While not religious myself, I can understand, people who do believe in some superior being, could find that being here on this massive mountain. This was an enormous figure carved out of the rock of the moutain itself and when we first saw it with the "halo" over it from the low lying sun, it looked like something straight out of a religious movie. Cut stone steps lead up to the carving and there were even flowers laid at the feet. No inscription or other information here so could not tell who was represented here, but it IS in one of the most impressive surroundings possible.
The last two photos shows the area around the parking space because you cannot see the carving as you approach on the road from Covilha and you might pass it by...it will be on your right hand side, just keep an eye open, it is not to miss.
Half way up from Seia you have at your left this artificial lagoon. It´s a good place for a short brake and some shopping.
PS - If it happens to you to read the constructor's name, you may believe that "Sousa Lopes" really means family (one of my grand uncles)
Most people who visits Serra da Estrela, miss the most beautiful part, Vale Glaciar do Zêzere. But, there's also some people who know this place. The off the beaten of this valley is that no one walks trough its path.
If you come in the road you may observe the beauty of this place but, even more beauty and completely different is to walk trough it. You will find a beautifuil river a few meters from his source, many animals, shepherds guarding his cattle and many species of plants. It's a must see, specially if you go with your bicycle.
Final note: this is one of the longest glacial valleys of Europe with 15km of length.
MONSANTO offers travellers some of the most interesting landscapes in PORTUGAL, the plains of the beira interior region between the foothillsof serra da gardunha.
the houses with it's carved granitic walls and rooftops. between other lovely buildings the awarded 14th century Torre de Lucano in recognition of the authenticity of the most portuguese village in this country.
Send Picture as a PostCard.
a place were portugal and it's culture blend in a wonderfull atmosphere and were travellers can stay at the pousada de monsanto designed perfectly into the village landscapes.
perhaps the most wanted spot, touristic wise for being the highest village of portugal.
and a very portuguese ambience, a lovely and clean square, with a church, a fountain and small shops all around.
on a sunny day lovely snapshots yu can take.
Sortelha is one of the most beautiful villages i ever seen, it is located not far from Belmonte and from 50 km from Manteigas.
It is a medieval village located at 800m of altitude, surrounded of a wall and constituted with beautiful houses in granite all perfectely refurbished and with a beautiful castle. In this moment lives there just a small amount of people, perhaps no more than one dozen because almost of the houses belongs to people there are not from there and they spend just holidays and vacations there.
It deserves a visit for sure, don’t miss it is so beautiful!
Sabugal is a beautiful town that belonged to the Ciudad Rodrigo- Spain district in 1175, but in 1190 , D. Afonso IX de Leão gave its municipality and built the Castle of Sabugal.
In 1295 D. Dinis granted Sabugal a royal charter and the next year because of the Tratado de Alcañices, is Portuguese territory.
This beautiful town is worth a visit because of its history and beauty. It is located near the Spanish towns Ciudad Rodrigo and Salamanca and not far from the beautiful historical village Sortelha.
Celorico da Beira is a small town not far from Serra da Estrela mountain and placed at 500 metres at altitude.
The famous Sacadura Cabral was born there, he made aviation history in 1922 by making the first-ever flight across the South Atlantic with fellow Portuguese pilot Gago Coutinho.
Celorico da Beira is famous because of Serra cheese, which is made from the milk of locally reared ewes.
I just passed by this lovely town, but I visited the castle of pre-Roman origin, which was later refurbished by King Dinis in the 14th century and sacked by the Spanish in 1762.
It was so cold at the castle that I had to run to get out of there, I think I’d never so cold in my life.
Folgosinho is a beautiful village hide in the mountains and hard to find.
It is placed at 900 meters of altitude, in the hillside the northwest of the Serra da Estrela Mountain and the 9 km of the town of Gouveia. Old village and headquarters of region, had charter of D.Sancho I, in 1187, confirmed in 1217 for D.Afonso II, and charter new, of D.Manuel, in 1512. It says the tradition that was born Viriato here, the famous Lusitanos’s leader.
It is funny, but I went there because of a famous restaurant called “ O Albertinho”.
You must been thinking why? I can say to you it worth a visit for sure; I will describe my experience about this restaurant in the restaurants tips.
Well, I don’t just ate and go, no, I took a stroll with my best friend (my digital camera ;-) and I took some pics as usual.
This lovely village has some beautiful historical buildings, churches, beautiful fountains with tiles (Azulejos), and Roman paths. Don’t miss!
Guarda is located on a 1,075-metre-high plateau on the northeast flank of the Estrela mountains,it is the highest town in Portugal. Guarda means defence, its name is due to the important role the town once played in the defence of the country's eastern frontier and it was founded in 1197 by King Sancho I.
I just spent few time there and I just visited the great granite cathedral and unfortunately the weather wasn’t the better to take photos, it was a profound fog.
Belmonte, 26 km from Manteigas, is the birthplace of Pedro Alvares Cabral, who discovered Brazil in 1500.
It is a beautiful town with lots of monuments to see, specially the Castle and the old churches. You can find there as well a Synagogue.
Belmonte was officially recognised as a municipality in 1199.
Seia is a beautiful town set at the foot of mainland Portugal's highest mountain, the Serra da Estrela.
Seia was captured from the Moors in 1057 and officially recognised as a municipality in 1136.
You can see on my picture the town's 18th-century Misericórdia church; if you are planning to drive up the mountain in winter you should check the notice board beside it, which indicates whether or not the mountain roads are passable.
I didn’t see much of this lovely town because I was just a few hours there.
As I mentioned previously, Belmonte apart from being in the Castle’s route is also on the Old Jewish Villages route. There is a still and old Jewish neighbourhood on the village and a synagogue. Although you may walk through the neighbourhood, visiting the synagogue is not possible, at least so we were told at the Tourism Office. Covilhã has also 3 neighbourhoods whose routes go back to Jewish communities.
Apart from being Historical Villages, both Castelo Novo and Sortelha are also on the Castle’s route. In Castelo Novo the Castle is in ruins and only some little bits of walls are left. But still, you may go up there. In Sortelha the castle and walls are very well kept and you may go up there and walk around the walls.
Belmonte is beautiful village, with nice architecture, beautiful surroundings and flowered streets. Locals are also very nice and welcoming. And we ate a fabulous lunch there with a tasty typical dessert. The castle lies on top of the village and it used to belong to the Cabral family – Pedro Alvares Cabral is a famous Portuguese who discovered the sea route to Brazil in 1500. I will soon add more information about Belmonte on the Belmonte page. Belmonte is also on the Old Jewish Villages route and Portuguese Discoveries route.