Minas dos Carris is a former mining complex located in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, on the border with Spain. It has been abandoned since the 1970s. The complex was composed of several mining concessions, the main ones being Salto do Lobo, Corgas das Negras, and Lamalonga.
Mining in the area began in the 1940s, tungsten was a metal that was widely exploited and mined in Portugal in the mid-20th century. Exploration in the Gerês mountains reached its peak in the 1950s and had declined by the end of the 1970s, at which point the mine was abandoned.
The site is only accessible by land routes and on foot, there are several trails leading to or through the mining concession. It is possible to reach this complex from the north, via the Shadow Mine, an abandoned mining complex on the Spanish side. There are also trails that reach the site from the east or south. But the most common route starts near Portela do Homem, along the Homem River Valley following the old path that linked the mine to the road of Portela do Homem. It is the shortest way to reach the site but it is quite demanding and although it is the fastest it always takes about six to seven hours round trip.
The routes to the place are always loaded with a unique beauty that only the Serra do Gerês can provide, it is regular to spot wild horses grazing or goats perched in the ravines. When the weather is clear the view is breathtaking—after all, it stands at an altitude of 1,500 meters. In the winter, the area is covered in snow and creates an even more surreal atmosphere.
At the site, you can see several buildings that used to support the mining industry, all in ruins. There is an artificial lake at the northern end of the complex and several underground access shafts.
The presence of wild animals, the ruins in a desolate state, the granite landscape of the Serra do Gerês, the existence of wells to go underground and above all the fact that we are in an extremely remote place, give Minas dos Carris a strong feeling of magic and amazement.
Know Before You Go
It is wise to go prepared because it is a remote place, abandoned and with wild animals. Please take precautions because the access is very demanding. Careful around the ruins and take note of the shafts.