Lima Escape is what estate agents would call ‘wonderfully appointed’. Nestled on the western-edge of Peneda-Gerês National Park (also known simply as Gerês), where 70,000 hectares of vast, amphitheatre-shaped space wows visitors each year with its deep river valleys, colossal peaks, and magical forests of oak and sweet-scented pine. With so much exploring to be done, you’ll need a campsite close-by where you can sleep off that sweet hiker's fatigue. Thankfully Lima Escape ticks that box and many more...
The site is huge (there’s capacity for 400 campers), yet it seems to maintain an intimate atmosphere whilst still showing off the site's vast, spectacular natural beauty. And what natural beauty there is. Pitching up in lush woodlands, surrounded by oak and pine trees, whilst the River Lima snakes its way nearby is a real pleasure for even the most seasoned camper. When the torches are switched off, and all you hear is the wind in the trees and the patter of weaving water, you realise Lima Escape is a bona fide camping nirvana.
One thing’s for sure, you won’t get bored. If you’re an enthusiastic rambler, you’ll love the surrounding mountains which offer a multitude of high-elevation paths and mountain biking treks, with views to knock your socks off. Gerês (Portugal’s major National Park) is spread across four dramatic granite peaks, and is especially popular with hikers in April and May when it’s twisting trails bloom with wildflowers.
The park is home to over 140 bird species including the eagle owl, honey buzzard and the whinchat, all of which are seldom seen elsewhere in Portugal. Animal lovers are also in luck, with ibex, wolf (don’t get too close!), pine martin, stoat and wild Garrano ponies all roaming the parks many moorlands.
Back at Lima Escape, your time is very much your own. In the evenings many choose to rendezvous by the snack bar, taking advantage of the full-flavoured food (homemade pies, sausages and hamburgers), or sipping a cold beer on the terrace. However, if you’d prefer some ‘me time’, Lima is the kind of peaceful, unspoiled patch where you can unwind without the fear of being disturbed.
Facilities2 stone buildings with hot showers and toilets fully renovated in 2017-2018 (separate women and mens), 1 washing machine (€4.50 per cycle), snack bar and a Restaurant with 2 shady terraces, 1 small stage for live music performances happening on some Summer nights and a free Wi-Fi zone. There are 2 common use covered BBQ places with tables and electric plugs to aid cooking campers looking for somewhere friendly to make and enjoy their meals. Tipis and bell tents are each pitched on a wooden terrace (with their own toilets) overlooking the River Lima and decorated in an oriental style with soft furnishings, table and chairs.
Suitable ForTents, glampers, campervans, caravans, small groups and dogs – yes.
Across the valley divided by the Rio Lima lies the loveably authentic Portuguese town of Lindoso. Offering a glimpse into what Soajo may have looked like before the tourist money rolled in, Lindoso is a delight to stroll through with its iconic stone houses, local women washing at communal fountains and chickens pecking merrily on paths. The town’s highlight is its petite, hilltop fortress that’s guarded the Lima Valley since medieval times. Also worth checking out is Lindoso’s recently restored castle, which was built in the 13th century by Alfonso III, and later reinforced by his son Dom Dinis. Today, it houses a small exhibition on the castle and its surrounding region. Tranquil Ponte Da Barca (12 minute drive) has a romantic riverfront park, enchanting sixteenth century bridge and tiny old centre that’s a joy to discover. It’s also a great source of information on how best to explore the magnificent Peneda-Gerês National Park. The town bursts into life every other Wednesday when a huge market spreads along the river. Culture vulture? Then venture 60km to Portugal’s third largest city, Braga. The bells of over 30 churches are a constant reminder of Braga’s devotion to the spiritual world. The town interweaves with ancient narrow streets, open plazas and boasts an impressive array of baroque churches. Adrenaline junkies will find pleasure here too, with plenty of water adventures right on your doorstep. Canoeing, canyoning and river hikes are all on the activity menu, with many others in the close surroundings of the park. If you want to try something different, go rafting in the late autumn and winter seasons when the rivers are much more full and fast!
Food & DrinkThere’s an onsite snack bar serving a wide variety of sandwiches, locally-made pies, sausages and hamburgers on a shaded terrace. There is a shop in reception, which offers a fresh bread delivery and sells the essentials groceries including camping gas, milk, cheese, hams and other local specialties. In 2014 the campsite also opened the restaurant “Ageda do Artur” tastefully decorated to the customs and traditions of the Alto Minho region, serving locally sourced produce (where possible), house wine from the local vinery and a fabulous choice of regional cuisine, including a great choice of meat like Bife à Chefe – local beef-stake, Posta à moda de Adega, Bacalhau (typical cod fish), Octopus and Cabrito (mountain kid made in a traditional firewood oven) and also salads and some vegeterian dishes (which are rather rare at the region). Lindoso (15 minutes) has another restaurant, with similar prices.
Opening TimesAll year (except 2 weeks at the end of November).
The Owner Says
Out team is waiting for you and we hope to make your stay really special and unforgettable!
AccommodationThe site has capacity for 400 people within a large, wooded area where pine trees and oaks provide shade. 2 tipis, 2 bell tents, 5 treehouse bungalows, 1 Shepherd’s hut and 1 'regular' raised apartment also available for hire.
There is an everyday shuttle bus from the Porto airport to Ponte de Barca where you can catch the other bus to Lindoso which stops 20 meters from the camping site (Entre Ambos-os-Rios), take a taxi (it´s about 8-10 euros from village to camping site) or contact the site to pick you up. Lima’s nearest train station is Braga where there’s a bus connection with Ponte de Barca and Arcos de Valdevez. From Ponte da Barca there are 2 buses per day to Lindoso, which stop in Entre Ambos-os-Rios, or you can call Anna who will pick you up from the village.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★☆ over 3 reviews
Great Value at Portuguese River site, Lima Escape
Not as glamour as it could have been!
We recently stayed 3 night in a tipi here and while the location and site is stunning, we were disappointed with the glamping. There was basically just a bed in the tipi - no extras or useful things like a place to store clothes. No useful accessories. For 55 euro a night, we thought it was a let down and only saved by the great location. For camping (with you own kit) i say you are on to a winner!
“by the River Lima I sat down and escaped...”
I have had the privilege to be the first one to experience the bungalow, one of their glamping options.
The experience was most rewarding for my kids, that had the opportunity to jump around as much as they could before we went for a nice dinner, having a typical local dish, in a very cozy restaurant.
The experience of sitting on the varanda during the evening twilight, with nothing but the sounds of the pine trees and oaks, the shy birds that once in a while allow us a glance was a moment of peace.
My purpose of the stay was to rest and stack energy for a hard week coming up, but it was so quiet that the privacy of the bungalow allowed me to be in bed looking through the window.
I was exhausted but the dawning sun awoke me gently and made me sit up and see the whole morning sun rising, from 5:30 to 7:00 am - with the calm waters of the River Lima mirroring the golden light through the surrounding green and yellow tones.
It is just like having a hotel room with all comfort in the wood! A small kitchen allowed me to make my own breakfast just as I like it and the whole room breaths the care of little details that made us feel welcomed.
I can't wait to repeat the experience - so do my kids! :)