Cradled at the foot of the Vale do Zêzere, Manteigas feels more like a mountain town than any of the other main gateways to the Serra da Estrela. There are no modern high-rises here, just white red-roofed houses clinging to verdant slopes and wooded peaks looming silently on the horizon. Nearby, hot sulphur-rich waters bubble away at the Caldas de Manteigas.
The town has some good accommodation, making it an excellent base for exploring the surrounding mountains. Walking trails traverse the nearby slopes, leading past terraced meadows and stone shepherds’ huts. For more dramatic scenery, the drive up to Torre, some 22km away, is a real white-knuckle ride.