Beiras

"The Road Less Travelled." - Reviewed by Lisa

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Caramulo, Dão/Beiras/Serra da Estrela region

  • Francisco Says: “Heaven! I love all the artisanal cheeses and fantastic wines! Exploring Santar vineyards was a marvel!”
  • Miguel says: “Fascinating history. I could have spent days here discovering local churches and historical milestones… who’d have known?”
  • Aaron says: “Loads of great stuff to do around here! River rafting was a really great adventure. Watch out for the wines, man!”
  • Lisa says: “Biking through the charming villages was so refreshing and peaceful…and I don’t like biking!”

Take a trip back to the Portugal of another era. This is definitely the road less traveled – windy, narrow country lanes lead to sweet, neat stone villages flanked with hydrangeas, rhododendrons, roses and geraniums. You could be forgiven for thinking yourself in Switzerland or Northern Italy – countries more synonymous with mountain landscapes. Pristine pockets of village life are revealed to you as you travel at a more relaxed, slower pace. The emphasis here is the outdoors with dozens of activities to choose from and spectacular vistas around every bend.

You’ll find yourself in a Portugal that still remains relatively unexplored. Not for long… this pretty corner of the world is too precious to be hidden away. Locals pass the days on picture-postcard village benches watching the world crawl by while enjoying the crisp mountain air, the lingering smell of pine and the local birdsong. Village restaurants offer up hearty traditional local delicacies such as the famous Queijo da Serra da Estrela… and you’ll never tire of the region’s excellent strong, velvety wines.

LOCATION

  • 2-hr drive from Oporto
  • 3-hr drive from Lisbon
  • Viseu has a small airport

Places to Visit in Beiras

Viseu

From Solar do Vilar, a scenic 30-minute drive will take you to this noble Beira Alta city. Known for its high strategic and commercial importance since remote times, there are historical, architectural and local delights to explore.

Art and History – Viseu is best known as the birthplace of Vasco Fernandes (Grão Vasco), whose works are symbolic of the Portuguese Renaissance. The city also had a golden age of religious art and architecture as proven by the great number of churches decorating the old town, the Religious Art Museum and the Cathedral. Follow the city wall – built as a defense by King John I – and you will find the dark granite typical of the region surrounded by contrasting white, seemingly-immaculate façades.

Gastronomy – Discover the secrets of ancient Portuguese cuisine combined with modern cooking techniques. With a variety of local restaurants to choose from, you’ll immerse yourself in the typical ambiance, whilst enjoying food that has been cooked in ancient wooden ovens or on the traditional grill.

Shopping – Local boutiques will satisfy your retail cravings with goods ranging from the gastronomically-themed to local, handmade, interior design items.

EXPERIENCES

  • Wine tastings: – Experience the wonders of the Dão wines.
  • Golf: In Viseu.
  • Sightseeing: Local towns and villages to discover.
  • Hiking and Biking: A great way to discover the spectacular, postcard-pretty landscapes.
  • Water sports: Kayaking, swimming, rafting, fishing
  • Gastronomy: Be sure to try the famous Queijo da Serra da Estrela.
  • Cultural tours:Visit the Jewish route, including the house of Amadeo Sousa Cardoso, the heroic Portuguese Ambassador in Paris during WWII.