Portugal is usually known for its old towns and warm golden coasts but it also has astounding beauty way above sea level. Its highest mainland summit, Torre, on the Serra da Estrela mountain range hosts ski resorts. But the unique thing about this summit is that it is accessible through a normal national road. You can easily get there by car or bus (unless of course there’s a tremendous blizzard). We took one of the bus trips from the city of Porto where a lot of tour bus companies offer cheap tours around Portugal (from as low as 20 euros).
During winter, Serra da Estrela is a much celebrated ski place especially for beginners. The view all the way up is extremely stunning. Who would have thought that we could get to almost 2000m as easy as a road trip to the beach? I only saw the mountains laden with layers of ice but probably in summer, when it will be more trekker-friendly, the rock formations and natural flora would also be equally astonishing. Normally, Portugal still receives ample sunlight during winter so the snow covered mountains achieve their bluest hues, and sans pollution, the sky becomes so royal as royal can get. Definitely superb and picturesque! Maybe this set of filter-less pictures would be a more accurate depiction:
At the summit, there is also an artisanal market selling the famed Serra da Estrela cheese (among other equally delicious regional cheeses) and products from the nearby districts such as hams and wine. It is truly a nice site for degustation whilst taking a break from an exhausting ski. I really never expected to see such a place in sun-kissed Portugal so whenever the Portuguese plains and coasts become too warm for your winter, Serra da Estrela is just around the corner.