Historic Villages (Aldeias Históricas) Portugal

When discussing Historic Villages (Aldeias Históricas, in Portuguese), we refer to a specific set of twelve locations that form a route bearing the same name.

These locations are:

For any Portuguese familiar with their country, the foremost observation is that some of these locations are not villages; among the twelve, there are five towns and one city.

However, this discrepancy between the designation “Villages” and the administrative status of the places does not diminish the route’s concept or objectives.

To understand the concept and appeal of the Historic Villages, it’s essential to address two fundamental questions:

What are the Historical Villages?

In 1991, the Portuguese government initiated the “Program of Historic Villages of Portugal” to combat the desertification affecting the interior regions, particularly in the Beira Baixa region.

This process of desertification had detrimental effects on both the physical and social structures of these areas.

Hence, a strategy was devised to revitalize, preserve, and promote the Beira Baixa region, rooted in values such as History, Culture, and Heritage. 

The program initially identified key locations to concentrate efforts for better results.

Various actions have been implemented over time, including new partners, some departures, and the reevaluation of previously listed places.

Why are the Historic Villages interesting? What attracts tourists to visit them?

As tourist activity burgeons in well-known destinations, there’s a growing interest in exploring places less impacted by mass tourism.

While cities like Lisbon and Porto and regions like the Algarve draw significant tourists, lesser-known locales offer a respite from overcrowding.

Despite their historical significance, places like the Douro Valley and Peneda-Gerês National Park are beginning to experience increasing tourist pressure.

However, hidden gems like the Historic Villages boast vast historical, cultural, and social heritage that tourists can relish with exceptional quality.

Additionally, these villages offer unique accommodations, such as Casas do Côro, along with authentic regional cuisine and high-quality wines.

Combining interesting attractions, sparse crowds, top-notch lodging, and dining options, the Historic Villages promise unparalleled experiences for visitors.

Give it a chance, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised

I invite you to explore these remarkable destinations through the slideshow featuring photos of each village on the route.

You can also, join me on one of my tours to delve into the rich tapestry of Portugal’s Historic Villages – please access here for more information.

For hiking enthusiasts, the GR22 walking trail connects most of the Historical Villages, offering multiple options to explore the region’s scenic beauty. 

You can find a suggested route for the GR22 here.

Let’s embark on a journey filled with discovery and enjoyment.

Warm regards,

David Monteiro