The Serra da Estrela massif is a lot more than just a set of beautiful mountain views. Its glacial valleys are unique landscapes in the country and incomparably beautiful.The Glacial Valleys of Zêzere, Alforda, Loriga, Covão Grande and Covão do Urso were originated 20.000 years ago when the ice sheet which covered the plateau where nowadays the tower stands was damaged due to a rise in atmospheric temperatures.
Melting ice sheets slid down to lower levels, dragging granite domes along with them and creating valleys where they passed. The traces of this natural work are great U shaped valleys with polished rocks, boulders and morainic deposits which have remained untouched throughout thousands of years. Be amazed by these exceptional wonders of Nature and follow the Glacial Valleys Route, tracking the same paths through which the ice slid down.
Zêzere Glacial Valley
Zêzare Glacial Valley is U shaped and one of the best examples of how ice moulded the mountain landscape. This glacier tongue is 13 kilometres wide and opens out through steep slopes, majestic granite rocks and finishes at the bottom of the Zêzere River valley. The unique structure of this rocky gorge embraces pasture landscapes amongst the fragas, typical mountain houses, and the town of Manteigas. Be amazed by the majesty of Nave de Santo António, climb the trails that lead to the magnificent Cadeeira Valley or go down to the foothill of Cântaro Magro where you will discover Covão de Ametade, an ancient glacial lagoon of unique beauty and worth a long visit.
Alforfa, Loriga, Covão Grande and Covão do Urso
And if you were amazed by Zêzere Valley, then you should discover the other glacial valleys in the Natural Park and get to know the work Nature has sculptured in the mountain.
Alforfa valley is where you can take a better look at the accumulation of rocks and colossal blocks caused by defrosting. It indicates the place where ancient glacier tongues used to be.
Loriga, an exquisite valley, offers breathtaking views of steep slopes, cliffs which seem to touch the sky and deep hollows. Here you can visit Covão da Areia, descend Garganta de Loriga or admire Penha do Gato and Penha dos Abutres.
Covão Grande, located at a higher altitude, offers those who walk through it outstanding natural shapes while following Nave Travessa or the slopes of the Long Lagoon.
At Covão do Urso, you will find a mountain landscape created by the greatest moraine in Serra da Estrela which extends along 3 kilometres amongst vegetation. Walk the paths which spread throughout the valley and feel like you are in total harmony with Nature.