They can be very small dots in the world map, but it was thanks to them that the fate of a country was changed. Strategically placed next to the Spanish border, The Historical Villages of Portugal are the result of the endeavour of many generations of Kings who were concerned about territorial defense and decided to populate and fortify the area.
Nowadays the Historical Villages of Portugal are a deeply cherished destination for both national and international travellers. Places of fascinating Historical heritage, beautifully placed at the centre of breathtaking natural landscapes, as far as the eye can reach. Places for conscious travellers who treasure sustainability put into action and not just a strong concept written in neon letters. Places for active tourism that offer a great profusion of challenging biking and walking routes. Places for foodies who enjoy tasting genuine traditional flavours and outstanding endogenous products. Places made of authentic people that make you feel at home. Like you belong.
The 12 Historical Villages of Portugal are true strongholds of the past with their eyes on a more sustainable future for generations to come. The Historical Villages are committed to carbon neutrality. Building a better planet.
The Historical Villages of Portugal and the municipalities have signed a deal with the Agency for Energy, E-REDES and GREENVOLT Communities for carbon neutrality. According to this deal all signing parties aim at reaching an efficient position in terms of water and energy. The goal is the reduction of 45% of carbon dioxide until 2030.
As far as energy communities are concerned, this pilot project will be implemented in the Historical Villages of Sortelha and Linhares da Beira, but all the Historical Villages will be covered. Obtaining a clean and cheaper energy for all stands out as the main goal of this pioneering project.
Furthermore, in 2022 the Historical Villages have signed a partnership with Renault Portugal that supplied 5 electric cars in the Historical Village of Castelo Novo, a project that will also be put into motion in other Historical Villages.
Located in a vast high plain overlooking the Côa River, Almeida was one of the most important strongholds in Portugal during Modern Age. Although it had been occupied by humans since the Palaeolithic, it was only during the Arabic period that it received the name al mêda, which means “the table”, possibly referring to the flat soil in which the village was established.
The Land of the Jews and the Cabrais birthplace, Belmonte is a part of a defensive line which, prior to the signature of the Alcanizes Treaty in 1297, protected Alto Côa. After the border was defined, Belmonte Castle progressively lost its strategic importance and the population began to grow outside its walls.
Placed in the wild landscape which surrounds the Côa River, the village of Castelo Mendo was, throughout the middle ages, a vastly important urban centre because it was close to the border and had excellent defence characteristics at the time gained its independence.
Built on top of a hill exposed to the rocks of Serra da Gardunha, the village of Castelo Novo is related to the first years of the Portuguese independence. Like many other villages, Castelo Novo grew around its walls with narrow streets which go around the slope until they reach the keep. Castelo Novo was distinguished as "Best Tourism Village by UNWTO".
The history of this mountain range in Serra da Marofa is only told by legends according to which Castelo Rodrigo first appeared because of the Vettones and an old castle which they might have built there. However, the first traces of occupation of this area date back to medieval times and the castle which rises, impressive and tall, protecting the medieval village of Castelo Rodrigo was built by King Alfonso IX of Léon.Castelo Rodrigo was distinguished as "Best Tourism Village by UNWTO".
A small village located on the banks of the Pônsul River, Idanha-a-Velha is unique because of its beauty and ancient history. It was created during the 1st century B.C., when Emperor Augustus ruled, and its name was Civitas Igaedinorum. It played an essential role in transport routes between Coimbra and Mérida.
Built on the northwest slope of Serra da Estrela, the town of Linhares da Beira rises amidst a wonderful landscape. Because of its location, which enables an effective defence, this village might have been occupied since the Iron Age during which an old castle was built. The paragliding capital!
Nowadays, with its imposing castle, walls and a solid keep rising from the rocks, Marialva stands out in the surrounding landscape, rising like a memory from Medieval times. Occupied since Pre-history, it was the centre of a Lusitanian tribe, the Aravos, who built a hill fort and fought bravely against the Roman invasions.
Engraved into the slope of a great steep elevation, Monsanto rises suddenly and proudly with its granite houses which simultaneously stand out and are swollen by the rocks. The village, which was considered the most Portuguese village of the country in 1938, has been inhabited since Paleolithic times.
Beautifully built upon the ledges of Açor Mountain, the village of Piódão is harmoniously craved into the nature that surrounds it and that seems to be a part of. Its schist houses with slate roofs, which blend with the irregular pavement of the streets and with the colours of the Mountain, are connected by stairs which overcome the unevenness of the ground. A true Christmas postcard!
Built upon a granite massif near Serra de Opa, Sortelha is a small village which has kept its medieval outline. Its houses, surrounded by the walls of the majestic castle, follow the irregularities of the land.
Trancoso is a History class made of stone. It still maintains the solemnity of medieval times during which the majestic castle and its fifteen towers protected the border and there is a glory feeling to it because national independence was bravely fought here.