Among the hills and valleys of the green countryside inside the central region of Portugal, full of legends and castles, tastes and traditions, there are 12 simple villages where you can feel at home. to get lost, never to see yourself again. The historic villages of Portugal, a destination of 12, are hidden paradises that take us on a journey into the past of kings and queens, epic and endless battles that have written history as those we know today.
Traveling to the historic villages of Portugal means discovering the history of a land of ruthless conquerors, through the stones of its pavements and its green walls and castles, proudly and bluntly built. It is also the guarantee of unforgettable moments of leisure, adventure and discovery, spiced with the incomparable flavours of the region that make up its typical gastronomy. The perfect destination for families or adventurers, where you can find endless hiking trails: 15 Small Routes (PR), which take you through the magical corners of the villages and the surrounding natural areas, and the Great Route 22 (GR22), Portugal’s largest walking route, which links the 12 historic villages of Portugal on a 600 km circular route.
A green destination
The historic villages of Portugal, a destination of 12, are places of enchantment, surrounded by nature in its pure state that invites you to incomparable adventures. Walk through the territory of the villages Historic Portugal on foot is the promise of moments of unprecedented communion with nature, freedom and peace. Thanks to the commitment to the preservation of nature and the defense of green locomotion. of Portugal’s historic villages, it is a unique experience to get lost in these villages. Distance and absolute peace. Recently awarded the certificate BIOSPHERE DESTINATION – the first networked destination in the world to receive this award, and the national one to obtain this certification -, the Historic Villages of Portugal are an important component that puts sustainability and nature at the forefront.
Following old Roman sidewalks, crossing rivers and streams, climbing the most challenging slopes, descending through green valleys designed with terraces and crossing rocky geographies, golden plateaus and protected areas, or diving into crystal clear waters, discovering the territory of the Historical Villages of Portugal through the ancestral paths of the GR22 is a unique and unforgettable experience, which will make you feel like an authentic knight, the conquest of the imposing castles and walls of the Historical Villages of Portugal. For a more contemplative experience, follow the PR routes and explore, on foot, the labyrinthine paths of these paradisiacal localities, thus taking the opportunity to discover each of their magical corners.
A thousand and one breathtaking landscapes
To visit the Historical Villages of Portugal is a unique experience, of constant surprise and dazzle. Travelling through this territory on foot is a roller coaster of emotions, where we discover at every moment different and unexpected landscapes. On the GR22, you will discover some of the most beautiful natural parks and reserves in Portugal, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the International Douro Natural Park and the Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley, the International Tagus Natural Park, and the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, whose application for World Geopark was recently approved by UNESCO.
In addition to these UNESCO territories, the GR22 also takes you through other parks and nature reserves. not to be missed, as Serra da Estrela Natural Park, Protected Landscape of Serra do Açor, Serra da Malcata Nature Reserve, Private Protected Area of Faia Brava and Protected Landscape of the Serra da Gardunha. In these places, you will find unique fauna and flora of incredible beauty. For example, in the Private Protected Area of Faia Brava, take the opportunity to contemplate the impressive flights of birds of prey that cross the skies of this region.
In fact, the GR22 is the perfect route for those who like challenges and to travel independently, in full and intimate contact with the territory and those who live in it. On the walking side, the GR22 privileges the old rural roads, which constitute about half of its route, moving away from agitation and providing serenity, surprise and security.
Alone, with family or friends, choose your route and come live an unforgettable adventure in the Historical Villages of Portugal!
The GR22 has a circular route and extends for about 600km, in the walking mode it is possible to to be carried out in 28 (+2) daily steps within 12 (+1) sectors, which start and end in the same year. end in each of the 12 Historical Villages of Portugal. The beginning of the GR22 can occur in any of them. However, it is suggested its beginning and end at AHP Belmonte with circulation in the counterclockwise, because here also occurs the division of GR22 into two loops, North and South, adding one sector and two stages to the whole.
North Loop and South Loop
If the option is to take the GR22 in two loops, north and south, the traveler can count on the following characteristics:
• North Loop: with 336km, it crosses eight Historic Villages of Portugal (Belmonte, Sortelha, Castelo Mendo, Almeida, Castelo Rodrigo, Marialva, Trancoso and Linhares da Beira) and has an accumulated difference of + 8,655m. The realization estimate is 16 days of walking or eight days of running;
• South Loop: with 327km, it crosses six Historic Villages of Portugal (Belmonte, Piódão, Castelo Novo, Idanha-a-Velha, Monsanto and Sortelha) and has an accumulated difference of + 9,855m. The realization estimate is 17 days walking or eight days running.
For those who want to go at a more contemplative pace, or when the availability of time no longer allows or the goal is not the full completion of the GR22, there are 15 short route routes (PRs), equally perfect for walking. Approved and associated with the 12 Historic Villages of Portugal, these are routes that allow you to explore, step by step, the territory and surroundings of each of the villages that integrate it, revealing the richness and diversity of the natural, cultural and landscape heritage.
Throughout the territory, there are several services available to travelers: hotels with SPA, rural tourism houses, restaurants and cafes, perfect for restoring energy and discovering the irresistible cuisine and wines of the region. It is also a unique opportunity to hear, from the voice of local people, the myths and legends that make these places so special – as well as their traditions and customs.
You can plan your trip on foot through the Historical Villages of Portugal on our website, selecting the villages you want to visit and consulting the services available on your route – be it the GR22 or one of the PRs. You can also get the details of each stage of the route on our website. This way, you will travel in complete safety and comfort through the incredible territory of the Historical Villages of Portugal.
Choose your route and fall in love with the unique beauty of the Historical Villages of Portugal!