Summer image of the Zêzere Glacier Valley
About 30,000 years ago, the appearance of this location was considerably different. Provided by the strict Wurm climate, Estrela Mountain reached its glacier peak in the highest altitudes. The mass of ice that carved and covered the Zêzere Valley surpassed 300 meters thickness. This one was fed by the icy cap of the Tower Plateau and by Candieira glacier. In its greater extension, about 8km, it presents an SSW-NNE orientation and the “melting” point was near the place where the town of Manteigas is currently located.
In the image we can see the characteristic U-shaped configuration of the valleys modelled by glaciers. In the foreground, on both slopes, we see granite blocks accumulations, that were dragged and deposited by the glacier tongue. Although not very noticeable, one can see, at the bottom of the image, a little to the right, a small crest that develops along the half-slope. Located just upstream of the Candieira waterfall, it extends to the middle of the course of the river, causing in this place a diversion of the Zêzere waters. It is Espinhaço de Cão and it is indeed a glacier moraine. This deposit of granite blocks was formed by the interception of the Zêzere and the Candieira glaciers.
Estrela Mountain is a natural area of excellence for nature lovers
With almost 2000m above sea level, Estrela is the highest mountain of continental Portugal. Its imposing and spectacular rocky landscape is deeply marked with the scars left by the glaciers of erstwhile. Furthermore, it features mountain-specific habitats and numerous endemic species of plants and animals, some of which do not exist anywhere else in the world.
Wildlife Portugal offers interpretive tours to this magnificent mountain area, on foot or by car. See our page for more information or contact us.