European Summit Challenge
Portugal - Torre 1993m

Last updated February 2005


Portugal's official highest point is Ponta do Pico (2351m) on the Azores, an island way out in the Atlantic Ocean. Is this within Europe? Torre "Tower" (1993m) on the other hand is in the Serra da Estrela a range of granite mountain in central Portugal, and is the highest point on the mainland.

Established in 1976, the 950 square kilometre Parque Natural Da Serra Da Estrela was set up to protect Portugal's premier outdoor playground. Much need protection when you see the "Tower" (built on the orders of King João VI (1816-1826) to complete the 2000m) has now been joined by a car park, resturants, chapel, and Portugese air force radar installation. Facilities for skiers have now been added to the slopes to complete the commercialisation.

The western section consists of a high plateau, and it is here that the unpredictable weather of the Serra da Estrela can proove ones undoing. Expect hill fog at all times of the year, and with it navigational difficulties.



It is possible to drive to the summit on roads from the villages of Sabugueiro, Manteigas, and Covilhã, but this would not be much of a challenge.

Instead the summit can be reached via a network of waymarked trails;

Manteigas to Torre - Via T11 and T1 trails - (17.5 Km, ~1250m ascent)

The T11 trail winds it's way up hill from Manteigas for approximately 4 km before a spliting into the T11 and T12. Continue on the T11 southwards across high alpine landscape with views eastward over the Vale do Zezere for 9.5 km before joining the T1 trail near the trigulation post on Cume (1858m). Follow the T1 trail in a south-easterly direction toward the summit of Torre (1993m), crossing the 339 road on route.

Manteigas to Torre - Via T11, T12 and T1 trails - (19.5 Km, ~1250m ascent)

The T11 trail winds it's way up hill from Manteigas for approximately 4 km before a spliting into the T11 and T12. Take the T12 trail for 3km and you will be standing at the junction with the T1 near the north-western end of the Rossim reservior. Follow the T1 trail southward for 12.5 Km to the summit Torre.


For an on-line, scaleable map visit MultiMap.


The Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela produce a 1:50,000 map identical to the civilian topographic survey, updated in 1998. Contours interval is 25 metres. Tourist information, prepared by the park authority, shows hiking paths, campsites, pousadas, youth hostels, shelters and refuges, places of interest, information centres, etc. Margin ticks indicate latitude and longitude in steps of 5'. Map legend includes English.

Map Sample of the 1:50,000 map.
Buy from Stanfords, London, UK.


Camping : All land above 1200m has been designated a protected area in which wild camping is strictly prohibited. There are however official campsites at Albergaria, tucked away at the southern end of the Vale do Zezere, and at Vale do Rossim a few kilometres west of Manteigas.


The city of Guarda is normally considered the gateway to the Serra da Estrela, and lies on the Portuguese rail network. However it is probably too far north for all but a traverse of the entire range. Those with less time will want to start nearer to the higher summits, usually at Manteigas or Covilhã, the latter also lying on the rail network.

USEFUL LINKS is the regional tourist information website for the Serra da Estrela, but currently caters only for those who can read Portuguese.

Click on and to visit the website of the Portuguese Tourest office.