If you are in Portugal and want to see snow in the winter (even in the early spring), the tip is to g to Serra da Estrela. Don’t you know how to get there? We’ll show you!
Considered the highest altitude region, the National Park of Serra da Estrela has the second highest mountain of Portugal, second only to Pico Mountain, Azores.
Founded in July 1976, the Park is the largest protected area in Portuguese soil, reaching the record of 1993 meters above the sea level, along the Park Tower.
Divided by two districts, Castelo Branco and Guarda, Serra is home to the municipalities of Guarda, Manteigas, Gouveia, Seia, Celorico da Beira and Covilhã, being the last the place I stayed (Hostel of course!).
BUT HOW TO GET THERE?
By car or bus:
These are the simplest and ideal ways to go to Serra da Estrela. The path is not for beginners: you’ll get an one-way road, on the edge of the cliffs, often covered by fog and ice. That calls for caution but also offers a stunning viewl!
By bus, the trip will take around 2 hours, but it can last 3:00, so just enjoy it al and don’t be angry. It’s about 120 km from the city of Coimbra, where I took the bus.
In addition to ensuring the car safety and possibly be “armed with” chains in case of a snow storm, remember that the highways in Portugal are paid. And they are not the cheapest ones.
But you don’t need to go the whole way through the paid roads. Most of the trips I do, I switch from the private ones (paid) and the national highways (not paid).
Leaving from Lisbon, there are two bus options going directly to Covilhã. The main one is the Rede Expresso (operated in this case by Citiexpress), that actually goes to almost everywhere in Portugal and vicinity.
They offer an average of 5 trips a day and there is a cost for one way (15.20 EUROS) on the normal price, 7.20 half price for children up to 12 years and the best age. Young people up to 25 years old pay 12.80 along with the military category. There are stops in the cities of Castelo Branco and Fundão. If you take the bus at 8 am the expected time of arrival is at 11:42 (approximately 4 hours).
If you buy a round-trip ticket, ti will cost: € 27.20 normal price, € 14.40 for children, € 24youth and military, and € 19.20 to senior.
Although the Rede Expresso transactions are operated by Citi Express, the purchases and the timetables are usually different. And the conexions too, including on more stop on the way to the town of Fratel.
When looking for a trip operated directly by Citi Express, you will find the timetables of the line called L09 Guarda > Lisbon. Pay attention, as the schedules and prices can vary, but do not change much xompared to Rede Expresso. In reality, when you go to the website of the Citi Express to buy your ticket, you are imediatley redirected to the Rede Expresso website.
You can also go to other cities around Serra, as Seia, Gouveia or Guarda. But you can’t forget to arrange a way to continue the trip up to the hill.
Arriving at Covilhã, the best option is calling a taxi to bring you to your accommodation or to the Serra.
Train can also be an option. The railway line in Portugal called CP (Combois Portugal) has two lines that serve the region of Serra da Estrela: the Beira Alta line, that goes through Celorico da Beira, Guarda and Nelas, with a connection to the Seias bus station;, and the line of Beira Baixa, which caters Covilhã, Belmonte and Guarda. From there, my friend, taxi. No way out!
Images: Serra da Estrela Ski Resort
ATTENTION TO THE CHAINS: in case of heavy snow, is often recommended and sometimes mandatory the use of chains on the tires.
Travel insurance Europe 728 x 90
Have a great trip and enjoy!
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