The northeastern corner of the Minho is quite unlike most of this densely populated, heavily cultivated region. Here several forested serras (mountain ranges) rise up, cut through with deep valleys. A significant part of this area is protected, forming Portugal's only national park, the Parque Nacional de Peneda-Gerês. But there are striking landscapes even outside the park's borders, such as the valley of the River Cavado, which harbors Portugal's first five-star rural resort, and the River Homem, with its Vilarinho das Furnas reservoir. In 1972, the dam here—a precursor to the more actively contested projects of the present day—submerged a village whose traditional way of life is recalled in a small Museu Etnográfico (253/351888 email@example.com Closed Mon.) in São João do Campo (Campo do Gerês), in the southern section of the national park. The nearby town of Caldas de Gerês has a popular spa and a cluster of lodging options.
For me, it was Borealis or bust--or both.More