Back in early December 2019, I signed up for a day out exploring the Serra de Lousã, with Veado Verde, a green tourism company who offer half or full day trips all over the region.
The day started early, at a meeting point in Lousã at 7am. I don’t like early starts, but it was something I was really looking forward to doing.
We started out in the 4×4 (just me, the guide and his wife) and headed up the hills past the mountain bike trail centre and up into the woods. The aim of getting out so early was to catch the morning light, and of course the deer, who are a little more active before people start appearing on the hillsides.
Spotting the deer in such a vast area was difficult, but luckily the guide knows all the best spots and also had a great telephoto lens on his camera, so you can thank him for the close up shots above. I lost track of the numbers of deer we saw, as once we started spotting them, they seemed to be everywhere.
Driving around the very bumpy dirt roads in the 4×4 was great fun as we went from location to location, trying to find our elusive quarry. We saw other people in small cars trying to drive the same awkward spots, but with a flick of the steering wheel, we went up banks and through trees and made short work of the rough terrain. I was whooping like a little kid 🙂
As it got closer to midday, we drove over to a schist village where we met a larger group of people to start our mushroom foraging tour.
The guides talked to us about the different types of mushrooms you can find around the woods, but it’s so hard to tell the good ones from the poisonous ones, I don’t think I’ll be picking mushrooms for myself anytime soon…
We all drove down to a small village for lunch, which involved eating some of the finds of the day and the group had more of a chat and asked questions about mushrooms.. but our small group of 3 were off again, back up the mountain.
After a bit more careering round the dirt roads up on the hilltops, we made our way to one of the most popular tourist attractions up there – a giant swing with an incredible view over the mountains and the valleys below.
It’s a popular Instagram photo spot, apparently one of the most talked about locations in the whole of Portugal, drawing visitors from far and wide.
After a quick swing and a few photos, we headed off to a small ruined schist village for a walkabout, and then onto a pristine village called Talasnal, which spills down the hillside. You get a great view of it from the road on the way down there.
It was getting late in the day and the sun was starting to go down, so we started exploring the village in the semi-dark. It was a maze of tiny stone houses and backstreets, with overhead lights casting a strange glow and lots of shadows.
There was a tiny car/bar/guest house full of bric-a-brac and curiosities, with a door frame so low you had to really bend over to avoid bumping your head. After a quick coffee, we went back to the 4×4 and headed back to Lousa, so I could pick up my car and head home.
By the time I got back it was around 8pm and I was shattered, but what a day!
The full day trip cost €50 and it was worth every penny. Check out the other trips and excursions they offer. I’ll definitely be booking another one, when lockdown is over.