Monsanto is an ancient fortified village perched on the side of the mountain in the Beira Baixa, a region of Central Portugal. The tiny streets are carved from and in the rocks. The houses are squeezed between gigantic boulders. This historical village is often mentioned as the most Portuguese village in the country.
Monsanto's appearance has not changed in centuries.
At the top of the 122-m-high hill, stands a very old square built fortress or castle, that played an important role in Medieval times; it's said to have been built by the Templars Grand Master and withstood several battles, including the Napoleonic invasions. The walk up to the castle is rewarded by gorgeous views in the whole region.
The easiest way to reach Monsanto is by car and please consider that Portugal is one of Europe's cheapest countries for renting a car. Buy and use a normal road map over Portugal. You will find Monsanto - NE of Castelo Branco.
Free parking in the beginning of the mediaeval village.
If you will not or can not drive a car it is possible to arrive to Monsanto by public transportation: trains and buses, but first you have to get to Castelo Branco. Fly to Lisbon Airport and then take the train/bus to Castelo Branco.
From Lisbon, take the train to Castelo Branco. The latest time table shows trains operating between 08:00 and 19:30 and will take approximately 3 hours from Lisbon.
Intercity Trains operate from Lisbon (Gare do Oriente) to Castelo Branco. From Porto, the train journey takes approximately 5 hours.
From Lisbon, take the Metro from the airport to Seite Rios. Express bus at 09:50 (all working days and Saturdays - if not a holiday) from "Terminal Rodoviario de Seite Rios" in Seite Rios (near the Lisbon Zoo) to Castelo Branco. Change to the bus to Monsanto at 12:25.
Express bus at 14:00 (all working days but Friday if it is a holiday) Change in Castelo Branco to the bus to Monsanto at 17:15.
From Porto, the bus journey takes approximately 4 hr 30 min.
- Castle and Wall of Monsanto (Castelo e Muralha de Monsanto): (12th Century) Sumptuous mediaeval fortress, with several doors and staircases.
- Lucano’s Tower (Torre de Lucano): (14th century) Bell ringer tower, crowned with a silver cockerel, a trophy awarded to Monsanto, in a 1938 competition, which it was judged to be “the most Portuguese village” in Portugal, in recognition of the originality of its culture.
- St. Michael Chapel (Capela de São Miguel): (12th century) Romanesque chapel.
- Mercy Church (Igreja da Misericórdia): (16th century) With romanesque roots, it has suffered several reconstructions.
- Pin Tower (Torre do Pião): (12th century) Ancient medieval tower.
- Other interesting villages in the area: Idanha-a-Velha and Penha Garcia, distance about 10 km and 15 km from Monsanto.
- Geo-restaurant Petiscos & Granitos is a new concept of restaurant, a pedagogical strategy promoting the Portuguese geological heritage. This is Petiscos & Granitos, the first geological restaurant. Traditionally built using granite boulders with thousands of tons as walls and roof, this unique place celebrates the “Cookery of Earth”. A dynamical Geo-menu follows the gastronomy calendar of Idanha and appeal to a strong relationship between traditional tastes and geographic diversity of Portugal. Different appeals, different know-hows. Visiting the two dining rooms and the esplanade is discovering the exhibition “The Rolling Stones show Geohistory of Portugal told by rocks” and feel the action of Time and the dynamics of Earth.
- The restaurant at Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto offers you regional and international cuisine. Today's Special: Compose your own 4-course menu from a choice of soup, fish, meat, dessert or fruit or you can choose from the Menu Card. Dishes from €5 to 15.
- Taverna Lusitana in Monsanto is more a snack bar serving good regional food and wine. You can eat inside or outside at the terrace with a beautiful view.
Same places as mentioned above
- 1 B&B-Monsanto-rooms at Taverna Lusitana in Monsanto Village, Rua do Castelo, 19. Check-in: from 13:00, check-out: before 11:00. B&B-rooms at Taverna Lusitana in Monsanto Village in Portugal is an accommodation with two double rooms with private bathroom, TV & free Wireless Internet. Breakfast is included in the rental price. Relax and enjoy your lunch or dinner at the terrace with a view. Lunch packet on request for your excursions in the area with a lot of historical Sites. Single room with private bath €40, double room with private bath €50.
- Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto, Rua de Capela No 3. Check-in: from 13:00, check-out: before 11:00. Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto has 10 rooms with private bathroom. The hotel has a balance between traditional style and modern comfort. Hotel Estalagem de Monsanto features a lobby, a bar and a restaurant which seats 40 people. The restaurant offers you good regional food. Single room with private bathroom €60, double room with private bathroom €70, extra bed €25.