Old Town

The Beiras

Trancoso's walled centre is a charming maze of picturesque squares, attractive churches and narrow cobbled lanes. Several medieval gates puncture the walls, including the Portas do Prado and, to the south, the Portas d’El Rei (King’s Gate), historically the main entrance into town – look for the coat of arms over the passageway. From either gate, it's a short walk to Largo Padre Francisco Ferreira, the handsome central square set around an octagonal 16th-century pelourinho (pillory). Nearby, the Igreja de São Pedro stands out, with its white baroque facade.

To the southeast is the judiaria, Trancoso's old Jewish quarter. Like many northern Portuguese towns, Trancoso acquired a sizeable Jewish community following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the late 15th century. As elsewhere along the border, you can generally spot Jewish houses by looking for a pair of doors: a smaller one for the private household and a larger one for a shop or warehouse. Among reminders of that time is a former rabbinical residence called the Casa do Gato Preto, marked with a Lion of Judah and other Jewish images.

Outside the northern walls, the 13th-century Capela de Santa Luzia is an attractive roadside feature, with its heavy Romanesque arches and unadorned dry-stone exterior.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Beiras attractions

1. Castelo

0.11 MILES

On a hill in the northeast corner of the historic centre is Trancoso's landmark castle, with its crenellated towers and the distinctively slanted walls of…

2. Visigothic Tombs

0.13 MILES

Across the road from the Portas do Prado by the courthouse car park, you'll find an untended mass of grey rocks, many of which have been shaped into eerie…

3. Marialva

11.16 MILES

Overlooking the rugged valley of the Rio Côa, hilltop Marialva is dominated by its forbidding 12th-century castle. Below the fort's robust walls, the…

4. Castelo de Marialva

11.16 MILES

From its striking hilltop position, Marialva's castle is visible from miles around. The 12th-century castelo is far from intact but it's still an…

5. Igreja de São Jão Baptista

11.29 MILES

Sernancelhe's principal church is a lovely example of Romanesque architecture. Dating from the late 12th century, it has a striking facade whose main…

6. Sernancelhe

11.31 MILES

Sernancelhe, a tranquil village 30km northwest of Trancoso, boasts a pristine historic centre fashioned out of warm, beige-coloured stone. There are no…

7. Penedono

14.74 MILES

The main draw of this sleepy little village is Penedono's small but splendid castle. Towering over the main street in the upper village, this crenellated…

8. Castelo de Penedono

14.76 MILES

Penedono's 14th-century castle, effectively an irregular hexagonal keep crowned by a fairytale crenellation, commands fine views over the Planalto. You…