IN Projects    Historical Villages 


  Serra da Estrela



    Natural Park






    How to Get There









    Photo Album




















Celorico da Beira’s Council

This council is located in the north slope of Serra da Estrela, between the councils of Fornos de Algodres (at west), Gouveia (at south), Guarda (at east) and Trancoso (at north). Situated in Beira Alta, in Guarda’s district, this council has 22 parishes and 24 annexed in total area of 49,93kms2. It has a population of about 10500 inhabitants.

The region of Celorico da Beira is ‘protected’ by Rio Mondego as it surrounds Celorico by east, north and west, allowing it to have a natural defense. Due to its strategical geographical localization, the control of this village always signified the domination of the natural gateway that included Mondego’s valley. The economical development that was verified in this area in the 16th century was, partially, a result of the domain of this natural gateway and the obligatory passage of the traders by it.

In the passage of its history, Celorico was lordship of several families. Before the reign of D. Fernando it belonged to Martim Vasques de Sousa. D. Isabel, an illegitimate daughter of D. Fernando, received the lordship of Celorico in dowry by her marriage in 1373 with the Count of Gijon. In the reign of D. Manuel I, Celorico was given away to the first Count of Portalegre. After the end of the Counts of Portalegre family,

D. Pedro II donated it to André Lopes de Lavre. This population was also a lordship of the Marqueses de Gouveia.

The Celorico da Beira council offers to who visits it the charms of the mountain landscape, having a vast patrimony of great beauty in the landscapes as well as monumental and artistic.

A visit through this council can reveal a continuous discovery of centuries and centuries of history, in an environment of mountain landscape where the granite is the king, marked by creeks and crystalline water. In every place, in every village, there are marks of ancients times worthy of being admired: imposing manor houses with beautiful stones of arms, beautiful churches and chapels, pillories, roman bridges and passages.


Covilhã’s Council

 Covilhã’s city is situated in the west slope of Serra da Estrela at almost 700mts of altitude.

The Council has an area of over 550km2 and its population is estimated in 54.506 inhabitants, of which 49.527 are voters) according to data from Censos 2001).

Navigators, explorers and scientists that revolutionised Mankind’s history have left from this city, among them there is Infante D. Henrique (impulsive of the Discoveries) and Pedro Alvares Cabral (Brazil discoverer).

Few are the urban centres that can assume a regular economical activity for 8 centuries, but that’s the case of Covilhã and its wool works. The working of the wool exists here for the past 800 years, which can be reflected mainly in modern industrial activities, and Covilhã is one of the main centres of wool in Europe. Actually this industry produces by year about 40000km of this tissue, and it is the supplier of great world trade marks such as Hugo Boss, Armani, Zenga, Marks & Spencer, Yves St. Laurent, Calvin Klein and Christian Dior.

In the east slope, Covilhã offers to who visits it the beautiful landscape of its houses, framed in a extraordinary amphitheatre of mountains. This city is in the centre of a region were 9 of the 10 Portuguese historical villages can be found. By its feet a rich and fertile valley developed a valley with great fruit cultures (cherry, peach, apple and pear) and winegrowing aptitudes.

It is the closest city to the winter resort where the unique Portuguese ski tracks are located and where you can go to see amazing mountain landscapes. From Covilhã you can get the shortest, simplest and panoramic access to the Tower and to Serra da Estrela.

Going up to Penhas da Saude, we can see a magnificent resort for holidays in ‘altitude’, where you can walk near Lago Viriato and you’ll get closer to the glacier valleys of Manteigas and Unhais da Serra, villages where you can find thermal areas. Several belvederes allow you to see the greatness of Portugal and Spain landscapes.

Covilhã is the university and technological centre where the Universidade da Beira Interior is located, this university has over 5000 students spread through several courses.

Covilhã is a modern city that promotes the development. You can feel the beat of a city that shows itself has a municipal in a constant progress, ready to face all challenges. This cities has some curiosities at language level, using vocabulary different from the usual, see some examples:

Acunapado – mal remendado (port.) – bad amended (eng.)

Asseadona – vaidosa (port.) – vain (eng.)

Bacorelhos – sarampo (port.) – measles (eng.)

Desandador – chave de fendas (port.) – screwdriver (eng.)

Mandinga – veneno (port.) – poison (eng.)


Gouveia’s Council

 In the north slope of Serra da Estrela is where the city of Gouveia is located.

This city was considered ‘Tear da Beira’, because of its connection with the wool since the days of ‘Nationality’.

The pastures also had an important place in the local economy, and we can still see today flocks of ovine and caprine. Due to the quality of the pastures, the nature of the products and the artisan wisdom, the serra’s cheese has a special place in Gouveia’s council, and because of this they have the cheese fair during carnival.

Agriculture occupies many of the inhabitants, enhancing the culture of the vineyards, which as exceptional conditions to mature wines, especially to the famous Vinhos do Dão.

The council has an enormous tourist potential, not only for the magnificent geographical conditions, characteristics of its location in Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela, but also for the existence of the rich, enormous cultural and monumental patrimony.

The famous Cabeça do Velho and Convento de São Francisco are places to stop by to whom visits this city.

To those who are fans of the gastronomy, we advise the Sopa Serrana, Cabidela de Javali, Requijão, Morcela and other specialities of the area.


Guarda’s Council

Guarda is simultaneously capital of the district and head of the council. Located in Beira Alta, Guarda’s council has an average dimension, with about 44000 inhabitants and it has 52 rural parishes and 3 urban parishes. Guarda corresponds to the highest city of the country, having 3 hydrographical pools: Mondego, Côa and Zêzere. In Guarda´s council there is a large cultural patrimony with traces of old human communities, and among them there are traces of the Bronze and Iron Age.   

In architectonical terms we can see the Sé Catedral, Torre da Menagem, Torre dos Ferreiros, Muralha and Portas da Erva e d’El Rei, among others. The streets and squares of the old medieval town, Museu da Guarda, Praça Velha and all the surrounding area of Judiaria are other points of interest of this city.

This council has a rich natural patrimony that can be appreciated in some of the belvederes in the city. In its landscape we can see a granite spot that determines a very proper style with very well defined shapes.

All over this territory we can still see its valleys of large bottoms and relieved slopes. The altitude and the extension of the plateau are also elements that deserve the attention of the visitor.

Other characteristic element of this council’s landscape is the small bushes, where we can find woadwaxens all over. In the flourish period (May) the fields are covered in a yellow and white tonality. In some areas of the council we can still see oak trees and wild chestnuts. 


Manteigas’s Council

Typical mountain population, located at 700mts of altitude and in the heart of Serra da Estrela, this Council has 3 parishes with over 4200 inhabitants, occupying an area of nearly 10959 hectares. It has as limit councils Guarda, Covilhã, Seia and Gouveia.

It is 25kms far from the highest point of Serra da Estrela (the Tower) and approximately 45kms from Guarda, Covilhã and 35kms from Seia and Gouveia.

The council is quite small however it has an immense natural beauty, with its rock formations sculpted by the ancient glaciers, the healthy and mild atmosphere of Penhas Douradas, the tower (the small rock building that marks the highest point in Portugal, at almost 2000mts of altitude) and the marvellous and romantic Poço do Inferno, in the canyon of Rio Leandros, with an handsome waterfall that many of the times transforms itself in ice during winter.

The textiles and the milk product industry as well as the tourist activities (thermal and mountains) support the economy of this council.

With a natural beauty that dismisses any kind of introductions, manteigas has an historical patrimony that has churches and chapels of the 16th and 17th centuries. The handicraft is also present, and you can get typical products from Serra da Estrela: typical shepherd coat, handicraft shoes, blankets and carpets.

Seia’s Council

In the west slope of Serra da Estrela we can find Seia’s council. A significant part of this council can be found inside the boundaries of Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela..

In Seia you can take several sport and leisure activities, particularly, ski, snowboard, slay and pulka dog races, asa-delta, parapente, mountain climbing, cycle-tourism, horse rides and pedestrian courses.

You can still visit Medieval Necropolis and find examples of industrial archaeology from the beginning of the last century, as well as spinning wool and the first hydroelectric centrals of the country.

To prove the age of the human population in this area, there is a vast archaeological patrimony. All over Seia, you can find several monuments such as: churches, chapels, manor houses, pillories, medieval bridges, water founts, balconies and windows in several noble and rustic styles; you can also see in Anta da Casa dos Mouros in Paranhos and in Vide rupestral pictures aged from the Iron Age, and these are good examples of pre-historical traces. The roman bridges of Sandomil and Vila Cova, among others, are a testimony of the roman occupation.

The fresh air, vast horizons, lagoons, steep slopes and fertile valleys are some of the charms that Seia offers to its visitors at any time of the year.

In winter, the regular and abundant fall of snow allows you to see beautiful landscapes and to practice snow sports.


Home         Who We Are       Contacts