Some 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Lisbon, Montejunto is the highest peak in the Estremadura wine region and can be seen for miles around. A national protected landscape that’s popular with cyclists and hikers, the mountain is also the site of prehistoric settlements and some of Portugal’s oldest ruins. The Basics
Rising 2,185 feet (666 meters) above sea level, Montejunto is an important landmark in coastal Portugal. The mountain’s lower slopes are used for farming, while higher up the mountainside is covered in pine, chestnut, and oak forest. At the peak, rocky limestone outcrops hide grottos and caves, and ancient settlements have been found on the mountain that date back to prehistoric times.
Nowadays, Montejunto is a magnet for hikers, mountain bikers, and bird-watchers who come to spot the 75 bird species that call the mountain home. Hikers and cyclists often head to Salvé Rainha Viewpoint, which has views on a clear day all the way out to the Berlengas Islands, more than 30 miles (50 kilometers) away. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- On the trail up to the top of Montejunto, you’ll see the ruins of a 12th-century convent and chapel, one of the oldest in Portugal.
- Combine a walk to the top of Montejunto with a visit to the unusual Royal Ice Factory (Real Fábrica do Gelo), which once supplied ice to the royal palaces of Portugal.
- Hiking Montejunto is not suitable for people with limited mobility.
- If you’re planning to hike, wear sturdy footwear and sunscreen and bring water with you.
Montejunto Mountain is best accessed by car from Lisbon along the E1 highway. Mountain bikes can be rented in Lisbon city center.
When to Get There
The trails at Montejunto are open all year round and particularly popular spring through fall, when the weather is sunny. As with all outdoor pursuits, check the weather before you set out; there is limited shade on parts of the mountain if the weather is hot. The area around Montejunto is especially lively in the fall, around the region’s wine harvest.
Visit the Royal Palace at Sintra
For a taste of life as a Portuguese royal, head to the hilltop Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena) in the town of Sintra, about an hour south of Montejunto Mountain. Painted bright red and yellow with blue azulejo
tiles, the fairy-tale building was constructed at the request of King Consort Ferdinand II, on the site of a former monastery. Visitors can tour the interiors and extensive grounds and enjoy panoramic views from the palace, designed as the royal summer residence.