Historic Villages

Tradition says that the name Marialva derives from the fact that D. Afonso II donated the village to a lady named D. Maria Alva, with whom he fell in love. The Citadel takes us back in time, and we can almost see the movement of people through the castle, churches and streets.

Almeida is known as the “star of the Interior”. Guardian of the border, its stronghold is a perfect example of military architecture with ramparts with a hexagonal star pattern. The walls of Almeida have been a National Monument since 1928.

Belmonte is the land of the Cabrais and the influence of this family is visible everywhere; birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral. The Jewish community of Belmonte has been established there since the Middle Ages, and are true descendants of Sephardic Jews.

Monsanto received the title of “most Portuguese village in Portugal” in 1938.The village is the result of a harmonious fusion of nature and human work crafted over time. The granite boulders are so connected to the houses that they serve as floors, walls or ceilings.

An image of the Virgin was found behind a large myrtle tree and taken to the church of Monsanto. Having disappeared again, it was found in the place where it had appeared for the first time. The hermitage of Our Lady of Almortão was then built there.

The ex-libris of Castelo Branco is the Garden of the Episcopal Palace (or Garden of St John Baptist) ordered to be built by the Bishop of Guarda, D. João de Mendonça in the 18th century.


Places to visit:

  • Marialva (citadel)
  • Almeida (historic center and Military Museum)
  • Belmonte (historic center)
  • Monsanto (historic center and castle)
  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Almortão
  • Castelo Branco (Garden of the Episcopal Palace)