Monsanto is considered to be one of the most beautiful historical villages in Europe. In the plains of the Beira Interior, between the foothills of the Serra da Gardunha and the river Ponsul, Monsanto is a tourism icon of the region, offering a peculiar experience to those who visit.
It is considered to be the most Portuguese village in Portugal thanks to the prize, bearing the same name, it was given by the then President of the Republic and President of the Council of Ministers, Marechal Oscar Fragoso Carmona and Prof. Dr. António Oliveira Salazar, respectively. The prize was a silver rooster, which today is still the symbol of the village and serves as a source of inspiration for the municipality and companies in the region.
Land of rare beauty, where granite and human strength play the main parts, “Monte Santo” lies on the border of the River Erges, and from its past prevail curious legends and narratives linked to invasions and assaults of the village.
The village is located close to the border with Spain and takes into account the ancestral ties between the kings of Portugal and Castile. The importance of this position in the war strategies and in the military episodes in which they intervened is clear.
Monsanto never lost the aura of a medieval village, and this is perhaps its most striking feature. Walk through its steep alleys, with shale houses embedded in the stones and verdant yards, and climb up to the top of the hill to delve into history. Thanks to the rigour of its conservation and the exoticism of its nooks and crannies, Monsanto is a historic village, where most of the houses were built using large granite stones for the walls and in some cases a single block of stone forms the roof, which is why the houses are said to have “only one tile”.
Along the streets and alleys we find emblazoned palaces, Manueline portals and emblematic sites, such as the house where the doctor and writer Fernando Namora lived, and where he was inspired to write his novel “Retalhos da Vida de um Médico” (Remnants of the life of a doctor).
There are no shortage of reasons to visit Monsanto, this charming village promises to delight the curiosity of those who don’t yet know it, and to astonish those who have already passed through it.