Parque Cerdeira – Your base to Peneda-Geres National Park

Last updated Mar 4, 2022
Parque Cerdeira Reception

Northern Portugal has something to offer all year round. During the autumn, the leaves are starting to explode in different colors and shapes. You just have to see it. We spent several days in Parque Cerdeira and the national park Peneda – Geres and it was incredible. Here is all you need to know to plan your own visit here.

Parque Cerdeira – Camping and Bungalows in northern Portugal

Parque Cerdeira camping and bungalows
Parque Cerdeira camping and bungalows

The entrance at the park.

Parque Cerdeira camping and bungalows

Rent your own bungalow.

Parque Cerdeira is located in northern Portugal not far from Braga and, this camping gets you that feeling of coming home. It is a camping, and they also have bungalows that you can rent for the perfect vacation. During the summer there is a possibility to sleep in a tent that is up in the trees – how cool is that?! This is the place to be when you want to explore the Peneda Geres national park. You will be staying in the middle of nature and waking up to birds chirping.

The showers are incredible! You get your own bathroom just for yourself and it feels super fresh. It’s something that you usually don’t see at a camping so that’s a huge plus. Another thing is that the lots are big and spacious. And, while visiting here you need to check out the restaurant. It is the closest to a home-cooked meal you can get. And of course, the focus is on the Portuguese kitchen.

Your home away from home – The restaurant

Parque Cerdeira Restaurant

In Portugal, it is common to start with a bowl of soup.

Parque Cerdeira Restaurant

The restaurant at Parque Cerdeira.

Food at Parque Cerdeira
Bacalhau is the national dish of Portugal.
Food at Parque Cerdeira

Everything here tastes homemade.

Food at Parque Cerdeira

We also got to try the Cabidela, a traditional Portuguese dish.

In Portugal, you start your meal with soup before you get the main course. We got to try different vegetarian soups with vegetables. Bacalhau is the national dish of Portugal and the codfish was served with different vegetables and the yummiest of potatoes. It tastes like the food you get at home. Food like your mom makes with her heart. It’s good and a lot of the locals from the region come here to eat.

During our visit to Parque Cerdeira, we also got to try the Cabidela. It’s a traditional dish made with poultry (most often chicken) and rice. In the end, you also add the chicken’s blood into the dish. To all the delicious food, we got Portuguese wine to drink. And we even ended up having our own wine tasting. Turns out that I do like red wine after all. At Parque Cerdeira, it really feels like being at home.

Parque Cerdeira – A brief history

Parque Cerdeira is run by José
Parque Cerdeira - A brief history

Today Parque Cerdeira is run by José and his lovely wife. Well, he is running the camping and she is running the kitchen. Josés father is in his 90s and he is still going strong. He was at the campsite every day and he looks incredible for his age. This is a family-owned place at its best. José knows everything about the national park and the area. It is super impressive that all this knowledge has come from self-study and what he has learned from his friends.

It’s hard to really point out how friendly this place is and how welcomed you feel by the family. During our stay, we ended up leaving due to bad weather, and then we came back and felt just as welcomed as the first time. When getting information about the area, you can see the passion that they have and what pride they take in their work. This is all about tourism in nature and with responsibility.

Arranged excursions at Parque Cerdeira

When you arrive at Parque Cerdeira, you’ll get all the information that you need. You can even get maps with the tracks and hiking routes. Best of all is that the map is tear and waterproof. The routes are also marked so you can easily explore the area by yourself. However, if you want – José can arrange a huge variety of excursions that you can do.

For example, he can take you horseback riding, rent you an electric bike, take you to Spain to visit the hot springs and much much more. If you have your own ideas or have something that you want to do, we are pretty sure that they can fix it for you.

Hot springs in spain

Roman hot springs in Spain
Roman hot springs in Spain
Roman hot springs in Spain

Our first evening at Parque Cerdeira, José took us to the old Roman hot springs. We had no idea what to expect and we were happily surprised. In fact, the Roman hot springs ended up being such a bucket list experience that we will remember forever. The pools were discovered in 1985 and are free of charge and open for everybody to use. The best time to visit is during the winter. This is because the water is about 40 degrees Celsius so it will be too warm in the summer.

There are several different hot springs in and around Europe. However, this is such a magical place – I don’t know if it is that you know that this was used by the Romans but, there is something special about taking a bath here. You can read all about our visits (yes, we ended up going back there for another couple of days) here and find out all about the Roman hot springs.

Horseback riding In Peneda Geres

Horseback riding In Peneda Geres
Horseback riding In Peneda Geres
Horseback riding In Peneda Geres

The Peneda Geres National park is incredible and can be experienced in several different ways. One of these ways is to go horseback riding and we got to do that while visiting Parque Cerdeira. You can choose how long you want to go riding. We were out for about 90 minutes and it was so much fun. We got to ride through several different landscapes and experienced the real Portuguese life.

While going horseback riding, we got to see goats going out to pasture. I have experience in riding since before but, Mini is not quite as good. But, no worries! Here, they will adjust the trips to you and you can ride even if you don’t have any previous experience. Make sure to book a horseback riding trip while visiting Park Cerdeira. If you want, they can help you with the booking at the camping.

The old roman road and the mile markers

The old roman road and the mile markers
The old roman road and the mile markers

This is such an interesting story. The old Roman road passes through the national park. Even if there isn’t that much left of the road itself, there are really cool mile markers from the Roman times. The mile markers were used so that people would know where they were and how far it was to their destination. At each marker, there was a pilar out of stone placed and then it was engraved with the emperor’s name.

The problem was that when the emperor died and there was a new one – the old one needed to be replaced or re-engraved. This resulted in a lot of the markers being shopped off or changed. I can’t imagine how much work that was for the Romans to change just to make the name of the current emperor. The mile markers can be found at several different places inside the national park.

Hike in Peneda Geres national park

A waterfall in Geres national park
Hike in Peneda Geres national park

The trails here are beautiful.

Hike in Peneda Geres national park
Hike in Peneda Geres national park

One of many viewpoints.

Plants and flora in Peneda Geres national park
Plants and flora in Peneda Geres national park
Plants and flora in Peneda Geres national park

During our visit to Parque Cerderia, we got to go on several different hikes with José as our tour guide. We got to see, smell and taste several different things in the forest. We saw a holly tree, ate strawberries from the strawberry tree (which by the way is not the same as regular strawberries). Waterfalls and the moss that is proof of what unpolluted places look like.

Strawberry from a strawberry tree

And there are wolves here too. No, we didn’t get to see them but we got to see the treats that they leave behind. It’s amazing how much the terrain changes depending on where in the park you are. Open terrain and forest side by side and also far away. This is a unique place in Portugal that you do not want to miss out on. The park is also known for the amazing bird watching you can do here.

Biking in the national park

Biking in the national park
Goats on the road in Geres national park

We saw goats everywhere in the park.

Hike in Peneda Geres national park

You can see moss growing on everything.

The national park is close to 700 square kilometers. If you want to cover more grounds during your visit – going by bike is a great way to explore. At Parque Cerderia, they have electric bikes that you can rent when you want to go out and explore. There are several different trails to choose from. Not all of them are available by bike but a lot of them are. As I mentioned before, you can get a map that has all the trails marked out.

You can adjust the route however you want. Some of the trails are easy and flat while others are more difficult. We didn’t go by bike but we got to see several of the roads where you could go by bike. Some trails will take you to really nice viewpoints where you can sit down and relax and just enjoy the surrounding.

Geira Museum – three museums in one

Geira Museum - three museums in one
Reminds us a little bit of the miniature museum in Hamburg, Germany
Geira Museum - three museums in one
Geira Museum - three museums in one
Geira Museum - three museums in one
Geira Museum - three museums in one

Close to the Parque Cerdeira, there’s a museum. Well, it’s actually three museums in one place. This is a great place to start your visit to the national park since you get a lot of information here. One museum focuses on the Roman road and teaches you how the Romans used to work and how they build their roads and places. The other part of the museum has an exhibition about nature and wildlife inside the national park.

Finally, the third part is about Vilarinho da Furna and this is the most interesting according to us. Vilarinho da Furna was a village that was flooded by the building of the dam. The people that lived here had to be relocated and today the whole village is underwater. The museum shows how life was in the village before they had to move and how they all worked together alongside each other.

Information about pArque Cerdeira

Address: Rua de Cerdeira, 400 Campo do Gerês 4840-030 Terras de Bouro Braga, Portugal.
Website of Parque Cerdeira.

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