Mention Azores to some and the picture that comes to mind is this exotic place speckled with white sands and some beach huts a short distance from the palm tree-lined Caribbean-style bathtub seas. To others, they just have no idea where on the global map such a place exists. And understandably so. For so long, the Azores (an autonomous region of Portugal) have remained one of the most mysterious destinations in Europe. And probably their location has a lot to do with it.
The Southern European nation of Portugal is a beautiful and fascinating destination on the Iberian Peninsula. Countless visitors head to the country each year on holiday in order to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Algarve, the delicious wines of Porto and the extraordinary culture of larger cities like Aveiro and Lisbon. Few international travellers know about the many lakes found in Portugal. Read on to learn more about seven of the most beautiful and exciting lake destinations in the country.
1. Lagoa Corvos
This beautiful lake is one of the most popular in all of Portugal. It is fed by the Mondego River which in turns empties a few miles away at the coast. The lake is a great place to swim or even to try kayaking and canoeing, but the nearby coast as well as the Mondego River are much more popular. Visitors can stay overnight at the town of Figueira da Foz, take a surfing lesson or dine on incredibly fresh and delicious seafood at one of the local restaurants along the beach.
2. Pateira de Fermentelos
This is the largest natural lake in all of the Iberian Peninsula. It is specifically known for being home to a wide variety of diverse flora and fauna including ducks, butterflies, fish and frogs. It is fed by two different rivers, the Cértima and the Águeda, which converge at the lake. The nearest city is Aveiro, which offers plenty of accommodation choices for visitors.
3. Lagoa da Vela
This stunning destination is known for its natural beauty and quiet solitude. It is relatively close to the Lagoa Corvos and feeds off of the same Mondego River. It is a much quieter destination, provides excellent hiking opportunities and is great for unusual holidays in Portugal.
4. Lagoa da Pedreira
This lake is not a natural formation but was created due to mining and a large quarry in the area. Directly translated, the name Lagoa da Pedreira actually means Lagoon of the Quarries. While swimming is popular, it is rarely used for that purpose by locals. The best way to enjoy the lake is simply to walk along the perimeter, enjoy the abundant wildlife in the area or try your hand at fishing in the lake. The nearest town is Póvoa de Varzim and accommodations there include a few affordable Portuguese villas that are ideal for families.
5. Lagoa de Óbidos
More of a lagoon than a lake, the Lagoa de Óbidos is located in the districts of Óbidos and Caldas da Rainha in Portugal. It is one of the larger water sources in Portugal and empties out into the nearby Atlantic Ocean along the country’s coast. Visitors to the area can visit the nearby town of Óbidos for authentic Portuguese dining, a few small guesthouses and hotels and a chance to tour the impressive medieval fortress. The fortress is actually home to many of the local residents. There is no fee associated with visiting or even swimming in the Lagoa de Óbidos.
6. Lagoa do Caldeirão
This lake is not on the mainland of Portugal, but instead is located on the Portuguese Island of Corvo. The lake itself is found in a crater in the middle of the island. The depth of the lake is an astonishing three hundred meter at the deepest point. Accommodations on the island include lavish Portuguese villas as well as smaller local guesthouses.
7. Lagoa do Negro
This lake is another that is found on the Portuguese Island of Terceira rather than on the Portuguese mainland itself. The lake is a popular swimming destination on the island for locals and visitors alike.
The Beautiful Spillway at Covao do Conchos
An addition to the above lakes in portugal, you will find this amazing man-wonder at Covao do Conchos in the Serra da Estrela mountains. This dam was built in the 50s, where water spills down a 5000ft tunnel. Go to 2 miniutes into this video below to see this mesmerizing dam.
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