The Arouca Geopark is located in northern Portugal and inserted in the Hesperian Massif, and coincides with the Arouca municipality a valley which occupies an area of approximately 329 square kilometers. The entire territory is classified as “Arouca-Geopark” which is a member of the European Geoparks Network and UNESCO Global Geoparks Network .
Surrounded by a mountainous plateau, the region is delimited north by Serra do Gamarão, to the east the conic mountain of Mó and south by Serra da Freita and the ridge of Montemuro (alt. 1382 mt). The highest point of Arouca (1222 mt) is located at Pedra Posta, near Noninha.
Arouca Geopark – Geological Heritage
Alongside with the extensive animal fauna, The Arouca Geopark is renowned for its exceptional geological heritage of international significance, with 41 geosites of great interest. One in particular, located near the village of Castanheira, in the Freita Mountain, deserves attention.
A nodular granitic outcrop of about 1000 x 600 mt is the place of an extremely rare geological event, the formation of granite-cored, biotite-rimmed nodules of a size range from 2 to 12 cm, with discoid appearance, normally black with metallic sheen.
The nodules are interpreted as original bubbles formations generated in the most volatile region in the magmatic mass some 320 million years ago. – (more geological information on this phenomena can be found in :
“The nodular granite of Castanheira, north central Portugal: origin of the nodules and evidence for diapiric mobilization of granite” – R. J. Reavy, D. H. W. Hutton and A. A. Finch.
By thermoclasty and cryoclasty the nodules separate completely from the main granitic matrix and are called locally as “Pedras Parideiras” (or “deliverance rocks”) and locals often believe that the stones have mystic properties and as symbol of fertility.
My selected view of the region is precisely in the Freita mountain.
At an altitude of approximately 1100 mt, there is no limit to the eyes. Here we can find the Arouca IPMA weather radar, a construction 47 mt tall , and 13 story, inaugurated in 18 February 2015, and it’s the most advanced meteorological radar in Portugal.
The building is open to visitors by appointment, who can find in the 10th floor, a 360 º panoramic balcony with unsurpassed views to the surrounding region.
Here we can clearly see the sea, the Aveiro ria, Oporto, the mountains Estrela, Caramulo, Montemuro and the “frecha da Mizarela”, one of the tallest cascades in Europe.
It’s a must see and, surely a travel I recommend.