Trancoso is a city located in the Guarda district and one of the “12 Historical Villages of Portugal” (a program created to restore a series of villages in the Beira Interior region, older than the country itself). Nowadays, the historic center of Trancoso is still protected by a walled enclosure, which was built in the Middle Ages. And one of the most important monuments of this period is its Castle, an imposing medieval fortification with privileged views over the lands of Riba-Côa!
Located in Sabugal in the Guarda district, the village of Sortelha is one of the 12 Historical Villages of Portugal (a program created to restore villages in the Beira Interior, older than the country itself). With more than 800 years of history, Sortelha is one of the most charming villages in the country, where there’s no shortage of places to discover, explore, and photograph. Here, you can visit religious temples, manor houses, and even a grand medieval castle!
The Sabugal Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Portuguese Gothic architecture. It’s located in the city and municipality of Sabugal (in the Guarda district) – a territory that belonged to the Kingdom of León until 1297, the year in which King Dinis signed the Treaty of Alcañices. During the Napoleonic Wars, the Sabugal Castle served as the headquarters for Portuguese and English soldiers, who managed to prevent the advance of French troops led by General André Masséna!
Located in Arganil in the Coimbra district, the picturesque village of Piódão is one of the 12 Historical Villages of Portugal (a program created to restore villages in the Beira Interior older than the country itself). Piódão is also known as the “Nativity Scene Village” or the “Most Typical Village In Portugal”, because of its narrow, steep and maze-like alleys, and its dozens of “dollhouses”, with schist walls, roofs covered with slabs, and doors (as well as windows) painted in blue!
The National Museum of Ancient Art is the most important public museum in Portugal. Located in Lisbon, it’s the perfect place to visit on an Alcântara or Santos itinerary – two of the most tourist areas in the city. The National Museum of Ancient Art‘s collection comprises more than 40,000 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, and examples of goldsmithery and decorative art. Most of the works are European, but you’ll also find Asian and African art, as a result of the Portuguese Discoveries!
Located in Idanha-a-Nova in the Castelo Branco district, the town of Monsanto is one of the “12 Historical Villages of Portugal” (a program created to restore and enhance villages in the Beira Interior older than the country itself). With an imposing Templar castle built in the 12th century, the historical village of Monsanto is a stunning “sea of granite”. Besides the walled enclosure of this medieval fortress, there are numerous chapels, noble manors, and houses that use this type of rock!
Marialva is one of the 12 Historical Villages of Portugal. Its history dates back to the 6th century BC and is marked by the successive presence of peoples, who changed its name: first, it was called City of Aravor (in the time of the Turduli) and then Civitas Aravorum (under the Roman Empire). St. Justus followed (with the arrival of the Visigoths) and Malva (with the Arab invasion)! In fact, the name Marialva only appeared in 1063, when it was conquered by Ferdinand I of León!
Located in Celorico da Beira in the Guarda district, Linhares da Beira is one of the most isolated of the “12 Historical Villages of Portugal” (a program created by the Portuguese government to restore a series of villages in Beira Interior). However, the history of Linhares da Beira impresses anyone, as there are records of the occupation of pre-Roman, Roman, Visigoth, and Muslim peoples in this same place and because the village was founded in the 12th century when Portugal became a country!
Central Portugal is a region that attracts thousands of tourists, thanks to its natural landscapes, millenary past, and gastronomic delicacies. And of course, because of its historical and cultural heritage, which includes border castles, historical villages, and four UNESCO sites. The truth is that most travelers end up just visiting these monuments, but I’ll show you how it’s possible to explore “The ‘Other Side’ of the World Heritage Sites in Central Portugal” with 10 alternative activities!
Idanha-a-Velha is one of the main archaeological stations of the Iberian Peninsula and one of the 12 Historical Villages of Portugal (a program created in 1991 to restore a series of villages older than the country itself). Of Roman foundation, Idanha-a-Velha was occupied by Suevi, Visigoths, and Muslims, before becoming part of the Kingdom of Portugal. Currently, it’s one of the smallest villages on this route and the perfect place to explore the traces left by all these people!