Favorite thing: Belmonte is part of Castelo Branco District. This lovely village is situated near the slopes of Serra da Estrela, a beautiful mountain in the centre of Portugal, with the highest spot on mainland. Belmonte is situated about 300km of Lisbon.
Favorite thing: The Serra da Estrela region has had some routes defined. Belmonte is such a surprising little town that managed to be included in 3 of them, namely:
- The Castle’s route
- The Jewish route (the Jewish community in Belmonte has always had an important role, even during the Inquisition, when they managed to keep safe and continue their believes secretly)
- The Portuguese Discoveries route, due to the outstanding member of this community – Pedro Álvares Cabral
Favorite thing: Pedro Álvares Cabral was an outstanding personality in Portugal’s history – it was him who commanded the ships who discovered the maritime route to Brazil in 1500. Pedro Álvares Cabral and his family lived in Belmonte. Apart from this notorious member, the Cabral family also had a prominent role in this village’s history, therefore all through the village we came across references to the family, such as the castle, the palace, the house, the warehouses and the chapel.
Favorite thing: I found Belmonte’s architecture quite pleasant – most houses are made of stone, in a simple and sober style, with windows and doors made of wood – I don’t know the name of that wood, but it has a pretty colour, not too dark and not too light. The streets are well taken care of, with flowerpots spread here and there, making them very pleasant for a stroll on a sunny day. Locals were very friendly and welcoming to us. And we found that food was very good there, as well as a typical desert called “Papas de Carolo” cooked with corn and milk.
Favorite thing: The Tourism Office is situated on the palace in the castle. The staff is very friendly and will provide you a free map of Belmonte was well as a leaflet with some data about the buildings. The Tourism Office is opened every from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5.30pm.