One Of Europe’s Highest Waterfalls Is Located In Northern Portugal

Image of Fisgas do Ermelo waterfalls in Portugal.

Image of Fisgas do Ermelo waterfalls in Portugal. Credit: Bhavagati/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

ONE of the largest and most impressive waterfalls on the European continent is in Portugal.

Spain’s neighbour is full of charming cities and locations that are highly appreciated internationally. However, it also has other surprising corners containing lesser-known natural jewels that can be enjoyed at a different pace.

In the north of Portugal, located between the towns of Vila Real and Guimaraes, is where the Fisgas do Ermelo can be found.

The falls are one of the highest in Portugal, with a 200-metre drop

These spectacular waterfalls with a 200-metre drop are one of the highest in Portugal. To access them, visitors must follow the official route that is perfectly signposted as PR3 MDB. This trail begins next to the parish church of Ermelo, in the Mondim de Basto municipality in the Portuguese district of Vila Real.

The Fisgas do Ermelo trail, which surrounds the famous waterfalls of the Olo River, is one of the most iconic in Portugal. In addition to going through the villages of Ermelo and Varzigueto, along the way, there are also different viewpoints where tourists can stop and enjoy the magnificent views of Serra de Alvão.

In addition to the waterfalls, this protected area has many more attractions. It brings together a wide variety of ecosystems and landscapes that are within a short distance of each other. This forms a true paradise for those who like to escape and spend a day of disconnection at one with nature.

The park contains natural lakes with crystal-clear water

Despite the fact that the Natural Park is relatively small in size, compared to others in Portugal, it has many high mountains from which numerous waterfalls emerge. There are also some natural lakes with crystalline waters, perfect for a good dip in their cold waters.

This small town, with about 500 inhabitants, seems to be indifferent to the passage of time. It has two areas, one more modern and close to the road, and another of rural houses with slate roofs and popular architecture typical of the area.

Among the places of interest, the Church of Santo Domingo de Ermelo and two small hermitages stand out, as well as a medieval bridge.

Above all though, what will catch everybody’s attention the most is that it is a village away from tourism and ideal for relaxing and forgetting everything for a few hours.

What is the best time to visit the falls?

This trail can be done all year round, but in spring and early summer, the waterfalls and lakes of Serra de Alvão are in full splendour.

It is best to avoid the rainy season or when the weather is too hot as there are areas that have a lot of unevenness and it can be somewhat complicated for those who are not in top shape.

How to get to the Fisgas do Ermelo

These spectacular waterfalls are located in the Alvão Natural Park, a short distance from Vila Real. The town can be accessed from the south via the N304 road, or from the north, via Varzigueto and the M1206 road.

After some distance, both roads join and visitors end up travelling along a mountain road. The trail starts in the town of Ermelo and is very well signposted for those who are not used to walking in the middle of nature.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at