Chasing Waterfalls in Northern Portugal

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Northern Portugal is a a much less visited area than the Algarve, Lisbon or even Porto, but has so so much to offer. In many ways it resembles Spain very much, except that there is obviously much more water in the ground, and so it remains green and lush year round. The waterfalls and natural pools in the area also benefit from this availability of water. The easiest way to get here is to fly into Porto and drive up the coast - I would recommend spending a night in Porto and visiting the beachfront in the Foz district. It's the wealthiest part of Porto and is packed with fun beach bars and has a great boardwalk area.

Like all the best waterfalls, it's next to impossible to find!

20 minutes driving from the coast, 15 more minutes of cross country driving over bumps, rocks, round increasingly tight corners and then a five minute walk is 'all' you need to do to get to Cascata do Pincho, an hour north of Porto. However, chasing waterfalls has never been more rewarding, and the deep open pools below the gentle falls are warm enough to swim in, and deep enough to dive into from the rocks 20 feet above.

Waterfall after waterfall after waterfall...

My favourite thing about this waterfall (aside the clear deep water and privacy) is the multi-level falls. If you have the time, energy and frankly, the courage for it, you can climb up each layer of the falls, and the are at least six or seven other major pools further upstream, all with a different shape carved out by the never-ending flow of the water.

The water stays here year-round, and only in the height of Summer do crowds become a slight problem. I was there a few weeks ago at the end of August and it was empty! As well as visiting the waterfall, there are a number of great campsites in the area, and several beaches where gentle and consistent waves can be found - my favourite is Afife Beach.

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The author

Joe Thorpe

Joe Thorpe

I am Joe. I grew up in the UK, have lived in Africa and Paris, and now reside in Spain. An outdoor enthusiast, I like nothing more than to find a deserted beach, build a campfire and enjoy the view.

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