The northern part of Portugal is very rural and it is a completely different way of life than the commercialised coastal areas. The climbing is this picturesque and mountainous area is very varied with the added bonus of experiencing a more authentic taste of Portuguese life. The map opposite shows the main rock climbing areas in northern Portugal.
Main crags in Northern Portugal
|No||Crag||Rock Type||Type of Climbing||Single or Multi Pitch||Altitude|
|1||Meadinha||Granite||Sport and Trad||Multi-Pitch||850m|
|3||Serra de Passos||Quartzite||Sport and Trad||Single||900m|
|4||Serra da Estrela||Granite||Trad, Sport and bouldering||Both||1700m|
|6||Serra do Sico||Limestone||Sport||Single||300m|
The Serra da Estrela Mountains is the largest climbing area in northern Portugal. The mountains are close to the town of Covilha, and are the highest point in Portugal (the 2,000m peak of Torre). The variety of climbing in these granite mountains is immense, from adventurous multi-pitch trad climbing, and sport climbing to bouldering and even ice climbing in the winter. The granite rock provides friction slabs, jamming cracks and steep walls.
The best time of the year to visit the Serra da Estrela Mountains for climbing is in the spring and autumn. Winter is reserved for hard core boulderers to obtain maximum friction, while the summer months are just too hot.
Meadinha is a granite dome located in the northern tip of Portugal, and is a popular climbing area. Here there is a mixture of trad and sport multi-pitch routes up to 160m long with many routes over 100m long.
Santo Tirso is a very accessible bouldering area near Porto. Situated in a forest these granite boulders provide good quality problems, from slabs requiring friction and balance, to explosive moves off crimps and sloping top outs.
The Portugal rock climbing guidebook covers the climbing and bouldering at Meadinha, Santo Tirso, Serra de Passos, Serra da Estrela Mountains, Penha Garcia and Serra do Sico.
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