Last year Jon and I spent a couple of hours or so walking around the little town of Manteigas. It’s a somewhat remote town up in the Serra da Estrela (Estrela Mountains). If you’re planning on exploring the mountains then Manteigas is an excellent base camp as it is nestled at the heart of the mountains.
Welcome to the Serra da Estrela! I look pretty smug, don’t I? Trust me, I’m more concerned with the sheer drop behind me (especially after Jon ‘jokingly’ tried to push me off a few times)! Manteigas is the town in the background, if you hadn’t guessed. From here, it took another half an hour before we managed to navigate our way down there (it was snaking roads the whole way).
When we finally made it to Manteigas there were loads of signposts for walkers. There was quite a tourist/walker set up – a tourist office dedicated to walking the area, walking guide books, sign posts and marked footpaths.
But the tourist office was like many Portuguese shops and establishments, they tend to open and close when they please (even outside the lunch hour) so we went to get a quick drink and it had opened by the time we came back. And it had this pretty relief map:
Do you see the darkest groove in the centre of the Estrelas? That’s where we were! So we picked a route to go and off we toddled and got massively lost within 10mins! I came to realise that my sense of direction is abismal/non-existant/potentially lethal. I disagreed with Jon’s directions and so he let me take the lead. A whole 500metres later, I threw in the towel and walked back to where we started and Jon took over. Hmpf.
We’re half way round here and we haven’t seen another walker yet! All we did was a circular walk around the town, nothing too demanding. Can you see the farming terraces in the background? They had those everywhere! It was super hot on the day that we went and our intention was only to go on a short walk to get a taster for what the area had to offer. Next time we’ll go on one of the much longer walks that leave the town behind and you get to see the wild part of the mountains. Here’s one last photo…