We planned an awesome day trip as a reward for completing the mammoth job of painting all the garden railings. I decided to research more of the Historical Villages of Portugal. There are a total of 12 and we have had the pleasure of viewing quite a few from the list. My favourites so far are Monsanto and Sortelha. I am the Princess of Planning so did all the prep work and compiled a list of attractions to see whilst hubby is Official Chauffeur and has the terrifying task of negotiating all the narrow windy hairpin twists and turns of the scenic mountain roads without driving us off the edge! He is also in charge of picnic duty and road trip car snacks which consists of a glove box full of Helena Haribo sweets for my journey sugar fix. I randomly feed hubby cola bottles and fried eggs so he doesn’t have to take his eyes off of the road. Our old car is a bit temperamental at the moment and sometimes struggles to get started in the mornings – I know how it feels (ha ha). Hence why I chose the nearest historical village on this occasion just a 1 hr 12 min drive and 65 km each way from our casa. Linhares da Beira is located in Celorico da Beira in the district of Guarda on the Western slopes of the Serra da Estrela. It is one of the smallest and most isolated of the 12 Historic Villages of Portugal. The village Linhares gets its name from Flax fields. Linho (Flax) was historically one of the most important crops in the region. It’s worth mentioning that there is another place with exactly the same name located in Vila Real which is mildly confusing. It’s also a 2 ½ hr drive from our casa so be aware and make sure you check your Sat Nav before you depart.

As this village is small you can easily visit 2 historical villages in one day. For example you could drive onto Trancoso and Marialva but we didn’t opt for this as I hate early starts and setting the alarm clock for a ridiculously early time. I like to wander around at my own pace and peruse everything and stop to take lots of photos and relax with a scenic picnic. Celorico da Beira is a shorter drive if you fancy more historical delights. We opted for a slow and steady paced adventure so didn’t bother with additional villages. I decided to add on a couple of pit stops instead. Firstly we stopped at the famous bread Museum in Seia to purchase their epic chocolate bread. This only added on 12 minutes to our journey. I made sure I emailed first as it was Freedom Day here in Portugal and a National Holiday so lots of places were closed. Luckily for us and my ever expanding stomach, the shop was open 10am-6pm, yippee! I love travelling with chocolate bread in the boot of our car. Every time we turn a twist and bend up the narrow winding mountain roads the bread dramatically slides from one side of the car to the other emanating a waft of delightfulness which is a much more pleasant aroma than hubby’s car farts (ha ha). After we visited Linhares da Beira we took a short 10 min drive onto Miradouro de Linhares which is a dazzling Viewpoint. 

Brief History

The 12th Century Village is known to have been occupied since the Iron Age during which time the Castle would have been built. During the Roman occupation, the village was included in the transport route between Guarda and Conimbriga. It was then occupied by Visigoths and Muslims and was reconquered by King Afonso Henriques in 1169 who granted its charter. King Dom Dinis ordered the building of a castle fortress which is considered one of the most important of the Interior Beira. The village is known as the Capital of Paragliding and they even have a festival dedicated to this daredevil sport each August. Needless to say, although I would love to fly through the air like a bird, I didn’t chance my luck as I’m accident prone and it might have resulted in me gaining my angel wings and a final destination of heaven. Hubby was fairly enthusiastic and encouraged me to try it as I think he wanted me to glide off into the sunset, never to be found again so he can get some well deserved peace and quiet (ha ha). We actually saw a Paraglider land in a nearby field just as we were leaving, it was a splendid sight.

GPS Coordinates (Parking): 

40.541029849737086, -7.461628752559448 / 40°32’27.7″N 7°27’41.9″W

You can park directly for free right outside of the Castle entrance and there is no cost to enter the castle.

Points of Interest:

Castelo de Linhares (Castle)

Fonte de S.Caetano (Fountain)

Igreja Matriz (Main Church)

Fonte Barbosa (Fountain)

Calçada Romana (Roman Road)

Igreja da Misericórdia (Church of Mercy)

Pelourinho (Pillory)

Fonte de Mergulho e Fórum (Fountain & Forum)

Antiga Casa da Câmara e Cadeia (Former Town Hall and Prison)

Solar Corte Real Manor (Court Real Manor House)

Antigua Hospedaria (Old Inn)

Posto de Turismo de Linhares de Beira (Tourist Information Office)

Casa do Judeu (Jewish House)

Solar dos Pina Aragão (Pina Aragão family Manor House)

Cova da Loba (Wolf Den Restaurant)

Museu do Pão (Bread Museum)

We made an all important pit stop at Seia Bread Museum to buy their delicious chocolate bread as an extra treat for our picnic. I was really gutted when I stood foot inside the store. I love this little shop which sales all kinds of regional edible goods and artisan gifts. They have had a refurbishment and it sucks big time! The whole shop is now really sparse and it looks like over half of the stock has disappeared along with shelving. The cash register/counter has also moved position for some weird reason.

A whole corner of the shop is now dedicated to overpriced cushions with years of birth on them. I never will understand the concept of wanting a sofa cushion which highlights how bloody ancient I am. Look everyone I’m a dinosaur and was born in 1974. It’s almost as bad as all the Union Jack cushions and stupid slogans like “Keep calm and carry on.” These small square cushions cost a whopping €85! Bejesus, is all I can say. Apparently they are made from the famous local Bordaleira sheep wool but I still think it’s a shame that they have got rid of the little cute cheap gifts and I can’t imagine anyone buying one but maybe I’m wrong. Good luck to them. The other disappointment was the prices of the bread have risen, like the bread (ha ha). The bread used to cost €2 and the chocolate bread was €2.50 but now my favourite chocolate bread costs €3.50! It is still a bargain in my eyes but F inflation. I think they are charging us an extra €1 to pay for their shitty refurb (ha ha). I like to problem solve so I came up with a really good solution. Just have a few cushions on display with different years and have a sign that says “Other dates/years are available upon request, please ask a member of staff for assistance.”

Linhares da Beira

We arrived at the car park which is located right next to the Castle at aprox. 11.45am. It was already getting really hot so we decided to view the captivating castle first before my thin wispy hair gave way to the high altitude mountain winds. My hope was for a few photos where I didn’t resemble Worzel Gummidge! (ha ha). I really did expect there to be more people at the Castle seeing as you can park directly at the entrance for free. I’m sorry to say it but a lot of folk are lazy as hell and tourist attractions that require limited effort are usually more populated and busy. Luckily for us it was practically deserted, we struck gold yet again.

Castelo de Linhares (Castle)

The Castle was part of the Beira defense system and was built at over 800 m above sea level on rocky, irregular terrain. It existed in the time of King Sancho I and was restored by King Dinis in 1291. It has two walled enclosures, two towers, four gates and two cisterns. It underwent restoration work in the 1940’s. It is an imposing building belonging to the line of fortresses in Beira. This important defensive construction was started at the time of the founder of the dynasty to protect the eastern flank of the territory from possible enemy attacks. Other such castles include Marialva, Moreira de Rei, Trancoso and Celorico da Beira, among others. Linhares Castle is a National Monument since 1922. It has a donjon, a clock tower and the inner circuit is divided into two enclosed areas. The larger west one may have been a support point for the donjon and was therefore a military area where the cisterns are located. The eastern one served to protect the town’s inhabitants and their essential possessions in the event of a siege or attack. It has a long walled perimeter with battlements or uncovered patrol ways and access stairways.

We had a lot of fun exploring the impressive battlements which are built on a gigantic rocky outcrop. I took extra care when walking the windy castle walls and climbing up to the watch and clock towers. I tried my best not to fall off and die (ha ha). Handrails are only present in some areas and the stone terrain underfoot is very irregular – a bit like me (ha ha). One needs to be mindful and careful especially if your accident prone like Helena. Hubby made me laugh as he scaled the castle wall like my very own superhero Spiderman. It’s just a shame I’m no Wonder Woman (ha ha). There were a couple of people in the Castle grounds but they soon left so we had the whole place to ourselves as usual which was such a lovely treat. We enjoyed some tranquil time out here just standing in silence gazing out at the horizon as far as the eye can see and relishing in the medieval charm. There were so many majestic birds soaring high in the bright blue sky. I just had to make the photos large to share all the glory.

Beauty Beyond (Snickers & Coke O Clock)

We spent over an hour enjoying the Castle then it hit 1pm which is our usual snack time. There is a spacious picnic park located right next to the castle with picnic tables and benches but there were a few people there already so I found the most perfect spot for our snack break at the back of the castle and it even had a stone table and bench with breathtaking sweeping panoramic views and partial shade from a tree, thankyou mother nature.

It was here that we had a slight situation. I am a perfectionist when it comes to planning so I research places in depth because I hate to miss something epic. I always find a link to an online map which pins the location of points of interest but I also like to print off a physical paper copy because I’m old school and sometimes in remote villages the internet can be a bit dodgy. Our home printer is not set up to my PC so every time I want to print a document I have to ask hubby. He had one job, to print the doc titled ADRIAN PRINT ME! Guess what? He printed the wrong document and I didn’t think to check because I made the stupid mistake of trusting him. It annoyed me as I spend a lot of time with my precise planning. I must admit, I did get slightly more than a bit angry with hubby and had a mini rant at him (ha ha). My motto is always “If you want something done, do it yourself” and what I mean by this is if you want a job done properly then you are better off doing it yourself then you know it’s done right. Anyway it all worked out OK in the end as we were able to access the internet and follow the online version. I did accidentally spill my coke everywhere whilst in my mad phase and I also bit my inside lip as I struggle to eat a Snickers bar and shout at hubby at the same time (ha ha). I don’t know why I’m laughing as God punished me for telling him off and I got a massive blood blister! I ended up forgiving him because I didn’t want it to ruin the day and he didn’t do it on purpose.

Mini rant aside, just look at our perfect little spot. What an absolute tranquil gem of nature! There are quite a few hiking trails that start from this area but it was way too hot to hike without a waterfall waiting at the end. After our rest break we wandered around the village at our own leisure and viewed all the tourist attractions from my list.

Fonte de S.Caetano (Fountain)

The fountain was restored in 1829, as shown in the inscription. The frontispiece bears the royal coat of arms with a crown and has a niche that used to hold an image of St Caetano, which has since disappeared. It is topped with a cross. Top Tip: There are toilets located near the fountain and they are not nice! I was desperate so had to go but luckily I always carry tissues and hand sanitiser because there was no loo roll and the sink looked like something had just died in it (ha ha).

Igreja Matriz (Main Church) Also known as Church of our Lady of the Assumption

A temple dedicated to St Maria already existed here in the 16th Century and it was D. João III (reign: 1521-1557) who dedicated it to The Lady of Assumption. The 17th Century alterations gave it its Mannerist appearance and the profound 18th Century reformulation (in 1751) gave it its current baroque decoration. Several interesting aspects belong to the original temple: the portal and the walled-up arch on the north façade. The corbels on the south façade of the nave, with its zoomorphic and anthropomorphic motifs; the temple, facing west, has a longitudinal plan to which the bodies of the sacristy, the dispatch house, the two chapels and the bell tower were attached; on the west-facing front, the main portal stands out, topped by a bay window and a projecting cornice; the two-storey bell tower, adjacent to the main façade, has four windows and ends in a pyramidal top. The interior has a single nave. The chancel has a coffered ceiling with painted planks. On the Gospel side there is, in addition to an inscription, a painting entitled Two Saints, and on the Epistle side there is another painting representing the Annunciation; It also contains three valuable tablets Adoration of the Magi, Annunciation and Descent from the Cross, works that may have come from the School of Grão Vasco. In addition to the stalls, there is also a tombstone on the pavement with the coat of arms of Costas and Fonsecas. It has two side chapels. One dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the other to Our Lady of Fatima.

It was a shame that neither church were open as I do love viewing the interiors and discovering all the marvelous ancient artifacts. I kind of anticipated that they would be closed as it was a National Holiday. Hubby is not particularly religious but still appreciates the fine architecture and the fact that the inside of chapels are always very cool (ha ha).

Fonte Barbosa (Fountain)

This dipping fountain is quadrangular, forming a cube. The arch was round but was blocked in for reasons of hygiene. It bears the coat of arms of Linhares da Beira. The Coat of Arms is viewable on many building/structures and tradition has it that the castle invasion took place on a night when there was a new moon and that is why the coat of arms of Linhares bears a crescent and five stars.

Calçada Romana (Roman Road)

Part of the Star Way, a Roman road between Mérida (Emerita Augusta) and Braga (Bracara Augusta), Estrada dos Almocreves reaches Linhares da Beira by the old primary school on the right. This road was part of the section between Mangualde and Linhares and then went on to Videmonte. It is paved with rectangular blocks of granite and is 4 m wide, on average. It goes down to the Linhares Stream for about 1,300 m. 

We took a wander down the old cobbled Roman Road which was fun. I always find it fascinating walking in the footsteps of the Portuguese ancestors and often a route for many pilgrimages as well as shepherds. It’s like a step back in time for my vivid imagination. I like to get down and dirty by physically touching the ancient stones (ha ha).

Igreja da Misericórdia (Church of Mercy)

This church stands in the old parish of Santo Isidoro. Romanesque traces can be seen on the ogival arch of the side portal and the slit that illuminates the chancel. In 1576 the Misericórdia moved here and it underwent alterations until the 17th Century. Santo Isidoro Church is mentioned in the 1320 census and the most significant trace of it is the side door with a spandrel bearing geometric decorations. In spite of the changes made to it, especially in 1622, this church offers some very interesting details, such as the juxtaposition of different structures, the bell tower, the church and the vestry. It has a single nave and three altars. Its three-part ceiling in painted wood, and the chancel also with a ceiling in painted wood, are well worth a visit. The wooden choir has a carved pulpit which still has its steps. There are two tombs in the floor with their epigraphs. One is dated 1610. Other points of interest are a disturbing articulated Christ and some paintings that are generally attributed to the school of Grão Vasco, such as the “Adoration” and the “Flight to Egypt”. This is where the Misericórdia flags are kept for processions. It has baroque carvings and a precious procession flag, who which was present at the Commemorative Exhibition of the Birth of Rainha Dona Leonor (1958), founder of Misericórdias.

The front of this church is surrounded by the most pretty purple and yellow flowers. Simply gorgeous, I can’t say the same for the old lady frolicking amongst the flowers beds and bees (ha ha).

Pelourinho (Pillory)

16th Century pillory with Manueline ornamentation, an armillary sphere and a cross. The height is an expression of the legal personality of the municipality. Public punishments were sometimes administered there to serve as an example. The pillory is related to the charter from King Manuel in 1510. It may have been the scene of punishments but never the death penalty. There are still some traces of an iron ring where the offenders were tied. Its presence was a reminder of the municipality’s own law and justice, enabling it to punish offenders if necessary in order to maintain law and order. The Linhares pillory has a three step octagonal base, the first of which is twice the height of the others. The column has a quadrangular base decorated with spheres and an octagonal shaft. The inverted cone-shaped capital displays traditional Manueline decoration based on foliage, culminating with an armillary sphere and a cross.

The Pillory was quite difficult to photograph due to vehicles parked in this area. Later in the day the vehicles moved on and the people sat outside of the cafe finished their refreshments so I managed to obtain some fairly nice photos in the end. I loved the fact that it features Manueline themes such as the Armillary sphere and the monument represented municipal freedom which is perfect as the day we visited was “Freedom Day”.

Fonte de Mergulho e Fórum (Fountain & Forum)

This stone construction with the town’s coat of arms was a meeting place for the good men of Linhares, where administrative, legislative and judicial decisions were made, giving its governance an individual nature. At these meetings the officers and men of Linhares acted in accordance with the charter that Linhares had received. Its oldest charter was granted by King Afonso Henriques in 1169 and followed the lines of Salamanca charters. In the early 16th Century, King Manuel reformed charters and Linhares received a new one in 1510. The meeting place, or forum, is a unique monument in Portugal. It is located in Largo do Pelourinho and is built of granite with three steps. Inside is a table surrounded by benches with the Linhares coat of arms behind. It was once closed in by a wooden wall covered by tiles to protect the men making decisions there. It is interesting to see that it sits on a spring with an ogival arch with a vault inside. I can imagine a lot of deep discussions were carried out right here. As this was once upon a time a place only for the men of the village Helena took the opportunity to take a prime position seat at the stone table because I’m a rule breaker and a huge troublemaker but I’m also worthy of a seat at the top table (ha ha).

Fonte de Mergulho (Fountain)

The fountain is located right at the back of the Forum but it was hard to photograph due to a random parked car. You can see it just to left of my photo.

Antiga Casa da Câmara e Cadeia (Former Town Hall and Prison)

A two-storey building decorated with the coat of arms of Queen Maria (1777-1816). In medieval times, it was a prison and the window bars are still visible on the lower left window. The ground floor opens into a hallway with two side rooms and there are two staircases to the upper floor. This floor has a great hall and two other rooms. It was once a school and teacher’s house and now houses Linhares Parish Council and contains some decorative pieces of historical interest. It is also used by the Portuguese Postal system (CTT). I love the windows at the top and surrounding stone decoration. It’s quite eerie that you can still see the prison bars on the bottom window!

Solar Corte Real Manor (Court Real Manor House)

This glorious Manor House dates from the 18th Century, imposing in the sobriety of its layout, it is topped by a cornice inscribed with a coat of arms. In the 40’s of the 20th Century, the building was deeply damaged, having been restored and today it gives way to an accommodation unit. Unfortunately, in the 1940s, the manor house fell into disrepair after a cyclone hit. In 2002, the Municipality of Celorico da Beira decided to proceed with its restoration and converted it into a hotel. Apparently it has stunning gardens, a swimming pool and tennis courts. There was obviously a Mr & Mrs challenge/dare to see who could sneak in past reception and take a quick swim in the pool. We both chickened out as we didn’t want to get arrested (ha ha). I loved the baroque architecture, proud flags, the little balcony in the center of the building with iron railings and the shield with the Coat of Arms magnificently stand out.

Antigua Hospedaria (Old Inn)

This inn, later the Misericórdia hospital, is an important milestone in understanding medieval charity. It helped the poor, pilgrims, the sick and all passers-by or residents who needed shelter or care. We also know that King Sancho I left 100 maravedis to this inn in his will. The inn became the Misericórdia hospital and it has undergone many substantial alterations. The inn/hospital has two storeys with a full arch topped by a niche with an image of St Anthony. On the cornice there are two gargoyles that represent mythical characters: A goat and the devil, who were inspired by a local legend. Dona Lôpa, said to be the owner of this house made a pact with the devil under the influence of a maid (as in the legend of Dama do Pé de Cabra (Goats foot lady) but St Anthony interceded to save her.

I am going to be totally honest and admit that we did not view or photograph this landmark. The main reason behind this was the fact that I am fairly sure that the official website has the wrong pin on their map and also the wrong photo which is more than confusing. Perhaps if the Tourist Office was open we could have obtained a map and clarification but it was closed. We did ask the man in the cafe but he didn’t know where the Old Inn was located. We later realised that the photo displayed on the official website may possibly be wrong. Their photo is identical to the building located in the little garden and hidden gem I mention further down in my post.

The first photo is from the official Historical Portuguese Village website. My 2nd photo clearly shows the same identical building, hence why we thought this was the Old Inn. I think the 3rd and 4th photos are actually the correct Old Inn and it’s located next to the Igreja da Misericórdia and you can see the gargoyles. The 3rd and 4th photos were obtained from Google Maps. Who knows which is the correct location of The Old Inn? It’s anyone’s guess (ha ha). I have messaged the official websites Facebook page asking for confirmation. I’m hoping they will respond and clear up the mystery for me but so far I have received a big fat zero so the mystery remains. I will update my post if I ever receive a response.

Posto de Turismo de Linhares de Beira (Tourist Information Office)

Guided tours are available subject to prior booking and subject to availability. Unfortunately the office was closed on Freedom Day when we visited. This building is such a mixed bag of delights. It has an ATM (Cash Machine) but also some glorious old stone sculptures and decoration, I really liked the cross. I found some spectacular ancient authentic etchings (writing) on the side of the building. I am no expert but it’s definitely a different language and possibly the Judaeo-Portuguese or Judeo-Lusitanic language which is said to be the extinct Jewish language that was used by the Jews of Portugal.

Casa do Judeu (Jewish House)

During the 16th Century, the then city of Linhares had a highly populated Jewish community. The Jews built this noble building which acted as a Synagogue of Linhares. Casa do Judeu has a grand Manueline window and a large arch that gives access to Travessa do Passadiço. Its architecture is a mix of both Gothic and Manueline style. There is always something so magical about walking through an archway. We searched high and low for Jewish inscriptions on the stonework but couldn’t find any. We both agreed that this Manueline style window is the best in the village.

Solar dos Pina Aragão (Pina Aragão family Manor House)

Built in the 16th Century this fantastic Manor House is located in the upper part of the historic village just metres from the castle. It’s a 2 storey building and bears the Coat of Arms on the facade. The Pina Aragão family were known to be a very influential family in this region. Luís de Pina Aragão lived in the 18th Century and was superintendent of the Guarda stud farms. João de Pina Aragão made his career as a doctor during the 19th Century.

Hidden Garden Gem

This was my absolute favourite part of the day, discounting the castle and chocolate bread tasting (ha ha). We stumbled across a pretty little garden haven (which we initially assumed was the Old Inn). The building was covered in ivy and foliage which made the whole place very tranquil. We found a few stone gargoyles which look like they had fallen off of their plinths. Luckily we were not beneath them when it occurred (ha ha). They are laid to rest on the ground. I loved the strange little round stone tables here and we also found an alarming looking rope hanging from the tree so we obviously had to reenact a hanging man and lady (ha ha). I don’t think the tree was used to hang folk from, my guess is that it was left behind after a tree surgeon felled the tree but no one will ever know the truth. There may very well be a Portuguese legend or two to explore!

Other Fountains

I stumbled across a couple of more fountains.

Cova da Loba (Wolf Den Restaurant)

An elegant place that combines rustic and contemporary, and serves perfectly prepared regional food. Savour local seasonal products under the watchful eye of Chef Valdir Lobav. There is outside seating available at the front and back of the restaurant. I can’t believe that some lazy ass parked their car right outside the entrance! The carpark is literally feet away, what is wrong with people? I am hoping that the driver or passenger is either unloading heavy supplies or that they are disabled otherwise I’m more than a tad mad.  What a fab place to replenish ones energy and sample the local gastronomy. I’m mildly gutted that I packed a picnic now because the aromas were to die for!

The She Wolf Legend

A wolf lives in the surrounding woods who was once a human (Lady named Dona Lopa). St Anthony first had her expel a servant from her house, discovering that she was the Devil in disguise, and that in Linhares he collected souls for his cause. To compensate Dona Lopa, the spirited Saint converted her into a She-Wolf by affinity to her name, granted her a long life, with the condition that she perform the secret service of bringing the best fruits of the forests of the mountains to her land, and thus compensate her countrymen from the former unconscious complicity with Satan, which his conscience did not release. Here he deposits them every night and it is our hospitable obligation to share them with those who visit us. I’m not too sure this legend translated very well because I’m a little confused but then again it doesn’t take much to confuse my little brain. One thing for sure is I’m not venturing into the woods for a teddy bear picnic (ha ha).

The Legend of the Goat Foot Lady

At the entrance to Linhares da Beira there is a house where a religious noble widow Lady Dona Lôpa and her maid lived. One day, St Anthony knocked on her door, introducing himself as a beggar and left her a warning stating that her maid was indeed a devil in disguise and wanted to steal her soul! He told her to cover the floor with flour and she will see. The next morning there were hoof prints of goats on the floor from the maid which were in fact crows feet. St Anthony performed a miracle and transformed Dona Lôpa into a wolf to save her life and she now wanders around the local woods. As you can see there are several different versions of this legend and here is another one from nearby Marialva:

In the current region of Beira Alta, more specifically in the historic village of Marialva there lived many centuries ago a very beautiful maiden. One day, a nobleman, enchanted by her beauty and wanting to marry her, commissioned the services of a shoemaker, asking him to make shoes for the maiden in question. As it was a surprise, the shoemaker would have to find a way to make a mould of the maiden’s feet to adjust the size of the foot, and one day, without her realising it, he spread flour at the foot of the maiden’s bed so that when she got up, left her mark in the flour scattered on the floor. The shoemaker noticed by the shape left on the floor that the maiden had “crow’s feet”, but even so, he made suitable shoes. When the nobleman handed the gift to the maiden, who was disgusted to learn that everyone already knew about her defect, she threw herself from the castle tower. There is also a legend about a cursed fig tree located next to the castle which is so cursed that it never bears fruit. I hope no one curses my gigantic fig tree as I love figs way more than I probably should (ha ha).

Boulder Houses

This village reminded me a lot of a mini Monsanto with all the houses built around gigantic granite boulders. It’s like something straight out of the Flintstones, I LOVE it.

Café da Maria

This is an amazing cafe and prices are not inflated. It costs just 70 cents for a coffee! I have included the menu just in case you fancy a snack. I was lured in by the “Há Ginja da Boa” sign. It made me laugh that they offer “Good Ginja liquor” as opposed to “Bad Ginja liquor” (ha ha). I always find it refreshing that Portuguese cafes in tourist areas rarely increase their prices to prey on visitors. If this were the UK they would double the prices for sure. This is one small simple blessing and why I LOVE living in Portugal, my beautiful forever home.

Ti`Amélia (Artisan Gift Shop)

A cute store selling regional products located next to the famous restaurant.

Typical Village House & Local Lady

The locals of all the Portuguese historical villages that we have visited take so much pride in the appearance of their homes. It’s such a delight to see them adorned with pretty colourful roses.

Another Quaint Village House

I love this house, especially the rose arch and barrel full of foliage. I can imagine that the occupants sit out on the stone seating area and watches the world drift by in the blink of an eye.

No Such Thing as Too Many Plants

Many front steps here in Portugal are decorated with multiple plant pots covering every single step up to the front door. There is no such thing as too many plants in Portugal (ha ha).

House with Stone Swan

I really liked the rustic stone swan. Apparently the village has lots of swallows swarming the skies, how wonderful.

Gorgeous Roof Top Gardens

I also like these roof top garden palm trees, simply divine.

Rua Direita

It wouldn’t be a post blog without a hubby “Rear of the year” photo (ha ha).

A Quick Dip

After a couple of hours of wandering around exploring every nook and cranny we were both more than a little hot and bothered. I saw a sign for Vale do Rossim which is one of my favourite places to SUP board and was very tempted to abolish the Miradouro (Viewpoint) and go for a dip in the crystal clear waters instead only we didn’t bring our bathing suits so we would have to skinny dip and frighten the locals. We decided to stick to our original plan and keep our clothes on (ha ha).

Hubby’s Castle Photos

Hubby has a much better camera than my old iPhone 8, just look at the quality of his few photos! Wow, exquisite, I wish I could steal his camera for my blog post photos. I could try but I would need sheer brutal force to obtain it as it’s always permanently superglued to his hand 24/7, anyone would think he was having an affair (ha ha).

Miradouro de Linhares (Linhares Viewpoint)

GPS: 40.530858, -7.450056 / 40°31’51.1″N 7°27’00.2″W

We drove a short 10 minutes onto this magnificent Viewpoint. You have to drive through part of Linhares da Beira village to get to there and I kind of felt guilty because the locals must get so fed up of tourists invading their small village life and privacy. We arrived at the boulder-strewn hilltop location to find a solo man there enjoying the views. We unpacked our picnic and he quickly retreated to his car but didn’t drive off. I think he was relaxing in his car. We enjoyed our lovely picnic here followed by our yummy chocolate bread with the best ever views overlooking the mountains. You can see the castle in the distance and all the terracotta roof tiles which is adorable. The wild flowers and heathers growing between all the giant boulders and rocks is very beautiful. We tried our best to take a few photos here but it was so windy, hence my chaotic crazy hair. Gosh, I look a right state! My windswept hair is 0 “Wild & Whimsical” and a solid 10/10 “Dragged through a hedge backwards” look. I just ended up embracing the wind and gave up trying to get a nice photo. The hair might be hellish but the views are to die for (ha ha).

Last year the Serra da Estrela Natural Park was destroyed by wild forest fires. On 6th of August 2022 a fire started near Covilhã, South East of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, devastating an area of 25,000 hectares. It swept across Serra da Estrela, extending to the municipalities of Manteigas, Gouveia, Guarda, Celorico da Beira and Belmonte in a period of 11 days. It was the second huge wildfire, the previous one was in October 2017. Many of the farmlands, grazing areas, orchards and plantations were lost to the fire. The Government has approved measures worth 200 million euros for the Serra da Estrela and municipalities with a burnt area equal to or greater than 4,500 hectares, following the fires this year. The area is undergoing a programme to restore, recover and revitalise its natural heritage and biodiversity. We could still see some evidence of the extent of the fire damage to the fine tree trunks when driving here but I am totally amazed at mother nature and how green the landscape was as I expected to see more sad devastation. Forest fires are so frightening and such a huge risk during the summer months here. It scares me so much and we have a firm plan in place to save ourselves and our beloved pets as well as an emergency pack at the ready if the worst were to happen. Better to be safe than sorry. The random bloke that was sat in his car was no where to be seen when we decided to head home. I had a quick peek in his car as we drove past him and he was led down having a little late afternoon snooze in his car, I don’t blame him one bit (ha ha).

Text from the Info Board Signage:

The view from the Linhares Viewpoint covers a wide area of the central interior regions of Portugal, compromising the most western sector of Guarda district and the eastern sectors from Viseu district. At an altitude of 1100 metres, this Viewpoint is located in the Western slope of the Estrela mountain range, constituting the highest relief in mainland Portugal. The Northern limits of this region are established by a mountain range formed by the mountains of Pisco, Lapa and Leomil, separating it from Beira Transmontana and connecting to the interior with the flattened surface of Iberian plateau. At South the area is delimited by the mountains of Lusõ-Buçaco and to the West by the designated Western mountains, formed from the South to the North by the mountains of Caramulo, Gralheira massif and Monternuro, which together separate the region from the littoral platform. The mountain ranges referred above, delimit a wide flattened area, where the Mondego river and its main tributaries flow (Dão river at North and Alva at South) and which is known as the Mondego platform. This depressed area presents itself inclined to Southwest, reaching in the Northwest at Fornos de algodres 500 m of height and at South, in Santa Comba Dão, an altitude of 200 m. In this area the dense hydrographic drainage network reveals a perfect adaptation to the system of tectonic fractures.

Windy Wig Chocolate Bread Selfies

I am trying to hold my wig on (ha ha).

Radiant Railings

As I mentioned, this trip was a reward for finishing the railing DIY job.

Before Photos

I have no idea when the railings were painted last but my estimation is several years ago as they were all in very bad condition, old, dirty and flakey, like me (ha ha).

Work in Progress Photos

It certainly was a long dirty tedious job. We broke the electric sander and had to wait for a replacement under the guarantee so it resulted in a lengthy hand job (ha ha). Gosh, it really is such a bicep workout, who needs the gym when you have DIY! Whoever designed railings with so may swirls and curls and not straight lines should be shot! I think it was a man (ha ha). There were regular rest breaks and plenty of caffeine and protein shake pit stops. Hubby found a genius way of feeding each other marshmallows on BBQ skewers so we didn’t have to touch our sweet treats and consume toxic paint (ha ha). We used Bondex paint which I always call Bondage because I can’t ever remember the correct name. The guy in the local DIY shop nearly fainted when I asked if they sell Bondage (ha ha). I got through so much sandpaper but we saved an absolute small fortune by doing this job ourselves. I won’t pay a tradesman/woman to do a job that I can attempt myself. I even climb on rooftops and scale ladders. Hubby encourages me because I think he is hoping I might have a fatal accident one day and he can get some well deserved peace and quiet and a break from all this weekend DIY. He loves me really, I’m a total catch and multi talented (ha ha).

After Photos

As you can see this job started back in 2022 and continued into 2023! It took so long as hubby works FT so I only have his help on weekends and we couldn’t sand or paint the railings in the rain. I didn’t mind sanding solo but painting is a 2 person job as I am the mini roller maniac and hubby is in charge of the paint brush. Teamwork makes the Dreamwork (ha ha).

Hooray for Helena & Hubby! We definitely deserve a medal for completing this DIY task. I am pleased to announce that the garden radiant railings are finished at long last. In all honesty there is still a small section to complete which I can’t even consider starting until the builders next door have finished our neighbours renovation project. I’m mildly pissed that they have splashed concrete all over our railings, my doors, window frames and roof tiles. I’ve tried power washing but it’s hopeless. It’s a good job I’ve mellowed in my old age. I think living in Portugal for 3 years has changed my priorities in life and in the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal. There’s bigger fish to fry.

Railing Snake

Bejesus, I nearly had the fright of my life when I saw this huge snake wrapped around the railing post! Snakes LOVE our schist walls and slithering in all the cracks and crevices of the schist stones.

Creative Hubby Handmade Reward Gifts

Hubby made me a personalised certificate for our fridge. It’s hilarious as he praised me for completing 95% of the job (ha ha). That’s still an A* right? I wish I could get an A* in the Portuguese language as I suck big time. I’m not about to trade hubby in for a Portuguese fella just to get proficient in the language as I’m quite fond of him and I’ve been there, done that and got the Carlos T.Shirt along with a divorce (ha ha). I got lucky the 2nd time around and “Allen” is way easier to spell and pronounce than “Monteiro De Lima” (ha ha). He also handmade me a delicate artisan Pandora charm for my bracelet and a matching Kingfisher bird necklace using resin. It’s purple (my favourite colour) and glam glitter sparkly like me (ha ha). Hubby is definitely a keeper. I married my best friend and I highly recommend it.

The only negatives are he leaves the hallway light on multiple times per day and he poops out coins wherever he goes (ha ha). Not as bad as being married to a cheater, gambler or alcoholic for sure. He must have holes in all his pockets but on a good day I can earn about €6.40 just by bending over and retrieving the coins. I often stay in the downward dog position for a long pause just in case someone wants to Roger me unexpectedly from behind, you take what you can at my age, just kidding, I prefer the comfort of my mattress (ha ha). I’m colour coordinating with the black railings (ha ha). I’ve never had so much FUN with an A4 Certificate of Achievement. It’s now firmly attached to the front of my fridge with magnets like a proud child’s potato print painting (ha ha). I really wanted hubby to join in the fun, come and take photos of me prancing around the garden with my proud certificate on display but unfortunately he was in a lengthy online work meeting and didn’t get a lunch break so I had to celebrate solo.

Silver Vixen

My grey roots are so bad so I found a way of disguising them (ha ha). Roll on Friday and a well needed trip to the Hairdressers. I am debating whether I should just go au naturel and grow my hair out and embrace the grey. I’m not sure if I will rock the silver vixen look, I have a sneaky suspicion I will just look about 105 years old (ha ha).


We had so much FUN on our railing reward trip breathing in the pure mountain air. The tiny village of Linhares da beira is very charming and there are many attractions to see. We were inspired by the culture, art and heritage of this pearl of Serra da Estrela. Is Linhares de Beira as good as Monsanto or Sortelho? A firm “No” from me but it was a lovely local historical village and a superb day trip with plenty to view. As it was nearby and only a short drive we managed to return home at a decent time to still enjoy an hour plus with our chickens in the garden.

Wandering around the tiny web of cobbled streets, lost in time, stumbling across Romanesque chapels, Baroque noble manor houses, fascinating embellished fountains and traditional granite houses with Manueline windows and doors was amazing. My favourite part of the architecture is always the stone gargoyles. It was great that we didn’t have to endure a hot sweaty hike up a rocky hill to view the majestic captivating castle. We walked the whole path along the perimeter of the walls trying not to fall off into the abyss! I always enjoy some quality solitude time admiring the far stretching views on the horizon and the marvelous mountainous landscapes of the Serra da Estrela and Mondego Valley. The picturesque landscape over the huge granite massif is staggering and so peaceful. It was very windy as usual, so high up in altitude, hence my windswept barnet (ha ha). Luckily my dress never blew over my head as I forgot to wear shorts underneath. No flashing my lady bits thankfully. Finding out about all the old fascinating Portuguese legends from the locals was wonderful. The chocolate bread was a tasty treat and addition to our perfect picnic which we enjoyed at the idyllic local Viewpoint. 

Here’s to many more day trips with my partner in crime and less DIY because I’m exhausted and not getting any younger (ha ha). I think I need to plan a trip near water as the temperature here is picking up and getting roasty toasty. We have had some recent lengthy Mr & Mr Chats and decided that we are most likely going to stay put at Casa Valhal and not move to a new property with a little extra land for my Donkey Dream of rescuing/adopting 2 donkeys. If I were 10 years younger I would probably go for it but we have looked at other properties online and prices have soared since we bought our house so we think it’s sensible to stay here in our lovely house and renovate the bathrooms. It’s so perfect and peaceful with the picture postcard views, I just don’t think we could find somewhere as nice within our budget. We would end up paying twice as much as we paid for our house to get a not so nice smaller house with a little bit of flat land. I am quite happy to live here for the next decade or so, depending on our health and if we are still alive, downsize to a little apartment near the sea when hubby retires. He might retire early and go part time, who knows. I can grow old gracefully, chill on our apartment balcony with a strong coffee in my hand whilst watching the world go by. It’s not a bad plan!


Thanks and credits to: Aldeias Históricas de Portugal Website, where I gained a lot of my factual information.

UPDATE (13/09/2023)

I am elated, We finished the railings! Well they will require a touch up tomorrow and it took 3 hours in total and longer than expected but I did send hubby to the gas station mid way through for Coke Zero and marshmallows as I was so hot and flagging. He returned without the mallows because apparently they sold out and I’m sweet enough.

When Leroy Merlin say there are 10 disposable gloves in a pack they literally mean 10 (5 pairs). I was confused as I assumed there were 10 pairs as I don’t know any one handed DIYers! This mishap resulted in us having to wear one glove each. You can clearly see which hand I wore mine on (ha ha). I also stole an old T.Shirt of hubby’s for the occasion.

We completed the job at 8pm just as the sun was setting. Feeling pretty chuffed and happy. Showered and relaxing with a huge strong coffee in hand before dinner. Apparently I get my reward on Friday to end the week on a high. I hope it’s a donkey or two, I’m naming them Leroy & Merlin (ha ha).

My Final Reward (14/09/2023)

Transformation radiant railing time. Wow what a difference! I’m so glad this huge DIY job is now completed. We have sanded and painted the whole lot now as this was the final small area to finish. A tedious job which started months ago but now it’s time to reap the rewards.

I was rewarded with a yummy congratulations cake: homemade Pão de Ló, certificate for my fridge and a tipple or two from our retro bar. What more could a girl ask for? A house with a swimming pool is the answer (ha ha). I’m working on hubby and chipping away at him grain by grain, like sanding the railings by hand. Bit by bit I’m wearing him down until he gives in. 2024 could be the year I get my final dream home with a pool. Persistence and sheer commitment pays off long term whether it’s railings, health & fitness or “Buy me a house with a pool Mrs Mission” (ha ha). Keep smiling folk, pool party at my house next year, bathing suit optional, bring a bottle (not optional).

These photos are from earlier today pre rain and thunder when I was presented with my certificate from Major of Casa Valhal (AKA Hubby Senhor Adriano). I’m presently tucking into my cake with banana and homemade orange jam, simply delicious.