The 172,900-acre park, bordered to the north by the frontier with Spain, was created in 1970 to preserve the region's diverse flora and fauna. It remains Portugal's only national park. Even a short trip to the main towns and villages contained within the park shows you wild stretches of land framed by mountains, woods, and lakes. There are some 30 marked trails. Access is free, and general information is available online, at the park's headquarters in Braga and at its
half-dozen entrance gates, all of which keep office hours, at Adere-PG in Ponte da Barca (which can also arrange walking guides) and at tourist offices in Braga, Viana do Castelo and Caldas do Gerês (often just labeled on maps as Gerês), where you can get a walking map.