Soajo Guide Peneda-Gerês | Portugal Visitor
Soajo, Peneda-Gerês National Park
Soajo is a small, remote village of around 1,000 people in northern Portugal. It is about 50 km south of Monção on the Spanish border and 40 km northeast along the River Lima from Ponte de Lima. Heading east the frontier with Spain is just 8 km away.
The village is known for its granite espigueiros (grain houses) – 18th and 19th century structures raised above the ground on stilts to protect them from rodents.
Soajo is one of the highlights of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal’s only national park along with the nearby villages of Lindoso and Paradamonte.
Around 20 or so espigueiros dot the village and give the place a slightly eerie feel with their rooftop crosses and time-worn exteriors.
There is also an historic pelourinho or pillory – a symbol of medieval authority and punishment – in the village. It is believed to date from the 17th century but historians are unsure. The village itself received its foral or charter from King Manuel in 1514.
A short hike east from Soajo is a single arched, stone bridge – the Ponte da Ladeira over crystal clear water.
In the mountains around Soajo are a number of prehistoric tombs – dolmen. The best-preserved of these is the Anta Grande do Mezio (Large Dolmen of Mezio), 10 minutes west by car on the N202.
Lindoso is a similar settlement to Soajo and is a short 20-minute drive east past the Alto-Lindoso Dam (Barragem do Alto-Lindoso, the largest hydroelectric plant in Portugal). There are more granite granaries and the ruins of a medieval castle.
Parada de Lindoso is a small hamlet 3 km west of Lindoso with more espigueiros and 5 km from here the larger settlement of Paradamonte.
Cattle herding is central to this part of Portugal – cows, sheep and goats. You are likely to encounter the herds of livestock kept in common by the villagers as they have been for centuries. Types of cattle in the park include the long-horned Cachena and Barrosã breeds. Goat features on local menus.
National Park Head Office
Av. António Macedo
Tel: 253 203 480
Largo da Misericórdia, 10
4980-613 Ponte da Barca
Tel: 258 452 250
For information on walking and hiking in the national park see: walkingpenedageres.pt
Getting to Soajo
Train Travel in Portugal
The nearest railway stations to the Peneda-Gerês National Park are Braga Station in Braga and Viana do Castelo Station in Viana do Castelo. From both places hiring a car is probably the best way to explore the area.
Car Travel in Portugal
From Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport in Porto, Soajo is an approximately 90-minute drive on the A3 highway via Braga. From Braga the drive is just over an hour.
Coming west from Montalegre is also about 90 minutes by car with the quickest route going through Spain.
Bus Travel in Portugal
Infrequent Avic buses run from Soajo to Arcos de Valdevez.
There is one bus a day from Ponte da Barca to Lindoso.
Avic operates the following bus services in the region.
Viana do Castelo – Braga
Arcos de Valdevez – Travassos
Monção – Viana do Castelo
Ponte de Lima – Viana do Castelo
Valença – São Pedro Torre
Valença – S. Bento Lagoa
Valença – Fontoura
Valença – Boivão
Paredes de Coura – Valença – Monção
Paredes de Coura – São Bento
Paredes de Coura – S.Pedro Torre – Valença
Portugal Hotel & Hostel Accommodation
Soajo has several recommended places to stay mainly guest houses and holiday lets. Casa da Ribô, a traditional granite building converted into a villa, Casa da Touça, with an outdoor pool and garden views and Casa Velha Turismo in Paradamonte.
See here for a full listing of hotel accommodation in Soajo.
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Try the local cuisine which features goat and kid at Saber ao Borralho or Restaurante Videira. Sample the delicious cakes at Padaria do Soajo.
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The average high June temperatures for Portugal is between 22 degrees Centigrade and 26 degrees Centigrade.
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