When we think about tourist destinations in Portugal, there is always the usual, Lisbon, Porto and Algarve. But, Portugal is much more than these destinations. The interior and center of our country, has incredible places and that undoubtedly deserve to be explored.
There are 12 villages that make up the network of Historical Villages in Portugal. We only know 6, but as soon as we have the opportunity to go to the north of Portugal, we will pass in the other 6.
They are all built with granite and shale and preserve the history of conquests and traditions, we can see by their castles, people and crafts, that still make themselves felt.
#1 – Monsanto
The village of Monsanto was one of the villages we liked the most. It was elected in 1938 the most Portuguese village in Portugal and we could not agree more with this title.
It was the most alive village we visited, both tourist and local. Tourists are mostly Spanish and visitors arriving on tours (many Asians). The sites convey a lot of empathy. Despite the emblematic name of the village, they live their normal lives and interact a lotwith each other in the streets.
The village stands out in the distance as it sits atop a hill and the surrounding environment is flat. Even at the top is the castle. To get to the castle requires some physical predisposition – it is not a difficult route, but it is a little steep and if it is in the summer, it is very hot. One thing is certain, anything that requires a little effort, it pays off. The view of the castle could not be left behind, it is wonderful and very wide you can see a very large area of the territory.
As we walk down the village alleyways, we get lost in time. It is unique It has rock everywhere and they were used for the construction of their houses.
#2 – SORTELHA
Sortelha is in the county of Sabugal. Perhaps because we have never heard of this village, this was undoubtedly the one that surprised us most. We were not prepared, much less waiting, from what we were going to witness.
We came from the side of the bell tower, thinking that what we saw was the village, when we came across the Door of the village of Sortelha. As soon as we entered, we were astonished. In fact, we were not even waiting for the medieval village we saw. It looks like a real movie set. There were almost no people, the houses built of granite from the area, were very authentic and every clean.
A quiet and untouched place, an authentic open-air museum. Inside this medieval ring is the castle – the view is phenomenal.
We learned that the village only has one resident, a problem that affects many villages in the interior of Portugal ..
#3 – PIODÃO
The Piodão is one of the most well-known villages in Portugal, with so much mediatism, we went with some fear that did not correspond to expectations. But no … it was just the opposite. We had come from a cascade, called “Fraga da Pena” through the mountains of the Serra do Açor, with breathtaking views, when we changed direction, to begin to descend the Serra and we are surprised to see the village in the background.
The houses all overlaid, one on top of the other, in shades of brown, with their doors and windows in blue and white. The village has two restaurants, a mother church and an information point, where you can get some curiosities and history. The village also has a river beach, very pleasant and where you breathe tranquility.
#4 – CASTELO-NOVO
Castelo Novo is a labyrinth-style village, which sits atop a hill, with many touring houses, many of them built in granite. It has a different castle with a metal walkway. At the entrance of the castle, there is a tourist information point, where you can go to discover the history of the village.
Below, before ascending to the historic center, there is a river beach. The beach is very natural, with grass to lay offl, without many people and where you can be a bit quiet before visiting the village.
#5 – BELMONTE
Belmonte is located in the district of Catelo Branco and was the first of the historical villages we visited.
It was the land of Pedro Álvares Cabral and has a view over the eastern settlement of Serra da Estrela. Its name derives from the words Belo and Monte, it is well understood why.
The village is very well structured, everything is arranged
Idanha-a-Velha was the only village we visited, which was not at the top of hills. It is small, flat and wide.
The village has centenary trees, many fruit trees and residents with a bank to sell their regional products.
Villages in the map