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HomeEurope TravelA Actual Jurassic Park – In Middle of Portugal

A Actual Jurassic Park – In Middle of Portugal

The Silver Coast of Portugal isn’t solely a haven for surfers and sunseekers. If you happen to enterprise just a bit additional inland, you possibly can encounter million-year-old dinosaur footsteps, psychedelic caves and distinctive geological phenomenas within the Nature Park of Serras de Aire and Candeeiros. Right here, on this inexperienced patch between Porto and Lisbon, you possibly can return in time, uncover a REAL Jurassic Park and observe within the Footsteps of the Dinosaurs.

From mighty mountains to birthplace of rivers deep inside a cave system, the Parque Pure das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros has all of it. Add to that the shut neighborhood to Portugal’s Silver Coast with surfer-paradise Nazaré and family-friendly Sao Martinho do Porto, not lower than three World Heritage listed monasteries in shut proximity, and Knights Templar castles dotted across the area, this area is each traveller’s dream.

Solely an hour’s drive from Lisbon you possibly can enter right into a Karst Kingdom, the place water and time has formed the panorama like no place different. After spending a month in area, right here’s our information to the perfect locations within the Nature Park to find a Jurassic World:


Dinosaur footprints

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175 million years in the past (give or take), a gaggle of dinosaurs crossed some Jurassic mud. The sauropods had been quadruped herbivorous dinosaurs with small heads and lengthy necks and tails. And toes like elephants.

The footprints they left behind had been fossilised and lined by different layers of mud, remodeling into limestone, that’s quarried extensively right here, within the Parque Pure da Serras de Aire e Candeeiros within the Centro area of Portugal

And now, 175 million years later, because the quarry digs into the rock, it uncovers these historical footprints of animals that walked the earth lengthy earlier than we did. Fortunately for us – and for posterity – the quarries had been closed and the tracks protected. Now you can stroll on boardwalks over these websites and have a more in-depth take a look at the prints. Fascinating!!

You may uncover the footprints for your self on the Monumento Pure das Pegadas de Dinossáurios (the place there’s a small entry charge and a museum. Great spot to study extra!), at Pegadas Vale de Meios (free) or out within the open nature (like right here).


Into the Jurrasic caves

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As you get all the way down to 125 metres beneath the floor, your information will let you know how the cave continues for not less than 11 kilometres. At that time you’ve solely walked about 600 metres.

The Grutas de Mira de Aire had been found in 1947 and for each expedition (now largely utilizing scuba gear as many of the cave is below water) they uncover extra. Their formation goes again 150 million years to the Center Jurassic age, when the dinosaurs populated this area. The caves are lit with colored lights that emphasise the great thing about the shapes of the stalagmites and stalagtites.

Throughout the tour you possibly can admire the unusual limestone shapes, shaped over hundreds of thousands of years, such because the “Jellyfish”, the “Spaghettis” and the magnificent “Organ”. Mira de Aire’s caves is one among Portugal’s 7 Maravilhas Naturais, or Pure Wonders, and it’s actually wondrous!

One other nice cave, and some of the accessible is Grutas da Moeda. This can be a nice outing, particularly for households with youngsters, or should you’re considerably challenged within the strolling division. It’s a extra informative and academic cave go to than Grutas de Mira de Aire, and you’ll actually study quite a bit in regards to the geology and pure historical past of the area right here. The guides on the cave do an excellent job at speaking the enjoyable & info of geology, details about the wildlife within the caves and offer you an excellent perception to the topography of the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Nature Park.

Grutas da Moeda could also be smaller than different caves within the space, however what it lacks in measurement it makes up in information, enjoyable & friendliness! Positively value a go to for households!

Mountain climbing the geological highlights

It’s no secret that we like to hike, and suppose that it’s the easiest way to attach with the singularity of a area and its panorama.

So we’ve chosen 3 nice hikes for you that’ll take you previous a number of the most original geological phenomenas within the nature park. The primary will take you to the delivery of a river, the following takes you into caves and in shut contact with the geographic peciliarities of the karst panorama, and on the final you encounter waterfalls, a pure amfitheatre and a number of the greatest views within the Nationwide Park.

PR1 ACN – Olhos d’Agua de Alviela – 2km

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Though this path is sort of brief, it stays one among our favorite trails on this area. The PR1 ACN is a “there-and again” path, however we advocate that you just park your automobile on the riverside and take a stroll across the space earlier than venturing into the canyon and discovering its supply.
The PR1 ACN route of Olhos d´Água do Alviela runs from the supply of the Alviela river to the sinkhole of the Amiais stream. This varieties geological constructions of uncommon magnificence because it crosses the Center Jurassic limestone. Its geological magnificence, surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, makes this route some of the enticing within the area.

The Amiais stream originates from the rain that falls onto and infiltrates the plateau of Santo António and is carried to this place by a fancy community of underground galleries that represent tons of of caves. You may observe the Amiais stream in entrance of the cave Lapa da Canada, earlier than it plunges into the depths of the cave, round 200 meters beneath.

You may’t observe the Amiais the place it flows into the cave, however you possibly can return on the path to see the place the stream reemerges, and creates an imposing river canyon and turns into the Alviela River.

Aother enjoyable truth: The Alviela River used to provide water to Lisbon since 1880 through the most important gravity aqueduct in Portugal. 114 kilometers lengthy and having gravity as the one driving drive. You may take a more in-depth take a look at the aquaduct on the 8 km climbing route PR8 ACN that additionally begins the place you parked your automobile.

PR2 BTL – Buraco do Roto Route – 6km

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This 6 km round route is among the most stunning hikes in Parque Pure das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros (PNSAC).

It takes you into historical burial caves, by means of a pure tunnel and spherical to Malhadouro valley, the place you’ll climb some pure stairs that can lead you to Pia da Ovelha, a big pure cave, which owes its title to the sink constructed there below a stalactite and which drips abundantly within the wet season, serving as a water gap for the sheep (ovelhas) within the outdated days.

By way of roped stairs you resolve the valley, from the place you possibly can watch the climbers on Reguengo do Fetal Climbing space on day.
You’ll then ascend the opposite facet of the valley, as much as the fertile plain earlier than descending Vale da Pena. Right here, you’ll get the prospect to watch the rock formations once more in your means again, earlier than reaching your level of departure in Reguengo do Fetal.

PR4 PMS – Fornea Route – 12km

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This 12 km round route is among the most stunning hikes in Parque Pure das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros (PNSAC). If you go away Alcaria and enter into the pure amphitheatre, you’ll quickly begin to discover how all sounds, aside from pure ones, fade away. No marvel this place known as “Fornea” which suggests “oven”.

Strolling into the valley you’ll uncover waterfalls (if in season) and caves. The path then doubles again and takes you up on prime of nature’s wild area (look out for fossils in your means!) with wonderful views of the Nationwide Park earlier than descending again into the valley.

On the path you may even see birds of prey, wild flowers and paleolithic stays (fossil) from the Jurrassic period.

PS: Whereas the route’s title was once known as “PR6 PMS” it’s now named “PR4 PMS” and you’ll observe the signposts alongside the route. Keep in mind to observe PR4.1 PMS to get into the pure amphitheatre, previous waterfalls and into the caves.

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