Right at the frontier with Spain, Miranda do Douro is definitely a special place, that cannot be called only Portuguese, due to its authenticity in all aspects.
One part to have in consideration when speaking of the region, though, it´s its stunning views. The hillsides of the Douro River rise alongside the area as if it was a snake (definitely a beautiful one!).
From those various points you can also bird-watch: you can find griffes, eagles and Black Stork, among others. So, make sure you don´t miss these 4 viewpoints (please note that they can only be accessed by car).
1 – Viewpoint of Fraga de Puio
This is the most famous viewpoint in the region – and with good reason! Conveniently located at Picote, a typical village very worthy of exploring, this viewpoint has good accesses and perhaps one of the best views to the Douro River. This place is a paradise for those of you who are looking for nice pictures and a bit of excitement: a glass platform was built, creating the sensation of floating over the river. To access the viewpoint, you will have to leave your car at the village and then follow the signs with the word “Miradouro” written on them.
2 – São João das Arrábidas
With a lovely chapel just behind, this viewpoint will provide you with views that extend as much as the eyes can see. You´ll get a privileged view over the deep vale, surrounded by sharped escarpments. Nearby you can find a really good spot for making a picnic, so count on it if you are looking for a place to have lunch or a snack. The access is pretty good as well, since you can take your car almost all the way to the viewpoint (be aware of the road though, because it is not asphalted). Fortunately, it appears on google maps, so no problem in finding it!
3 – Penha das Torres viewpoint
This is still an off-the-track unknown viewpoint. You won´t find its location on the GPS, so first go to the village Paradela and follow the signs that lead to the viewpoint (in Portuguese it´s written Miradouro Penha das Torres). The viewpoint is actually the most oriental point of Portugal and offers an amazing view over the Spanish Salto de Castro dam, the exact place where the Douro River enters Portugal. This place is interest in many different ways and is perfect if you are looking to spot some Griffes or Eagles. The access is a bit difficult, and you need to be careful when climbing the rock which poses as viewpoint, since it has no human support.
4 – Freixiosa viewpoint
Last but definitely not least, we have the Freixiosa viewpoint. This one is located at the village of Freixiosa and the access to the viewpoint is not easy, since you have to walk a bit (no more then 10 minutes) through a descending and often slippery path. Nothing to be scared of, just conscious. This one is, again, a wild viewpoint, and offers only the support of an iron bar to climb to the top of it (which is actually the top of a huge rock). Be mindful of your safety and take your time climbing it. The view of the top is 100% worth it, especially at sunset.
Miranda do Douro is so culturally rich that sometimes it is easy to disregard its wilderness. Don´t do it. Explore the unexplored and fall in love with this big piece of serenity. To know more about the region, click here.