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Traces of Outrora

August 11 2020

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The Magic Mountains include the Serras da Freita, Arada and Arestal, belonging to the Gralheira massif, and the Montemuro mountain range. They extend over 80 parishes spread over 7 municipalities: Arouca, Castelo de Paiva, Castro Daire, Cinfães, São Pedro do Sul, Sever do Vouga and Vale de Cambra.

As part of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, since November 2013, they include four Natura 2000 sites and a UNESCO geopark, guided by the offer of a responsible and sustainable tourism model, focused on ecotourism, geotourism and active tourism.


Cultural heritage


Throughout this territory are visible archaeological remains and monuments that testify to its long history: rock engravings of Atlantic art, megalithic monuments, bridges and Roman roads, medieval monasteries and temples, shrines and churches of all shapes, typical schist and granite villages , historic mines and more.


Geographical situation


United by the Montemuro and Gralheira massifs, the territory is in a border position between the north and the center of mainland Portugal and between the coast and the interior.


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Due to the high variations in altitude, the Magic Mountains have strong thermal and rainfall contrasts between their valleys and the top of their mountains, revealing some peculiarities in terms of the climate, sometimes humid and cold, typical of mountainous areas.
The average annual temperature varies between 7,5 ° C and 16 ° C, with approximately 2.500 hours of sunshine per year.




In the Magic Mountains, water and stone are the main elements, that is why the Route of Water and Stone was created, which highlights the natural and cultural heritage of the region, centered on rivers and mountains. Designed as a subway network, it has different lines, each with its points of interest, signposted on information panels.


Water and Stone Route


It is divided by nine lines that cover the mountains between the Douro and Vouga. Each line consists of places to visit, such as waterfalls, clear water streams, geological phenomena, windmills, mines and fossils.
The route is available for consultation on the website http://www.montanhasmagicas.pt/pt/o-que-fazer/grandes-rotas/rota-da-agua-e-da-pedra/




Passadiços do Paiva are the best known and awarded in Portugal, attracting thousands of people. This route that connects the river beaches of Areinho and Espiunca is about 8,7 km long.

The wooden construction follows the Paiva River, in the Arouca Geopark, located in the Aveiro district. The steep descents and climbs increase the degree of difficulty of this route, which lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is also here that the largest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world is being built, which will certainly attract even more tourists.


Adventure sports


For those who enjoy outdoor activities, the Magic Mountains are the ideal place. Here you will find a wide variety of sports for all tastes and ages.

Challenge the white waters of the Paiva River in a rafting or kayaking activity; win demanding mountain bike trails; ride a bicycle at Ecopista do Vouga; explore wild rivers by canyoning; have fun in a stand up paddle or canoeing activity. There is also a selection of orienteering, tree climbing, slide and rappelling, rock climbing and paintball activities.

The route of the Great Route of the Magic Mountains Cycling & Walking is a circular route, with 230 km distance, that joins the 7 municipalities of the Magic Mountains, being possible to walk it on foot (GR - Grande Pedestrian Route), or by bicycle. Mountain bike / gravel (GT - Grande Travessia).

The GR / GT of the Magic Mountains Project, promoted by ADRIMAG, has the involvement of national, regional and local partners, namely the 7 Municipal Councils of the territory - Arouca, Castelo de Paiva, Castro Daire, Cinfães, São Pedro do Sul, Sever do Vouga and Vale de Cambra, UVP - Portuguese Cycling Federation and FCMP - Portugal Camping and Mountaineering Federation.

The route is available for consultation on the website http://www.montanhasmagicas.pt/pt/o-que-fazer/


Hot springs


You can also take the opportunity to relax in the historic Termas de São Pedro do Sul or even in the renowned Termas do Carvalhal. On the banks of the Vouga River, in Várzea, the Termas de São Pedro do Sul are one of the largest in the country and are on the list of one of the best, since, in addition to being the oldest in Portugal, they take advantage of the therapeutic waters of this area. With a high content of minerals, the water reaches the surface at about 68.7º C, which, combined with its properties, brings together the perfect conditions for the treatment of various diseases.
As for the Termas do Carvalhal, the municipality of Castro Daire is located and its waters are beneficial for the respiratory tract, for the prevention and cure of skin problems, as well as for the treatment of rheumatism.


Fauna and Flora


The Magic Mountains are home to countless animal species, some of them rare and protected, such as the Iberian wolf and the water mole. The peregrine falcon and eagle owl find on the cliffs perfect places to breed. The otter is present in all rivers, along with the blackbird, which learns to swim before starting to fly. The Paiva River is known for its trout and eels and lampreys continue to climb the Vouga River.

The relief conditions and the prevailing climate in the Magic Mountains provide the ideal conditions for the existence of an exuberant and diverse flora, with extensive areas of native flora. Some of the most important species are the cow-fetus, the bog-daffodil, the blueberry, the bastard-lynx, the holly or the fritillary.




To discover a little more about this territory and its inhabitants, visiting museums and interpretation centers is essential. Municipal and rural museums bring together the archaeological, ethnographic, agricultural, wine and mining heritage that best represents and characterizes the history, culture, uses, customs and traditions of the territory.

Thematic museums value different types of cultural and natural heritage, namely religious art, historical personalities, spas, and trilobite fossils. Interpretation centers are mostly associated with valuing and preserving nature and the environment, namely biodiversity and geodiversity of the territory, in a perspective of sustainability.


Mountain monasteries and sanctuaries


Due to the faith and devotion of its inhabitants, the Magic Mountains are fertile in religious heritage that translates into a profusion of mountain sanctuaries, churches, chapels, alminhas, cruises and other sacred places such as monasteries, calvaries and sacred roads. The heritage value of these temples and religious spaces is indisputable, reflecting architectural and artistic styles from different historical periods.


Gastronomy and wines


The very rich and diverse local gastronomy has its origin in ancestral uses, customs and knowledge, thus reflecting the quality of local products from agriculture, pastoralism and, to a lesser extent, fishing, to which is added the mastery of spices and the art of fine cooking.


River beaches


In the summer months, you can cool off on one of the river beaches. In full contact with nature, enjoy the refreshing and crystal clear water of the mountain rivers. In addition to water quality, these spaces offer a range of equipment and services for the convenience of its visitors, as well as surveillance, during the bathing season.


Traditional villages


Knowing the villages located in the extensive mountain ranges of the Gralheira and Montemuro massifs is a kind of trip to the past. Here you can appreciate the typical architecture, the authenticity of the traditions, uses and customs of its inhabitants.


The uniqueness of the geological phenomena that occur here, the remarkable biodiversity that it hosts, and the particularities of its geomorphology, make the Magic Mountains a destination of excellence for the observation and interpretation of nature, as well as for the realization of numerous sports and leisure activities. adventure. Let yourself bewitched!

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