Historic Centre

Top choice in The Beiras

The entrance to the fortified village is a grand Gothic gate. From the square inside, a cobbled lane leads up to the heart of the village, with a pelourinho (stone pillory) signalling the remains of a small castle to the left and the parish church to the right. Higher still is the bell tower – climb it for bird's-eye views. For a more adventurous walk, take to the ramparts that surround the village, though beware precarious stairways and big steps.

As you walk, keep your eyes open for the weather-worn Arabic script over the door of the Casa Árabe at the top of the village. Outside the nearby gate, look out for the Old Lady's Head, a huge boulder with an uncanny resemblance to a sharp-chinned witch. And at the castle entrance, look for the mata-cães, the holes in the veranda through which hot oil was poured to repel the enemy.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Beiras attractions

1. Museu Judaico de Belmonte

7.39 MILES

Nestled in a quiet corner of Belmonte's charming historic centre, this small museum has a well-presented display of Jewish artefacts, mostly modern, with…

2. Museu dos Descobrimentos

7.46 MILES

Reason enough for a visit to Belmonte, this fabulous museum is dedicated to Portuguese seafaring and the discovery of Brazil by local-born explorer Pedro…

3. Museu da Guarda

14.66 MILES

Housed in the severe 17th-century Episcopal Seminary, Guarda's main museum showcases an eclectic collection of archaeological finds, artworks and early…

4. Paço da Cultura

14.67 MILES

Adjacent to the Museu da Guarda, the Paço da Cultura stages temporary exhibitions in a suite of rooms off an 18th-century courtyard.

5. Torre de Menagem

14.69 MILES

This 14th-century tower, originally the keep of Guarda's castle, stands on the highest point in town. You can't go into the tower but even from the base…

6. Torre dos Ferreiros

14.71 MILES

A local landmark, this robust rectangular tower is one of the most visible features of the town's medieval defences. It was originally built to protect a…


14.74 MILES

Powerful in its sobriety, this grey Gothic edifice looms heavily over the central square. The earliest parts of the cathedral date from 1390 but it's…

8. Porta da Erva

14.79 MILES

One of several city gates, the Porta da Erva was constructed in the 13th century. It was originally known as the Estrela Gate.