Portugal has several medieval cities that, in addition to being beautiful and preserved, allow for a charming journey into the past.

Portugal is the oldest nation in the Europe. It is not by chance that the country is home to several medieval villages and small towns that, in addition to being charming and charming, were witnesses of fundamental historical moments.

At portuguese medieval cities they have many elements in common: the narrow streets formed by stones, great walls, castles, pillories, churches, towers and graceful medieval houses. This architectural similarity is no coincidence: the villages were the result of several generations of kings who wanted to defend their territory, populate and fortify regions.

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Even today the small towns remain intact, no longer to serve as fortresses, but attracting tourists who want to feel the medieval atmosphere, learn more about the stories, legends and curiosities of each of them. And, of course, be dazzled by all the charm and beauty that these small villages, built in scenarios that seem to have come out of fairy tales, reserve each cobblestone.


Known as the “most Portuguese village in Portugal”, the small town located in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, exudes history and offers a true journey into the past. Along the way, houses practically incorporated into giant and irregular stones lead, one by one, to Monsanto Castle, built in the 21st century by the Knights Templar. In addition to the castle, another point worth a visit is Torre de Lucano, one of the city's main monuments.

Photo: Monica Andre de Portugal / Flickr


A labyrinth formed by steep alleys with shale stone houses forms this small historic village surrounded by the mountains of Serra do Açor. Piodão surprises at every step, as in the details that stamp the windows of the houses and the beautiful Igreja Matriz, white with blue outlines, which stands out among the stone buildings. At dusk, the picturesque and rustic city receives a special charm with the lights on, which earned it the nickname “Portugal's Nativity Scene”.

Photo: Luis Ascenso Photography Wikimedia Commons


Located in the Municipality of Sabugal, Sortelha is the ideal place for those who appreciate medieval architecture, as its houses, castle and walls remain practically untouched. At over 700 meters of altitude is the Castle of Sortelha, built by D. Sancho I in the mid-twelfth century. It is possible to stay in medieval houses in the village.

Photo: Ken & Nyetta / Flickr

Rodrigo Castle

A historic village in excellent condition, with picturesque streets and a castle with an incredible view of beautiful landscapes. Among the monuments of immeasurable historical value in Castelo Rodrigo are ancient walls, the ruins of Cristóvão de Moura and the Igreja Matriz. At sunset, the friendly village is even more stunning and full of contrasts.

Photo: Vector99 / Shutterstock


Montesino is a traditional Portuguese village located in the Montesino State Park, at over a thousand meters of altitude. With charming houses built with granite and wooden roofs, the city presents a landscape of contrasts between nature and medieval buildings. Be sure to visit the Montesino Museum, which recreates a typical Trás-os-Montes house, in addition to walking along the beautiful trails in the park.

Photo: Miguel Vieira / Flickr


The beauty of Óbidos is such that the city was a gift from King Dinis to his wife Isabel de Aragão. Today, the village is still preserved with its beautiful houses with details in blue and yellow, flowery streets and an intense medieval atmosphere. In the historic center there are restaurants, shops, cafes and art galleries. The nearly two kilometers of walls that protect the city can be freely traversed by tourists. Between the end of February and the beginning of March, Obidos hosts the International Chocolate Festival.

Photo: titosoft / Pixabay


With large and preserved walls built with lime and schist, which can be walked around by visitors, the medieval village of Monsaraz is an indispensable place to visit in the Alentejo region. Walking through the city streets is an invitation to be dazzled by the charm of flowered balconies and a castle in the highest part of the village. Outside the walls, a viewpoint with an incredible view of the great lakes that surround the place.

Photo: ARoxoP / Shutterstock


In the Alentejo region, is Marvão, a charming medieval village, quiet and perfect for those who appreciate a picturesque and serene climate. Marvão is on top of a cliff and has a well-preserved castle, inns, shops and restaurants through its narrow streets. The colors of the city are even more beautiful and charming during sunset or at dawn. Be sure to visit Pelourinho Square, where you can discover an old prison, the Clock Tower and a 16th-century pillory.

Photo: Rosino/ Flickr


The medieval village, located on a vast plateau over the Côa River, is surrounded by more than two kilometers of walls. During the Modern Age, Almeida had the function of military defense and was the scene of fights between Portuguese and Castilians for many years. It is worth visiting the fortress's moat, 12 meters deep and 62 meters wide, as well as the former artillery barracks, a historic baroque construction.

Photo: CC0 Public Domain

Castelo de Vide

Located in the north of the Alentejo region, on top of a hill, is Castelo de Vide, a village that has a beautiful medieval castle from the 13th century, whose ascent is carried out through a road with small Gothic buildings. Besides it there is also the São Roque Fortress and a beautiful church. Between April and March, the city celebrates the Easter Festival, a very lively moment that attracts visitors to the region.

Photo: Concierge.2C / Wikimedia Commons


With its five kilometers of walls, Valença was a military stronghold for the defense of Portugal's independence and, currently, a trip to the past open to the public.. The churches, an old metal bridge, the military buildings and the beautiful view of the river Minho complete each other. Be sure to taste the typical wines and sweets of the city.

Photo: Lucas Martínez / Wikimedia Commons


Serpa is a small medieval village located in Baixo Alentejo. With an environment full of hills and vineyards, the charming city is characterized by a historic center surrounded by a wall full of whitewashed houses. Once in the city, be sure to try the delicious and traditional sheep's milk cheeses. Between March and April Serpa holds the Festivities of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Photo: Guy MOLL / Wikimedia Commons


Main city in the south of Alentejo, Beja boasts a castle with six towers, one of which is the largest in the entire Iberian peninsula, with more than forty meters. From up there, it is possible to have a privileged view of the city and the surrounding Alentejo plain. The Feira de Velharias de Beja takes place on the first Saturday of each month and concentrates a large number of pieces and antiques. The delicious Portuguese convent sweets originated in the city, be sure to try them.

Photo: Digitalsignal / Wikimedia Commons

To take

Known as the “City of the Templars”, Tomar gained this title after King Afonso ceded his lands to the order of these knights, who founded the Convent of Christ in 1160, one of the points worth visiting. Currently, the site brings together different architectural features that have been changed over time. In July, Tomar organizes the Festa dos Tabuleiros, a major event that takes place annually and attracts thousands of tourists to the city.

Photo: Harshil Shah / Flickr

» Portugal is elected the best tourist destination in Europe in 2017
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