I never was a big fan of river beaches, I used to think that if there are no waves to play, there is no fun and, in consequence, river beaches did not appeal to me at all. But because our family has a house near the biggest mountains range in Portugal, we started to explore all the river beaches, dams, ponds, lagoons and lakes. We started to explore every place where we could refresh ourselves.
The big discovery for me was that the region is full of beautiful places for you to cool down and over the years I learned to enjoy a good swim on fresh water. As a family, we have some special places.
The first one is nestled on glacial valley on the North side of the mountain. It is a crystal water pool built by nature (with a little help of man) surrounded by big and round rocks. The water is not cold: it is freezing cold. But that is the joy of it. Every year, when I get there I say to myself “I can’t do it” and every year the place takes over me and pushes me into to the water. At first my body is in shock but then when I look up to those beautiful mountains, feeling the fresh and cold water running through my skin and bones I feel so alive that I do not want to leave it.
This year we rediscovered Lagoa Comprida. It is a man-made lake created by hydro-electrical dam that was built up from a natural lake at 1550m above the sea level. The surrounding lunar landscape gives the feeling of being in the surreal. An intriguing, but breathtaking place. The water is clear but its muddy ground sometimes freaks me out. But again, I can not say no to a swim at the top of the world, can I?
These are just two places but within Serra da Estrela between the curves you will find places that if it would not blow your mind it will definitely refresh you on the hot summer days.