By the time we wrapped up the road trip to Douro Valley, it was time to find the home for the night, which was supposed to be set in the village of Vilar right outside the National Park.
We were using “Here WeGo” offline map to navigate through the roads in Portugal. When you are online, make sure to look up the route to the destination(s) and that saves the route in the memory and available offline for use.
So, we started driving and went past the city of Porta, completely ignoring it, through mountains and was welcomed with a beautiful snow shower that had painted the mountains far away in white.
As we approached the villages near the National park, it was getting darker. Village houses set in the mountains looked really pretty in the evening light. But there were literally no human being to be seen.
Right at the entrance of National Park, we rented a cute stone house on AirBnB, in the village of Vilar. No map will show you this village or the house on the map, it was as remote as it can get in Portugal. But, absolutely lovely stay. We knew there is no way we can get any food in Vilar, so we planned ahead and got some food from on the way for that night.
We spent two full days to cover the national park. Although there are hiking options in the park, we chose to drive around and take it easy, especially with a 5-month old baby attached to me.
Day 1: Vilar to Soajo.
Right outside of Vilar there is a town called, Terras De Bouro that has gas stations and a huge super-market where you will get pretty much anything. After loading up on supplies, we drove to Soajo to check out the granaries. Even the destination was Soajo, the drive through the mountains was the real highlight.
We took it really slow and stopping for pictures or just step out of the car to take in the beauty. By the time we reached Soajo, it was late afternoon.
I was surprised we were among the very few travelers at this really beautiful / popular destination.There are a couple of restaurants in Soajo if you to grab a bite. We chose not to eat out in Portugal. Mostly bought grocery like bread/cheese/yogurt/apple/banana for the day and nights were pasta/rice cooked at AirBnb.
Day 2: Lindoso through the National park and cross into Spain for a short drive.
We drove through some seriously windy, hilly and unpaved roads of the National park to reach Lindoso, another village popular for granaries. This time since we had some extra time we drove through the forest into Spain border for a brief visit before heading down south.
If we ever get a chance to visit Portugal again, I would go back to this National park and attempt a few hikes. The park is just beautiful in every nook and corner.
And guess what, driving through these narrow streets, especially at nights, we managed to get one side of the car scratched against the wall. Avis Portugal swiped my credit card for a good $2500. Thanks to Chase Sapphire, I got the insurance claimed and got the entire $2500 back.
If you ever visit, which you should, a trip up to Peneda-Geres National Park, is a must do !