The seven natural wonders of Portugal (Part I)


 

A magical combination of history, culture, traditions and surprising landscapes with warm waters and sunny beaches, Portugal represents the perfect destination for the wanderer spirits. “The seven wonders of Portugal” are completed by “The seven natural wonders of Portugal, a collection of the most astonishing natural spots in the Portuguese territory. The winners, divided into seven categories are: Laurel Forest (Madeira Island) in the Forestry and Forests category, Peneda-Geres on Protected Areas, Grutas de Mira de Aire in the Caves category, Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Azores) in the non-marine aquatic areas, Rio Formosa (Algarve) in the category of Maritime zones, Portinho de Arrábida in the category of beaches and cliffs, Volcanic Landscape of the Pico Island (Azors) in the great reliefs category. So, get ready to be amazed!

Laurel Forest

Dating back to the tertiary period, this subtropical humid forest that belongs to the Laurel plant family create, together with the existing flora and fauna, a unique and untouched biodiversity, populated by exclusive species. This marvelous landscape located in Madeira Islands, offers tourists the possibility to admire a large range of reptiles, mammals, butterflies in their natural environment. Spread over 15000 hectares of land, Laurel Forest was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage and represents the perfect place to relax, away from the crowded and noisy civilization.

Peneda-Geres

Founded in 1971, Peneda-Geres is the only national park in Portugal and one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. Located in the Northwest of the country, Peneda-Geres impresses the eyes of the curious tourists with its beautiful waterfalls, the various lakes or the old forests, house to the wild and unique species of animals. Interested in lost civilizations? Definitely, Penade Geres can fulfill your passion for history and archeology. In Sao Joao do Campo and Lindoso villages, one can still discover the ruins of Celtic “castros” and medieval castles. A very interesting visiting point can be traced between Cávado and Homem rivers, at Lindoso Dam, that reveals in time of draughts the abandonedvillage ofVilarinho das Furnas, covered by water most of the year. Peneda-Geres also provides the perfect conditions to practice sports such as horsemanship, kayak, riding a bicycle or paintball.

Grutas de Mira de Aire

 

85 kilometers North from Lisbonand only 5 kilometers from Fatima, the largest cave system inPortugal (11,000 square meters) can be found 110 meters below the surface. We are talking of course about Gruntas de Mira de Aire, a natural miracle sculptured in stones by the erosion of water, under the shape of stalagmites and stalactites. Dating back to the Middle Jurassic Age, the cave still preserves the footprints of dinosaurs that populated this area. Once you entered the cave, you will be mesmerized by the bizarre stone forms with various names, like: “Jelly Fish”, “Crib”, “Limpets” and by the Big Lake with a colored fountain displayed towards the exit of the cave. Tired after this fascinating visit in the depths of the earth? No problem, a lift is waiting for you to go up to the surface.

 

So far we have discovered the secrets of the first three natural wonders of Portugal, each with its own characteristic and uniqueness that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Want to be one of them? Then, get prepared for the second part of The Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal!

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