Montalegre: Discover The Land Of Legends, Mountains And… Witches
Montalegre is a Trás-os-Montes destination that enchants for its natural beauty, for its hospitable people and for its tasty gastronomy. So, a getaway to this land is a trip to our origins, a discovery of a unique and extremely valuable heritage.
Bring warm and comfortable clothes and venture out over the mountain trails, the alleys of the villages and the beauty of the reservoirs. We guarantee that Montalegre does not disappoint and, after visiting it, will not resist returning there.
The brute strength of the mountains and the hospitality of the people, make Montalegre the ideal destination.
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Montalegre: The Heart of the Barrosã Region
Knowing Montalegre means discovering its villages and being enchanted by its typical granite constructions. In these locations, the spirit of community is still breathed and there is no one who does not know and help each other in daily activities, especially those related to agriculture and livestock.
Therefore, there are several villages that you can and should visit in this destination, but if the time does not arrive for everyone, then we recommend a visit to Vilarinho de Negrões, Pitões das Júnias and Travassos.
We can consider walking routes to be a fashion, but what is a fact is that they are a good fashion, as they perfectly combine sport with Nature. So, if you like to walk, preferably in a natural environment, then know that Montalegre has excellent trails at your disposal.
It is a network of walking routes that covers the entire municipal territory and, in addition to the natural charms, you can also count on very interesting examples of cultural heritage. As a suggestion, we advise you to do the Smuggling Route, the D. Nuno Trail, the Rio Trail and / or the Ourigo Trail.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
It is impossible to speak or go to Montalegre, without going through the Peneda Gerês National Park, this iconic national park that has 26% of its total area, precisely in the municipality of Montalegre.
In this way, you can enjoy a unique, wild and tempting landscape, where there are fragments, gorges and precipices, “interrupted” by centuries-old villages characterized by their churches, chapels and granaries.
The reservoirs are another characteristic feature of the Barrosã landscape, as they are responsible for the economic and demographic growth of the municipality and in them it is possible to practice water sports and leisure activities. The most popular are those of Pisão, Venda Nova, Sezelhe, and Paradela.
Eating well is a characteristic common to all regions of our country. However, each area has its specialties and Montalegre is especially known for its “cozido”, barrosã and goatling. So, before leaving, be sure to buy local and typical products such as smoked meat, rye bread, jams and honey.
In recent years, this destination from Trás-os-Montes has also come to be known for the event that takes place there, whenever it is Friday 13. It is a meeting that brings together thousands of people from various parts of the country and is a kind of Witches with pyromusical shows, street entertainment, concerts, dj´s and fires.
Of course, due to the pandemic moment that we are going through, these achievements are suspended, but as soon as possible, and in total safety conditions, don’t miss a Friday the 13th in Montalegre. You will not regret it. Not even bad luck.
The castle is a prominent element in the landscape, with a keep and revealing a picturesque setting, dating from the end of the 13th century. It served as a strategic point of defense of the border, being a National monument and a mandatory crossing point.
Have you heard of Ecomuseums, dedicated to the territory, and that Montalegre was a pioneer ?. This Ecomuseum is dedicated to the study and dissemination of collective memory and functions as a center for the dissemination of Barroso’s traditions.
The headquarters is next to the Castle, but there are other centers around the municipality such as Corte do Boi in Pitões das Júnias, the Interpretative Center of Minas da Borralha in Salto or Vezeira and Serra in Fafião.
Serra do Larouco
This mountain is the highest point in Montalegre, with an altitude above 1500m and is an excellent viewpoint, from which you can admire the Serra do Gerês, the Serra do Barroso and the Pisão Dam. For this reason, the views are incredible and the site is also of interest from an archaeological point of view, as it is believed that there was a Roman temple there.
Almost all locations have their myths and legends and Montalegre is no exception, one of the most famous being the legend of Ponte da Misarela or Ponte do Diabo.
Thus, it is said that this bridge was even built by the Devil, in exchange for the soul of a fugitive criminal who tried to cross the Rabagão River and to this bridge there are also several female fertility rituals.
Naturally, the entire landscape is markedly rural and, in addition to being beautiful, tells the story of the region and its economy. In this way, the connection between man and the land is quite evident here, were it not for the forest and wetland stains that set the scene, where it is always possible to spot the indigenous breed of the region, the barrosão cattle, grazing.
Snow can be an attraction, especially for those who have never seen it and the geographical position and high altitudes make Montalegre one of the first Portuguese municipalities to normally show snow. Therefore, even in winter, there are reasons to go to this destination in Trás-os-Montes.