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MOUNTAIN BEIRAS
SEARCH (Number of properties shown in brackets)
Guarda (2)
Seia (2)
Sertã (2)
Viseu (1)
MOUNTAIN BEIRAS map
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regional overview

The Mountain Beiras cover three inland districts- Viseu, Guarda and Castelo Branco, each with their respective provincial capitals. This is a rugged area, with Portugal's highest mountains (Serra da Estrela at 1993 metres) and fastest rivers. Sporting activities in the region focus on hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, canoeing and fly-fishing. The area is also typified by its old world charm, from stone villages with chestnut trees to imposing castles and stunning wine regions. This is definitely one of Portugal's most authentic and rustic areas, where medieval traditions carrying on until this day.

properties in MOUNTAIN BEIRAS

If you're looking for authentic old-world Portugal, head up to the Mountain Beiras, centred around the country's highest peaks. Everything here is rural in nature. Accommodation includes self-catering and bed and breakfast in simple shepherd cottages and old rambling farmhouses made of granite. Your hosts are likely to be into organic farming, real characters passionate about the region. Mountains, rivers, forests, olive trees and flocks of sheep all define the region. This is a place for those looking for adventure and a down-to-earth experience.

the great outdoors

For those into mountain and rivers, this is a great place to visit. Rugged terrain covers most of the region, with very good walking and mountain-biking almost anywhere. The Serras (mountain ranges) of Estrela, Caramulo and Montemuro stand out. Paragliding is also practiced here- namely at the Linhares da Beira glacial valley in the Estrela range. With the Douro in the north, Tagus in the south, and Mondego, Vouga and Paiva in between, this region has the upper reaches of many of Portugal's rivers, excellent places for white water rafting and canoeing. Birders too will be very happy here: this is an incredible area for birds of prey and many other species. Lynx and wild boar may be seen by a lucky few.

historic towns & local culture

In the Mountain Beiras, history goes back a long way. There are paleolithic rock paintings at Foz Coa near the Douro and celtic medieval villages dot mountain-sides. Old provincial towns also typify the region- Viseu was the home of Viriatus, who stood up as a rebel leader against the Romans, while Santa Comba Dão is attractive amongst the Dão wine region. Guarda, on a high plateau, is the town of 4 Fs- fria, farta, forte e feia: cold, rich, strong and ugly. And on the border with Spain are Monsanto and Almeida, with their imposing castles. At Trancoso one can wander through an old merchant town and Jewish quarter. There is no town too big or modern in the rural and traditional Mountain Beiras.

best times to visit

If you'd like the chance to ski at the only ski-run in Portugal, come in the winter. For almond, cherry and apple blossoms come in the Spring. Festivals and summer weather are from May to October. Then come wine harvests, roast chestnuts and autumn colours in the autumn. Specific festivals include the unique Festa da Nossa Senhora Ao Pé da Cruz- which has a religious ceremony as well as the dance of the chestnuts (blessing the trees) and exchange of handfuls of blossom between lovers. Summer bullfighting takes place in mountain villages (every 2-3 yrs when the local council has sufficient funds). Trancoso has São Bartolomeu in August and Viseu has the São Mateus agricultural festival in September.

getting there & around

Both Porto and Lisbon work well as international airports to reach the Mountain Beiras, with specific locations being between one to three hours away by car from either. Ideally, use Porto for northern areas and Lisbon for southern ones. In this region, it really is best to have your own transport as public transport is extremely limited. Being on the border, the region can also be easily accessed from Zamora, Salamanca and Cáceres.
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