It is quite impressive how Gerês is still out of the eyes of the majority of tourists in Portugal. The name of Cristiano Ronaldo is indeed on the reasons Portugal is right now on the map of many travellers. Big cities like Lisbon, Porto and of course, the region of Algarve are already destinations that got a lot of attention for many reasons. I will come back to provide more information on them, but at this moment I want to plan as best as possible to describe them.
Cristiano Ronaldo built a luxurious mansion right next to "Barragem da Caniçada". This is a very isolated place with an easy access to the river. It is possible to be around his house, but the best view to choose is actually the opposite mountain of Rio Cávado. There is a small village named Pandoses and the there is savage tracks that you can do to enjoy nature.
There are plenty of houses there with huge dimensions: Cristiano Ronaldo built the best for the comfort of his family. His room has 26 m2 and the closet 11 m2 with a private bathroom of 14.50 m2. Ok, it is not open for travellers, but it's nice to know out of curiosity. It is quite common to see his boat on the river, or the jet-skies. It is quite impressive how this says so much of the people living there. Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the biggest starts in the world, but he is able to find tranquility in the area.
Silence is something you can find on the summer or winter evenings of the Gerês area. There is a lot to say, as this amazing nature place is well know by the hot water lakes in the middle of nowhere. My favourite is the sky in the evening. Because it is only small villages and lost houses, there is no light pollution. It is an amazing and magical place!
The National Park of Peneda do Gerês is a protected area in Portugal. In this vast mountain area of around 60 000 hectares, almost all of it forests, it is intended by the state to protect the soil, water, flora and fauna. This area is quite big and holds the provinces of Minho, Trás-os-Montes and Galiza (Spain). There are two big rivers. The one mentioned Rio Cávado and Rio Lima.
Visiting Gerês may not seem so easy, but you can easily take a train from Porto to Braga for around 5 euros. You can enjoy the city of Braga and stay there or decide to stay in Gerês. This area can be quite crowded in Summer or also in Winter. Still you can find houses that can hold 8-10 persons for around 100 euros a day. Gerês is big and you can decide how you want to explore it. If you are a big fan of nature, 8 days may not be enough to know the most important places. So, this is why I advise to rent a car in Braga or in Porto. This will allow you to get lost in this area and still having the opportunity of visiting Spain. Food is amazing in almost every restaurant in Gerês, but I will soon review one of the favourites of Cristiano Ronaldo... Mine also!
The landscapes are incredible. You will find all colours in rocks, in the trees, in the animals (crows, wolves, eagles...) and flowers! There are lots of lost roman roads that were connecting Braga to Astorga, known as Geira. There are two important spiritual catholic places, Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Peneda and São Bento da Porta Aberta. They are very popular and attracts hundreds of people in local events in different seasons.
There is a lot to say about the amazing Gerês. There are hundred reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo choose this place to bring his family and I will come back with more details. For now, I really advise Gerês as a destination if you are going to Portugal, or landing in the North West of Spain.