Gralheira Mountains

A circular route starting at São Pedro do Sul and exploring the beautiful and little known landscapes of the Gralheira mountain, including the village of Pena.

Do not miss the Termas de Sao Pedro do Sul, the busiest in Portugal, combining the modern technology to the beautiful, old-fashioned environment of our grandparents' spas. From the spa take the road to the village of São Pedro do Sul. In EN228, after passing the bridge over the Sul River (a tributary of the Vouga), turn left, following signs to São Macário. This is a secondary road, going up the south slope of Gralheira mountain in the direction of the peak, topped by antennas, where the chapel and shrine dedicated to St. Macarius are located (altitude 1053 meters). The view around is among the most beautiful in the region. The chapel is surrounded by a high wall of shale, in the manner of a pre-Roman fortress. However, the only enemy to fear is the sharp wind of these altitudes. St. Macarius is a saint who, according to the legend, fought the dragons and snakes that haunted these sites. . The shrine was built on the place of the cave where Macarius dislodged one of these dark beings. The access to the village of Pena is close by. This is a quaint village, built in shale and located in the most deep of a funnel-shaped valley. Isolated for centuries, the village had its first road in the late '80s. Here emerged the legend of "the dead who killed the living." In old times, the person who died in the village had to be carried on someone's back, up the hill. Once the coffin slipped and fatally struck one of the carriers and a dead killed a living. The specific conditions of temperature and humidity in the valley resulted in a surprisingly lush and green vegetation. The arrival of visitors stimulated the local life, as shown by the (relative) abundance of craft shops and snacks. In the way back, at the junction of the top, turn onto the right. Then follow by the left, without taking the path to Covas do Monte, and then left again. Once again to the left down to Sá, Carvalhais and São Pedro do Sul. In Sá turn onto the right, to Carvalhais, where you can regain strength in the Pisões Forest Park with lots of shade, a stream and terraces. Close, an interesting town of the Iron Age is worthy of visit: the fortress of Cárcoda. Access is signaled and, willing, there is a footpath that leads to this interesting site. Some of the old houses with stone walls and thatched roof were rebuilt in order to give to the visitors an idea of how they used to live here before the arrival of Roman legions. The pedestrian trail, marked according to international nomenclature, continues up the mountain. Returning to Carvalhais, and before reaching this village, turn right to S. Pedro do Sul, where this itinerary will end. At the spa there are many places to stay and it may be tempting to spend some relaxing moments here, with the babbling of the waters of Vouga as company and perhaps to try hydrotherapy, which again is increasingly in vogue. If you decide to spend some time here and enjoy walking, you can make a nice walk along the platform of the old line of Vouga Valley, between the spa and the village. This tour can also be done in the opposite direction, leading to Vouzela. If you go in the direction of São Pedro do Sul, after an area of forest, you'll cross a strong stone bridge over the Vouga. The stroll ends in the old train station, which was recently converted into a 'Station of Local Crafts and Arts", with a weaving workshop, and shops where local confectionery and other local products are sold. A coffee-shop and an eco-museum are also available. Access By A25 and junction of São Pedro do Sul To have into account The tour can continue from São Macário towards Castro Daire and Ermida de Paiva (Templo das Siglas) Length Some 50 km Other spots to visit Serra da Freita, Termas do Carvalhal

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