Sticking to the border with Spain, Portugal has made its historic villages a tourist attraction, as well as an exercise in recovering the history of small towns that, in many cases, were in danger of disappearing.
Born in the Middle Ages to avoid the passage of enemies towards the Portuguese country, Almeida, Belmonte, Castelo Mendo, Castelo Novo, Castelo Rodrigo, Idanha a Velha, Linhares da Beira, Marialva, Monsanto, Piodao, Sortelha and Trancoso resist like small jewels of the past in the heart of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park and between the Serra da Malcata and Serra de la Gardunha nature reserves. You can easily visit all of the with the help from the scooter rental Barcelona tour.
They are more than enough attractions for you to take your motorbike and make a trip to the centre of Portugal. We’re off!
One of the most important fortresses of Portugal and victim of several sieges throughout its history, this town stands out for preserving 2,500 meters of walls that have the shape of a star of twelve points and protected them from invaders.
You can also see the moat of the fortress, which is 12 metres deep and 62 metres wide.
Famous for its castle, it is currently the best spot to have a view from the top of the Serra da Estrela. Belmonte is also interesting for its Jewish quarter. The story goes that in this small village they took refuge and isolated a group of Sephardic Jews who ignored the order to convert to Christianity or to leave the country dictated first by the Catholic Monarchs in Spain in 1492 and later by the Portuguese king Manuel I in 1496.
In fact, for more than five centuries they kept the Jewish precepts secret. Their legacy can be seen in the synagogue, the Jewish cemetery or a Jewish museum in the centre of the village.
Castelo Mendo Portugal
Inhabited since the Bronze Age and with the remains of a Roman settlement inside, Castelo Mendo played a strategic role in defending the border against the neighbouring kingdoms of Castile and León.
For total immersion, there is nothing better than attending its medieval fair in April in which customs and experiences from that period are revived, such as horse tournaments, skirmishes in taverns, guided visits to the archers’ camp, etc.
As not everything is going to be war and defend the territory with nails and teeth, this village also treasures one of those stories of forbidden love tremendous Romeo and Juliet.
With somewhat more prosaic names, Mendo and Menda are the lovers that everyone knows, but about whom little is known. Immortalized in stone, they look at each other through the centuries. He from the building of the old court, today headquarters of the Tourist Office, and she just in front from a low house.
It is not exclusive to Castelo Novo, but its famous pelourinho in the centre of the square serves to explain the exact usefulness of this column that you will also find in many Spanish villages. Known in Portugal as picota manuelina (and direct heir of the Castilian picota), it symbolized institutional power and was also used to execute criminals, that is to say, to hang them.
The village also retains its Gothic-style castle, defence walls and a network of narrow, winding streets that will lead you to discover its rich history.
Typical medieval village, just an hour away from Ciudad Rodrigo in Salamanca. It is well known for its castle and its walls that can be walked with tranquillity and tranquility. It is perhaps one of the most important attractions of these 12 villages. Neither the natives nor the tourists are a problem. Both coexist in harmony, without overcrowding or haste.
Although the castle is currently in ruins, it is worth taking a walk. First because, while ascending, you will cross the whole village and second because you will have a panoramic view of the Serra de Marofa.
As a curiosity, the Serra de Marofa has at its highest point -about 1,000 meters- a viewpoint with a replica of the Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro.
Idanha to Velha: One of the towns that best reflects the passage of history. Founded in the first century BC under the name of Civitas Igaedinorum, was taken by the Visigoths and renamed Egitania in the sixth century until the eighth century passed into the hands of the Arabs. It was reconquered and ceded to the Order of the Temple who built a large defensive tower known as the Castle of Idanha.
Essential visits in this village are, besides the castle, its Roman bridge over the river Ponsul, the chapels of São Dâmaso, Espírito Santo and São Sebastião and its archaeological site. Source: https://vesping.com/scooter-rental-barcelona/