Exploring the Serra Da Estrela Natural Park

The Serra Da Estrela Natural Park is Portugal’s oldest and largest natural conservation area, covering approximately 1,000 square kilometres. It was designated a UNESCO Global Geoparks site in 2019. The highest point of the mountain range rises 1993m above sea level and is continental Portugal’s tallest peak. Three rivers flow from the Serra Da Estrela mountain range: the Mondego, the Zêzere, and the Alva. The region features unique glacial valleys, abundant flora and fauna, and charming medieval villages.

Our peaceful sanctuary spans 29.65 acres and rises 900 metres above sea level. There is a lake on our property and many more rivers, waterfalls, and lakes nearby for swimming or kayaking. Additionally, the natural park features 375km of marked trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding. Nature enthusiasts will love observing over 150 species of birds, foraging for wild mushrooms, and spotting hundreds of species of trees, herbs, and flowers.

Guests can choose from a wide array of field trips, sports, excursions, tours, workshops, and more. During these activities, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the Serra da Estrela and learn about nature, conservation, biodiversity, culture, and heritage. Some of the activities are included as part our wellness programs, while others are available as extra options.

Biodiversity workshops

Biologist Dr. Filipa Sairava facilitates workshops focusing on nature conservation and biodiversity in the natural park, particularly the area surrounding New Life Portugal. Practical components include health analysis of a garden or forest, sustainability training, bird feeder and fountain construction, and insect hotel construction.

Cultural visits

Participants will visit sites, neighbourhoods, and museums of cultural, economic, and historical significance in Gouveia (the closest city to New Life Portugal) and the villages of Melo, Folgosinho, and Linhares de Beira. Excursions will be led by a knowledgeable trained guide from the local area.

Adventure sports

Those looking for a thrill will be able to participate in various adventure activities at the Parque da Senhora dos Verdes and around Folgosinho. This includes paintball, archery, bridge circuit, ziplining, swimming, and more.

Hiking tours

Guests will be able to choose from a selection of short, medium, and longer exclusive trails. Your experienced guide will provide explanations of flora, fauna, geological features, and local farms and businesses in the region. You will also learn routes to nearby lakes and rivers, picnic spots, and restaurants in the surrounding area, not to mention the best spots for contemplative and mindfulness practice.

Cycling tours

A mix of short, medium, and longer exclusive trails suitable for all fitness and experience levels led by an experienced guide. As with the hiking tours, you’ll learn about wildlife and plant life, local farms and businesses, and the best routes to get to nearby swimming spots, picnic spots, restaurants, and places for quiet relaxation time.


Field trips to observe the wonderful array of local birdlife with experts from CERVAS, the Wildlife Ecology, Rehabilitation, and Surveillance Centre in Gouveia. The Serra da Estrela is one of the best places in Portugal for birdwatching. Gouveia has many excellent trails, and you may spot such beauties as the Eurasian eagle-owl, Montagu’s harrier, or the northern goshawk.

Mushroom hunting

Immerse yourself in the world of wild mushrooms on field trips with knowledgeable guides from CERVAS. Take leisurely strolls along picturesque trails and learn all about mushroom identification, growth and life cycles, as well as medicinal and gastronomic uses.

Wildlife hospital

CERVAS plays an important role as a wildlife hospital, where injured wild animals are treated, rehabilitated, and returned to nature as close as possible to where they were found. You’ll have the chance to learn about animal conservation and the preservation of natural heritage in the Serra da Estrela.

Nature photography

Photography is a creative and therapeutic way to explore our natural surroundings, up close and in detail. Guided by a professional photographer well acquainted with the magic of the natural park, you’ll have the opportunity to pause, see clearly, and really be in the present moment.

Jeep tours

Explore the natural park around Folgosinho in a jeep expedition. The tour is for small groups of up to four people. Discover unique places in the area and learn about local geology with an experienced guide.

Stand up paddle boarding

Glide your way around the lakes, lagoons, and rivers of the natural park on a paddle board tour with a certified instructor. A fun and unusual way to explore the spectacular waterways and breathtaking scenery we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by.


There’s no better way to bask in nature and relish the acclaimed regional produce and cuisine than through a leisurely picnic. We provide advice on the most peaceful places to spread your blanket, and help you pack your picnic basket.


The Serra da Estrela is home to Portugal’s only ski resort. Skiing season runs from around January to March. The slopes are ideal for beginner-intermediate skiers and snowboarders, although there are some tracks for advanced skiers.

Covão D’Ametade

The Covão D’Ametade is a spectacular scenic spot at the beginning of the Zêzere glacial valley. It features caves, rock formations, and riverbanks lined by birch trees. A great place to have a picnic or just relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

Covão dos Conchos

A lagoon containing a bell-mouth spillway connecting two lakes, the Lagoa da Serra Estrela and Lagoa Comprida. The artificial lake was created in 1955 during the construction of a nearby hydroelectric dam. It is a breathtaking sight (often described as looking like a portal to another dimension) and well worth the 10 km hike to get there.

Vale Glaciar do Zêzere

A stunning U-shaped glacial valley near Manteigas with unique geological characteristics. One of the largest glacial valleys in Europe. Excellent hiking trails and incredible views from the lookout points along the N338 road that runs up one side of the valley.