Viseu to Zamora through the Serra de Estrela
RP 4 Torre da Serra da Estrela 1993m
This route leaves the hotel and Viseu using the main roads but it is not long before you will be on the rural twisty roads that Portugal is famous for. The N232 being one of them will take you to the pretty town of Sabugueiro where you then join the N339. This road includes some steep sections, the surface of the road is asphalted, and chains or snow tyres can be required throughout the year. It will take you to the summit of Portugal’s highest peak at Torre in the Serra da Estrela mountain range and stands at 1993 m above sea level. Surprisingly, there are shops selling local produce and a café for coffee.
There are some great views as you descend and enter the glacial valley and drive towards Manteigas, so don’t forget your camera.
I have suggested a lunch stop at Barca de Alva on the banks of the River Douro. This is a beautiful spot with a choice of good restaurants.

The route now crosses over the River Douro and follows its path for 50 miles (80 kms) along the twisty and hilly N221. The river now marks the border with Spain and although the road is sometimes a few miles away from the river, you will still get the occasional view of the mighty Douro.
The route uses the Bemposta Dam to cross the Douro and enter into Spain; we will meet up with the river again some 60 miles (96 kms) as you approach the hotel in Zamora.
But before then; there is one more dam to cross, the Almendra Dam. The reservoir that backs up behind the dam covers 86.5 square kms and contains 2.5 billion cubic metres of water as well as several drowned villages, among them Argusinos. The dam is more than half a km wide and, at a height of 202 metres, one of Spain's tallest structures. It really is a sight to behold. From here it is an easy drive of about 1hr along a straight road, rare for this route.
I have awarded 5 stars ***** for this route. The roads and scenery are excellant and it has very good attractions.
RP 10 The glorious N221
RP 18. Almendra Dam
Useful links:
Hotel Viseu Garden
Hotel Rey Don Sancho, Zamora

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Waypoint, used to construct the route
Sight, here you can see something
Viewpoint, a short stop for taking a picture
Stopping point, for hotel, lunch, etc
Attention, see the text in the waypoint for more information

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About this region
Viseu (Portuguese pronunciation: [viˈzew] (listen)) is a city and municipality in the Centro Region of Portugal and the capital of the district of the same name, with a population of 100,000 inhabitants, and center of the Viseu Dão Lafões intermunipical community, with 267,633 inhabitants. Settled during the period of the early Iberian Castro culture, the territory of Viseu was populated by a series of cultures including the Romans, Suebs, Visigoths and Moors. During the Roman occupation of Iberia, Viriathus, rebel leader of the Lusitanians, is assumed to have lived for a time in the vicinity. During the Middle Ages, the city often served as seat for Visigothic nobles (such as King Roderic), and is considered one of the probable birthplaces of Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal.Viseu is a regional economic hub with a strong wine industry and is the seat of international conglomerate Visabeira. The city is also a cultural center, home to the nationally acclaimed Grão Vasco Museum, seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Viseu, and pole of national universities, including the Catholic University of Portugal.
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