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Discover with us the landscape charms that this geological park has to offer you! Let yourself be enchanted by the potential of this park, from the geosites, the walkways of Paiva, the pedestrian suspension bridge that claims to be the longest in the world, named 516 Arouca and measuring 516 metres in length and of course and the landscapes along the tour route.
If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to enjoy the open water, why not venture on an adventure of canyoning, canoeing, kayaking or climbing.
The Arouca Geopark, which was recognised by UNESCO in 2009, is a park with a geological heritage of exceptional importance. Its objective is geoconservation, education for sustainable development and tourism. It is considered an authentic open-air museum covering an area of 328km2 and is surrounded by the Freita, Montemuro and Arada Mountains and crossed by several rivers.
After being surprised by the Arouca’s landscapes and its pages of history, stop your visit and sit at the table and let yourself fall in love with the gastronomy of this region to recharge your batteries.
The typical main dishes of this region are the famous Arouquesa steak extracted from young animals about 5 to 9 months old, the veal medallions, the grilled veal chops or the Roast Goat meat that is usually roasted in wood-fired ovens, that make the delights of meat connoisseurs who visit the Arouca metropolitan borough council.
Serve with a white wine of the region “Quinta D’Alagoa” and end your meal with the famous regional and convent sweets that will leave you with a smile on your lips.
Sweet chestnuts, manjar de língua (sweet made with cow tongue), roscas (kind of sweet bread) e charutos de amêndoa (cigar-shaped sweets filled with eggs and almonds), barrigas de freira (kind of mousse made with bread, eggs and almonds), morcelas doces (sausage-shaped fried sweets) and bola de S. Bernardo (cake made with bread) are some examples of the richness of Aroucas’ conventual sweets.
Dare to come with us to Arouca and enjoy this unique experience.
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Come and see the Geopark of Arouca and let yourself be enchanted by its 41 geosites (geological points of interest), the Paiva River walkways and the largest suspended pedestrian bridge in the world.
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Casal Romano da Malafaia
There are remains of buildings that have arisen from excavations, increasing the questions as the works were developed. Its configuration points to an agricultural farmhouse, from the Roman period, built with schist and granite (very distinctive marks of this territory), but a capital found here cast doubts on the character of these constructions. There are three moments in which there was human presence here. Somewhere between the second half of the 1st century and the beginning of the 3rd century, between the 2nd and 7th centuries and by the 10th century, curiously the century in which the first Arouca Monastery was founded.
Loja interativa de Turismo do Arouca Geopark
Arouca Geopark's new interactive tourism shop, officially inaugurated on September 19, 2013, is a real “gateway” to nature tourism. Integrated in the network of spaces of the Regional Tourism Authority of Porto and Northern Portugal, and equipped with an auditorium, this store is the ideal space to welcome tourists.
Canelas e Espiunca
The parish of Canelas was detached from the parish of Alvarenga, but continued to belong to the municipality of Alvarenga until its extinction in 1836. It then became part of the municipality of Arouca.
The Paiva River passes through this parish, where the Vau river beach is located, a place used for the practice of extreme sports and also for holidaymakers, nature lovers. In part of its territory, the Paiva Walkways are also located.
The houses in Canelas are very characteristic, especially in the place of Baixo, as they all use the same construction materials: schist and slate.
Espiunca's name is derived from Spelunca, which means "pit". In this parish there was a Benedictine Rule Monastery. It is not known when it was founded or by whom, but it is known that it was one of the Monasteries that Leo X, by the Bull Sollicitudo Ministerii Pastoralis, attributed in Rome on October 4, 1517, authorized D. Manuel to extinguish, because they were in place deserts.
After wind up on the mountain, the sharp bend to the left leaves the small stone cross. Slightly ahead, the little chapel seems to guard the village, which starts coming into view, climbing up the mountain. The schist and shale houses provide a touch of magic to the landscape, with the regular whispering of the waters from Paiva River at the back. The access path for the village appears at the right, and suddenly, we go back in time. Paradinha adopts us, making us feel like we've always lived there. The threshing floors, the baskets, the ovens, and the wine cellars come back to life. The houses come back to life. And every year, in August, the music joins to the river flow, in the concert «Sons da Água» (Water sounds). Paradinha is a «Portugal Village». Paradinha has gained life.
With a distinctive personality, as if its powerful face was looking at the river with the eyes of a guard, Janarde expands a row of houses made of schist over a piece of land, towards the river. In fact, the Paiva River has the appeal of growing these little brown and grey magic labyrinths over its banks, where the small churches are always given a central place, like the whitewashed chapel of Saint Barnabas, which welcomes the ones visiting Janarde. The traditional festival of the local patron saint is still organized by the people from this village, in order to keep this tradition as one of the highlights of the community life. Janarde, as most of the traditional villages present in this side of Arouca Geopark, is no longer considered a lost village.
Between the Montemuro and Arada mountains, surrounded by the Paiva River, Meitriz was the first village regarded as «Portugal Village». Crossing the village, the pedestrian trail «Rota das Tormentas» (Storms Route) appears well signaled, but there are no storms in Meitriz, only peace, tranquility, a never-ending green landscape, and a river with crystal clear water running, reflecting the brown and grey of the houses made of shale and schist. When seen in the distance, the village proudly shows the agricultural paths and terraces, and the bridge, that was built not so long ago, replaces the old boatmen that used to cross the banks, carrying people and goods. Here, the saints are celebrated: Saint Barbara, in May, Our Lady of Fatima, in August, and Saint Anthony and Saint Sebastian, in November, as a gesture of appreciation for this little piece of paradise.
Minas de regoufe
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the “Mines Manifests” have declared several areas of mineral interest in the Regoufe region, which in 9 January 1915 obtains the exploration license for the denominated “Regoufe mine” or “Poça da Caldeira”, under the jurisdiction of a French man, Gustave Thomas. The Regoufe W-Sn field is located at the southeast edge of the homonymous plutonite, where the wolframite is the most abundant ore, occurring also some cassiterite. There are also some sulfides, such as the arsenopyrite, the sphalerite and the pyrite. There are also other minerals of less relevance, such as the bismuthinite, limonite, scorodite, autunite and bindheimite. Among the silicate minerals that support the mineralization, quartz stands out, followed by some muscovite, beryl and apatite.
Portal do Inferno e Garra
The Portal do Inferno is located at the center of the Gralheira Massif, at about 1000 meters altitude, over early Ordovician metasedimentary rocks, shaped by the external geodynamics agents, that give a steep aspect to the landscape. Surrounded by two streams (tributary of the Covas do Monte stream, at East, and tributary of the Palhais stream, at West) that drain the place in opposite directions, this was always a steep local that scared for a long time everyone who went through here. It is a local of high panoramic interest, especially for the “claw”, that is a mountain cut by several deep water lines, remembering the finger separation of a bird claw. Spring is the best season to enjoy this amazing view, as the “claw” seems to be painted yellow and pink because of the broom, furze and heather flowering.
The meaning of «Tebilhão» is something like «Village of people». In the time of ore, most of those who came in search of fortune, the «black gold», have settled in this valley. The stream that passes through here watered and milled, and the alleys are familiar to the threshing floors. From the vast row of houses, there is a privileged look to Cabreiros and to the mountains, green and creased, painted by the spring colors, finishing in the streams and watercourses passing through there.
Although many of the Arouca’s inhabitants don't know it, the village of Cando became known for its slate quarries, maybe the oldest known in Arouca. In the left bank of the Vidoeiro stream, and as we are looking up, we can see little terraces, where the fields and houses have been arranged over time. Many people believe that there are treasures kept here since the time of the Moors, in a real «schist village» that the inhabitants have made a point of preserving.
Panorâmica do Detrelo da Malhada
This infrastructure develops over metasedimentary rocks, virtually vertical, as they were protective walls of Freita Mountain. Here, it is possible to observe the abrupt northern side of Freita Mountain and the fertile Arda valley (where the Arouca town is settled). The northern slope of this mountain preserves different levels of erosion, which prove the displacement of the blocks responsible for the rise of this mountain. The Arouca valley (geomorphologically known as Arouca complex alveolus) is settled over a quartzite rock, very prone to chemical weathering and result of the accumulation of sediments, caused by the retention occurred in the region of Pedra Má (a corneal rock, located at the edges of Rossas and Várzea parishes).
Centro de Interpretação das Pedras Parideiras
If you want to know the dynamics of the Arouca Geopark and the origin of the Pedras Parideiras (Rocks delivering stones), you should visit the Pedras Parideiras House – Interpretative Center. Open to the public since November 2012, its objective is to contribute to the preservation, understanding and appreciation of this important geological heritage, supporting touristic and educational visits to this place. The Pedras Parideiras House has a reception area/store with local products, as well as an auditorium, where you can see the 3D movie “Pedras Parideiras: um tesouro geológico” (Pedras Parideiras: a geological treasure). In the outside, it has a roofed exhibition and an open-air exhibition (main outcrop of the Pedras Parideiras).
Serra da Freita
Standing as a giant over the Arouca town, the Freita Mountain extends its green cloak by the lands of Arouca, São Pedro do Sul and Vale de Cambra. The magic, the enchantment, the air of a lost paradise that shows itself to those who engage in it make this «Enchanted Mountain» one of the mandatory crossing and stopping points of the Arouca Geopark. Passing through its trails means to meet the history points of these lands, like the Mamoa da Portela da Anta, to meet the small villages embraced by the landscape, to meet the unique phenomena in the world, like the Pedras Parideiras (Rocks delivering stones), and to meet the breathtaking landscapes, like near the Frecha da Mizarela. Throughout the plateau, we have 17 of the 41 geosites of the Arouca Geopark, as well as exclusive conditions for the practice of some adventure sports, and pedestrian trails that guide us through the singular beauty of this mountain.
São Pedro Velho / Miradouro e Vértice Geodésico São Pedro Velho
In S. Pedro Velho, you’ll find a first-order triangulation station, integrated in the National Geodetic Network, dated from 1955. According to the military mapping, this landmark defines an altitude of 1077 meters, one of the highest points of the Freita Mountain. In fact, this high position is due to the fact that it is located over a residual granite relief of the Freita Mountain, a hard rock resistant to the erosion caused by the agents of external geodynamics that occur here. From this granite geoform, called by the students of geomorphology as rocky dome, it is possible to observe a 360 degree panoramic over the planed surface of the Freita Mountain, as well as over big geomorphological units that surround it and extend to the north and center of mainland Portugal.
Miradouro Frecha da Mizarela
Here, the Caima river flows over than 60 meters high, in an impressive show worth to be contemplated. It is possible to observe, at three dimensions, the granite of the Freita Mountain, a harder rock that is more resistant to the river erosion than the other mica schists and metagraywackes. As these metasedimentary rocks are smoother and softer, they make the fluvial erosion more effective due to the topographic lowering they present, something that is clearly visible in the landscape.
But this differential erosion is not the only aspect that explains the origin of the Frecha da Mizarela. The fault system that conditions the whole Freita Mountain is also believed to have played an important role for the occurrence of this phenomenon. Given this, push up movements associated to the Alpine Orogeny have significantly contributed to the fitting of the river and the formation of this knickpoint.
Ponte 516 Arouca
A bridge like 516 Arouca, with all the construction challenges it had to deal with, always arouses a lot of curiosity, whether from visitors, who are impressed by the grandiosity structure of the structure, or from engineering professionals, who are delighted with the technical characteristics and adopted solutions.
When looking at 516 Arouca from the outside, with the immensity of nature that surrounds it, with the 175 meters high that separate it from the wild Paiva River below, the first impression may be that of a simple metallic line suspended in the sky.
Passadiços do Paiva, Arouca
Paiva Walkways are located on the left bank of the Paiva River, in Arouca municipality, Aveiro, Portugal. They are 8 km that provide a walk "untouched", surrounded by unique beauty of landscapes, in an authentic natural sanctuary along the brave waters downhills, quartz crystals and endangered species in Europe. The route extends from the river beaches of Areinho and Espiunca, lying between them, the Vau beach. A journey through biology, geology and archeology that will remain, of course, in heart, soul and in mind of any nature lover.
???? - Private tour
✅ - Free Pick-up and Drop-off.
???? - Optional sight-seeing stops along the way.
????️ - Certified Tourist Driver.
????♂️ - English; French; Spanish or Portuguese Speaking drivers with local knowledge.
ℹ️ - Local tips and information - Our friendly drivers are locals and are happy to share their insights or give tips on what to do at your destination.
???? - Free water bottles.
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???? - Admissions to venues and attractions along the route.
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