path to the waterfall is of unique beauty.
Bathing is not recommended at this waterfall, it is a risky place, with a slippery and uneven floor where serious accidents can happen.
3. Cascata de Pincães
📍Local: Aldeia de Pincães, Montalegre
The Pincães Waterfall is considered one of the most beautiful in the Peneda Gerês National Park and the emerald crystal clear pool, which forms at its base, provides one of the most beautiful landscapes, a true work of art that is worth a visit!
The waterfall is located near the village of Pincães, in the municipality of Montalegre, and to access it we recommend you take the linear trail which is 2.5 km long (round trip). Along the trail, you will have the opportunity to observe some ruins of water mills and small waterfalls that will make the effort of the walk worthwhile.
4. Poço da Gola
📍Local: Lindoso, Ponte da Barca
Fed by the waters of Serra Amarela, Poço da Gola is a real pearl in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, an idyllic place for those who want to enjoy peaceful moments in communion with nature. The well offers a panoply of enchanting colours surrounded by green vegetation. This well is formed by a waterfall and is surrounded by a set of granite rocks.
It is located inside the National Park of Peneda Gerês, in the locality of Parada, Lindoso parish, 350 metres high and its access is simple. To get there, you can drive to Parada and follow a short trail (600 metres round trip) that starts near the bridge. Although it is a short route, it is not recommended for people with reduced mobility.
5. Poço Negro do Soajo
📍Local: Soajo, Arcos de Valdevez
Sculpted by crystalline waters from a waterfall of extreme beauty, the Poço Negro do Soajo is a real delight that, despite its name, offers us shades of green and turquoise blue. The Black Well, named for its depth, is safe for refreshment.
It is located 1km from the village of Soajo, in the municipality of Arcos de Valdevez and the emblematic granaries of Soajo, another ex-libris of the territory of Peneda Gerês. To get there you can park your car near Soajo. You will have to finish the rest of the route by walking down a challenging but safe staircase that will reward you with breathtaking views.
Check out the images and get inspired.
Some recommendations to make your visit safe and memorable.
The waterfalls and lagoons of Peneda Gerês are natural sculptures, incredible and majestic, created by mother nature. Colour combinations of greens, blues and earth tones paint these paradisiacal landscapes throughout the 4 seasons. However, we recommend that you explore the waterfalls during spring and summer, taking into account the following recommendations:
- Take food and water with you as there are no facilities near these places;
- Wear comfortable, non-slip footwear, suitable for walking the trails and visiting the waterfalls;
- Bring a swimsuit but only use it in safe places, where bathing and diving are allowed;
- Don’t dive without knowing the depth.
And remember that the preservation of nature depends on all of us and so it is important that you respect habitats. How?
- Leave the sites intact, take only photographs with you and leave only footprints;
- Don’t litter;
- Do not make noises that may disturb the fauna;
- Do not pick up rocks or plants;
- Do not build fires or light cigarettes, the risk of fire is high.
Would you like to visit these waterfalls and lagoons in Gerês?
We have guided programmes in which we take you to discover all the corners, accompanied by guides who know the area like the back of their hand and who guarantee your safety. Or, if you prefer, we can create tailor-made programmes so that you can enjoy your trip in the best possible way at your own pace.
At Go2Nature, we take you to get to know the corners of Peneda-Gerês in a genuine way, where we always try to create a symbiosis between visitors, nature and the local population by promoting authentic products and experiences.