Caniçada Dam Adventure: Perfect Destination for Water Sports

Praia fluvial na Barragem da Caniçada, Gerês.
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The Caniçada Dam (Barragem da Caniçada) is located in the Cávado River basin, with Terras de Bouro municipality on one side and Vieira do Minho on the other, in Northern Portugal.

Its reservoir’s water surface makes it a sought-after spot for water sports enthusiasts, like Stand Up Paddle (SUP), boat rides, or simply for swimming.

I must say, I’ve spent some incredible weekends with family in this little paradise, just over an hour from Porto.

I particularly enjoyed the water temperature, surprisingly not cold! The absence of current also enhances the enjoyment of the river beach. Discover what to expect from a day at the river beaches of Caniçada Dam, including what to see and do.

So, are you joining us on this journey?

Best Things To Do and See at Caniçada Dam (or nearby)

Stand Up Paddle (SUP) na Barragem da Caniçada.
Stand Up Paddle (SUP) in Caniçada Dam.
Praia fluvial na Barragem da Caniçada.
River beach at Caniçada Dam.

Practicing Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and kayaking at Caniçada Dam.

Water sports enthusiasts will feel like they’re in paradise at Caniçada Dam! In fact, even though I’m not a big fan of this type of activity, I must say I loved every minute I spent doing SUP.

I think the fact that there are hardly any waves at the dam makes it very easy to get on the board and stay on it without falling, of course.

My kids also loved the experience, which makes me confident in saying that SUP is an excellent activity for families.

In addition to Stand Up Paddle, Caniçada Dam also offers kayaks for rent. Give it a try and have fun!

Spending a day at Gerês Water Park

Water Park Gerês is a water park located at Alqueirão Beach, in Terras de Bouro.

It’s perfect for those who want to spend a day enjoying the river beach and the water play structures, making it popular among families and groups of young people.

Visiting São Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary

São Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary is only 11 km away from Caniçada Dam, so it’s definitely worth including in your itinerary.

Exploring Peneda-Gerês National Park

Cascata de Pincães.
Pincães waterfall.
Ponte da Mizarela, às portas do Gerês.
Mizarela Bridge.
Aldeia de Fafião
Fafião Village.
Garranos (cavalos selvagens), no Gerês.
Garranos (wild horses).
Ver garranos, ou cavalos selvagens, no Gerês.
Observing garranos, or wild horses, in Gerês.

The Peneda-Gerês National Park is just a stone’s throw from the Caniçada Dam and has so much to see and do that it would be a shame not to explore it.

The challenge you may encounter is choosing what to see in the park, and to help you with that, here are my suggestions: Pincães Waterfall, Misarela Bridge, and the communal village of Fafião.

And if you want to delve deeper into this natural paradise, then read about what to see and do in Gerês.

Accommodation near Caniçada Dam

Adelaide Hotel, vila do Gerês.
Adelaide Hotel, in Gerês village.

As I mentioned before, the Caniçada Dam spans territories of the municipalities of Terras de Bouro and Vieira do Minho.

There are different types of accommodation in this region, ranging from hotels to guesthouses and local lodgings, many of which are close to the river beaches.

So, the Hotel São Bento da Porta Aberta & Spa (4 stars) is a reference in the region, especially suitable for those who do not want to forgo comfort.

Other hotel suggestions of this kind are the Pousada RIO CALDO (4 stars) and the Pousada Geres-Caniçada (4 stars), although the latter is a bit further away from the dam.

However, for those who prefer more economical options, the Adelaide Hotel (2 stars) is usually a safe choice. I have stayed at this hotel several times and find it to have a good price-quality ratio.

And if you didn’t like any of these suggestions, then explore the map below, with all the accommodations and Airbnbs available in Gerês.

Hotels in Gerês, Portugal

Everything you need to know before visiting the Caniçada Dam?

Praia fluvial na Barragem da Caniçada, Gerês.
River beach at Caniçada Dam, Gerês.
Stand Up Paddle (SUP) no Gerês.
Stand Up Paddle (SUP) in Gerês.

What are the river beaches at Caniçada Dam?

In the reservoir of Caniçada Dam, there are several river beaches, but the most well-known are Alqueirão River Beach, Barca River Beach, and Ribeira Gerês River Beach.

However, further north, there are two more river beaches worth visiting: Barragem River Beach and Gerês Albufeira River Beach, located near the Hydroelectric Plant and Vilarinho das Furnas.

So, there are five suggestions of river beaches at Caniçada Dam to include in your itinerary.

How are the river beaches at Caniçada Dam?

Praia fluvial na Caniçada, durante o verão.
River beach at Caniçada, during the summer.

The river beaches at Caniçada Dam have almost a sandy area and the water temperature is warmer compared to river beaches, as the water is stagnant.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that sometimes there are rocks in the water, which can hurt your feet if you are not careful.

Are there parking lots near the river beaches at Caniçada Dam?

There are free parking lots at some river beaches, as well as safe places to park along the road.

But keep in mind that, especially during peak summer, parking spaces are clearly limited compared to demand.

So, it’s a good idea to go early in the morning to find parking, or choose accommodation where you can walk to the beaches.

Map and how to get to Caniçada Dam

Caniçada Dam is located 82 km from Porto and 391 km from Lisbon. However, to see the best route for your trip, I suggest consulting the map below.

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