If you search into the heart of Portugal, you will find Linhares da Beira. Located in the centre of Portugal, this small medieval village transports you back into a different time with no compromise. Linhares doesn’t have a historical town centre. History is all there is. A beautifully-preserved village, where you’ll struggle to get a wifi signal, time moves slowly, old women effortlessly carry heavy loads of sticks on their backs, and the bread van comes in triumphantly honking its horn to announce its arrival.
There is no village shop, most traffic consists of the odd mountain sheep, there’s a quaint little church dating from roman times, a welcoming café (Mimoso), and an imposing 13th century castle stands tall up on the hill. But, in a nod to the 21st century, a (very, very good) fine dining restaurant has found success here, welcoming hungry hikers, hang-gliders and history buffs.
The granite-clad village is a natural playground for children, and a peaceful retreat for parents wanting to get away from it all. Although not entirely traffic-free, because of the echo-y stone walls you can hear any car approaching long before it comes round the corner.
The village neighbours the highest mountain in Portugal, Serra da Estrela, where you find the country’s only ski resort, a myriad of hiking trails, and several traditional mountain restaurants which will serve huge quantities of food for an unfeasibly small amount of money. Linhares is also Portugal’s paragliding capital, and when you visit during the summertime, you will be able to gaze at the dots in the sky, colourful against the grey of the rugged granite mountain, or if you’re the adventurous type have a go yourself.
We visited Linhares with two toddlers, which meant no paragliding, but lots of rock climbing, sliding down the castle’s gigantic slopes, walking around the mountain and collecting acorns and chestnuts. In the evenings we got to cozy-up by the fire with a heart-warming meal as the kids played with puzzles and plasticine.
It felt good being offline for a whole weekend, truly connecting with each other in this idyllic medieval village. I challenge you to do the same – go back in time (properly, a school disco doesn’t count!), disconnect from the web and connect yourself.
In case you’re wondering, yes, Batman came too. Even medieval villages need superheroes.
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See it all. It’s difficult to get lost, but to make sure you don’t miss a bit download village walking guide