The authenticity of a proud 900-year long history
Perched on the top of mountains, the Historical Villages can be spotted from afar by the tall towers of their mediaeval castles, strategically aligned along the border.
There are twelve in total, and we suggest a route that starts in the only place where there is no castle - Piódão. The village with schist houses, sits on a slope hidden in the wilds of Serra do Açor.
In Linhares da Beira, the castle built on a plateau, offers beautiful views. The historic centre of Trancoso, has a Jewish quarter where Hebrew symbols are engraved on the stones of the houses.
Marialva was an important military post in the Middle Ages, and Castelo Rodrigo preserves the ruins of another fortress. Seen from the air, the walls of Almeida form a twelve-pointed star. In Castelo Mendo, discover the figures carved in the stone of two houses.
Belmonte, the birthplace of the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral, who discovered Brazil in 1500, and welcomed Jews expelled from Castile in the 15th and 16th centuries, and there is still an active community that attends the synagogue. Sortelha sits on a rocky escarpment that forms a ring surrounding the village.
In Castelo Novo, the Town Hall, Jail and the Baroque style D. Joao V Fountain are notable. In Idanha-a-Velha you can see the ruins of the ancient Egitânia and the Visigoth cathedral.
Monsanto, is the last village on this tour and here it is normal to wonder if the house is born from the rock or the rock arises out of the house, so perfect is its integration into the landscape.
To organise your trip better, take a look at the offers of activities and accommodation that the Historical Villages have for you at www.aldeiashistoricasdeportugal.com