From the River Alva to Serra da Estrela
Wend your way through Portugal’s inland central region, along the valleys of rivers and streams, with hills on either side, and discover a landscape of villages made of schist.
Set amidst mountain slopes covered with luxuriant vegetation, Vila Cova do Alva has a distinctive air of nobility about it. You can soak up its historical atmosphere as you walk along its streets, admiring its 17th-century manor houses and 18th-century churches. And, if you’re visiting the village on a hot summer’s day, why not stop and cool yourself down on the beach beside the River Alva, while you admire the stunning beauty of the surrounding countryside?
Standing on the northern slopes of the Serra do Colcurinho, at an altitude of roughly 500 metres, Aldeia das Dez offers its visitors a privileged view over the mountain ranges all around. There are excellent viewing points everywhere in the village, but one of the best is certainly the one at Penedo da Saudade, from where you can admire the confluence of the rivers Alvôco and Alva in the village of Ponte das Três Entradas. It is a landscape you simply can’t take your eyes off! And, to help you identify everything that lies spread out before you, there is a tiled information panel pointing out the main historical sites to be visited in the area.
Further along the road to Serra da Estrela, on the eastern slopes of the Serra do Açor, you will find Sobral de São Miguel, a very old village associated with the Salt Route, which was the road that merchants followed in order to bring this indispensable condiment from the coast to the country’s inland regions. Walk along the village’s streets and appreciate its traditional houses, fountains, mills and olive-presses, or the community ovens, which are still used by the local people today. To replenish your energy, end your stroll by tasting some of the local delicacies, such as honey, sausages or “tigeladas” (a sweet made with milk, eggs and sugar), and take away with you the flavour of these well-preserved villages.
To help organize your trip, check out the offers of activities and accommodation that the Schist Villages have for you in http://aldeiasdoxisto.pt