Portugal Heritage

Day 1: Porto to Marialva – A Journey Back in Time

We started our magical journey in Porto, with Gloria, our trusty Burstner 744, filled with excitement and snacks! After a 2.5-hour drive, we arrived in Marialva. This ancient village, with its narrow cobbled streets, had us spellbound. We wisely parked our motorhome at the base of the village and strolled uphill to explore the castle ruins. As we walked, João and Rodrigo pretended they were knights, and we felt like we had stepped straight into a medieval fairy tale. For dinner, we found a lovely little taverna and indulged in local delicacies such as "barriga de freira" – a delicious chestnut and egg pudding. The warmth of the people was only matched by their hearty food.

Day 2: Trancoso – Medieval Charms

The next morning, we set out for Trancoso, a short drive from Marialva. Trancoso welcomed us with its impressive walled town and ancient market square. We parked just outside the town gate since navigating through the narrow lanes with our motorhome would've been an adventure of its own. The boys raced ahead, eager to explore yet another castle. We took a leisurely walk, marveling at historic architecture and stopping by small shops to taste local cheese and wine. Lunch at Restaurante O Museu was an experience to remember, featuring "cabrito assado" (roast kid goat) that melted in our mouths.

Day 3: Linhares and its Winding Paths

Linhares was our next stop, where the medieval charm continued to enchant us. This village, set atop a hill, provided stunning views of the Serra da Estrela mountains. Given the steep, narrow roads, we cautiously parked at a distance and savored the scenic walk to the castle. Here, we met some of the friendliest locals who shared fascinating stories about the region's history. Kika made friends with a few sheepdogs, and even Grey seemed to appreciate the spectacular landscapes from Andrea's shoulder. A cozy dinner at a local inn ended our day perfectly.

Day 4: Hidden Beauty of Piodão

Our journey took a slightly longer but rewarding route to Piodão. This village looked like it had sprung from the pages of a fairy tale, with its schist houses lined up along narrow alleyways. We parked Gloria at a designated motorhome area down in the valley. With Kika leading the way and Grey nestled comfortably, we walked up to the village, soaking in every detail. In Piodão, we tasted "chanfana" (goat stew) at a quaint restaurant, and the warm “aguardente” (local brandy) was an experience in itself. The boys enjoyed playing hide and seek among the narrow paths.

Day 5: Castelo Novo and Monsanto – Historical Marvels

Next, we ventured to Castelo Novo, where the mix of historical architecture and stunning natural scenery was mesmerizing. The climb to the castle was rewarded with breathtaking views, and João’s excitement was contagious. From there, we drove to Monsanto, known as the 'most Portuguese village in Portugal.' The boulder houses of Monsanto were absolutely fascinating. Due to the village's steep paths, we parked at the entrance and explored on foot. Dinner at Taverna Lusitana treated us to "bife à Monsanto" (Monsanto-style beef) that had us savoring every bite.

Day 6: Ancient Wonders of Idanha-a-Velha and Sortelha

Our penultimate day had us visiting Idanha-a-Velha, where Roman and Visigoth ruins spoke of ancient times. The narrow roads didn’t deter us; we parked safely outside and wandered around the archaeological site, feeling the history beneath our feet. Sortelha was next, a gem with its perfectly preserved medieval aura. Walking through its archways felt like traveling back in time. The friendly townsfolk we met were eager to share their stories and local foods, including "enchidos" (traditional sausages), which we sampled with gusto.

Day 7: Belmonte to Almeida – A Journey Through History

Belmonte, the birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral, awaited us next. This town's Jewish heritage was intriguing, and the local museum offered educational insights for Rodrigo, our little history buff. The local bakery’s "queijadas de Belmonte" (cheese pastries) were so heavenly that we bought an extra box for the road. Almeida, our final stop, was a star-shaped fortress town. The massive fortifications fascinated us all. We parked just outside and spent hours exploring. Feeling hungry, we dined at a local family-run restaurant, savoring "bacalhau com natas" (codfish with cream).

Day 8: Farewell at Castelo Rodrigo

Our journey concluded at Castelo Rodrigo, a true medieval marvel. This village, with its panoramic views and ancient walls, was a fitting end to our historical tour. We parked Gloria at a designated area outside the walls and walked up. The local bakery's fresh almond pastries were a delightful treat, and we couldn’t resist buying more souvenirs. As we left Castelo Rodrigo, with a heart full of memories and a trunk full of local goodies, we felt grateful for the new friends, the ancient stories, and the delicious flavors we’d experienced. This trip reminded us once again of Portugal’s rich heritage and the incredible charm hidden within its historical towns.

Until our next adventure, happy travels! 💖🚐🏞️