Portugal's highest mountain range reaches a height of almost 2,000 meters and stretches over a length of 100 kilometers in north-south orientation. The “Sternengebirge” with its deep gorges, adventurous rock formations, clear streams and lakes is one of the country's greatest natural wonders. While in winter it is a snow-covered mountain world, a good network of hiking trails, laid out by the nature park administration, opens up the area during the rest of the year. If hiking is too strenuous for you, you can take a round trip to discover remote mountain villages and wild landscapes with magnificent vantage points. There are information centers in Covilha, Manteigas and Gouveia.
In the summer of 2017, there were devastating forest fires in Portugal, probably triggered by a lightning strike and a rainless thunderstorm. At least 65 people lost their lives. Most affected were planted forests of fast-growing pine trees, which could not resist the fire. The fires were not confined to one region, even though they raged mostly east of Coimbra.
On the other hand, one can observe how nature regenerates itself in the fire areas. Meanwhile colorful flower meadows grow between the black tree stumps. Pioneer trees are settling. In some places the plant world is more versatile after a fire than before, which is also due to the fact that the ash acts like a fertilizer.
What for some is a terribly inhospitable landscape is for others a lesson in ecology.