Recognized as the Most Portuguese Village of Portugal in 1938 and as a Historical Village in 1995, Monsanto needs no introduction. Perched on a hilltop, Monsanto offers not only an unforgettable trip to the origins of our country, such as an unparalleled view of the dazzling landscapes of the countryside of the Centro region, where we can see even the Serra da Estrela.
A picturesque village that is one of its kind throughout the entire country, Monsanto owes much of its singular enchantment to its location. This Historical Village is located northeast of the Terras da Idanha and is nestled along an elevated escarpment (the hilltop of Monsanto), where its highest point reaches 758 meters. This is why Monsanto offers a privileged view of the region that impresses everyone.
Through the winding, narrow streets of the village that received its first charter in 1174, we find details from various eras and styles in its buildings, archways, chapels, and churches, from Manueline to Gothic to the Renaissance. The oldest part of the village is at the highest point, where the Templars constructed a fence with a keep.
There are more than enough reasons to visit the Most Portuguese Village of Portugal, but where to eat and sleep during a stay in Monsanto? The village has several suggestions for accommodation and rest; otherwise it wouldn’t be the countryside of the Centro region, where the art of welcoming is widely known.
On Rua Marquês da Graciosa, the main street of Monsanto, we find “The Most Portuguese House,” a traditional village house that now provides local accommodation. With four rooms, they all overlook the Castle or the plains and offer amenities such as a private bathroom, air conditioning, and television.
In the same building, “The Most Portuguese House” contains “The Most Portuguese Store – General Store and Artisanry,” by Maria Alice Gabriel, where traditional rag dolls (Marafonas), Adufes, linens, and embroidery of the region can be found. The store also has regional products, from sausages, wines, cheeses, sweets, and bread baked in a wood-burning oven.
Casa de Campo Pires Mateus in Monsanto is another lodging recommendation in this Historical Village. Created from a restored Beira house from the 20th century, this local accommodation is found in the Parish Church square in the heart of Monsanto. Casa de Campo Pires Mateus is composed of six thematic rooms inspired by the name of traditional Beira flowers or products. All the rooms have a private bathroom, air conditioning, and television, only differing in the views they offer. The “Jasmim” room has a balcony overlooking the square of the Parish Church of Monsanto, while the “Margaça” room welcomes its guests with an impressive view over the rocky slope of the village, and at the highest point of the house, the “Flor da Giesta” room offers a scene that extends to the Serra da Estrela.
We have not even mentioned Casa de Campo Moinho do Maneio, located near Ribeira de Bazágueda, about 30 minutes from Monsanto by car. In the middle of nature, it is a relaxing place that promotes activities such as reiki, massages, canoeing, trampolines, and walking or four-wheeler tours. A local accommodation that has a pool and offers a small lunch and provides various types of rooms for each type of guest. The Bolha do Maneio “room” stands out, a kind of spherical tent inflated with air, located on an escarpment at the height of the crown of trees, which overlooks the Bazágueda river. Here, one can sleep under the marvelous starry night, separated only by a fine plastic screen in front and on the ceiling.
To enjoy a good traditional meal in the Historical Village of Monsanto, we recommend Adega Típica o Cruzeiro, a restaurant with modern décor and a panoramic view. Regional cuisine is one of its specialties, which is why a visit to Monsanto cannot forgo a visit to this restaurant.