The Curious Village of Monsanto
A historic village, Monsanto has a singular charm: its houses are built entirely of local stone and some are even set directly into the mountain rock. The giant granite rocks are an integral part of their structure and give the village a troglodyte look. A real spectacle!
Rich of an extraordinary architecture and an interesting past, the hamlet received in the 20th century two awards: the one of the most Portuguese village of Portugal in 1938, and the one of historical village in 1995.
A true iconic visit of the region, Monsanto offers a unique experience to its visitors. Find in this article, everything you need to know to visit the stone village of Portugal.
The Story of Monsanto Village
If the history of the Monsanto hill goes back to the mists of time, the human presence in this place goes back to the Paleolithic. The site was in turn occupied by Romans, Visigoths or Moors and one can still observe the traces of these different passages while strolling in its narrow streets.
What to do at Monsanto?
Among the sites not to be missed is the Lucano or Clock Tower (14ᵉ century). It is an ancient bell tower that bears the symbol that made Monsanto the "Most Portuguese Village in Portugal". For the locals, this bell tower is imbued with great symbolism. At the top, you will see a reproduction of the Silver Rooster, won in the National Information Service competition in 1938.
Just next door, the Church of Mercy, which dates from the 16th century. It is located on the square of the pillory. The interior houses three altars, a representation of the cycle of the passion of Christ and a statue of St. Peter.
Continue your journey through the narrow streets of the village. Enjoy the flowered nooks and crannies, ancient fountains, taverns, the baroque-style Matriz church dating from 1768, and again the 16ᵉ century Chapel of the Holy Spirit. All this in the middle of big rocks!
On your way, don't miss the Romanesque chapel of São Miguel do Castelo.
Want to get some height? The climb up to the castle, although difficult, is amply rewarded by one of the most fascinating viewpoints in the region. We highly recommend that you go there at the end of the day to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in Portugal.
Finally, if you want to refresh yourself a bit, the cool waters of the idyllic river beach of Pego, in Penha Garcia (12 km from Monsanto) will offer you all the freshness you need.
Barcelos is a small town in northern Portugal. It is in this city that a legend was born around a pilgrim and a rooster, which later became the symbol of the city and then the symbol of Portugal. This national symbol is called today the Rooster of Barcelos or the Galo de Barcelos or the Portuguese Rooster.