12 Best National Parks in Portugal (2023 Updated)

Portugal is a beautiful country with a diverse range of landscapes and natural wonders that are waiting to be explored. From a stunning coastline to rugged mountains, Portugal’s national parks offer some of the best outdoor experiences in Europe. In this article, we will take you on a personal journey through the best national parks in Portugal, where you can immerse yourself in nature and discover the country’s rich biodiversity. Whether you are an avid hiker, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Portugal’s national parks will not disappoint you.

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Peneda Geres National Park (North)​ Portugal

Peneda Geres National Park (North)

Peneda Geres National Park is an incredible place to explore in the beautiful and remote northern region of Portugal. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of land and has some of the most spectacular landscape views you’ll ever see.

You’ll find towering mountains, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes ideal for swimming or fishing. Plenty of activities are available such as mountain biking, horseback riding, and canyoning. You can even stay in one of the park’s many camping areas if you prefer a more rustic experience!

Montesinho Natural Park (Park Natural de Montesinho) (North)

Montesinho Natural Park is a beautiful national park in northern Portugal. It offers stunning scenery, from rolling hills to wooded valleys. Its diverse wildlife includes wild boar, foxes, eagles, and even wolves. There are plenty of activities to choose from in the park, including walking trails and mountain biking routes.

Visitors can also enjoy incredible views over the Douro Valley and visit traditional villages where they can try out local delicacies such as cornbread or sheep cheese. With its impressive wildlife and stunning landscape, Montesinho Natural Park is an ideal destination for outdoor adventure.

Parque Natural do Douro Internacional (North)

Douro International Natural Park is located in Northern Portugal and spans three countries, Portugal, Spain, and Andorra. It’s known for its stunning landscapes of mountains, valleys, rivers, and vineyards. It offers visitors a wide range of activities, such as walking trails and boat tours.

The park also has a variety of flora and fauna protected by national laws, making it an ideal spot for travelers. 

Alvao Natural Park (North)

Alvao Natural Park is a paradise for outdoor lovers. Located in the northern part of Portugal, it’s a great place to explore nature and participate in activities like cycling, hiking, fishing, birdwatching, observing local wildlife, and more.

Its lush landscapes are filled with waterfalls and rivers, making Alvão an ideal destination for adventure seekers and those seeking peaceful solitude. Whether you’re looking for a short day trip or a more extended excursion, there’s plenty to see and do at Alvão Natural Park!

Sintra Cascais Natural Park (Parque Natural de Sintra Cascais) (Center)

Sintra Cascais Natural Park is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts! This national park offers stunning views of the most impressive castles in Portugal, lush green landscapes, and clear blue seas. It’s also home to diverse wildlife, including wolves, foxes, birds, and wild boars.

Plus, the park offers plenty of activities, such as horseback riding and windsurfing. With its rich nature and breathtaking scenery, Sintra Cascais Natural Park is an ideal destination for those looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros (Center)

Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros is a protected area in Central Portugal, located 30 minutes from Nazare. This 760-square-kilometer national park contains some of the country’s most stunning natural wonders, including awe-inspiring limestone formations and over 600 caves – many of which remain unexplored!

Visitors can explore this park on foot or bike, taking in the unique biodiversity along the way. Birdwatchers will be delighted by over 100 species of birds that call this park home. The quiet environment makes it an ideal spot for meditation and relaxation.

In addition to its incredible natural attractions, visitors can also explore nearby towns such as Alvados and Lousa, discovering Portugal’s rich culture and history while there.

Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela (Center)

This protected area is located in Portugal, and it’s one of the most impressive mountain ranges that the country has to offer. It stretches for 100 kilometers and can be found in both the northernmost region of Beira Interior and Central Portugal. It was first declared a Natural Park in 1976, making it one of the earliest natural parks in Portugal.

The park features several distinct ecosystems due to its size and location at the intersection between two major climatic regions: Mediterranean climate to the west and oceanic climate to the east. This makes for an incredibly diverse landscape with valleys filled with pine trees, glacial lakes, streams, meadows, wetlands, and waterfalls—not to mention some of Europe’s highest mountains accessible by car.

Visitors can take in the views from several lookouts and trails or explore further with activities like paragliding, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, and many more.

Parque Natural da Serra de Sao Marmede (Center)

The Parque Natural da Serra de So Marmede is a protected area in northern Portugal. This park offers stunning views of lush forests, rolling hills, and majestic mountains. The park contains some of the oldest rocks in Europe, with geology dating back over 600 million years. Its diverse habitats are home to various wildlife, including deer, wild boar, foxes, badgers, otters, and storks.

There is abundant plant life, from Mediterranean oak woods to subtropical vegetation at higher altitudes. The park is popular with hikers who can explore the numerous trails that crisscross the landscape. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking vistas atop the highest point in the mountain range at 915 meters above sea level. The park is also a paradise for birdwatchers, who will be rewarded with sightings of numerous species, including golden eagles and peregrine falcons.

Nature lovers can observe the landscape’s changing colors as spring brings an explosion of wildflowers and autumn sets in with vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. There are also several rivers to explore, which offer kayaking and canoeing opportunities.

Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional (Center)

Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional is an area of spectacular natural beauty in Portugal. It spans over 4,700 hectares of land and includes five nature reserves, wetlands, and other forms of wildlife habitat. The park is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 250 species recorded here, including the rare Iberian imperial eagle.

The landscape consists of rolling hills and mountain slopes, meadows, and oak forests full of wildflowers. Visitors to Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional will also find several trails perfect for hiking or biking excursions. With its stunning views, abundant wildlife, and lush vegetation, it’s no wonder this beautiful park attracts thousands of visitors each year!

Arrabida Natural Park (Parque Natural da Arrabida) (South)

Arrabida Natural Park is a stunning protected area in the Setubal region of Portugal. It has various habitats, ranging from semi-arid grasslands and dunes to rugged cliffs and woodlands, which are home to many rare plants and animals. Its spectacular coastline is dotted with small coves, secluded beaches, and fascinating rock formations – making it perfect for exploring!

There’s plenty to do here, too; visitors can observe wild dolphins from the shoreline or participate in kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, cycling, and birdwatching activities. And what better way to finish your day than by admiring the breathtaking sunset over the Atlantic Ocean?

Ria Formosa Natural Park (Parque Natural da Ria Formosa) (South)

The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a network of barrier islands and lagoons located on the south coast of Portugal, near Faro. The park stretches along 60 kilometers of coastline and includes sand dunes, salt marshes, and mudflats. It’s abundant with wildlife, including flamingos, crabs, mollusks, and over 300 species of birds.

The area has been designated as an essential bird habitat under the Ramsar Convention – an international treaty for wetlands conservation. It has also become increasingly popular with tourists looking to experience its beautiful scenery and rich biodiversity. Plenty of activities are available in the park, from birdwatching to boat trips around the islands. Visitors can also explore Faro’s charming old town district nearby for a more cultural experience.

Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina (South)

Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina is one of the fascinating national parks in Portugal, located near the country’s southwest coast. It spans over 100 kilometers and is home to various ecosystems, including coastal cliffs, sandy Portugal beaches, freshwater lagoons, and sand dunes.

It also boasts an impressive range of wildlife, such as dolphins, sea turtles, migratory birds, and foxes. The national park offers plenty of tourist activities, from swimming and fishing to surfing and birdwatching. Visitors can explore its stunning views while hiking along trails or participate in educational programs that provide information about the local flora and fauna.

With its breathtaking scenery and abundance of outdoor activities, Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina is an ideal destination for travelers looking to explore the natural beauty of Portugal.

Portugal Natural Parks FAQ

How many national parks are there in Portugal?

There are 15 national parks in Portugal. They span across the country, from the Douro Valley to the Azores Islands, offering a variety of landscapes and activities for visitors to enjoy.

What are the 7 natural wonders of Portugal?

The seven natural wonders of Portugal are the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, the Azores archipelago, the Douro Valley, Obidos Lagoon, Sao Miguel Island, Algarve Coastline, and Funchal City.

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